New kid on the block
I am going to assume, because you are here, reading this site, that you like to read. I am also going to assume, because you are reading this site, that you like to read good writing. My cousin always warned about what might come of you and me should we assume too frequently (if you don’t know the punch line, I’ll just say there’s a draft animal involved), but I am going to assume the risk of assuming you might occasionally want a tip or two about what to read. If that’s the case, visit Harriet each Thursday. I’ll tell you what’s keeping me happy that day.
I’ve been thinking, for instance, about journals I’ve read cover to cover in the past six months. I’m a fan of The Missouri Review, Eclipse, The Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, Ecotone, and more. Today, though, I’m all about a new kid on the block:
Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion.
The title’s great, first of all. And once I cracked the cover to discover individualized fonts for each contributor (this intrigued me but did not, in the end, feel like a gimmick), sassy essays by the likes of Barbara Guest and Joshua Clover, a global perspective evidenced by Kyoko Yoshida’s and Forest Gander’s translation of the poetry of Kiwao Nomura, and fresh, edgy poems by writers including Brenda Hillman, Timothy Donnelly, and Juliana Spahr, I found it difficult to put the journal down. The Judith Taylor photos, including Barbie reading Emily Dickinson, were a special treat. Editors Calvin Bedient & David Lau have done a terrific job, and I think this journal’s something of a must have. If you find yourself tempted to only visit the website, do yourself a favor and take the time to scroll your cursor around the page. It’s worth the extra 22 seconds that will take.
I said Joshua Clover’s essay was sassy? Clover? Sassy? One subject of his essay (the musician M.I.A.) might be sassy, but Clover? Maybe not. Sassy is a word that more aptly describes the most recent issue of PMS (poemmemoirstory), guest edited by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. This issue contains poems by Elizabeth Alexander, Lucille Clifton (you might be noticing I’m a fan of all she does), Nikky Finney, Yona Harvey, Evie Shockley, Patricia Smith, Tracy K. Smith, and many many more. Also included is an enlightening interview with Natasha Trethewey and fiction and nonfiction by some of the best African American women writers of our time. The issue is likely to be a collector’s piece based both on its beautiful cover and the broad-ranging and powerful work the journal contains.
Poet and editor Camille T. Dungy was born in Denver but moved often as her father, an academic physician, taught at many different medical schools across the country. She earned a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Dungy’s full-length poetry publications include Trophic...