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Redactions – 2010

“For every poetic action there is…Redactions,” is the journal’s tagline. This issue’s “poetic actions” include poems by two-and-a-half-dozen poets, including such well-known names as David Wagoner, J.P. Dancing Bear, and Gerry LaFemina, and the less-widely established, but quite widely published Jeanine Hall Gailey and Walter Bargen; as well as “poetics,” substantial reviews of poetry books and blogs.

“For every poetic action there is…Redactions,” is the journal’s tagline. This issue’s “poetic actions” include poems by two-and-a-half-dozen poets, including such well-known names as David Wagoner, J.P. Dancing Bear, and Gerry LaFemina, and the less-widely established, but quite widely published Jeanine Hall Gailey and Walter Bargen; as well as “poetics,” substantial reviews of poetry books and blogs.

I appreciate the opportunity to be introduced to the work of poets who are not household names, but whose original voices are appealing and who are nimble poetic talents. They are, in many cases, accomplished and prolific. Among these are Michael Schmeltzer (“The Memory of Glass”), Nathan McClain (“Man Reflecting on Man”), Kathryn Nuernberger, whose long poem, “Translations,” kicks off the issue: “I want to believe we can’t see anything we don’t have a word for.”

There is a good balance of narrative poems and work with more lyrical tendencies. There is nothing crass or excessively edgy, though poems here tend toward the acerbic and emotionally cautious; and there is nothing overtly sentimental or impossibly innocent. I admire the economy of Linda Cooper’s “Lament of Empty Shoes” (“How do I describe / the moment you know your heart / is going off by itself again?), and Lucille Lang Day’s skill at turning a family story, “Journeys,” into a piece that feels less claustrophobic and narrowly focused than many family poems often do:

Over and over, in my round and spindly
cells where the past softly breathes,
my mother, who told no one
she was descended from the Pilgrims
and the People of the First Light,
who brought them corn and deer,
names me “Light.” Over and over,
I ask myself, Where am I going?
How will I know when I’m there?

If you’re looking for smart new poems, you’ll know you’re there when you pick up this issue of Redactions.
[www.redactions.com]

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