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Beloit Poetry Journal - Fall 2003

Beloit Poetry Journal is one of the journals that poetry junkies in the know call a must-read because of the consistent quality of the poetry they publish, the freshness of the voices, and the terrific reviews. There can be no “ho-hum” response to this journal. In this slim but mighty issue, not only did I thrill to the emotional zing and wit of every single poem, I delighted in editor Marion Stocking’s review roundup of recent books by poets on poetry. Her pithy, intelligent descriptions helped me sort my own shopping list (check Roethke’s On Poetry and Craft, check Kim Stafford’s The Muses Among Us…) The melancholy themes of many of the poems here revolve around social, political and financial injustices, like Nicole Cooley’s “Madame X—about the connection between the famous portrait and a murdered girl X in the Bronx and a baby X in an ICU. The language in many of these poems leans towards the lyrical, as these lines illustrate, from Corinne Lee’s “Fulgent” about a poet who reads futures in palms in a concentration camp to save his life:

Your life will be a velvet Möbius strip, embroidered

with milky galaxies of children. Another hand
presses forward, twists up as if turning

a knob, opens like a heart
to sacrament. Your violin playing

will purify, evolving into drunken ether:”

A true pleasure to read. When I finish BPJ, I always wish for more pages. [Beloit Poetry Journal, P.O. Box 151, Farmington, ME 04938. E-mail: . Single issue $5.00.] – JHG

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Review Posted on September 30, 2003

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