6 Poets in Candelabrum Poetry Magazine

6 Poets in Candelabrum Poetry Magazine

Candelabrum Poetry Magazine has been going since 1970, consistently providing a much-needed platform for traditional verse, quality free verse and short forms like the haiku and tanka. The magazine appears twice a year, and its editor is still M. L. McCarthy. The website is here: http://www.members.tripod.com/redcandlepress/Magazine.htm

Most of the work here is competently turned, though not generally breaking new ground. The problems are those of any art form that measures itself against the achievements of the past:  borrowings, an uncontemporary diction at times, and vacuity when the rhymed container exceeds the content. There is more to writing traditional verse than getting it to scan and rhyme, and the pieces chosen here have that added naturalness that seems artless but is usually the result of long practice and repeated polishing.

The poems are taken from the Poetry Library’s 2006-7 online listings. The magazine (so far as one can tell from its website, which hasn’t changed much in recent years) still expects single submissions by snail mail.
Duncan MacLaurin’s Hope at http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20419 displays the strengths of traditional verse: the piece is a sonnet, or would be if the lines were pentameters. I’ll quote the opening quatrain and closing couplet to show how clear and unpretentious is the poem -and how satisfying the conclusion.

At last the day is dead and gone,
its greedy star a passing flame:
but our desire remains the same;
in darkest night it still shines on.

You walk beside me in a blend
of soul mate, sweetheart, muse and friend.

Pam Russell’s Still Life is a full sonnet, a conventional poem on a conventional theme, but nonetheless portraying a real world effectively, indeed affectionately. It can be read at: http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20463

It starts with a homely interior scene that contrasts with cold and snow outside:

Black table standing in a window bay,
on it a silver salver catches light;

The description is elaborated, and the poem ends with a hope of milder days:

The teapot’s sides are live with flickering light,
the fire’s reflection which both warms and glows.
Upon the shining tray the pink rose lies,
fresh as young dawn invading milder skies.

Katie Mallett’s Rust to rust (On a cast iron memorial) is at: http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20492
and written  in neat quatrains rhymed a b c b. Again it needs little comment, but I’ll quote the last two stanzas to show well the chemistry conceit is developed:

Who knows who lies below this shallow mound  –
A man of iron will, who would not yield
To outside forces, or a weaker soul,
Drawn like filings to a magnet’s field?

In the end all yield to chemistry.
Our die was cast when fed, before our birth,
On oxygen and iron, always pulled
To join the lodestone of our mother earth.

Emily Burns’ November in New England can be read at: http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20502
I’ll quote the opening quatrain that displays an admirable selection of telling details in short sentences. Note too how the slow fourth line captures and underlines their significance.

You can see farther now, through leafless trees,
And roadside rocks emerge. The light’s grown thin.
The silver air is clear; cold wind blows in.
Time slows. This is a month of memories.

I’ll end with a couple of translations. Susan Ranson’s Under the Lime tree is from the German of Walther von der Vogelweide  ( c.1170-c.1227) and can be found here:


I’ll quote just one of the four stanzas to show how well that rustic sweetness has been brought over:

For there he did make me,
rich and tender,
a bed of flowers softly bent.
And there at the lime-tree
all who wander
(our hearts will laugh in close content)
may, at seeing roses spread,
mark where I have laid my head.

Finally, Keith Holyoak’s translations of Lai Bai – entitled ‘From the Chinese of Li Bai (701-762 AD)‘ and so perhaps a little free – do manage to convey some of the poetry which correct academic renderings commonly do not. I’ll the last stanza of Farewell at a Jin-Ling Tavern. The full poem can be found at:

Friends, ask the water flowing
far away to the east:
This river, the sadness of farewell –
which of the two is longer?


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