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The American Poetry Review - July/August 2004

This issue of the newsprint bimonthly American Poetry Review features an essay on Hayden Carruth (“In Measured Resistance: On Hayden Carruth’s “Contra Mortem”), along with a special supplement of Carruth’s poems, and seven outstanding poems by Adrienne Rich, which in itself is enough to satisfy most poetry addicts. But it also includes multiple poems by other well-known poets such as David Wagoner and Donald Revell. APR is justifiably famous for its essays, and usually also features a large spread of international poetry in translation – in this issue, six poems from Viktor Sosnora translated by Dinara Georgeoliani and Mark Halperin. Even the ads make for fascinating reading – one touting the newest poetry releases from Wesleyan, another for a new MFA program seeking students, and Contests! Contests! Contests! – those holy grails for upstart poets such as myself. I was somewhat taken aback by one or two of the Carruth poems in the special supplement of this issue; these poems seemed misanthropic and misogynistic. Here is an excerpt from one of them, titled “Crazy Women”: “…The world / is full of crazy women with their…voices like a wounded sow’s, breaking / the crockery, flailing their little fists. Raped / By their fathers, raped by their uncles, raped / By their brothers…” Then the short poem ends with “…Tell me, does anyone around here / Really believe this life is really worth living?” So much of Carruth’s work is marked by generosity of spirit that this piece seemed out of character to me. Overall, APR remains a must-read for those who want to consider themselves poetry-world insiders. [American Poetry Review, 117 South 17th Street, suite 910, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. E-mail: . Single issue $3.95.] – JHG

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Review Posted on August 31, 2004

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