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Spoon River Poetry Review - Summer/Fall 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 31 Number 2
  • Published Date: Summer/Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

This issue of SRPR is longtime editor Lucia Cordell Getsi's swan song before retirement; tempted though I am to draw a parallel between her moving on and this issue's many poems of grieving, I won't. Aside from loss, death, and suicide, there is a variety of other themes represented here, from the nearly violent joy of two girls skinning tomatoes (Lita Sorensen, “Peeling Tomatoes”); to teaching school children in a small Mississippi town that still has a ways to go with race issues (“The Schoolteacher Blues Again,” Joe Wilkins); to a sweet, faintly sad retelling of a mother-and-daughter’s tourist trip to India. (“The Story of the Palace,” Lynn Aarti Chandhok). One of my favorites is Amy Knox Brown's “Penates,” in which a battered woman's household gods inspire her to take up her hot steam iron to defend herself against the drunken, physically abusive brother-in-law who interrupts her domestic peace: “Stepping forward, she's Camilla, the iron / her shield.” I must also give a nod to Thomas March's “Edward Hopper's '7 a.m.',” in which the poet as a child is asked to guess the time of day depicted in Hopper's stark painting featuring a sun-streaked, empty store. The boy doesn't know what makes him blurt “Morning!” He only knows that “people like that time of night / and it's their lounging presence, not the light / that marks the falling hours of the day”; and that early morning, making breakfast alone, he feels “the burdensome proximity of dreams.” (Now that's Hopper, exactly!) I'm looking forward to seeing how this long-standing journal continues to evolve under new editorship; somehow I think it'll do just fine.

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Review Posted on May 31, 2007

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