Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mail Call

What does three months of mail look like? Three bloated, rapacious, blobbish creatures—otherwise known as three brown shopping bags. Ugh. I didn’t start at the top and work my way down, but began by pawing through the bags for literary journals that had arrived over the summer. And I found a couple of surprises. One, I had three poems published in a journal who didn’t ask for permission, so, uh, surprise. I’m just happy they weren’t accepted elsewhere, so no harm done. But also I was sent a copy of The Journal. I’d never heard of this publication from the Ohio State Graduate Programs, and I’m not sure why it came to me, but I was impressed with the poetry there. One of many solid poems in it is “Taxonomy”  by Bob Hicok. This poem is that rare combination of rawness and exactitude. Little example: the speaker shows his mother how “… a knife / heated on the stove made something / of a cactus on the inside of my mouth. / There’s a moment when one animal / recognizes another as its kind.”  I was also happy to see three of my poems in Prairie Schooner and found myself immediately envying the other poems in this summer edition such as the ones by Jehanne Dubrow, Richard Jackson, and Alicia Ostriker.  So, while the bags are still bulging about my dining room, at least I have some good reading in there.

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