Monday, April 16, 2012

The April 2012 Issue of POETRY

2012 marks Poetry Magazine's 100th anniversary. One way they are commemorating the occasion is using a variation of the iconic Pegasus on the cover of each month's edition. They have also introduced two special sections: From 100 Years & Poets We Have Known.

Since it is National Poetry Month, I wanted to take a look at the April '12 issue. In every issue they have an "In Memoriam" spot on the inside of the front and back covers. This issue is particularly saddening to me because they chose to include two phenomenal poets the poetry community lost, Eleanor Ross Taylor (1920-2011) and Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012).
I have long read these women's words and have always come back to them at various points in my life. Such sad news to hear of their passing. I imagine Adrienne Rich will hold a strong place in next month's issue.

The issue starts out with their regular feature of poems. A couple that stood out to me were Kathy Nilsson's "Little Ice Age" & "Still Life," Tara Bray's "Numbered," Sandra Simonds' "You Can't Build A Child," and Yusef Komunyakaa's "Snow Tiger" & "Omens."

From the Poetry site on "From 100 Years" & "Poets We've Known":

"In the course of reading poems to include in an upcoming centennial anthology of work from our pages, we found ourselves appreciating more poems than could be included in the book. Throughout the coming year, we will feature selections from past issues that illuminate current content, but won’t appear in The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine. What follows are poems and letters that dovetail with “Poets We’ve Known.” "

I loved this section. Here, we get to revisit poems spanning from the 30s to the 60s by such greats as Gwendolyn Brooks, Muriel Rukeyser, Howard Nemerov, Geoffrey Hill as well as correspondence from William Empson and Geoffrey Grigson. It's interesting to see how poetry itself has evolved in publishing over such a broad time period. I find the poems from this section to be quite strict in form and language, almost stifling, in comparison to what is being published today.

The issue closes out with their usual Comment section with Sven Birkerts' Emerson's "The Poet"-A Circling and Vera Pavlova's Heaven is Not Verbose: A Notebook, translated by Steven Seymour.

They also have something called "Back Page" where they feature artwork, words, etc., from the past 100 years.

At the site, there is a Discussion Guide concerning this April issue. Check it out.

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