Review: Cider Press Review

Reviews

I’ll start with a confession. Many years ago, I dabbled in poetry. Haiku, sonnet, free-verse. Villanelle. Sestina. Name the form, I tried it.

But today’s world is no place for a poet, at least not for one with skin as thin mine, so I laid my quill aside and, with a sigh, set my sights on more prosaic pastures. My own failure as a poet, however, gives me great admiration for anyone who stays at it, and even greater admiration for anyone willing to provide poets with a venue, an area in which to be appreciated. Caron Andregg and Robert Wynne, the co-editors and publishers of Cider Press Review, have done just that, and their journal is not only a labor of love, but a bastion of hope for struggling poets and poetry lovers everywhere.

The latest issue of the journal opens with a poem titled “About the Type” by Marilyn McCabe. As its title suggests, the poem consists of an imaginary note on the type in a book set in a font called Requiem. Yet Requiem, the poet notes, has fallen out of use. The irony, of course, is that while the typeface is no longer used, it is, nonetheless, the typeface used in the book that the poet imagines. In many ways, it can be argued that this is the state of poetry in the modern world: while the pundits of cultural production and mass media may insist that the poem is a form of communication that is itself “now out of use,” poetry continues to resurface and prove that reports of its death are grossly exaggerated—as demonstrated, of course, by Cider Press Review and other journals like it.

Another poem in this edition of CPR that caught my eye was “Night of Broken Stars” by Brian Lutz. Ostensibly a love poem, this piece takes the conceit of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 into the free-verse realm of a gothic American October. Where Shakespeare finds beauty in the black wires of his subject’s hair and the reek of his subject’s breath, Lutz finds beauty in “the undusted room” and likens it to the “second hand/of working things ticking.”

Overall, Cider Press Review does a wonderful job of collecting the poetry of new and exciting voices as well as that of award-winning poets from around the world. The latest issue is nearly 150 pages long, perfect bound, with a bright, beautiful cover. If you’re a poet, you certainly can’t go wrong in subscribing to this gem of a journal.

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