Touch: The Journal of Healing


Editor's Choice: The Voice of Christine Klocek-Lim

The poetry chosen as the Editor's Choice for the September 2011 issue of Touch: The Journal of Healing was written by a poet who is well known to the readers of this journal.  In addition to being a poet, Christine Klocek-Lim is also an author, poetry journal editor, poetry critic, and the administrator of the online poetry workshop forum sponsored by The Academy of American Poets.

What I appreciate most about Christine's poetry is the eloquence with which she conveys the moments about which she writes.  The movement of her poetry from moment to moment seems effortless; her imagery is clear and concise; her adherence to form, technique, and poetic diction is sound; her grounding in place is solid; and there is an immediacy to Christine’s poetry that is often realized in the first line.  The subjects in her work are always treated with sensitivity and honesty, and there is a lilting quality to her words even when they describe turmoil and heartache.

Around the time we received Christine's group of prose poetry submissions, I was thinking about another contributor to our journal, Larina Warnock.  Larina and her family lost their son, Zachary, suddenly this past June.  Included in Christine’s submissions was the poem, “Coventina,” a poem about Zachary dedicated to Larina.  I cannot help but wonder what it was that led Christine to send us this poem, but whatever the reason, it seems that it was meant to be.  Accompanying this poem were two more prose poems we selected to feature, “Jeremiel,” and “Phoenix,” both of which speak of loss, one to the loss of a mother, and the other the loss of a limb.

The first six words of “Coventina” open within a dreamscape, an ocean setting with dolphins.  In the next nine words, we are transported into the poem where we can feel the dolphins’ smooth skin caress our bodies as their clicks of sonar resonate deep inside us.  In the next line, we become aware of our buoyancy and the movement the waves create in our own limbs.  I won’t reveal any more of this poem, but I will say that I knew of Zachary and his struggles, I know his mother, Larina, I knew of the relationship between them, and I know that this poem is the purest accounting of their relationship that anyone, other than Larina, could ever put into literary form.  All the more remarkable, had I not known Larina and Zachary, I would know of their bond just as well through “Coventina.”

I opened this issue with my reflections about the recent death of my mother and the effects the poems we selected for publication had on me personally.  The poem, “Jeremiel,” speaks to the final decision an adult child has made with regard to a parent’s end of life.  It is a decision that is made more and more today by people from all walks of life on every continent of our planet.  “Jeremiel” also takes place within a dreamscape, where components of reality are intertwined with the confusing and often vibrant aspects of dreams.  In this case, the parent is a mother, and though it was not a decision I had to make regarding my own mother, it was the same decision I helped my mother to make about my father.

“Phoenix” is also a poem about loss, and as I noted above, while it is not about the loss of a person, the depth of the loss of the subject’s limb is felt as deeply as if it were.  Also, though the poem is not set within a dreamscape, it is written with the same intensity of emotion, imagery, movement, and place as the first two poems.  I selected “Phoenix” for this reason, in that it allows a reader to experience the truest essence of another’s life-altering event through words alone.

What I find most profound about Christine Klocek-Lim’s poetry is that often, her writing seems to enter the lives of her characters at pivotal moments where they experience an awakening into consciousness.  A major event is taking place, where her characters find themselves at a crossroads or a turning point, and through her poetic style, Christine allows us, her audience, to experience her characters’ trepidations, insecurities, and revelations with them as if we were trusted friends.  This is why  “Coventina”, “Jeremiel,” and “Phoenix,” were selected as the Editor’s Choice for this issue.

I would urge you as readers to pay close attention to how this poet wields her poetic brush and how through the use of color and light and darkness, with sensitivity and reverence, and with careful attention to her craft, she creates poetic masterpieces from the canvases of her imagination.

We are honored to present to you a voice of Touch: Christine Klocek-Lim.

O.P.W. Fredericks, Editor

© 2011 O.P.W. Fredericks


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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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