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Shenandoah – Spring/Summer 2005

This issue features a “Portfolio of Appalachian Poets,” which includes poems by 34 regional writers. The Appalachian’s most celebrated poet, Charles Wright, is front and center, followed by established and lesser known names who explore subjects explicitly linked to the region (landscapes, family life, flora and fauna, the “local characters,” mining, regional landmarks), and others from anywhere and everywhere (love, the loss of love; love, the loss of love). There is a pleasing mix of modes, styles, and tones and all of the work is strong. I was particularly taken with work by Lynn Powell, Michael Chitwood, and Cathryn Hankla. This issue features a “Portfolio of Appalachian Poets,” which includes poems by 34 regional writers. The Appalachian’s most celebrated poet, Charles Wright, is front and center, followed by established and lesser known names who explore subjects explicitly linked to the region (landscapes, family life, flora and fauna, the “local characters,” mining, regional landmarks), and others from anywhere and everywhere (love, the loss of love; love, the loss of love). There is a pleasing mix of modes, styles, and tones and all of the work is strong. I was particularly taken with work by Lynn Powell, Michael Chitwood, and Cathryn Hankla. Fred Chappell contributes a poem of his own, as well as a critical essay about poet Kathryn Stripling Byer, whose exquisitely crafted “Bean Sidhe,” appears in the portfolio. Five essays, four stories, the work of six other poets, and a set of book reviews (the magazine is known for its commitment to reviewing) round out the volume. In her essay, “The Loupe,” Donna Steiner writes, “There is value in the art of observing, I think, which goes beyond the aesthetic, although aesthetic pleasure, I think is essential to daily life.” I agree on every count. This issue of Shenandoah adds a great deal of aesthetic pleasure to any serious reader’s daily life. [http://shenandoahliterary.org] – Sima Rabinowitz

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