Everything in this issue was (happily, happily) unexpected. Karl Elder’s “Snowman” in the shape of a snowman that could have then been silly, but was not: “this is snowballing toward a title below – / both visible and invisible like like without / the ‘k,’ like the buzz word for a buzzard / sitting on a blind man in a blizzard.” Mary Molinary’s series “poems composed for the left hand,” which combined verse in lines, prose poems, verse in columns, and childish hand-written scrawl (“to keep dementia away”). “Leaning in from the Sea” by Kerry James Evans, short bursts separated by bullets and punctuated by bold, violent outbursts (“Fucked the green out of her eyes,” and “All that blood. All those feathers.”). Philip Pardi’s “My Father’s Christening,” a poem in nine numbered segments that begins with the utterly seductive single line “After the story, its telling, and only then is it a story.” Don Shofield’s “Harmony, USA,” a poem in a dozen numbered segments that ends:
I’m a liar without a lyre, blinded
by my own headlights, looking deep into
your eyes. Dear Reader, for a pocket
of clarity, a reason to keep going.
at least a sign – just one – for the next town:
The Beloit Poetry Journal is reason enough. This issue is one of the best ever.