All posts filed under: Commentary

The latest musings from our contributing writers and editors

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Hello Goodbye Hello

Kevin Craft (Editor 2010 – 2016) Signs Off Most poetry readers I know chuckle wearily at the steady stream of “poetry is dead” articles that have appeared with astonishing tenacity in various venues, including The New York Times, these past few years. The authors of these articles agonize in some way or another over poetry’s irrelevance to modern culture: poetry is too abstract and obscure, they argue, too much an insider’s game, divorced from the real wants and needs (to borrow a phrase from Whitman’s early review of Keats’s poems) of actual bodies in the 21st century. But why should poetry worry over its relationship to popular culture? Must it be popular (or topical) in order to be vital, in order to sustain a reader, or fortify a readership? What happens to those who win (or live by) popularity contests in the contemporary cultural grind? We know all too well that the speed of the attention-getting news cycle is debilitating. Presidential primaries come and go, talk radio blathers on, discourse hardens, partisans lob grenades from …

Cover Image: "Scaffold" by David Hytone

Spring and All: New Issue, New Editors, New Books

Poetry Northwest changes editors, and adds a publishing house SEATTLE, WA – Poetry Northwest (the region’s oldest literary magazine, established in 1959) has just published volume 10.2 in its New Series, marking the completion of a vibrant decade of the magazine in its expanded format. The Winter & Spring 2016 issue features new poems from Joan Swift, who first contributed to the magazine in 1959, and Tod Marshall, who was recently appointed the fourth Washington state Poet Laureate. It includes exceptional new work from a wide range of poets, such as Laura Da’, Rebecca Hoogs, Joan Naviyuk Kane, Keetje Kuipers, Richard Kenney, Claudia Castro Luna, J. W. Marshall, Katrina Roberts, Rich Smith, Nance van Winckel, and many more. The magazine also continues a long tradition of exploring the interconnectedness of poetry and the visual arts. The current issue features three unique series of images from prominent Northwest artists, each series interwoven with the text: David Hytone supplied the gorgeous cover; Emily Gherard works shadowy wonders with graphite; and Kelly Froh, light-hearted comic genius, riffs off poems by Hoogs and Smith. …