The Cortland Review

Dorianne Laux
"Dog Poets" by Dorianne Laux.

Dorianne Laux
Five poems by Dorianne Laux.

This marks an author's first online publication Carl Adamshick
This marks an author's first online publication William Archila
Wes Benson
Roy Bentley
Michelle Bitting
Kim Bridgford
Stacey Lynn Brown
Grant Clauser
Michael Dickman
This marks an author's first online publication Matthew Dickman
This marks an author's first online publication Geri Digiorno
Cheryl Dumesnil
Molly Fisk
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Kate Lynn Hibbard
Major Jackson
Greg Kosmicki
Keetje Kuipers
Michael McGriff
This marks an author's first online publication Philip Memmer
This marks an author's first online publication Jude Nutter
John Repp
R. T. Smith
This marks an author's first online publication Brian Turner
Book Review
"Sister" by Nickole Brown—Book Review, by John Hoppenthaler.

Book Review
"Superman: The Chapbook" by Dorianne Laux—Book Review, by David Rigsbee.

Dorianne Laux

Joan Grubin

rows of torn white paper fragments whose backs are painted with alternating fluorescent colors create strange flickering color combinations, as the reflected color blends with color seen through the paper.
(acrylic on paper, 7" x 8.5", 2008)  

Editor's Note


The Apostles of Poetry

I recently moved to Raleigh to teach at North Carolina State University, missing the graduation of my last group of MFA students at the University of Oregon. I taught there for nearly 15 years, inviting each successive generation of students through the swinging doors, pushing them out two years later. I would also miss my undergraduates, many of whom had gone on to various MFA programs around the country. But with the advent of email, Myspace and Facebook, I've managed to stay in touch, and am always pleased to hear from a former student, excited by the news of a publication on the horizon. When The Cortland Review asked me to guest edit the April Feature around a theme of my choosing, I quickly decided to use it as a way to showcase the poems and books of students I've worked with over the years. I've chosen from those who have published at least one collection, along with some fine poems from TCR's current submissions pile.

What you will see is a cross section of writers from all venues of my teaching life: my UO days as well as graduating classes at Pacific University's burgeoning low residency MFA, and in addition, students I've worked with at Esalen Institute in Big Sur where I teach yearly with Ellen Bass and Joseph Millar, as well as students from my early days of private teaching in the Bay Area. The present selection certainly refutes the notion that workshops, programs and conferences are factories, churning out cookie-cutter poets. Each voice here is strong, unique and self-possessed. Make no mistake, these students arrived with their talent already deep in their pockets. They read and wrote themselves to where they are now. My pride comes from having watched them struggle and grow, dedicating themselves to a project that will garner them little beyond the satisfaction of having committed themselves to a life of poetry and a way of being in the world.

The books they've published are the product of years of steady labor, often in addition to the physical labor of waiting tables, stocking shelves, filing, answering phones, sweeping up. One student worked fighting forest fires during the summer, one baked loaves of bread, another was a tech assistant, one left to soldier in the Iraq war. Many, coming into the program, had families or began families soon after. Some managed to find jobs teaching what they love in high schools, community colleges, private schools, universities. One teaches at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and another began a reading series at the Syracuse YMCA, all of them, in their own way, spreading the word. And throughout they have helped one another along, celebrating each success, small or large, and commiserating over each failed attempt or rejection. They have supported each other and are now a tribe within the tribe. They have their own ways, their own words, and are making their own new world.

And now I have a new crop at NCSU. I'm reading the fledgling manuscripts of my first set of graduates. And my undergraduates have started to meet on Sundays at the NCSU library. They can't get enough of the poetry stuff. They bring books of poems and read aloud to each other. They bring words and phrases and objects then write for an hour side by side, practicing together, trying to breathe the necessary air into their poems. They call themselves The Church of Whitman. I call them The Apostles of Poetry. They are the next tribe coming up the pike. Watch out for them.

—Dorianne Laux



© 2009 The Cortland Review