This zine-styled publication should be on the required reading list for college-level creative writing and poetry classes: a jewel of a compact scholarly literary supplement that can provide the basis for numerous discussions and approaches to poetry.
This zine-styled publication should be on the required reading list for college-level creative writing and poetry classes: a jewel of a compact scholarly literary supplement that can provide the basis for numerous discussions and approaches to poetry. Ron Offen’s editorial, “Meaning, Intention, and the Art of Poetry,” offers a springboard for the discussion of contemporary poetic styles (or lack thereof), publication by small press, and poetry and meaning vs.(at times) individual understanding (if you don’t understand the poetry, does that mean it’s good?). The argument touches on deconstructionist analysis vs. reader response, among other criticisms which could be brought into this debate. Offen promises in the next issue to continue this discussion, which I look forward to reading. Of course, James L. Weil’s poem “For Bob” could well provide an answer in itself, concluding: “Poetry. / You don’t get / it. You let / it get you.” Other features of the publication include “The Free Lunch Mentor Series” in which “a prominent poet introduces an unestablished poet of his or her choice” (Carl Lindner introduces Julie King), and “The Free Lunch Reprise Series” which “presents forgotten or undervalued American poets” (Weldon Kees is featured) – two sections providing a healthy dose of literary education in each issue and creating a strong sense of poets’ community. This is in addition to the dozen or so other poets whose writing fill each page. My favorite: Ray Skjelbred’s two works, “X” and “The Optometrist,” both of which twist language, sound and imagery playfully to transport readers to those mystical metacognitive plateaus only poetry can take us. Free Lunch indeed feeds the hunger of poetic intellect. [Free Lunch, PO Box 717, Glenview, IL 60025-0717. Single issue $5. http://www.poetsfreelunch.org/index.html] – DH