- 20100905 - Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost - John Mella

LightJOHN MELLA came up through the ranks of the littles in the sixties and seventies (CAROLINA QUARTERLY, PRAIRIE SCHOONER, CHICAGO REVIEW), culminating in a flurry of awards from the Illinois Arts Council and the publication, in 1976, of a novel, TRANSFORMATIONS. Having made his tiny splash, he vanished within it, emerging only to field such arcane as an an article on printed spoonerisms and another on Canto Three of Nabokov’s PALE FIRE. He constructed crosswords impossible of solution. Ennui gripped him. To appease his indolence, he commenced publication of a lexicographical newsletter. It, too, found its way into the Lethean Library. Sanity beckoned. In 1992, over egg-rolls and some very palatable pot-stickers, at a luncheon with his long-enduring mother, the sunlight glancing among the jumbled cutlery, LIGHT was born.


LIGHT: A QUARTERLY OF LIGHT VERSE (www.lightquarterly.org) is, as we are fond of repeating, the only publication in this country that publishes light, funny poems, usually though not always in meter and rhyme, on a regular basis. It has no peers. Its Muse is not the frowsy goddess Originality, but rather the clear-visaged divinity Clarity. It is understandable. What you see is what you get.


Thus began (18 years ago!)  the pacific reign of this tiny pocket kingdom. Its benevolent monarch now  writes only in invisible ink, with an occasional purple outburst. He treats those afflicted with Tin Ear and Gloomy Obscurity. And so, gradually, on little cat feet, amusement seeps back into the world of poetry.