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The New York Quarterly - 2005

New York Quarterly has emerged as not only a fine journal of poetry, but a publication that explores the state of contemporary poetry, the elements of craft, and the poet’s life. The latest edition begins with a craft interview, a regular feature in NYQ, with W.D. Snodgrass, followed by three of his poems. In this genuinely engaging interview, the poet discusses his collaborations with visual artist DeLoss McGraw, writers block, Lowell, the graduate program at Iowa, and psychotherapy—a discussion that offers far more insight into Snodgrass’s craft and artistic development than most literary interviews. The rest of the contributors range from notables—Denis Johnson, Virgil Suarez, David Lehman—to lesser-known names. Stylistically, the journal is somewhat eclectic, with a definite inclinations towards the bold, gritty, and political, such as Antler’s raw howl of a poem, “How to Explain War to your Children.” Another favorite was Ira Joe Fisher’s lyric “Intrusion”: “Spear-topped pines stab a storm, warm and splotching / There’s rain and wind but no alerting note / That this sky is deviling, needs watching / And it slyly slips lower quiet quiet.” Justin Marks’s “Three Rooms” provides another highlight. The essay is designed to address “newness in contemporary American poetry,” another regular feature in NYQ. If you enjoy a dose of contemporary poetics alongside your poetry, then consider a long-term subscription to NYQ. Regardless, the strength of the writing in NYQ is enough to make this journal a must have for any serious reader of poetry. [The New York Quarterly, P.O. Box 693, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10113. Single issue $8.]
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Review Posted on January 31, 2006

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