“All I can say is what I do myself, and that is that I don’t think about theory at all. I have no theory of poetry. If something works for a particular poem, it works.” Brendan Galvin in this interview with Thomas Reiter, is honest, approachable, serious, sincere, much like this issue of Shenandoah and like his poems, several of which are included here. Reiter’s own poem, “Signaling,” which appears later in the issue, is a fine example, quiet, deftly composed, sure of itself, but in a vulnerable, human way. These poets are joined by more than a dozen others this issue, along with five short stories, two essays, a portfolio of beautifully composed color photographs by Larry Stene, the journal’s typically superb reviews of new poetry and fiction, and brief remarks in memory of the late George Garrett.
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend here, though I particularly liked fiction by Jenny Hanning, “The Full Moon,” whose achievement is telling a small personal story with just the right balance of casualness and solemnity. Favorite work this issue for me also includes poetry by Cori Winrock, who achieves in verse what Hanning does in prose, an admirable balance of tones that makes the work both accessible, in the best sense of the term, yet unique and memorable – this not to say easy or ordinary, but work that means to be read and understood, while retaining a kind of freshness and distinction.
I always appreciate Alice Friman, who contributes a wonderful poem this issue, “Coming Down.” Stene’s portfolio, “Images” showcases his ability to capture the geometry of a moment, how forms are both familiar and unfamiliar as we perceive them framed by an eye that knows how to separate foreground and distance, shadow from light, flesh from stone. The photos are accompanied by a brief statement that is so lovingly and humbly written, I longed for more, but like the images, Stene knows exactly when to stop.