Modern poetry & art by the contemporary Cleveland artist & poet Steven B. Smith
Smith - contemporary poet

ArtCrimes 7
Mary Grimm
Ohio Writer
Sep/Oct 1989

ArtCrimes 7
June 1989
Guest editor Christopher Franke
Publisher Steven B. Smith

ArtCrimes 7 is all purpose.

This issue is subtitled "Metapoems, Antipoems, & Notpoems" and most of the contents follow along, so it is a self-reflexive and backward and inward looking volume - poets examining themselves and their work and art, illustrated amply by visual poems by Joel Lipman, Steven B. Smith, and Christopher Franke, and by graphics by Mother Dwarf Smith and others.

Bill Polak has a mysterious poem, "The Leviathans... Dateline: U.S. of A....," which features poets as whales. It is tantalizing: The metaphor is compelling, but falls short of the poem's intention.

"Posey's Song," by Max Stark, has a great rhythm and voice, but does not seem to fit into the volume.

There are two poems by John Bennett, of which I like "School's Out" better; it begins "Cloud thickens at the end of my / sight like a cold like / air full of clay and the / trees bare." They both show his knack for making a poem from metaphoric bits of daily-ness.

F. Keith Wahle's "Not an Actual Emergency" is another poem that seems to be merely a poem, and not anti-, meta- or un-, but it has a galloping rhythm, like a psalm perhaps, an incantation against nuclear evil.

I very much liked "For Gerald Manley Hopkins" by Kristine Dugas, beginning, "Years, I know nothing. Knowledge runs through my hands / like sand grasped in a dry river."

I also liked Russell Atkins' "Transit," Robert McDonough's "The P.E.S.," Daniel Thompson's "Women at the River's Edge," Ben Gulyas' "Poem on the Possibilities of Any Given Day," and Alois Zimmerman's "The King of the Hippies."

My favorite visual thing was Steven B. Smith's "Blank Verse," which was like a graph or hieroglyphics in which you couldn't fill in the blanks because they are opaque, filled in already.

One technological quibble: the table of contents lists the contributors alphabetically instead of in the order they are in the book - I hate this.

Return to Reviews

· excerpts from Smith's interview with Mark Weber
·a smattering of Visitor Comments
· next Newspaper Article
·see Artcrimes #20


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