Sealey Challenge

It can be books, or chapbooks, finishing them up or rereading. Looking around, I have a lot of unfinished titles bookmarked.

They suggest planning out reads I knock that out of running. They suggest shelfies on FB, IG and Twitter, which is what I normally do normally.

I waffled on doing The Sealey Challenge this year. In fact I’m still on the waffle iron but since I have de facto read a book title a day in August I may as well say I’m in for now.

the goals are simple: read a book each day, engage with diverse voices and be an active member of an online community of poetry lovers.

while the books you choose are up to you, The Sealey Challenge encourages reading books by marginalized poets

Sealey Challenge since 2017

The prospect of posting daily is a non-starter since I take weekends away from computers as a practice. I try not to pile up multiple posts in a day. But participation in books is the thing, not the particulars.

I thought I’d write a review of each book, and post each week but that hasn’t happened. The first 5 days:

  1. Mayfly: issue 75, summer 2023 (Brooks Books, 2023)
  2. Beyond the Flames by Louise Dupré, trans by Antonio D’Alfonso (Guernica Editions, 2014)
  3. The Hotdog Variations by James Hawes (above/ground, 2021)
  4. Connected to Peace: Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology 2023 (Haiku Canada, 2023)
  5. Emptying the Ocean by Kim Fahner (Frontenac, 2022)

For the first, Mayfly the cover poem is

revising my childhood
charred scraps of paper drift
from the burn barrel

by Kristin Lindquist

The magazine is only a couple times a year but Randy Brooks has an exceptional eye for haiku and there’s never a dull note in any issue.

Beyond the Flames in the original French won the gg. Antonio D’Alfonso did a wonderful text that is profound and measured, moving and whole, a wholeness uncommon to poetry collections. There is a surging movement to the whole but each couplet or line is reflective yet not sentimental or plodding. It’s quite an achievement. The content is hard, Auschwitz versus a future, a grandchild who is innocent to history.

The Hotdog Variations is taking a phrase and each poem is a remix of the letters, as they get more and more unhinged from semantics and narrative. Quite interesting.

Connected to Peace is an anthology. A gem is

a love song
at the top of a tree
my dry lips

Phyllis Sise, p. 34

Emptying the Ocean was most interesting to me where Fahner delved into historical women, Maud Lewis and Mary Pratt who she springs to life.

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