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Asheville Poetry Review - 2009

  • Issue Number: Volume 16 Number 1
  • Published Date: 2009
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Keith Flynn, the editor, proudly states that this is the only poetry journal in the United States that subsists entirely on retail sales and subscriptions. It boasts a circulation of 3000 and has fourteen staff members. The latest production is 223 pages and contains a wide variety of poetry, interviews, essays, and book reviews. It was founded in 1994, and my only regret here is that I lack sufficient space to give this subject proper justice.

There is an excellent interview by Marilyn Kallet with poet and translator Marilyn Hacker in Paris. Here are the last four lines of a relationship poem by Hacker:

Must a mountain crumble before we can really speak?
Must I wait for an aeon’s erosion between us?
The morning light spells its name on my white coffee cup
but it aches with absence: there is an ocean between us.

Here is the translation of a poem by Hacker of Emmanuel Moses’s “The Lacemakers”:

they slide continually under bridges, flush with the water
passengers in the black skiff
Our Lady shelters them beneath her cloak of piety
when snow falls on the canals and covers the swans
pressed up against the trunks of old willows

There is a thoughtful and revealing review of Venus Khoury-Ghata’s Alphabets of Sand by Darby Darren Jackson, and much space devoted to the discussion and work of the poet George Oppen. And here is a protest poem by Al Maginnes entitled “Seeing the Brown Shirts":

On television they march again, amateur brown shirts,
homegrown Nazis, self-appointed
Television is as close as I need to come to their scraped heads
and spittle-red mouths, their uniforms
purchased with dollars saved from low wage jobs, laboring
side by side with the races

And a simpler poem entitled “Douglas Fir” by Sam Taylor:

It has stood here rising
For six hundred years
And it is here now
In your life, as you rise,
Watching, as you watch,
The sky shade magenta

One of the benefits of this publication is that it presents work from all over the world in translation – a cosmopolitan experience. This particular edition is well laid out and has a beautiful cover by Hector Acevedo. When you consider all of the production values that are required to create a literary poetry review, this one is certainly of the best in the country. Poetry aficionados should give it a try. []

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Review Posted on January 18, 2010

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