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Smartish Pace - 2010

  • Issue Number: Issue 17
  • Published Date: April 2010
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

The work in Smartish Pace is just what the journal’s title suggests, accomplished and sophisticated. The issue features many poets whose reputations are entirely in keeping with that categorization (Gerald Stern, Eamon Grennan, Carol Muske-Dukes, Terrance Hayes, Barbara Ras, Kim Stafford, William Logan, Sandra McPherson, Amjad Nasser of Egypt, Norman Dubie, and Michael Collier); and many others whose poems are no less accomplished or sophisticated (Steven Cushman, Terence Winch, Casey Thayer, Patrick Ryan Frank, and Katie Ford, among others).

Poems in this issue are tautly constructed, deliberate, intelligent, and etched with a fine and delicate hand. Here is Katie Ford from “That It Is Even Possible to Stay Alive”:

The massive inner life of ice
descends over the oldest and violet newborn
of this city…
…the deafeningly and deciduously
unresecurrectable things.

And Casey Thayer from “Aubade”: “We trade our hands for luggage…I have nothing / for moments when grief comes heavily / like a mouthful of peanut butter.” And Martha Zweig from “Protestant Argumentative”: “I babble before breakfast & circumambulate / the blooming woods; a few promiscuous refutations-on-nonsense / gleefully bounding ahead of each intuition I venture / under the sun.” And Patrick Ryan Frank from “Singles’ Night at the Art Museum”:

Art is useful: a focal point, a background,
a roomful of places to turn, every picture
a picture of conversations waiting to happen.

Prose poems by the prolific Egyptian poet Amjad Nasser are beautifully translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa. Nasser is a writer who can sum up a world of emotion in a single line, as here in the conclusion to his “His Young Woman in Costa Café”: “The poem I thought of, but that someone else wrote.”

Barbara Ras offers up a title that serves as the perfect crystallization of what is most striking and impressive about Smartish Pace: “Manager of the Empty Hotel.” Strong images created through expert, economical, understated language.
[The work in Smartish Pace is just what the journal’s title suggests, accomplished and sophisticated. The issue features many poets whose reputations are entirely in keeping with that categorization (Gerald Stern, Eamon Grennan, Carol Muske-Dukes, Terrance Hayes, Barbara Ras, Kim Stafford, William Logan, Sandra McPherson, Amjad Nasser of Egypt, Norman Dubie, and Michael Collier); and many others whose poems are no less accomplished or sophisticated (Steven Cushman, Terence Winch, Casey Thayer, Patrick Ryan Frank, and Katie Ford, among others).

Poems in this issue are tautly constructed, deliberate, intelligent, and etched with a fine and delicate hand. Here is Katie Ford from “That It Is Even Possible to Stay Alive”:

The massive inner life of ice
descends over the oldest and violet newborn
of this city…
…the deafeningly and deciduously
unresecurrectable things.

And Casey Thayer from “Aubade”: “We trade our hands for luggage…I have nothing / for moments when grief comes heavily / like a mouthful of peanut butter.” And Martha Zweig from “Protestant Argumentative”: “I babble before breakfast & circumambulate / the blooming woods; a few promiscuous refutations-on-nonsense / gleefully bounding ahead of each intuition I venture / under the sun.” And Patrick Ryan Frank from “Singles’ Night at the Art Museum”:

Art is useful: a focal point, a background,
a roomful of places to turn, every picture
a picture of conversations waiting to happen.

Prose poems by the prolific Egyptian poet Amjad Nasser are beautifully translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa. Nasser is a writer who can sum up a world of emotion in a single line, as here in the conclusion to his “His Young Woman in Costa Café”: “The poem I thought of, but that someone else wrote.”

Barbara Ras offers up a title that serves as the perfect crystallization of what is most striking and impressive about Smartish Pace: “Manager of the Empty Hotel.” Strong images created through expert, economical, understated language.
[www.smartishpace.com]

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Review Posted on August 14, 2010
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