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Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology

Arcana: Tarot Poetry Anthology

The poems in this important anthology take us on a ride from black jack tables to the Last Supper. Many poems gently evoke the essence of a card, like lingering incense. Others delight us with new insights, like Tony Barnstone’s paired poems on the same card upright and reversed; or Amy Schrader’s poems on court cards. The Devil has been transformed by Lore Bernier (I am restrained by a lack of restraint) and Amanda Chiado (He was the kid who only ate the icing). On these pages we hear the voice of a rather smug Temperance angel, a tricksterish Fool and a foolish Fool, and Judas as the Hanged Man.

Poetic forms run the gamut from Enrique Enriquez’ word play, to Camelia Elias’ prose, and Karen Harper’s Villanelle on the Queen of Swords. This haiku poet was delighted with Frank Walson’s linked micropoetry sequences that read like free-form renga.

Steve Mangan’s translations of two sonnets by Teofilo Folengo are a treat for history lovers. Published in 1527, these sonnets are the first evidence of tarot being used for fortune telling. Folengo’s poems play on the names of cards laid out to give a message.

I was disappointed I hadn’t heard about this project in time to submit my own poems. But after reading the contributors’ accomplishments, I realized this amateur would have been totally outclassed. All the contributors to this anthology are professional poets with numerous publications to their credit.

Here’s Marjorie Jensen on the Moon:

The path from the sea with its howling
guards supports toes, soles wrinkled and dripping.

These poems immerse us in a phosphorescent ocean of swirling images where we float in a dream or thrash in a rip tide until we emerge transformed. I’ll take up this book often to plunge repeatedly into this great sea of images.


Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology, Marjorie Jensen editor, Minor Arcana Press, Seattle, 2015

Purchase the book at features a poet from the anthology each month.


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