December 13, 2006

Alehouse 1 (2007). 147 pages. $12.

My contributor's copy came in today. From this initial issue, it's apparent that editor Jay Rubin appreciates both rhyme & form. Robert Allen Jr.'s lead-off poem "Empties," according to the contributors notes, was written for an AA meeting (somewhat ironic given the journal's title):
So many, like me, have blamed their sins
On drinking too much; still, nobody wins.
Never wanting to face the truths inside,
When the bottle was empty, I thought I had died (ll. 1-4)
That so many other poems in this volume utilize rhyme & form shows an editorial bent (if not preference).
What makes this more exciting than the usual poetry mag upstart is the space given to poetics & essays. There are 8 poetics & criticism pieces, including an introduction to 18th Century Japanese Buddhist poetry that sets the stage for a much deeper appreciation of David Kaplan's translations of Dai Ten Kenjo's poems set to Ito Jakuchu's woodcuts. The originals (woodcuts with poems) are reproduced and underneath are Kaplan's translations. These, for me, form the highlight of the issue.
My review of Julie Gamberg's The Museum of Natural History (Eastern Washington Univ, 2006) graces pages 135-7.



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