San Diego Poetry Guild

notes on guild, poetry, and San Diego


Phrasal Appraisals

Earlier this summer I got the idea to write a review of the fifteen-odd literary journals I've been pouring through over the last few months but decided this morning that that would be insane. Clearly I've got "review fever" but more than that it's obviously an impossible task, given the range, blah blah. Well, maybe not.

Anyway, here's the list, along with the names of some included and a word or two about the journal, pure gut reaction. Names in the issues NOT listed below are not intentional exclusions, just weren't on my particular radar that day.

In order read:

1. Arshile 11 (1999) (Eleni Sikelianos) : steady pursuit of the eclectic.

2. Untitled 1 / 3 (2000/2002) (Elka Erb, Tosa Motokiyu, Patrick Durgin; Craig Watson, Jack Kimball & Kent Johnson) : all prose po with generous samples, almost mini-books [since learned this one's now defunct].

3. Itsyncast 2 (circa 1999) (Adam Patrick Miller, Steve Fried) : idiosyncratic Atlanta Poetry Group jaw-breaker [also i think now defunct, or maybe transmogrified].

4. Germ 4 (2000) (Rod Smith, Emmanuel Hocquard, Karen Weiser, Clark Coolidge, Rae Armantrout, Dominique Fourcade) : kind of the Preakness of pomo lit journals, addicted to medieval framing devices, which is cool by me.

5. Score 15 (2000) (Fernando Aguiar, John M. Bennett, Jim Leftwich, Paulo Bruscky, John Byrum, John Elsberg, arleen hartman, Richard Kostelanetz, Keiichi Nakamura, Clemente Padin, Irving Weiss) : exceptionally awesome vis po makes me want to do some.

6. Aufgabe 2 (2002) (Ulf Stolterfoht, Hung Q. Tu, Standard Schaefer, Martha Ronk, John Lowther, Kari Edwards) : from the land of milk and honey (NY), all over the place avant-spread.

7. Nocturnes 2 (2002) (Carla Conforto, A. Van Jordan, Ronaldo V. Wilson, Wanda Coleman, Fred Moten) : liquid crystal production, almost fragile, muy alto.

8. Cross-Cultural Poetics 10 (2002) (Edwin Torres, John Taggart, Bing He) : smart and stimulating with academic sprinkle.

9. Tripwire 6 (2002) (Seitlhamo Motsapi, Lesego Rampolokeng, Gael Reagon, Jeremy Cronin, K. Silem Mohammad, Los Cybrids, Alan Gilbert) : THE journal of the decade, maybe shared with Shark, methinks.

10. Chain 9 (2002) (Joe Amato, Shelly Berc, Robert Quillen Camp, Craig Dworkin & Alessandra Santos, Michael Ives, M. Kasper, John Kinsella, Rob MacKensie & Lee A. Tonouchi, Sean Meehan, Michelle Spencer, Mette Moestrup, Aishah Rahman, James Sherry, Nick Piombino) : as always, a real journey, a trek, across desert and mountain, land and sea, a real international tour-de-force-feed.

11. !Factorial! 1 (2003) (Mary Downing, Brian Strang) : all collaboration, which is inherently hard to pull off, as collaborations begin over time to read like lecture notes from Psych 101.

12. 3rd Bed 6 (2002) (Mark Laliberte, Marc Palm, Lisa Jarnot, Brian Evenson, David Ohle) : surprise of the summer, for me at least, with something under the shiny hood.

13. Kiosk 2 (2003) (Louis Cabri, Abigail Child, K. Silem Mohammad, Rodrigo Toscano, Rachel Blau Du P., Dan Featherston, Pattie McCarthy) : most bang for the buck, funky font, and one of the best poems I've seen yet about the fucked state of the u. (Dan F.).

14. Skanky Possum 8 (2002) (Michael Magee, Clayton Eshleman) : more self-proclaimed revolutionary poetry from the most notable movement-in-name-only since the dot.surge.

15. Syllogism 5 (2001) (Michael Ruby, Marcella Durand, Steve Gilmartin, Susan M. Shultz, Mary Burger, Robin Caton, Stephen Ratcliffe, Lin Dinh, Diane di Prima) : tough neo-language with a weird but good chunk of fiction at the end.

16. Shark 4 (2002) (Jori Schnell, Pamela Lu, Jimbo Blachly (x2), Heriberto Yepez, Susan Schultz, Nina Katchadourian, Paul Chan, Matt King, Tan Lin, Brian Kim Stefans, Yun-Fei Ji, Christian Schumann, Lohren Green) : tied with Tripwire for best journal of the decade, but they look a lot alike so maybe it's a production thing.

17. Pom2 2 (2002) : all appropriation and re-appropriation, should get an award from the EPA.

All in all, what a prosperous and healthy poetry world we live in! Each is highly recommended.


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