Rhymes for Adults edited by Mary Alexandra Agner

Here at the Muse we believe good things are often available in small packages. This includes your Editor (5 ft 1.5”), the triolet, and Rhymes for Adults, the latest mini-anthology of formal poetry in chapbook form.

As an editor I’m well aware of the challenge of putting together an eclectic mix of formal poems, given that one in five poems written is typically a sonnet about love. Mary Alexandra Agner has therefore done an excellent job in compiling this chapbook of seventeen poems. Even Moira Egan’s sonnet (about love) manages to look at the issues from a new angle:

The auricles, the ventricles, the sheath,
aorta, veins, subclavian artery,
and vena cava, top and underneath.

Other sonnets cover subjects as diverse as “Suburban Peace Poem” by Kathrine Varnes, and my favorite, “Plans” by Patricia Valdata, in which Bessie Coleman tells the story of her journey from working as a Chicago manicurist to become the first female African-American pilot:

So while I file the flapper’s smoke-stained nails,
I practice aerodrome and fuselage
And save my tips. One day, I’ll do a tail-
Slide overseas.

If your tastes veer toward the lighter side of metrical poetry, there is F. J. Bergmann’s skit on endangered species “No ‘Gator Love,” and if you like your light verse a subtle shade of blue, there’s “Seven Translations from the Priapea” by Larry Hammer.

For contemporary resonance, Hooters gets a mention in Mike Snider’s “When Worlds Collide” and Halle Berry has a cameo in William Stuckey’s “Shadowed Guilt.”

Furthermore, the title poem is by that Mistress of Twenty-First Century formalism, A.E. Stallings:

The moon is chalky, white & thin.
The moon is bitter as aspirin.
She drinks it down with a glass of gin.

However, you won’t need gin to make Rhymes for Adults slip down easily. It may be small, but it’s a treat!

Rhymes for Adults is available from Rhymes for Adults.

Anna Evans is a British citizen but permanent resident of NJ, where she is raising two daughters. She has had over 100 poems published in journals including The Formalist, The Evansville Review, Light Quarterly, Measure and many others. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist in the 2005 Howard Nemerov sonnet award. She is editor of the formal poetry e-zine The Barefoot Muse and is currently enrolled in the Bennington College MFA Program. Her first chapbook Swimming was published in March 2006 by Maverick Duck Press.

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