There’s an almost magical quality to the way in which poets intuit and paint their various interpretations of characterization. After all, to characterize something necessitates the ability to understand not just what the thing is, but how the thing is — and why. Poets, like all writers, are tasked with the seemingly self-defeating purpose of characterizing people, places, things — ranging from something as small as a plum, to something as large as whole cities or entire books of the Bible — while maintaining an air of wonder and accepting the fact that there is so much that simply cannot be understood. Many poets and prose writers alike approach characterization through form as well as word choice; Gertrude Stein, for example, played heavily with repetition and reiterated syntax to imply character when connotations were not enough. William Carlos Williams characterized with vivid, clean imagery.
The poets featured in this issue of Mason’s Road each have characterized a facet of the world in an imaginative, poignant and even at times chilling way. “Fuck Me Boots,” “Reading Akmatova,” “Intentions,” “Prose Poem,” “Lilith,” “Blackbird,” “A Study of Paul Celan’s Death Fugue,” “A Temptation of Plums,” “The Doll Maker,” “Asylum for Girls, 1925” and “Joseph on Knowledge in the Biblical Sense” each characterize an aspect of the world or humanity brilliantly — be it through wordplay and deft observation, inventive language, form — or any of the many surprising ways you’ll discover as you dream with the poets in reading. These are poems with wheels; poems that will move you, poems that will awaken and smolder in you. They are poems that will change the way you, too, look at and characterize your surroundings.
So come, dear readers. Move boldly; write life.
Heidi St. Jean and Linsey Jayne Morse