Thursday, May 30, 2019

Anthony Etherin : issue four : Introduction : "Pyramids"

Poetry is an act of chronogeometry. It distinguishes itself from prose by submitting to premeditated or extemporised structures, be they rhythmic or visual (or both).
          When I started Penteract Press, in 2016, I wanted to build a venue for poems that fully embraced and celebrated their structures.
The penteract is a five-dimensional cuboid: What the cube is to the square, and the tesseract is to the cube, so the penteract is to the tesseract. It is a higher-dimensional platonic solid: simple yet complex; structurally pure, yet spatially transcendental. This reflected the poetry I wished to promote: I wanted both the traditional and the avant-garde: sonnets and sestinas, rondels and villanelles — but also strictly constrained experimentalism and visually radical forms.

Just as great verse seeks perfection by a distillation of language (“the best words in the best order”), so the ancient Egyptians sought spiritual perfection by a distillation of form. The astonishing precision of the Great Pyramid of Giza’s measurements is a testament to the sacred power humans assign structural purity.
          When rob mclennan asked me to guest edit this issue, I wanted a theme that would reflect my interest in structure-based poetry, but which would also evoke the very human need to look beyond. The pyramid, whether as a geometrical object or as a sacred monument, seemed a fitting theme.
The breadth of ideas and styles I received was astounding. Featured in this issue are ten poets: We have visual poetry, both digital and analogue; we have lyrical poetry that speaks both of and with geometrical precision; and we have a variety of literary restrictions.
          I would like to thank each of these contributors for their thoughtful responses to my submissions call — and a big thank you also to rob, for inviting me to temporarily take the reins of this fascinating journal.

A zig. Now one zag. Gaze now on Giza!—

Anthony Etherin is an experimental formalist poet. He founded Penteract Press ( and he invented the aelindrome. His published works include the collections Cellar (Penteract Press, 2018) and Danse Macabre (above/ground, 2018). For more of his poetry, find him on Twitter, @Anthony_Etherin, and via his website:

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