Thursday 3 April 2008

Denver Quarterly 42.2 (2008)

Yesterday afternoon I was flipping through a British poetry journal, and after reading seven or eight poems by different poets, the question came: "Why isn't anyone even trying to be interesting?" Every poem felt calm, perfectly linear, well contained, and without any spark of originality or vigor.

That night, as a remedy, I settled in with Denver Quarterly's latest issue. I've been reading and loving DQ for at least a decade now, maybe fifteen years, and I wish I had a subscription, though I catch up with it whenever I return home, as Illinois State University's Milner Library subscribes. I picked up this issue at the AWP in New York.

I've been dipping in and out of the issue for a few days now and reached the end last night, having skipped a piece here and there when it didn't look like what I was in the mood for, to go back to later. Here are some excerpts from what I did read (mind, the spacing's often incorrect as I don't know how to do that on here).

the apostrophe she wakes into
each morning

Christina Hutchins, "Her Father's Death in Her Body"

And we each had a sister
who had been a bird crawling out

of each of our dusk-filled chests.

George Kalamaras, "From the Book of Tongues (2)"

Each person braced for the next shock, and each shock reduced to an incident to report.

Carrie Bennett, "The skin, its willingness to burn" (prose poem)

she forms her shape to mine with little effort,
twining her legs around
when my mouth attaches to her neck like a little cup.

I must have twenty arms.

Michael Kiser, "Regeneration" (and that's the end of the poem)

The drug the need was made for cannot satisfy the need. Now I realize I was made for this half-consecrated world with its one hand running a comb through the stars.

Jennifer Militello, "Dear B," [Today, the rain] (prose poem)

...they decided a window was a way of singing when they tried mixing laughter through a catastrophe of light.

Jennifer Militello, "Dear B" [I knew] (pp)

the baby is eating stars, the stars are yellow like lemons.
they taste like lemonade and move down cold.

Deborah Poe, "Calcium (Ca)"

Like the windowpane
its moment already through
not unwashed or translucent

but like the poem, just barely
changed each time
it's looked through
Will Skinker, "The Last Photograph"

Nights resemble each other
in the way mug shots do
Sandra Stone, "Animal Grief"

Memories are the opposite
of dreams, which are placeless.
Janaka Stucky, "The Opposite of Dreams"

after all
that departure
the first Native American to visit Europe stayed forever. A fire
in 1727 destroyed the parish records, which included the location
of Pocohontas' grave, by nature, a door
is a gap
but a ceiling
wouldn't be offered in pieces or things that can't be divided, one cannot

for instance, offer another
a piece of fire or survival.

Cole Swensen, "Pocahontas (1595, Powhatan Confederacy - 1616, Gravesend, England)"
(nb, the spacing on this one is much different in the original)

Some poems in the issue I wish I'd written:

Carrie Bennett, "The machines knew to be careful this time"
Cynthia Cruz, "Cinderella's Self Portrait as Shane"
Chris Dombrowski, "Midst"
Cathryn Hankla, "Conquistadors in the Colonies"
Alessandra Lynch, "Bruise"
Sandra Stone, "Animal Grief"
Janaka Stucky, "Each a Threadless Distance from Crow and Lineament"
Cole Swensen, "The Ghost Heart," "Pocahontas," and "Toward the End"
Imants Ziedonis, "It's Hard for You to Understand" and "Don't Promise Me Anything Big"

Thank you, Denver Quarterly. Unwittingly you've been good to me.

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