The 2011 Table Rock Review, an anthology of poems, essays and short fiction by members of the Holiday Island Writer's Guild, came out this month. It is an entirely pleasurable thing to read and I am impressed yet again by how our small piece of the world is able to attract such a broad and deep range of talented people.
One of the stories I really enjoyed was Dot Newman's 'Requiem for Roscoe', a brief survey of the battles that minders of birdfeeders wage against four-legged bandits. "Something scratching at the suet holder," she writes, "would send me screaming onto the deck like some harpy flying out of hell's gates." Anyone who has trouble keeping up with marauding squirrels and raccoons can relate.
Barbara Rhodes, winner of the 2011 Ozark Creative Writers poetry award, wrote the wonderfully evocative 'Gift From My Father:'
The old home movie
jitters on the screen.
The people in it
Are younger than I am now:
My mother in a green felt hat,
And my father,
His pale Scottish skin
ghostly even then.
The film, like them,
has been buried for years.
I found it in a mildewed trunk
A treasure chest
Lying at the bottom of my ocean.
The reel unwinds:
our white house on the pond,
newly-planted saplings near the porch,
a sleeping cat.
Then my mother is hanging
bed sheet flags in the sun
and my father kisses a strand of hair
blowing across her cheek.
Me, walking in the ooze at water's edge,
surprising frogs in the pond.
My brother standing smugly
next to his new Chevy
as if it were a test he had passed.
Then we are all on a trip to California,
touching huge oranges on a tree
to prove we are truly in Paradise.
I stop the projector for a while to breathe.
It is using up the past too quickly.
I will gather my sons
and show them these people:
not faces frozen in gold frames on the mantle,
but silent, moving flesh,
warm hands touching oranges
arms lifting wet sheets,
hearts that gave them life through me
beating once again.
A poem like 'Gift From My Father' is itself a gift, and I was made happy by reading it. I was also and especially impressed by David Hirsch's cover photograph, and by how graceful and wise is the balance of the Review's contents: it is a special anthology made possible by special and skilled practitioners of the creative arts.
The Table Rock Review is published by the Holiday Island Writers, a division of the Holiday Island Association of the Arts Readers and Writers Guild. Membership in the Writers Group is open to the public.
The Writers meet on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 2:00--4:00 PM in the Holiday Island Clubhouse. New members are always welcome. Contact Carol McGowen: firstname.lastname@example.org or Barbara Rhodes: email@example.com.