KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Poem: 155 words
Editor’s Note: 547 words


by William F. Lantry
“Today, you happen to be gone
I sit here in the raging hell
the city of the dead, alone...”
—J. Wright
This sadness grounds me. What could we invent
that could remake our lamentations more
than a simple joy of saying. What this means
beyond me, I don’t know. This struggling
is what I’m used to call it, but I find
frivolity in unimagined lines

somehow less frivolous tonight. I know
these words bear no relations, cannot stress
what my blood carries. Let it go. This time,
this stone between my fingers, one dry rose
in a blue vase, a photo. Look at them
and know what keeps me moving, keeps these words

and their strange joy continuing. Those flaws
are traceable, within blue stone. Their stress
is mine, beneath this reinvention of
what I imagined I had meant to say
but lost within the music she invoked,
these actuals that keep me steady here.

Note: Epigraph is from a poem by James Wright, With the Shell of a Hermit Crab, in Above the River: The Complete Poems, copyright 1990 by Anne Wright.

Editor’s Note by Clare MacQueen

The three poems by William F. Lantry in this issue are among several that were lost for 20 years and only recently rediscovered. They had been forgotten in the archives of an academic listserv that he and I were subscribers of in the mid-1990s.

When a fellow subscriber asked whether he wrote a poem a day, Lantry replied:

...I haven’t set any goals...although I have had, in the last few months, several partners (over the net) who have matched me one poem a day. Sadly, they have each dropped out, and I must look for a new one. While I was in the workshops, I thought a poem a week was fast production (and it was, compared to my colleagues); now, anything less than a poem a day and I think I’m slacking off. And I’m not sure the quality is that different. In fact, it gets easier as one goes along.

When I signed on to my first email writing list in August [six months prior], I had written a total of two poems in seven years.... Whether the cause was depression or something else, I don’t know. I do know that since I started, the bottled up energy has been flowing out, and is difficult to rein in now.

And your implication is right, I am really doing sonnets, although the extra four lines give me a freedom I seem to need. Or shall I call them half sonnet/half dreaming? I don’t know, but they exist, a hundred of them and counting, where nothing existed before....

Before March of this year [2015], Lantry and I had corresponded only once, twenty years ago, me with a shy note to thank him for writing “Elation” and him to thank me graciously for the feedback. That was before laptops and personal printers and wireless internet connectivity—but I managed as time and circumstance permitted to make print-outs of 19 of Lantry’s poems at a computer lab on the campus of the university where I was employed.

And for two decades the print-outs have remained in my personal files, in spite of four or five major purges to pare down my papers before relocations. The poems survived the purges because I simply could not part with them. So they traveled back and forth across the United States with me, in several moves between Seattle and North Carolina.

In March, while flipping through my Poetry file, I ran across the packet of print-outs and re-read the poems once more. Struck anew by “Elation,” I gathered my courage and contacted the author in hopes he would grant us permission to include the poem in KYSO Flash. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, his writing partner and submissions manager, soon responded. To our mutual astonishment, we discovered that not only was “Elation” unpublished, but also that the other two poems which appear in this issue were available for first publication as well.

For permission to publish this trio of poems and to share this story, my deepest thanks to William F. Lantry and his wife Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who maintains the extensive catalog of his writings. They work as a team: he writes and she “fixes the formatting” and then submits his work for publication. To learn more about their remarkable and prolific collaboration, please see “Writing is a Team Effort” under “More on the Web” below.

William F. Lantry
Issue 3, Spring 2015

Poet, fiction writer, and native of San Diego who received his Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, and PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. His poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree, 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry; a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line, 2011); and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps.

Recent honors include the Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), and Potomac Review Prize. His work appears in Atlanta Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Gulf Coast, and Aesthetica, among others.

Lantry currently works in Washington, DC and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Writing is a Team Effort (From the Duo That Won the 2012 Potomac Review Poetry Contest): an interview (1,058 words) by Karolina in Potomac Review (22 May 2012)

Three Poems (“Intertwined Light,” “Ripples,” and “Untier of Knots”) in Life and Legends (29 December 2014), a publication of the Silent River Film and Literary Society

Bower Bird: flash fiction (981 words) in Microliterature (10 April 2011)

Three Micro-Fictions (“Letter to Susan,” “Lost on the Midsummer Road,” and “Blue”) in Emerald Bolts, an Ireland-based webzine which published flash fiction for two years and then ceased operations; however, they continue to maintain an online archive.

Jewels, Blood, and Beeswax: an essay (2,046 words) in “Why I Write,” Stymie: A Journal of Sport and Literature (27 August 2012)

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