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The Midwest Quarterly – Summer 2010

Published at Pittsburg State University in the other Pittsburg (Kansas), Midwest Quarterly publishes poetry and scholarly articles intended to be “interesting and readable.”

Published at Pittsburg State University in the other Pittsburg (Kansas), Midwest Quarterly publishes poetry and scholarly articles intended to be “interesting and readable.”

Articles are, indeed, approachable, free of jargon and of dense and extensive documentation, while well researched. This issue includes an analysis of poems about “blue collar” work by Ron McFarland, a consideration of the language of rural life in poems not ostensibly about country living by Joseph Powell, and two articles focusing on feminist issues: Rivka Temima Kellner’s “J.K. Rowling’s Ambivalence Towards Feminism: House Elves – Women in Disguise in the ‘Harry Potter’ Books” and “Farce and Feminism: Undermining Male Power in Communicating Doors” by Prapassaree Kramer.

Also included is a discussion of the work of Patricia Highsmith by John Dale, about whom interest seems to have intensified lately, given a recent new biography, though this article appears to have been written before that work’s release.

All of these articles are, as the editors suggest, interesting and readable. Powell’s essay deserves special mention for his inclusion of examples by writers to whom we rarely see references (Enid Shomer, for one, who, in my view, deserves more attention than she receives).

The work of 10 poets tends toward a blend of metaphysical mystery and nature imagery, also quite readable, though seldom merely casual, and for the most part carefully crafted and serious in tone. Here are excerpts from William Wright’s “Winter Oaks”:

All night limbs hold
their blue lamplight aloft, ice
alive in the static understory.
I know how the winter pulls the body
Northward, makes the heart a cellar
for the sleepless house.

I walk out to the oaks, bulbs
of my lungs shocked by the cold.
The night says: Your breath unlocks the air with flowers.
The night says: Don’t seek an easier way.

[www.pittstate.edu/department/english/midwest-quarterly/]

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