In which Guest Editor Jennifer Elise Foerster celebrates contemporary Native American poets.
Four poems, with an interview by guest editor Jennifer Elise Foerster
Three excerpts, with an interview by translator Margaret Jull Costa and an essay on the book’s publication.
Five poems, with an interview by guest editor Jennifer Elise Foerster
“The shine of the river. Geese. Visitors putting their feet up. The wheezing chest.”
Cloud Pharmacy Susan Rich White Pine Press, 2014 — In Susan Rich’s Cloud Pharmacy, we are at a mid-point, a reflective moment in a sincere and eventful life. We drift and we hover, but not passively. Cloud Pharmacy determinedly asks: Why chose to live this one life reluctantly? Though it is not the opening poem, “Clouds, Begin Here”, launches us into the undulating theme of burning away the past in order to heal in the present: It’s so hard to say what the dead really want. In the lost fires of the notebook, words stumble down the columns of green and white paper. In the notebook of the unknown index, blank descriptions, we lose our blue hours. Rich reaches into her childhood school days where she read books made of paper, … drank milk from small cartons (“American History”) but never with cloying nostalgia. To move forward necessitates a look into the past and whatever memories reside there. “Childhood Study: First Late August” shows us the fleeting bonds of young friendships:
Poetry Northwest‘s monthly podcast series, The Subvocal Zoo, features editors and friends of the magazine interviewing poets. Each episode features lively conversation between writers in a different location. Episode 9 features Danez Smith in conversation with William Camponovo during the 2015 AWP Conference in Minneapolis. Topics of discussion include the importance of community; The Dark Noise Collective; composing for the page vs. composing for performance; Ocean Vuong, Chinaka Hodge, Patricia Smith; Yusef Komunyakaa; The BreakBeat Poets and the April 2015 issue of Poetry magazine.
Poetry Northwest‘s monthly podcast series, The Subvocal Zoo, features editors and friends of the magazine interviewing poets. Each episode features lively conversation between writers in a different location. Episode 7 features Michael Bazzett in conversation with Justin Boening. Topics of discussion include a review of Michael Bazzett’s book published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesotan/Eastern European irony, the etymological opposite of “to remember,” recreating delight, Robert Hass; translating the Popol Vuh, and Mark Strand.
As I pieced together the verbal knife strokes of “The Old Woodcarver,” I was remembering German imagist poetry and thinking about the Native view of animals as so much more than what we call “totems.” I tried to capture a woodcarver aware of his subjects as not only emerging from the wood, but entering him, playing an intimate part in his life, a process the artist must surrender to more than create. We sometimes refer to lucid dreaming in relation to such ideas, but it’s more like lucid sleeping, the acceptance of the value and importance of where our internal experience takes us when we invite it, as we do falling into sleep, a choice but an acceptance as well of what is both part of us and beyond us. This is a process that continues into waking, when we allow it, overcome by it as we find ourselves entering the dream creatures awakened in the life already around us. The knife is the instrument of separation that also creates. We may use many things …
Sailing by Ravens Holly J. Hughes University of Alaska Press, 2014 Holly J. Hughes’ recent collection of poetry, Sailing by Ravens, is an immersion into nautical language and life, and an exploration of what it means to live with direction and drift, two opposing energies that tug our human lives. Sailing by Ravens is arranged in sections like compass points: north, west, south & east—each section accruing depth about navigating the ocean, experiencing the loss of love, and an exploration of human losses. The collection acts like a plumb line measuring the depth of the charts and maps that Hughes learned to love so young in her life—a plumb line of the self, that “faint tick tick of the heart.” The collection’s first section, “North,” draws subtle connections between map makers and self makers. “X saying here,” Hughes writes, offering a destination to be measured in degrees yet “wrenched from time.” The tension in this section quietly builds in the differentiation between actual and magnetic direction, in how the slightest metal objects on a boat can effect the path that will be …