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Alligator Juniper - 2004

Contributors' notes and their remarks take up fourteen pages and while writers' comments can enrich the work or detract from it, these comments are both useful and interesting. This is especially true for the poetry, extraordinary work by fourteen gifted poets, including student prize winner Kat Darling. There is much variety here, work that ranges from lyrical to edgy, all of it strong and original. In his remarks, James Jay lets us know that his poem was inspired by a 19th century Muslim poet from India, a poet whose confidence he humbly professes to envy, though "Today Let's Call Ourselves Gahlib," is the work of a poet who deserves to have confidence in himself: "Ghalib, dig up that cougar your father / buried at the beginning of summer. / He wants to teach you about biology. Go find that corpse, // less cleanly picked / than his science / had hoped…" I must single out poems by Jendi Reiter, Christina Hutchins, and Richard Kenefic, too, although there isn't a poem in this issue I would want any reader to miss. Michael Petracca's essay, "Plover Mind," about his work in the Snowy Plover Docent Program in California, is marvelous, part science lesson, part personal essay, part primer on haiku.
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Review Posted on December 31, 2004
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