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Beloit Poetry Journal - Summer 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 56 Number 4
  • Published Date: Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

I’m sure I finally understand the meaning of the term “fine etched” now, which I confess I wasn’t always certain I did, because I can think of no better phrase to characterize the luminous poems in this issue of BPJ. These poems are like this venerable journal itself, slender, deliberate, careful, and nearly perfect. Many are delicately wrought (poems by Sonja James, Marsha Pomerantz, Lynette Ng), others are urgent or exuberant, but never in a casual way (poems by Garth Greenwell and Anne Marie Macari), and a few are more direct, more immediate, and equally well crafted (poems by Kristina Martino and Malcolm Alexander). Poems by Aimee Sands, Robert Buchko, and B. Z. Niditch are a testament to the ordinary word’s exquisite potential, in the hands of a gifted writer, to reveal whole centuries, continents, and galaxies of thought in a few spare lines. Here is Niditch’s poem, “Holocaust and Art (Gorky, Celan, and Levi),” the last in the issue — a measure of how thoughtfully BPJ is edited, for what poem could follow?

You cannot live
another day
your cats
are named Jeremiah
and survive all tears.

Obviously an animal
cannot paint or write.

Yet Jeremiah dies mysteriously
in Armenia, Germany, and Italy,
living more than one life,
spilling myth and milk.

[Beloit Poetry Journal, P.O. Box 151, Farmington, ME 04938.  Single issue $5.] –Sima Rabinowitz

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Review Posted on August 31, 2006

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