When a magazine reaches its fourth issue, it’s safe to say that the editors have learned how to bridge their own literary vision with a corresponding body of work.
When a magazine reaches its fourth issue, it’s safe to say that the editors have learned how to bridge their own literary vision with a corresponding body of work. Time will tell how long Cranky stays in the business, but it has more than cleared the hurdle of becoming “Just Another Poetry Mag.” In addition to the traditional verse, Cranky offers prose poems, flash fiction, book reviews, poetry/art collaborations, and everything in between. Jay Thompson’s profile of Richard Kenney made me want to study his acclaimed collections even at the risk of getting lost in their complexities. Kenney’s poetry, Thompson writes, “marries a formalist’s precision to […] a fascination with the ‘rattle and bang’ of Celtic and Middle English poetry, and his own erudition,” and while Kenney’s recent poems appear more satirical than fascinating, at least his backlog of publications is enough to whet the appetite. Where do you go from there? Molly Tenenbaum achieves a moment of truth in “How Long Does it Take For You to Write a Poem?” (“Long as the day is short, / as in so, as in too.”); Randy Prunty’s rapid-fire “delusiveness in consideration of my hands and knees” makes cohesion out of randomness and humor; Kary Wayson’s sing-song “Can Be Jackets, Can Be Bees” is a challenge not to read out loud; etc. etc. Take your pick. Fine coffeehouse reading in and out from a magazine with too much caffeine.