Online Literary Roundup: Stickman Review, The Post Office Poems

There’s no shortage of great contemporary writing online. Here are two sites I just discovered today:

Stickman Review, a biannual online literary journal edited by Anthony Brown, publishes memorable literary prose, poetry, and artwork. Their latest issue, Vol. 8 No. 2, features a powerful story by Leah Erickson. “Judy Garland” depicts the relationship between a pre-teen boy and his troubled, fragile mother, as they wait amid a crowd of fans at Grand Central Station for the movie star to arrive for the premiere of “The Wizard of Oz”. Erickson captures the psychological darkness and interiority of adolescence, with a sexual subtext that is never made crudely explicit, as the boy, like his fellow Americans on the cusp of World War II, struggles to distinguish hopeful fantasy from dangerous mania.

Other fine entries in this issue include poems by Gale Acuff and Jackie Bartley.

The Post Office Poems blog is an interactive, ongoing poetry project highlighting Fall City, Washington, and the Snoqualmie Valley, written by an anonymous author and posted weekly on the bulletin board at the Fall City Post Office.
The author explains:

The idea for the Post Office Poems began with a simple posting of a poem on the bulletin board at the Fall City Post Office on October 6, 2009 by an anonymous poet. Everyone in town has a post office box, there is no delivery within the city as it is pretty much out in the boonies, “rural”. When you pick up your mail after hours you enter the back door which is always unlocked. To the left on the wall is a large bulletin board with a typical assortment of small notices for rentals, items for sale, upcoming events and business cards. Once you read these, the next time you come in the reading selection becomes pretty boring. There is nothing else on the walls, though I’ve noticed lately as you come in the door the wind has blown a large handful of brilliant orange, red, yellow and brown leaves across the floor.

Thus an idea was born to enliven the lobby experience for townsfolk. Once a week a poem is posted on the board. The first was called “Four Feathers from Fall City”, it was posted on a Tuesday night about 9:30 pm with three white tacks, on a sheet of white typing paper. When I had just pushed in the last tack I heard a car pull up. I looked out the door and there was a cop car just outside. Was I breaking some unknown Postal Service rule or federal bulletin board law? As I walked out the door, an officer in full uniform walked in and said, “Hello there, how are you?”

I said, “Hello, fine thank you.” and nervously left. I wanted the poems to be anonymous. When people of Fall City read them, I want the poem and it’s images to be exerienced and enjoyed. This project is interactive. A piece of plain white paper, a poem, the quiet lobby, and then whatever happens next in the reading, the feelings of the reader, etc. will be a discovery. Something new. A gift.

I was particularly moved by the entry “Seven Pigeons and the White Angel”, a tribute to a young man who drowned in the river. The author handles a potentially sentimental subject with subtle yet deep emotion and a gift for describing the sublime landscape of the Northwest.