The first sip flamed into another sip…

Masked Lovers Kissing

…like a sun storm—
like an Olympic medal—like Pompeii—
like Pompeii before lava made love groan
beneath the weight of heat—

So begins a poem published in r.kv.r.y, a quarterly online literary journal that explores recovery from addictions and compulsions in all its incarnations. I envisioned the poem’s narrator as young man reeling out of control, bursting with hyperbole and outrageous proclamations. The speaker isn’t me—really!—and writing in his voice pushed me to play with language in new, unfamiliar ways.

After the poem was published in r.kv.r.y, I decided to reuse it in my collection, Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters, so I changed the title and made several other edits.

Read the poem in r.kv.r.yWhite Lightning

In a conversation with several fellow writers, I talked more about how this poem was made :  Interview with Jackie Craven

The book is now available from Brick Road Poetry Press and other booksellers. Here’s info : Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters


Above:  Detail from a painting © Louise Craven Hourrigan

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