Your ears are pricked. You’ve just read a good novel. You want more. You’re ready for a poem. And so is the newest issue of Jubilat. Though it has its luminaries, such as Ashbery and Salamun, they deliver – if only enough. The problem with Jubilat is not too little poetry, it’s the tidiness of the poetry. There’s meaningless metaphors like Allison Titus’, “O how we mine for artifacts the endless dusk.” Or there are the ones that deserve reflection like Rae Gouirand’s:
If the horizon—if the line—
pulls at the eye—pulls a thread
between presence and absence—
is a suture
A poem that is mystical enough to be ordinary. There are enough of these brilliancies to commend Jubilat. William May, in an essay on poet Stevie Smith’s poem and accompanying sketches, delves successfully. These very humble yet intriguing drawings are “combative” to the text and yet represent them, May says. The excerpts of Smith’s poetry for those who are uninitiated are probably the best verses in the journal. Jubilat does have talent and creativity. It is structured nicely, peppered with drawings, salted with Xeroxes and curried with textual art. The bulk of the issue is poetry after all. And the poets all sing, if only too predictably.