The issue is prepped with the first poem, Lynn Pedersen’s “Begin.” It’s the start of a journey, but “How do you map that? What part of a mountain range, / what river corresponds to fantasy?” And while you cannot be sure what you will need, eventually you have to just go, “Otherwise, / there’s no one to tell the story.”
Pair the sweet “she sang on the moon in cowboy boots, / a wig of spiral curls, and a blue ruffled dress . . .” (Emily Green) with “listen to the sound of breath pushed through thirteen feet of dark coiled beneath gold ribs. The prints of the brass are left upon us” (Mark Wagenaar). Or Amy Meckler’s “The Virgin Asks What Sex is Like” (“Like how a hitchhiker takes a ride, half / trusting, half resigned to what might / arise”) with Chelsea Wagenaar’s “According to a recent study, the twenty-four / hours preceding a woman’s orgasm—or lack / thereof—are an emotional foreplay, like shaking / a sexual magic 8-ball.”
Sharon Olson uses structural images to carry the structure of her poem “Caryatids,” starting,
The nut-tree sisterhood, what better nameBut it really isn’t the flow of one subject into another that makes the journal cohesive. The style and expertise with which the pieces are written make the journal feel as if it were these pieces' natural home. I could honestly say I loved every poem here; I would definitely return time and time again to read the work published here.
for a row of crazy women, wearing hats
of entablature, pushing down their skirts
on a breezy porch, or frozen pilaster-flat
against a supporting wall,