May 1999


Editor's Note

Philip Levine real video greetingFor years, T.S. Eliot had the last word on the month of April, declaring it, "the cruellest month." In 1996, The Academy of American Poets designated April  a month of celebration, and proclaimed it National Poetry Month.

This year, April was especially eventful for TCR.  Mid-month, Co-Editor Guy Shahar and I attended the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Conference held in Albany, New York.  The TCR booth was next to Ralph Adamo of The New Orleans Review.  We could not have asked for more spirited company than Ralph and the neighboring folks at Penguin Putnam, Meridian, and The Denver Quarterly, to name just a few.  During the conference we enjoyed the company and conversation of John Rosenwald and Ann Arbor of The Beloit Poetry Journal, Peter Johnson of The Prose Poem, Don and Diane from Poetry Daily, the staff of XConnect, and Shoshanna Wingate and Mary Gannon of Poets & Writers.  We taped several video greetings at the convention which are available online. We look forward to an encore next year in Kansas City, MO.

We also held the first of our poetry readings which was videotaped by Shahar Productions.  April 24th was a night of Clerihews, hayforks, comets, onions, and Southern grace at Borders Bookstore in Arlington, Virginia, with poets Henry Taylor and R.T. Smith.  Henry Taylor did the Charleston, Rod Smith held up a can of Spam, and Guy Shahar read a Clerihew to Henry Taylor invoking his name.

On April 28th, Mark Bibbins, Gregory Djanikian, and Kevin Pilkington treated a packed crowd to a reading of their poems at Posman Books in New York City.  They were assisted at the reading by the two resident cats in the store.  Both readings are available online in Real Video.

We participated in Robert Pinsky's vision of the Favorite Poem Project with a tribute of our own in Real Audio.  Each week, a different poetry lover read their favorite poem.  Among the participants were Billy Collins, Mike Neff, and Robert Pinsky himself.  (Billy Collins proclaimed April, "National Dog Month.")

May arrived, and the frenetic pace of National Poetry Month subsided.  Guy and I visited Philip Levine at his new apartment in Brooklyn, New York.  We spent a serene Sunday afternoon conducting an interview with him for this issue.  We found Phil to be a very down to earth person and poet, both insightful and generous with his answers.  What more can be said—he's Philip Levine. Thankfully, he has come back to us, and New York welcomes him with open arms.

Issue Seven also marks the first appearance of Dante in a literary magazine exclusive on the Internet, translated by Pulitzer Prize-winner, W.S. Merwin, and read by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky.  Merwin's translation of Purgatorio Canto XXXI appears for the first time.  We welcome David Lehman, Thomas Lux, Linda Pastan, Billy Collins, and others aboard with new work; all of whom, except for David Lehman, are making their online debuts.  John Kinsella, R.T. Smith, and David Shevin also return, and David Kennedy reviews David Lehman's latest book.

We'd like to thank Krista for her expedient transcription of the Philip Levine interview and DeWayne Rail for his clarification of some of the recording.  And to the rest of the dedicated TCR staff: Dawn, Ginger, Christine, Tony, and Renee for a magnificent job.  Their hard work, patience, diligence, and understanding have helped to make Issue Seven our best yet.  The live tapings of the TCR readings would not have been possible without the help of Jonathan, Eric, Robert, Gabriel, Shari, James, Daniel, and Monique working with Shahar Productions.

We'd like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to India Amos at the Academy of American Poets, Sam Gillete at Borders Books in Arlington, Virginia, Tom Padilla at Posman Books, New York City, Rod Smith, Henry Taylor, Mark Bibbins, Gregory Djanikian, and Kevin Pilkington.  Most especially, we are indebted to Robert Pinsky for graciously filling in for W.S. Merwin at the last minute.

Finally, enjoy Issue Seven of TCR!

—J.M. Spalding



Editor's Note
Copyright � 1999 The Cortland Review Issue SevenThe Cortland Review