Light Lunch by Joyce La Mers

Rather like X.J. Kennedy, I’ve never understood how you tell light verse from poetry, exactly, or why so many literary journals, both the online kind and their older print siblings, refuse to publish it. Surely the fact that Light Quarterly’s press run is reputed to be 1000 copies points to the enduring popularity of what their website proudly calls “funny, topical, and above all readable poems.”

A subscription to Light Quarterly is an equitable $22 for four issues. But, for just $5, you can invest (as well or instead) in a copy of Joyce La Mers’ chapbook Light Lunch, a Buffet of Inconsequential Verse. Joyce is a frequent contributor to Light Quarterly and many of the poems in this attractively presented pocketbook sized offering first appeared within its pages.

The only disagreement I have with this charming little book is that it calls its contents inconsequential, given that I recently came to the conclusion that there are few things one should take more seriously than enjoying one’s brief time on this fair planet. Also of great consequence in today’s era of media muffling is the almost lost art of political satire, especially when the present administration frankly is just asking for it. Here are the final two stanzas of “(God’s) Plan”:

Great galaxies crash overhead
and asteroids take aim.
Earthquakes, hurricanes and wars
are quick to kill and maim.

For life that’s so disaster prone
“evolve” is too benign.
An accident? No. Has to be
Intelligent Design!

Meanwhile, to be fairer to the Republicans than they probably deserve, one of three “Ex-Presidential Clerihews” targets good old Bill:

William J. Clinton
claimed nothing really went on,
or (if it did) was surely moral
if oral.

La Mers also offers wry epigrammatic poems about growing older, geography, sadism and microwaves, just to pique your interest, plus one of my personal favorites, a Frost parody, “Stopped by Daylight Saving on an April Morning”:

So now High Noon occurs at one
but I have errands yet unrun,
and months till daylight saving’s done,
and months till daylight saving’s done.

“Light Lunch” is the perfect stocking filler to make the poet in your life giggle on Christmas morning. Get your copy postpaid by sending $5 to Paradigm Press, 2514 GreencastleCourt, Oxnard, CA 93035-2901.

Anna Evans’ poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Harvard Review, Rattle and Measure. She is the editor of the Barefoot Muse, and is currently enrolled in the Bennington College MFA Program. Her chapbook Swimming is available from Maverick Duck Press.

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