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Shenandoah – Fall 2003

Civil war buffs will particularly enjoy this Fall 2003 issue of Shenandoah as it features a portfolio of twenty-three poems about the Civil War. It also showcases nonfiction, short fiction, poetry, and book reviews; many of the pieces have in common a sense of restraint, almost an old-fashioned polite reserve.

Work here is on the formal rather than the experimental side. I enjoyed Paul Zimmer’s amusing nonfiction piece “The Commissioner of Paper Football” and Mark Doty’s lyrical poem “Fire to Fire,” which begins:  “All smolder and oxblood, / these flowerheads, / flames of August: / …the paired goldfinches / come swerving quick / on the branching towers, // so the blooms / sway with the heft / of hungers…”

Overall a satisfying read, especially those who like Southern regional flavor; there were quite a few contributors from the state of Virginia and its environs. One note for fans: the editor writes that this journal will now be appearing three times a year instead of four.


[Shenandoah, Washington and Lee University, Troubadour Theater, 2nd Floor, Box W, Lexington, VA, 24450-0303. shenandoahliterary.org]

Shenandoah Volume 53 Number 3, Fall 2003 reviewed by Jeannine Hall Gailey

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