Friday, August 17, 2007

Kakalak Reviewed by NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer

"The 2007 Kakalak: Anthology of Carolina Poets introduces its issue with lines from Allan Wolf's poem, "The Poet, Not Content with the Ballet of Raking Leaves":

The poem

now left alone, turns into a bird, lights on a high branch

performs a dance, causes the bare autumn tree to bloom.

What better way to open the second edition of a journal devoted to North and South Carolina poetry? This year's judge, Peter Meinke, selected three winners from a final field of twenty, which editors Richard Allen Taylor, Beth Cagle Burt, and Lisa Zerkle winnowed from more than 800 submissions. Anyone who ever thought being an editor is a cakewalk needs to think again! The three winning poets, Steve Lautermilch, Allan Wolf, and Rebecca Warren, have excellent work in the issue, to be sure, but I myself was drawn just as strongly to Kathryn Kirkpatrick's "News from Midlife," Britt Kaufmann's "Corn," Hilda Downer's "Wiley Coyote Takes T-Shirt Inventory," Roy Jacobstein's "Invocation," and Catherine Carter's unforgettable "Vegetable Drawer, Black Mold, " written for poet-friend Mary Adams. The final poem in the anthology, Mark Smith-Soto's "Things Sweeten Toward Their End,” is one of the collection's best, and closes out this gathering with the frisson that all good poetry generates. (I still remember how the hair on the nape of my neck danced when I read young poet Emily Smith's poem, "Interview with the Past," in last year's anthology.) This book contains many poems that will sweeten the reader's day, including some by special guest contributor Alex Grant, who won the Kakalak 2006 Poetry Prize. Their work deserves all the readers they can get.—K.S.B. "

from the Poet Laureate's Page (here)

Did you see that part where she said she was drawn to my poem!?! That made my day/YEAR!

Friday, August 3, 2007