The Normal, Illinois-based Spoon River Poetry Review features some of the best writing from the Midwest and beyond.
The Normal, Illinois-based Spoon River Poetry Review features some of the best writing from the Midwest and beyond. The lyrical and at times, dare-I-say-the-unfashionable-word, beautiful, writing reminds me why I started reading poetry in the first place. Holaday Mason’s “Seven Pairs of Swans” and Linda Schneider’s “Tomato” are particularly enjoyable. This issue also features a fascinating interview with poet and scholar Tony Trigilio, who talks about, among other things, H.D., Ginsberg, and Blake’s influence on his work. The issue also includes ten of his poems. I wish I could quote the whole of the poem “Certain Men of the Early Twenty-First Century,” by Cindy Washabaugh, because it is hilarious, touching, and despairing all at the same time, a marvelous feat. I tried to excerpt a few lines to give a sense of it: “…With solid names like Bob and John, the rock climb, cycle, recycle / and make art… Their mothers were restless and gifted… Their fathers drank too much or worked too hard. Eventually / someone left… They talk to my cats and play Scrabble with me. They love / foreign films. ‘We’re perfect together,’ they say as they drift away.” [The Spoon River Poetry Review, 4240 English Department, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240. Single issue $10. http://english.illinoisstate.edu/affiliates/journals/spoon_river.shtml/] – JHG
Volume 1, Issue 1
With poetry from many familiar writers, this new journal manages to be simultaneously down-to-earth and playful. For those who enjoy the lighter side of poetry, there is plenty of pop-culture poetry and poems about the poetry biz – some sample titles include “Poetry Ought to Have a Mother as well as a Father” and “The Visiting Poet Gets Propositioned.” Moving poems from Marvin Bell (“Letter to an Eternal Future”) and Virgil Suárez (“Elsewhere”) are standouts, as is the poem “Sticky Monkey Flowers, Monterey Bay” by Ray Gonzalez, which begins: “Blossoms scrambled in the eye of tomorrow, bright little fires / outlining the shape of secrecy, actual light of measure wounded… Sticky money flowers spreading / into sunlit nerves…” I like the way the editors often include several poems by one poet, which allows the reader the opportunity to get to know each voice before turning to the next. [Carnegie Mellon Poetry Review, 26 Sherman Terrace, Apt. 2, Madison, WI 53704. E-mail: [email protected]] – JHG