Always a great balance of established and lesser-known poets and fiction writers, this issue’s more recognizable contributors include Philip Dacey, D. Nurkse, Simon Perchik, David Trinidad, and David Wagoner. Their work is strong, as always. Dacey’s offerings are consistent with his by-now-long-and-respected tradition of creating poetry of the biographies of famous artists of many genres—dancers and writers this time in “American Choreography” and “Vaslav Nijinksy on Walt Whitman.”
Perchik is as mysterious and lyrcial as ever in “L24”:
Under your tongue these stones
the dead leave empty
—what you warm
basks next to words
no longer side to side
sung the way evenings
still turn back
Nurske is also true to favored subjects and is always especially effective when describing places, in this case “Twilight in Canarsie”:
In these long slant-lit streets, she says,
you will find footsteps that once made shoehorns,
waffle irons, or pearl cufflinks, and storefront churches
where voices adored the Living God while tambourines
clashed a little behind the beat…
I liked also “Earth and Sea and Sky” by Emmett Jarrett, which creates a poem that re-creates the very movements and relationships it intends to elucidate:
It is clearer to Gloucester
where the earth
the steep rocks
into the water.
(An editor's note lets us know that Jarrett died of cancer while the issue was in production, and it made the poem all the more poignant.) Noteworthy, too, are poems by Indran Amirthanayagam, a tremendously prolific writer from Sri Lanka; a story by Jim Feast; and prose poems with circus themes by Anna Maria Shua, translated from the Spanish by Steven Stewart.
Hanging Loose always includes poems from high school students, often frighteningly accomplished considering the age of the writers, which this time around includes “Sunday Kitchen” by Isabelle Burden:
Dry light overhead,
Stirring in a pot of coffee.
In a blank paper kitchen she said
I want to eat it slowly.
I loved also ten paintings by Sean Grandits, oils on canvas with all the rich, strangely un-real quality of oil paintings, and all the uncanny more real-than-real expressions of the figures portrayed.
Hang on tightly to your copy! There’s a lot to appreciate in this issue.