Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Virginia Quarterly Review loves Open Field (with notes)

And we love the Virginia Quarterly Review. Really. What a smart journal. Great taste in poetry, and diverse readings. An essay by David Quamman, a portfolio on Adrienne Rich. Who are these people and where have they been hiding? Yes, the poetry selection is conservative, that's a flaw (people, read outside of your own perspective!!), but there is some interesting work here aside from Rich (who is, even if you don't find her work as urgent as it once was, an important figure). In particular Joshua Poteat, whom I've never heard of, but there is space in his work. It isn't all jammed together with the seamless, hyper-polished quality of much of the tightly spun quatrains or couplets we see in most of these journals. "Illustrating how to catch and manufacture ghosts" is a great title, and the poem itself was engaging:
"Tonight there is no wind, even the heat

is on its knees, and the moths laying eggs"
Now, I'm suspicious of these "ah, moments" in poetry. So much of what is being published seems designed to illicit such repsonses. Shouldn't the fact that Oprah has all but copyrighted such responses tell us something about the manufactured nature of such responses??? (I have witnessed some of the nations powerhouse editors go weak at the knees at lines such as this...)

But Poteat makes fresh this desire, it seems to me, as the poem continues:
"on the side door are not being honest
with themselves. Though their enterprise

is beauty, the eggs will not last through

the rains, and so it goes."
The blog does not seem to allow me to indent, which changes the visual of the poem slightly, though not, it seems essentially. But even as I trace the poems movement here, what seemed pleasing at first glance becomes less so: we again learn how failed hope is, and though we are not left here, on the safe confines of a front porch, chardonnay in hand, we are left with the impotence of desire, our vain delusions...perhaps a more pungeant "awe moment" than many of the poems of this variety? (Is it such a terrible stance to be open and wondering about poems instead of militant and slotting? This school here, this school there, dig, dig the trenches?).

While perusing the magazine rack I also noted a new issue of Noon, one of the more under-rated journals, which looks as delicious as ever, and Jubilat, another one I've come to enjoy.

Union Square was hopping, and a friend caught up on some of the AWP tales--aside from everything being big and Texasish the event was not without controversy. One Kate Braverman, whom I posted on just a few days ago, apparently accused her publisher of censorship and walked off the Okay, when I said I liked the directness of her attitude in the Brooklyn Rail interview, this isn't quite what I had in mind...

Wow, I say again. Intense. Who knew?

But really, the title of this post is Virginia Quarterly Review loves Open Field (maybe even its publisher, who finally updated their website last month, likes it! Thank you Persea.). I'm telling you, if you don't have it, you're missing out.

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