Willamette Writers calls on many fantastic authors and writers to make each year’s issue of the Timberline Review a success, and we would be swamped by the sea of submissions if it weren’t for our editors. It is fortunate, then, that we have someone as passionate about poetry as Suzy Harris. Suzy’s passion was made clear when we asked for her perspective on her experience with Poetry and Prose in the Timberline Review.
In the Words of Suzy
“It was a gift and an honor to be entrusted with all these poems, the ones we selected, because in the reading they touched a chord or found a way to couple words together that gave us pause.”
When asked what she most enjoyed from this year’s issue of the Timberline Review, Suzy responded with effusive love for each of the poems she read.
“I loved seeing how poets captured transformation through so many different lenses,” she wrote, continuing with a veritable avalanche of examples.
Transformations of the Natural World
In the natural world, Kelli Osborne’s ‘Caterpillars remember how to create the silk button, tuck in to chrysalis and wait.’ Or Kate Maxwell’s crow, who rules the ground ‘. . .until dog-time/when sudden flight/fills the sky . . ./and the grounded/become glorious again.’
There are climate transformations too, how the air in western New York carries ‘ . . . the memory/of smoke . . .’ (David Mihalyov) and ‘. . . we take in/the burnt breath of/early autumn (Nancy Nowak).’
The Ultimate Transformation
The first and final transformations of life and death took center stage this issue by the weight of their splendor and solace, and the emotion contained within is raw and powerful. Suzy notes, “How, in the words of Colette Tennent, we are transformed as parents, ‘. . .humming our honeyed songs/into the sweet bluesy dark.’ How we are transformed by trauma and loss: ‘ . . . a giggle so dry,/so breathless, I already knew I would never/hear it again . . .’, in Melody Wilson’s Your Music or Joyce Schmid’s poem about end of life, ‘Walking Trail in Cunningham Park‘. Or Margaret Chula remembering her mother through her letters:
“I read them aloud. Breathe her alive on this day
of smoky skies and windless trees. Make offerings
of blackberries from the brambles, rosehips
bright in my palm, green tea in a porcelain cup.”
Interested in seeing these transformations through?
Did any of these poems hook you? If so you can get your own copy of the eleventh issue of the Timberline Review here.
Thinking of putting forth a submission next year?
Inspired by any of the poems you just read? Do you want to try to do the same for others? Then why not submit a poem or other work for next year’s issue? Please check out the Timberline Review Website to learn more and stay up to date on what comes next! If you’re nervous about putting your work out there, we can help! Try joining one of our critique groups to transform your story from a chrysalis into a butterfly.