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Rhino – 2007

Rhino, a thirty-year running annual, bursts with imagination and innovation. Modern poetry covers most of the one-hundred-fifty out of two-hundred-and-some-odd pages, along with several enigmatic short-shorts and a few piercing, quick essays. The official title is Rhino 2007: The Poetry Forum. According to editor Kathleen Kirk, Rhino has been “charging ahead for thirty years,” since it began as poets gathering together. Here the editors have assembled a diverse yet cohesive collection of modern poetry that forms a smorgasbord of the world, putting every possible flavor together, all delicious. The poetry can best speak for itself. There is the devilish “Lucifer Cleared His Goatish Throat,” by Jeannette Allee: “Lucifer cleared his goatish throat / and yawled, Hey Gawd, you’re snogging off on the job again.”

Rhino, a thirty-year running annual, bursts with imagination and innovation. Modern poetry covers most of the one-hundred-fifty out of two-hundred-and-some-odd pages, along with several enigmatic short-shorts and a few piercing, quick essays. The official title is Rhino 2007: The Poetry Forum. According to editor Kathleen Kirk, Rhino has been “charging ahead for thirty years,” since it began as poets gathering together. Here the editors have assembled a diverse yet cohesive collection of modern poetry that forms a smorgasbord of the world, putting every possible flavor together, all delicious. The poetry can best speak for itself. There is the devilish “Lucifer Cleared His Goatish Throat,” by Jeannette Allee: “Lucifer cleared his goatish throat / and yawled, Hey Gawd, you’re snogging off on the job again.” Also, there’s the whimsical and tender, such as “Instruments” by Natania Rosenfelds: “I fell in love on the downbow of the phrase.” A longer, wistful piece deals with the not-so-charmed life of a pretty, young girl in “Sugar Mountain” by Kelle Groom: “I’d often wished to be under the influence, / but alcohol cocaine quaaludes sent me / into guardrails on the highway [. . .] It was a month before a co-worker told me / that my dress was really a top.” Humor is present here, plus irony, and can be found throughout this poem. On the other end of the spectrum, completely non-humorous and horrifying with its realism is “Flying Shamans” by Matthew Murrey: “Half a mile high over Vietnam / five thin men with arms tied behind / were booted out one at a time out the open door.” Yet, mystique rules with “Origin Stories” by Christopher Malpass: “Before his lover’s body closed like a vault / beneath the hospice sheets, she passed / herself on to him.” Poems using German, string theory, lessons in Japanese culture, algebra, goats, suicide, and the composition of the sky make up this volume, all glittering with energy. The cover art of a rhino emerging from the dark, impaling the title, scattering letters of the alphabet resembles the dynamism within. Rhino is a good read.
[www.rhinopoetry.org/]

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