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Poetry International - 2002

Poetry International is an annual journal out of San Diego that manages to present a collection of poetry, essays, art and reviews that feels thoroughly edited yet diverse and exuberant. The essays are original and lively, especially Jeredith Merrin's "And Damned If It's Not a Hart Crane-Azure Sky!--Some Notes on American Modernism and Influence," a discussion of how Modernist writers have influenced her writing, and Mark Weiss' essay, "The Worlds of Cuban Poetry." Mark Weiss is also the translator of the featured Cuban poems, including my favorites, "The Girl in the Forest" and "Mother Goose," two surreal but intimate takes on popular children's stories, by Eliseo Diego. A few lines from “Mother Goose”: “…Then / amid the golden flames / that cavernous mouth. / A hurricane whispers: / ‘Once upon a time…’ / And everything begins.”

This issue lives up to the international part of its title, with poets from Chile, Germany, Russia, Mexico, China, as well as America and a special focus on Cuba, including literary luminaries like Octavio Paz and translator-poets Tess Gallagher and Marilyn Hacker. I particularly enjoyed the poem "It sometimes happens that the forest disperses itself..." by Vénus Khoury-Ghata, a Lebanese poet who writes in primarily in French. (Here beautifully translated by Marilyn Hacker.) The artwork throughout was is fascinating as the writing, many of the pieces surreal and metaphorical. A very interesting journal, especially for those who want to keep a finger on the pulse of poetry worldwide. [Poetry International, Department of English & Comparative Literature, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile, San Diego, CA 92182-8140. E-mail: . Single issue $12.00.] - JHG

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Review Posted on September 30, 2003

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