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Iodine Poetry Journal - Spring/Summer 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 6 Number 1
  • Published Date: Spring/Summer 2005
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual
It’s the fifth anniversary for this Charlotte magazine and the focus is simple: less talk, more poems. For one thing, that means no contributors’ notes: after you close the book, you’re on your own. At least one contributor who needs no such notes is R.T. Smith, from whom “Parade at VMI” is a breath of wisdom. Smith meddles in war and history but settles for no easy targets: his model is a bridge at Antietam Creek whose erection proved to be unnecessary during the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War. With the reminder of the “cold algebra of sorrow” that seeps through the news daily, history’s message cuts us deep, “like an axe opening native cedar to free / the heart-dark rose of the fragrant tree.” The message is clear and refreshing, since I encountered more than a few pieces in Iodine addressing the subject of death, usually involving deceased parents or ancestors, mixed in with a few pieces employing war imagery to make some vague statements on politics or relationships—as if such vagueness showed uncertainty of self more than uncertainty of the times. It’s refreshing again that Frederick Zydek gets the last word, if only because the authors in Iodine are alphabetized, but his introspective breeze, “Writing the Year’s Last Poem,” is fitting: “It should be composed of music / so ancient even the spaces between / its metaphors and messages reverberate / with songs mountains and stars remember.” [www.iodinepoetryjournal.com]
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Review Posted on September 30, 2005
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