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Topic: Lynda Philippsen

On Pino Coluccio's "Misspent Youth"

Here is a man of “words, words, words” quite lost in the game of action. Not a hockey player adept at stick handling, he remains shut out. And the rules of the game he does command–language and its grammar–imbue the poem with multiple texts: what the lines say, what is said between them, and what the loins say.
Coluccio’s hilarious and sexually-loaded wordplay throughout the poem is underscored with pathos, established first by the varied nuances of the title “Misspent Youth.” To miss is to fail to meet, take advantage of, or experience. ‘Spent’ suggests a loss of original force or a purchase at some cost. Immediately an overtone of regret is established. Readers expect some juvenile folly or guilty pleasure and anticipate its price.

On Elise Partridge's "One Calvinist's God"

The Christian doctrine of “The Rapture” and Calvin’s “Preordained Selection” are subverted in the predatory imagery of this poem. There is nothing resembling ecstatic delight to be found as prey in the clutches of a raptor, and there is more than a little sense of being duped when chosen by God only to find an omnipotent “yellow-eyed glare.” Poignancy and courage imbue the lines if the reader knows that the poet has, for a number of years now, been living with and fighting cancer. It increases the dread of “One midnight, you imagine, you’ll be swept up, / a mouse off a toadstool, shrieking into the air.” …