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Birddog – 2004

A wild little journal of “innovative writing and art: collaborations, interviews, collage, poetry, poetics, long poems, reviews, graphs, charts, non-fiction, cross genre…” not to mention the marvelous pasted-on-the-page-as-separate-slips-of-paper reproductions of photos and artwork. Does somebody do this by hand? Now, that’s innovative! Innovative is one of those tricky words that confuses me, even though I confess I often use it to describe work that is risky or unusual or odd or curious and there’s all of that and more in Birddog. There are excerpts from Mark Tardi’s divided-columns poem “Chopin’s Feet,” where every other page is divided graphically with a straight vertical line and the verses are like Chopin’s complicated music moving from dense rhythms to lighter ones and back again. There’s Heidi Peppermint’s poem, “The Gulf Streams,” whose diction wavers between the utterly familiar and ordinary (“Boy, those days we’ve talked about are here! / pamper yourself with daily maid service”), to a playfulness that veers toward the arcane (“Boy, those sways wave tangent about arrant! / Boy, those swerves as stranger about arsy-varsy!”). There are excerpts from Bob Harrison’s poem “Counter Daemons—4D,” incorporating concepts from computer programming, as well as from the “counting coups” of the Plains Indians. There are Brigitte Byrd’s prose poems whose fate, we hope, will not be the same as this title: “Comparative Obscurity”: “If there is estrangement what is the difference between speaking to the dead and speaking to the living.” If you’re open to Birddog’s innovation, you’ll know the answer to that question.

A wild little journal of “innovative writing and art: collaborations, interviews, collage, poetry, poetics, long poems, reviews, graphs, charts, non-fiction, cross genre…” not to mention the marvelous pasted-on-the-page-as-separate-slips-of-paper reproductions of photos and artwork. Does somebody do this by hand? Now, that’s innovative! Innovative is one of those tricky words that confuses me, even though I confess I often use it to describe work that is risky or unusual or odd or curious and there’s all of that and more in Birddog. There are excerpts from Mark Tardi’s divided-columns poem “Chopin’s Feet,” where every other page is divided graphically with a straight vertical line and the verses are like Chopin’s complicated music moving from dense rhythms to lighter ones and back again. There’s Heidi Peppermint’s poem, “The Gulf Streams,” whose diction wavers between the utterly familiar and ordinary (“Boy, those days we’ve talked about are here! / pamper yourself with daily maid service”), to a playfulness that veers toward the arcane (“Boy, those sways wave tangent about arrant! / Boy, those swerves as stranger about arsy-varsy!”). There are excerpts from Bob Harrison’s poem “Counter Daemons—4D,” incorporating concepts from computer programming, as well as from the “counting coups” of the Plains Indians. There are Brigitte Byrd’s prose poems whose fate, we hope, will not be the same as this title: “Comparative Obscurity”: “If there is estrangement what is the difference between speaking to the dead and speaking to the living.” If you’re open to Birddog’s innovation, you’ll know the answer to that question.

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