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Asheville Poetry Review - 2004

This was a special 10th Anniversary issue called The Best of The Asheville Poetry Review, a retrospective of the work the journal has published since 1994, including in its 250 pages a surprisingly diverse set of writers - from Robert Bly, Joy Harjo, to translations of Baudelaire, Celan and Lorca, to Eaven Boland, Virgil Suarez, Gary Snyder Sherman Alexie and R.T. Smith. It’s hard to pick out from such a large, myriad cast a “typical” poem, but there were many meditations on natural themes, and many of the poems felt restrained, although again, there were prose poems and experimental work among the traditional narratives and even some formal verse. Along with the poems, there were critical essays, book reviews, and interviews, including a long interview with William Matthews. Scott C. Holstad defended Carl Sandburg’s poetry and his focus on the American working class in the essay “Sandburg’s Chicago Poems: The Inscription of American Ideology.” When’s the last time I read anything that defended Carl Sandburg? I applaud Holstad for his courage in recognizing what was good in the work of this long-maligned American poet. I loved Joy Harjo’s “The Flood” and Cathy Gibbon’s “Dumb Blonde,” as well as the clever “Terzanelle of the Insomniac Dreamer” by Tom C. Hunley. Kudos also for the beautiful cover art work, and the high production values of this glossy journal, as well as the resistance to the usual tyranny of “big names” in anniversary issues. Neither did the editor succumb to the regionalism one might expect from a journal called “Asheville Poetry Review” – the editor chose just as many poems from new or little-known authors as he did from recognized writers, which shows courage, and opened the doors of his journal to writers not only of other states, but other countries as well. – JHG

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Review Posted on January 31, 2005

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