Monday, September 14, 2020

Jack Stewart

Jack Stewart is the author of a debut poetry collection ― No Reason ―which has just appeared as the latest book in the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books. He and his family live in Coconut Creek, Florida, where he teaches literature and creative writing.

Having his home in Florida, and having his degrees from University of Alabama, and Emory (in Atlanta) may surprise you, in that Jack Stewart seems to love winter. In “The Shape of Cold” he sings his admiration, “…No snow is forecast, even though / It would be beautiful, slowly / Rippling the pond like what / Fish rise to, the subtlest // Light imaginable.
And in “The Elect” he paints for us:

-----All over this snow-laden town
-----Thousands of Popes have been elected,
-----The white smoke rising from what seem
-----To be every chimney…

No Reason does cover a lot of territory, though, including many ekphrastic depictions ranging from images of major artists such as El Greco, Michelangelo, and Turner down to a children’s book illustration of “the dark girl who pleased Pharaoh”.

I am pleased to have served as editor, for Jack, of this excellent new collection. His poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, The Dark Horse Review, and Image.

Balancing the Flame

St. Stephanskirche, Vienna

Gothic grappling hook to heaven,
When it was rebuilt in the 14th century
The limestone must have shone brighter
Than the December snow.
Now soot-shadows climb the walls
And can’t be scrubbed away.
Inside, the light is also dim,
Even over the altar’s marble ember.
I drop a Euro in the cup.
In the musty oxygen,
The candle releases
A thread of smoke.
Most prayers begin in failure.
Like a match in an unsteady hand,
My amen always falters.
In what trembling air,
On what wick of words
Can I balance its flame?

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.