Tilt-a-Whirl: Mission and Submission

The Tilt-a-Whirl is a platform-type ride, consisting of 7 freely-spinning cars which are attached at fixed pivot points on a rotating platform. As the platform revolves, parts of the platform are raised and lowered, and the resulting centrifugal and gravitational forces on the cars cause them to spin in different directions and at variable speeds. The weight of passengers in these cars may intensify or dampen the spinning motion of the cars, adding to the unpredictable nature of the motion.

Getting on Board

The Bronx, my home town, is famous—or infamous—for many things: its slum areas (which are greatly improved since Paul Newman fended off thugs in “Fort Apache” in 1981), its expressways and parkways, the Yankees, the Zoo—none of which epitomize my experience of the place. Growing up, I lived on a leafy street of modest homes with swing sets and barbecues in their backyards. Just three blocks from my house was a little amusement park called Funland and there I first experienced that iconic American ride called the Tilt-a-Whirl.

My big sister had let me accompany her and a boyfriend. Indeed we tilted, indeed we whirled, and at random moments, when we were slammed into the seatback and tingles shot through our tummies, my sister squealed with laughter and, contagiously, I followed suit. This was release, a loosening, a letting go. This was a date! That night I was caught up in more than centrifugal forces.

I did not grow up into a thrill-seeking individual. Not for me the the mountain scaler’s quest or the hang glider’s surrender. I’ve found my thrill in poetry.

Surely some of the most thrilling types of poems are those written in repeating forms. Poems which rely on the repetition of words or lines have a rhythm not unlike that of a Tilt-a-Whirl ride; they have a slithery quality and keep coming around and coming around. When written well, there is a strangeness in the sameness. Each repetend provides a different slant and tingles anew. These poems possess a momentum of within-ness. Many such poems begin as they end; the reader has been taken for a ride, ended in the same place, and yet been changed by the experience. These poems take your breath away!

Welcome to Tilt-a-Whirl, an exhilarating compendium of poetry written in repeating forms.


Tilt-a-Whirl ceases publication with the 2013 issue; therefore, we are no longer accepting submissions. Please continue to enjoy the archives. We are still a wild ride!

Kate Bernadette Benedict, Editor and Publisher

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