Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Literary Magazines??? and The Capilano Review

I don’t think I’ve ever had my writing published before in a Canadian literary magazine, and that’s why it’s an extra pleasure to have some of my poems out in the latest issue of The Capilano Review. But there’s a lot of other excellent work in the issue as well.

Anybody have any thoughts on the state of the literary magazine relative to avant/experimental/innovative poetry these days? Is all going well, with the addition of many web magazines that can reach a broad readership when there’s a readership to reach? Is the print journal dead or withering or doing just fine? Has the increase in fuzzy middle ground poetry completely blurred the distinction between what is or isn’t avant literature, or between what is or isn’t a journal devoted to that literature? To what extent do you read literary magazines at all when there are so many other ways to get a poetry fix? Has the post-Ron Silliman blog discussion universe changed the value of the lit magazine? These days I live too far outside most of the larger urban avant poetry communities to know how much of a role literary magazines are playing in any of them in the last few years, although small press publication in Los Angeles has been an important factor in my recent reading. Who reads any of the magazines that are out there, if they’re out there, and what magazines do you read, if any?

In any case, some of the highlights of the fall 2008 issue of The Capilano Review:

–An interview of Louis Cabri by Roger Farr, featuring among other things a discussion of the relationship between poems and commodities, as well as a discussion of procedural elements in contemporary writing. Cabri and Farr are both excellent poets and theorists, and while the interview may not be raising particularly new subjects, their discussion of some well-known problems in poetics is very informative, with many references to useful other texts. The interview is followed by a set of new and worthwhile poems from Cabri.

–Roman Korec’s poem “Ode To a Plastic Shopping Bag” is an entertaining novelty number which in a light fashion explores the problem of the commodity fetish and the detritus of its plastic side effects. I wonder if this piece might be best performed.

–Some color paintings by Damian Moppett, and an interview of Moppett by Sharla Sava. I was intrigued to discover Moppett’s work, and the interview taught me a lot about the visual arts in Vancouver.

Sina Queryas’ poem “The Endless Path of the New.” A poem in four parts with wide historical reference and a bold use of line with inventive rhythmic variation.

Andrea Actis’ poem “choose your toast & publish post” may be my favorite piece in this issue. The poem weaves several simultaneous and reoccurring strands: pop culture, politics, feminism, the life of post-post-post young women. Consistently funny, lively, insightful.

M.W. Miller, “A Far West Commentary on the Diamond Sutra.” A rollicking new adventure in the life of the Excluded Middle. What is it about writing that takes literary or theoretical concepts and turns them into characters that I find so pleasurable? Or is it just that Miller does that here in a funny and thoughtful way.

And now, back to grading all those final projects.


Dave King said...

Congratulations. Well done and well deserved. I am not sure about the answers to the questions you pose. The print mags that I know are rather passe, I fear, except for a few small ones which tend to the other extreme. I would dearly love to know of any middle-roaders.

Anonymous said...

Greetings. The Louis Cabri inteview, I believe, is by Roger *Farr*. Amsall slip of the fingers in an otherwise interesting post.

mark wallace said...

Thanks, Mike. I did know his name, so it's an odd error to have made, and I will now correct it.