Monday, May 23, 2005

The Spoon River Poetry Review

Have you ever picked of a journal of poetry or literature and not found anything to engage you? Nothing that resonated with you or grabbed your attention or lit that spark of sudden realization in your gut? Don't you hate when that happens? Yesterday, I purchased a literary journal, read all the poetry, and sort of shrugged. There are plenty of famous, talented poets and well-crafted writing. Was it the poems are just me? Maybe I was having a weird day, I don't know.

This morning I went back to the current issue of The Spoon River Review, vol. XXIX, no. 2, which has lots of poetry I really, really like. I am posting one by Alan DeNiro (p. 42), a poem that is a very funny but very angry rebuke against those who buy into consumerist culture.

If you have a favorite small press poetry journal you love--particularly poetry only, but literary is fine--let me know, even if it is very small. I am always on the lookout. Thanks!

Moby Dick II

You! With the semipermanent features!
And the Best Buy in your pocket!
And the limber subliminal cells telling you what to buy!
And the popsicle stick scythe!
What do you think you can cut with that?
You have a Lincoln Navigator for a sphincter!
What do you hope to accomplish with that?
Naming vehicles after famous presidents like that!
And also perhaps Vasco do Gama!
Go ahead and titter! This poem
Will never change your life!
But then again you're a vampire!
So you're kind of dead anyways!
Who was Ahab's first mate and later died?

Alan DeNiro


Danny said...

Dear Amy,

Here is a link to a small press poetry journal, one of my favorites. I found the poems raw and fresh and liberating:

I like the poem you posted on Alan Deniro. It reminds me of my younger years how I would openly protest the sensationalist and consumerist oriented television ads in our country. I wrote similar poem titled "Estrangement", but it focuses on the coldness of a pluralistic and technological society.

tonwozzletellsall said...

If you ever get a chance I'd love it if you stopped by my blog and gave me some feedback on my poetry. Im new at it and kinda nervous that its not as good as I hope it is. Thanks.

Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

I'm making notes of yours, Danny's and others' recommendations. I don't have one to recommend to you, but wanted to say "hi!".

I need more hours in my day to do art and writing. I think I need to email Danny for tips! ;)

Anonymous Poet said...

I have that reaction all of the time when I pick up "poetry" or "literature" journals. I feel that I can't relate to most of what is inside. And, to me, anyway, a lot of what appears inside of these journals barely appears to be poetry. Some of it seems to be just uninteresting prose, random self-confession, or even incomplete thoughts. I find very little "stylized expression" -- which is what I think poetry IS. I rarely, if ever, see rhyme or other traditional forms (which seem to be banned as pase'). Very rarely do I find something that is memorable, the way a Shakespeare or W.B. Yeats is memorable. That is one of the reasons I started my site, just to put my work out there to see what a random sampling of "real" people (i.e., not the people who run these journals) might think. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous poet . . .

I agree that a lot of what is being publish in small journals isn't anything to revel, but like most everything, there are always the few that rise above and stand out. Concerning Shakespear and Yeats being memorable, that would be a matter of a opinion. Personally, the rigid metered forms don't speak to me in any "memorable" way, as the use of language is far removed from that which I encounter in my daily life. Not that poetry is an everday use of language, but the closer it comes to reflecting my human experiences, the deeper it tends to stir.

The stricking imagery and tone that is used in good contemporary poetry reflects present day, post modern society in a way that defies the constraints of traditional meter. Instead of bending to the whims of the syllables, syllables bend to the whims of the poet. I believe the time for traditional forms has passed. They will always be present, but in an evolved sense of what they once were.

and of the poetry journals I've read lately, Spoon River has offered a few poems to add to my archive.