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Katy Haas

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Are you lonely for the music that used to inhabit the house of poetry? Do you miss the rhyme, though you visit it sometimes in the lyrics of your favorite songs? Does a stray phrase from “Prufrock” or “Innisfree” or “Stopping By Woods” pop into your head every now and again, wondering where you’ve gone?
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Fence opens with a reprint of Vladimir Nabokov's marvelous "Canto One," a tough act for any poet to follow. Eighth-grader Kyle Kenner does a good job with his two prose poems, including "Drafted," a powerful, understated piece which ends: "A couple of days after the war was no more, his mom received a letter. A letter from the U.S.A. The letter said the soldier fought well, the letter said the soldier was no more."
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This appealing journal out of the University of Maryland publishes feminist research, analysis, theory, reviews, art, as well as poetry and fiction; the overall flavor of this issue was resolutely academic. Particularly interesting in this issue was Stephanie Hartman’s essay “Reading the Scar in Breast Cancer Poetry,” which examined how poets like Hilda Raz, Audre Lorde, and Marilyn Hacker wrote about the physical and metaphorical scars of breast cancer. Also a startling discovery – the amazing art work of Betye and Alison Saar, whose work has both powerful symbolism and haunting directness.
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Imagine being able to put into words the feeling of a home run on a summer night and you’ll have the All-Star issue of Elysian Fields Quarterly, a unique and unabashedly ardent literary magazine devoted solely to America’s once (and future—well, we can dream, can’t we?) favorite sport, baseball. What are the Elysian Fields?

Cranky - May 2004

August 31, 2004
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Kary Wayson: you have uncountable volumes of love in store from all who read your poetry.
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I urge you to check out, before even finishing this review, the website of Bridge Magazine, though I know the wish is sort of hopeless: there’s almost no way to conceive of the sort of madness and playful fun the magazine contains, promotes, inculcates, various other verbs. It’s sort of like McSweeneys, I suppose, though somehow more fun, grounded in a real world (perhaps this is the only magazine I can think of that’s made strangely more whole, more itself, because of advertisements [almost all of which are by/for Chicago-area businesses]).

Tiferet - 2010

August 14, 2010
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Tiferet is an independent “multi-faith publication dedicated to promoting peace in the individual and in the world,” published six times annually (two print issues and four online issues). Issue 13 features five essays (most are excerpts from forthcoming or recently published books); three short stories; the work of a dozen poets; black and white photographs by Taoli-Ambika Talwar and a drawing by Israel Carlos Lomovasky. The large format is ideal for Talwar’s exceptional photographs, three images that couldn’t be more different from each other (a close-up of a blossom; a distanced view of a house in the woods; and a close-up of a wall of granite rock), except for the skill and creativity of their composition.

Smartish Pace - 2010

August 14, 2010
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The work in Smartish Pace is just what the journal’s title suggests, accomplished and sophisticated. The issue features many poets whose reputations are entirely in keeping with that categorization (Gerald Stern, Eamon Grennan, Carol Muske-Dukes, Terrance Hayes, Barbara Ras, Kim Stafford, William Logan, Sandra McPherson, Amjad Nasser of Egypt, Norman Dubie, and Michael Collier); and many others whose poems are no less accomplished or sophisticated (Steven Cushman, Terence Winch, Casey Thayer, Patrick Ryan Frank, and Katie Ford, among others).

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Interviewed in this issue by Jim Porter, master of prose style Richard McCann defines voice as a function of rhythm (Ms. Woolf was right, of course!) and describes his process of walking around memorizing his own words as they come to him. I have never heard this process described before (which is, for what it’s worth, exactly the way I compose poetry) and I appreciated McCann’s candor. His interview is one of the highlights of the issue.

Prole - 2010

August 14, 2010
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Prole is proudly launching its inaugural voyage, and what a voyage. The message on page two states that this is “a journal of accessible poetry and prose to challenge and engage.” This journal is nothing if not challenging and engaging. Prole’s fiction and prose uses only artful story-telling, skillful-weaving, compact wording; no literary tricks, twists, surprise endings or jolts to deliver one deep into their vast little worlds. There are short stories with suspense and horror, such as “Book Covers” by Rebecca Hotchen and “Flower as Big as the Sky” by Matt Dennison. There are minute character studies such as “Shoes” by Dave Barrett and Bruce J. Berger’s “He had to Go.” And completing this tasty assortment are the odd and sad like “Stone and Wind” by Carl T. Abt, “Scarred” by Kevin Brown, and Stephen Ross’s “Clocks without Hands.”
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