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Court Green - 2006

  • Issue Number: Number 3
  • Published Date: 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

If anything about this hundred-fifty-page poetry journal can be generalized, it’s that this volume is a collection of stories. Court Green might be considered a relatively new publication, but its formula is already a winner. Aspects of the poetic narrative are in play everywhere, especially in David Hernandez’s “Fork Lines in White Frosting”: “With his presence he contaminated the birthday party, / his aura the dark plumes of a burning tire. Buttonhole // eyes and hair that rebelled the idea of lather and rinse. / Overmedicated, his heart snoozed inside his chest.” Of course, the confessional “I” can be overbearing, but many of the authors resist it, often without elaborate tricks. Occasionally you get a line that hooks you, like the opening couplet from Kirsten Kashock’s “Maiden Mead”: “It was when September, ending jealous, eats bees. We / nervoused again for the island in a boat still made of rocking.” The second half of Court Green is a dossier on bouts-rimés, in which every poem adheres to the same fourteen end-words that the editors advertised when seeking submissions. Although it’s fun to see what results from such concrete rhymes as “Garbo” and “hobo,” the amusement wears off fast, and most poems don’t allow for a deeper reading. Among the standouts: Denise Duhamel, who it seems was born for these challenges, takes the sonnet a step further by doubling it and reversing the couplets as she narrates a meeting of “desperate housewives” from TV’s golden age. But don’t overlook Tony Barnstone’s war-is-hell entry, where a POW finds entertainment by playing Chaplin on a makeshift stage in a prison camp: “It kept us living for another day. / Imagination’s a cheap jewel, rhinestone, / but I say if life stinks put on cologne.” Highly recommended for anyone who needs an extended read. [english.colum.edu/courtgreen/]

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Review Posted on April 30, 2007
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