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Haight Ashbury Literary Journal - Summer 2003

Most of the poems in this issue of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, with its cover picture of a dove with a peace sign and a giant “PEACE” announcing its theme, have to do, surprisingly enough, with peace. Consisting mainly of poetry written by people in the San Francisco area, this affordable, newsprint review uses this issue to loudly sound the anti-war cry, sometimes more successfully, sometimes less. Some poems were a bit didactic for my taste, but I know it is difficult to write about war without devolving into rant or political plea. I liked the poems that were a bit more oblique, such as Al Young’s “The Pianist Prepares Her Playlist,” which had a spoken-word, musical feel to it. Here are a few lines: “…she played juicy bebop piano, she hedged her tunes to satisfy lovers / and defectors alike… / The consummate music-mathematician, she knew and understood. / The answers, all multiple, stalked the cracks between the keys…” Interspersed throughout the review were black and white illustrations, which I also enjoyed. This is a journal that takes you to a place where the “beat” movement lives on. [Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, 558 Joost Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127. E-mail: . Single issue $2.00.] - JHG

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Review Posted on September 30, 2003

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