Vine Leaves Press began publishing the Vine Leaves Literary Journal in 2011. Since its inception, the journal has presented ‘vignettes’ in poetry and prose. Editor of the journal, Jessica Bell, explains that a vignette doesn’t operate within the traditional realms of structure or plot, instead focusing on mood, character or setting to create an atmosphere that draws in the reader.
The final issue of the journal was released in November 2017. With the Vine Leaves Literary Journal certainly going out on a high note. This last issue being a wonderful 236 page, full colour, hard cover, coffee table style book containing prose, poetry, art and photography from around the world. As Jessica Bell says: prepare for big stories in small places, read one at a time, taste them, savour them.
Visually impressive, this weighty volume is a delight to hold, a joy to sample and satisfying to read. Vine Leaves Literary Journal offers a degustation of luscious language: take, for example these words by Lee Nash:
Ever looking for signs
I choose the bridal blend tea,
the heart-shaped infuser,
and, despite its bitter aftertaste,
the home-made quince jam . . .
these by Rose van Son:
. . . when the food arrived, moat-lipped on a white enamel dish, the caramel flowing, the pancakes, three layers thick as cake, a dollop of ice-cream, cherry on top, like a flag, melting in summer’s heat . . .
or these by Patti White:
That was the summer of the shark,
when seas flattened into warm celery
soup, a creamy broth like zinc ointment
to put on a desperate sunburn . . .
How do you classify my contribution in the Vine Leaves Literary Journal? Perhaps my piece is a poem, or a prose poem, or a haibun, or maybe like all the others in the collection, it’s simply a vignette. Classification aside, it most certainly is a play on Ezra Pound’s famously short poem from 1913:
In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
With my response being:
Near a Station of the Metro by Gregory Piko
(after Ezra Pound)
Holding maps and money for a day at Versailles. Watching mimes whose wonder and delight
reflect in our eyes. Looking down and around. Maps, but no money. Perhaps my notes floated
like petals to the ground.
white faces win applause from the crowd
coins fall without any sound
The Vine Leaves Literary Journal is available from online booksellers, details being available on the Vine Leaves Press website. Jessica Bell has produced a substantial volume that is sure to give lasting pleasure to any reader. Containing over 500 vignettes, the Vine Leaves Literary Journal would make a marvellous gift for someone special.