One of the oldest literary journals in the country, Southern Poetry Review has been publishing since 1958. There is much to be excited about in their latest issue, Volume 52, Issue 1 (2014). The 44 pages are packed with familiar poets, including Linda Pastan, R.T. Smith, Elton Glaser, and Robert Morgan. This issue is dedicated to longtime SPR contributor Starkey Flythe, Jr., who lived in Augusta, GA, not far from the journal’s home base of Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah.
The poems filling this issue of Southern Poetry Review are accessible and affecting. They talk about our lives: the passing of time, graffiti on a bridge, the dog days of summer, losing a favorite Italian jacket. They remember advice given in between plays in a baseball game, like Jeff Worley’s “Watching the Cubs on WGN with My Father”: “You go with what they give you, Dad said, popping / open another Schlitz. Put everything you have / behind it, take it as far as you can.” They imagine a night at an ancient castle, like “At the Castle,” by WIlliam Virgil Davis: “…The sentries are asleep. Beneath / the walls, through a secret sluice, a dark / boat drifts toward the ancient keep.” And they talk about the way life gets the best of us sometimes, like Mary-Sherman Willis’s poem “Self Spending”: “She’s let herself go, they’re saying / as if her self were a balloon / loosed over the street, its string fraying / or like milk in a hot room / turned to curd.”