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The New Quarterly - Summer 2005

  • Subtitle: Canadian Writers & Writing
  • Issue Number: Number 95
  • Published Date: Summer 2005
Montreal-based poet Robyn Sarah served as guest editor for what is called a "small anthology" of poems featured in this issue. Sarah also contributes an essay on poetics in which she defines a good poem: "it should transcend its own particulars; it should be built to bear weight; it should have lift." The nearly four dozen poets she's selected offer up work Sarah finds "attentive to language, memorable, ponderable, convincing." Sarah clearly favors plain diction, narrative impulses, strong, authentic voices, and emotional integrity. The poems in this issue bring us close to the heart of the (subject) matter, whatever the matter may be. That's not to say there isn't also a certain degree of innovation and invention, such as Jack Hannan's, "Any letter still standing and floating," a hybrid form that makes this poem one of the most "ponderable" in the issue. This issue also includes a delightfully inventive hybrid of another sort — "Dramatis Personae — an archetypal cast in paint and text" by Shannon Reynolds. These glossy pages resemble a play bill with its cast of characters, complete with headshots and bios. The playbill is followed by full-page paintings of the actors depicted as "types" from famous literary works (the lusty woman, the crone, the sage, etc.). This issue also includes several "behind the scenes" essays about the theater, one with compelling black and white photos. []
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Review Posted on September 30, 2005

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