American Poet, journal of the Academy of American Poets: what a wonderful tribute to the vibrancy of contemporary American poetry! Poets write about other poets with finesse, admiration, and clarity, followed by poems written by reviewed poet and reviewer. I particularly enjoyed Kay Ryan’s appreciation of Jane Hirshfield. Ryan’s wise account of her kicking-and-screaming trip to the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) conference was a highlight of the current humor issue of Poetry magazine. The Hirshfield piece showed that Ryan has earned the right to be edgy about the Creative Writing Juggernaut. In the middle of the night (it’s 3 a.m. now, my mind is finally starting to sag), what I read enters my consciousness easily, like an old friend arriving for a long weekend at the beach. Even given that susceptibility, this journal of the Academy of American Poets is wondrous. I knew that Tree Swenson, the co-founder of Copper Canyon Press and an acquaintance of mine from Bennington and WESTAF work, would turn the Academy into something wonderful when she took over as executive director three years ago. Tonight I’ve caught up with the proof.
(You get a subscription to American Poet when you join the Academy for as little as $35. Do it tonight!)