This issue of the eclectic and elegant Review features a refreshingly low key interview with poet X.
This issue of the eclectic and elegant Review features a refreshingly low key interview with poet X. J. Kennedy, master of form and rhyme, who brokers his own peace with the free verse-new formalism feud: “I honestly don’t have a favorite form. Because between you and me, I don’t give a damn about ‘form.’ Form without passionate words is nothing, it’s worthless. All that matters is that, as you put together words that you care about, they emerge into something that you want to say.” For more on his work, see A. E. Stallings’ clever consideration of The Lords of Misrule. All the reviews here are topnotch and, from within the snug room of a close reading, frequently manage to direct the reader’s gaze toward the window and the larger questions of life beyond it. Some of the poems (Rita Dove’s powerful “Persephone, Falling”) hold up candles from the past to illuminate our lives now. Others take human love as their field of study, as in Walt McDonald’s tender and moving “Dusk at Kill Devil Falls” and Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Supple Cord,” the length of cord she and her brother, as children in separate beds, held onto at night: “When he fell asleep first / and the cord dropped / to the floor, / I missed him terribly, / though I could hear his even breath / and we had such long and separate lives / ahead.” Also included are fine verse translations by Ralph Angel, Dana Gioia, and Marilyn Hacker. [The Evansville Review, c/o English Dept., University of Evansville, 1800 Lincoln Avenue, Evansville, IN, 47722. Single issue $5. http://english.evansville.edu/EvansvilleReview.htm] – AS