Poet Lore: A 2nd Century of New Writing, 106: 1-2 (Spring/Summer 2011) $10.00
The editors of the 122-year-old Poet Lore carry on its tradition: work by little-known and well-known writers side-by-side. Two poems on facing pages I enjoyed are “Dr. Chute’s Secret Journal, 3/22/03” by Robert M. Chute and “Incoming Prayer” by Leonard Gontarek. Both poems, wry and personable in tone, use abstracted landscape and conversation to render a moral dilemma: to determine one’s responsibility for war from a position of minor power. Chute is new to me though little-known here does not mean beginner or emerging. Gontarek’s language is interior, both sharp and suave; I like reading him juxtaposed with others.
The pleasure of a well-edited journal is juxtaposition: the editorial work displayed. The unannounced pairings and themes spoke to me as I read, and they kept my poetry-mind alert for clues. So in ways I did not expect, “Memorial Day” by Danielle Sellers illuminates the marriage memorialized in the preceding poem, “For My Former Wife” by Jesse Wallis. And a poem with hoarded TVs (Jim Daniels) opens for a poem about hoarded pants (Julie Marie Wade). Likewise, the struggle Janice Lynch Schuster lays out in “My Father Breathes” is calmed when James Doyle’s “Tracking the Shark” “glides as if no god,/ even death, could separate it/ into parts.”
This issue’s cover photograph is well worth seeking out. And, for those who enjoy the count: poems by women, 54; poems by men 42. Way to go.
More later on my favorite poems from the Delmarva Review, vol. 4.