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Smartish Pace - 2004

"It is the age of noon / when all the hours are sleeping / and you remain awake, for this / is where the poem begins…"—the young German poet Matthias Göeritz (translation by Susan Bernofsky) captures the essence of the entire glorious endeavor of poetry, waking us from sleep, from the stultifying trance of a hot, uncomfortable day—a "metamorphosis" as the poem's title announces. This issue contains many poems to wake and transform its readers, including the winner of the journal's 2004 Erskine J. Poetry Prize ("Second Bearing, 1919" by Claudia Emerson), a poem that accomplishes an ambitious feat in very few words, evoking a destructive barn fire with remarkable economy of language; translations of four German poets (Göeritz, Oleschinski, Sarorius, Draesner); and new poems by poets as unlike each other in approach and style as Ted Kooser and Dorothy Barresi, whose "Tijuana Clinic" is superb ("A cell is a mad situation. / A sidelong glance in a feathered god's left yet. // An ancient nation / developing."). Michael Burkard's "Thank You" wakes us to the ways poems manage to surprise us, constantly re-inventing the form itself. Rae Gouirand wakes us to the poem's chameleon nature, standing in, for other arts (and crafts) with "To Scale," a poem that changed my mind about whether or not it is possible to write a compelling poem about quilting. [Smartish Pace, P.O. Box 22161, Baltimore, MD 21203. E-mail: . Single issue $10.]Sima Rabinowitz

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Review Posted on February 28, 2005

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