amongst books

amongst books

Friday, April 04, 2008

Canadian poetry journals I enjoy-part two

Rampike (founded 1979, English Department, University of Windsor) publisher/editor Karl Jirgens “feature post-modern art and writing from around the world with a strong focus on Canadian expression.”

I enjoy this magazine because each issue feels like a constant reinvention. This is due to the fact that each one revolves around a theme and that theme provides the tone. The other thing I particularly enjoy is the space Rampike gives to visual poetry with large full pages. (I have to say that the large print of the publication is easy on these aging eyes, which is a bonus.)

Last issue read: Vol 16, No 1, special issue: Conceptualisms featuring fiction by Stan Rogal, and Neil Scott, poetry by Fred Wah, Steven Ross Smith, Paul Vermeersch, Natalie Zina Walshots and others, texts by Derek Beaulieu, Gary Barwin, Christopher Dewdney and more, graphics by Jesse Ferguson, bill bisset and others, reviews by rob mclennan.

When you pick up a copy of this magazine, you just know you are going to be exposed to some of the freshest, most innovative writing and text art today. Some of the highlights of this issue for me were

"Pays Maya" by Fred Wah for its fresh meanings, movement through colour and his deft touch;

Steven Ross Smith’s poems, particularly “When I get nervous, I’m narrative,” (if you haven’t read his fluttertongue series, you should);

Gary Barwin’s magnificently inventive “The Orthoscendant Yodel of the Megascule”;

Jesse Ferguson’s beautiful visual poem “Internal Medicine,” which is a full human skeleton with one side made up of letters;

Carol Stetser’s gorgeous visual poems from “Mappaemundi”;

an excerpt from “ARABY” by Tom Dilworth with starts brilliantly like this: “Already exhausted from penetrating 412 pages of tough, onion-skin anthology paper,/I swim through water lilies”;

Paul Vermeersch’s poem “Ode to A. Proteus” which seemed masterfully elegant and eloquent in its simplicity to me.

By referring to only a few of examples, I am nowhere near doing Rampike justice. It’s a fantastic journal with works from all over the world. The site features some extra content, including editorials from some of the issues.

How to Obtain: The annual subscription is $18 and individual journal prices are $5.00. Mags and Fags always carries this too, for you Ottawanonions.

One of my favourite recent issues was a special issue on Frank Davey (Vol. 15. No 1)
and since I wrote about Open Letter, the journal he publishes, in my last post on Canadian poetry journals, we’ve come full circle.

I also wanted to mention that since the last post, I have received a new issue of Open Letter, which is a special issue on bpNichol to coincide with the publication of The Alphabet Game by Coach House Press this year. In her introduction to this issue of Open Letter, Lori Emerson, one of the co-editors of the Alphabet Game, writes that in the 70s, Davey gave bpNichol a section of the magazine regularly to do anything he wanted. Very exciting!

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