The Café Review

The Café Review To subscribe to The Cafe Review, 4 issues/yr, please visit our website: https://www.thecafereview.

Craig Sype - Poetry Editor/Audio
Danny Louten- Art Director
Katie Benedict- Managing Editor
Kevin Sweeney- Poetry Editor
Lucas Diggle - Online Editor
Megan Grumbling- Reviews Editor
Roger Dutton- Typography and Design
Steve Luttrell- Founder and Publishing Editor


We at THE CAFE REViEW are planning to do
a special issue in 2024 to be an issue of
poetry on film.
If you have a poem on or about a favorite film
please consider submitting it !
We look forward to seeing your work !

Join us on Thursday April 27 at the Portland Public Library!Thursday | April 27, 20236:00pm - 7:00pmLocation: Rines Audi...

Join us on Thursday April 27 at the Portland Public Library!

Thursday | April 27, 20236:00pm - 7:00pmLocation: Rines Auditorium, Portland Public LibraryAudience: Adults, Seniors

The Café Review has been an integral part of Portland’s literary scene since they released their first issue in 1989. 34 years later, the quarterly journal of poetry and visual art is still going strong.

Join the Café Review team and its many friends and supporters in celebration of the release of their Spring 2023 issue. This National Poetry Month event includes readings from Megan Grumbling, Kevin Sweeney, Craig Sipe, and Café Review founder Steve Luttrell.

Join us on Thursday April 27 at the Portland Public Library! Thursday | April 27, 20236:00pm – 7:00pmLocation: Rines Auditorium, Portland Public LibraryAudience: Adults, Seniors The Café Revi…

Join us this Thursday, April 20, for a poetry reading at the Gardiner Public Library with Meghan Sterling and our very o...

Join us this Thursday, April 20, for a poetry reading at the Gardiner Public Library with Meghan Sterling and our very own Steve Luttrell. Readings and conversations start at 6pm.

What Rough Beasts: Poetry/Printsby Leslie Moore.Littoral Books, 2021,70 pages, paper, $18.95,ISBN: 978-1-7357397-4-8The ...

What Rough Beasts: Poetry/Prints
by Leslie Moore.
Littoral Books, 2021,
70 pages, paper, $18.95,
ISBN: 978-1-7357397-4-8

The title of Leslie Moore’s book comes from Yeats’s famous poem “The Second Coming.” It’s a bit misleading: In the context of the Irishman’s verse the three words connote apocalypse, whereas Moore’s creatures are for the most part welcome inhabitants of her Maine world — rough around the edges, perhaps, but beloved, nonetheless.

That said, the title poem, with its evocation of a U.S. president inciting a coup, makes Yeats’s dark vision once more relevant. That insurrection and a red-tailed hawk gyring over the blueberry barrens atop Beech Hill in Camden prompt the poet to state “a hundred years and the center still does not hold.”

The book’s opening section, “Naming Birds,” conjures close encounters of the bird kind. Crows receive the most attention. Moore adds to the rich line of corvid poetry (Ted Hughes, Louise Bogan, et al.) with such poems as “Oracle” and “Riddle of the Crow.” In the first, the bird in Japanese artist Ohara Koson’s print Crow on a Snowy Bough speaks to her, but she only hears it “when I wake from my sleepwalk, / when I pause, / when I become / the caw.” In the second, a local crow nurtured on kibbles is “a black panic in feathers.”

A sense of play and humor marks a number of poems. “Naming Birds” questions the decision to call a “carrot-topped bird / in his herringbone jacket and ashy underpants” the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Moore suggests an alternative, “Orange-Coiffed Woodpecker,” whose swagger recalls Cyrano de Bergerac: “Both flaunt notable noses / and plenty of panache.”

In the two subsequent sections, “Visitations” and “Totems,” Moore’s menagerie expands to include fox, bear, flying squirrels, a glass eel, garden spiders, frogs, and other animals found in her Belfast neck of the woods. She is inventive in her imagery: tadpoles squirming inside their eggs are “like crazed commas trying to escape the lines of a poem.” And “Animal Tracks in Snow” delineates the various “fine traceries” of her animal neighbors as they make their way here and there.

Moore ends several poems with an expression of wonder. A chance meeting with a yearling moose leaves her “incandescent”; after watching a loon land on the water, she writes, “I can’t catch up / with my heartbeat.” In “Eastern Milk Snake,” four “fearsome feet” of Lampropeltis triangulum triangulumin the compost pile sets the heart “hammering.”

Moore turns to ekphrasis on a couple occasions, most notably her riff on Dahlov Ipcar’s painting Blue Savanna in the Portland Museum of Art collection. In 18 lines she captures the dazzle of Ipcar’s composition where “wildebeest careen over indigo veldts / zebras zig-zag sapphire shards.”

The tradition of the poet / artist goes back at least to William Blake and his “Tyger.” Moore carries it on with her knock-out combo of verse and linocuts. Recalling some of Holly Meade’s woodcuts, a charming “woodchuck non grata” accompanies a poem about the raids the animal makes upon the fresh vegetables at Rebel Hill Farm in Liberty, Maine. Barn Owl Nocturne and Red-Tailed Hawk in Snow emulate Japanese artists.

Earlier this year, granddaughters Maria and Serita sent my wife and me handwritten transcriptions of two animal poems, “The Little Turtle” by Vachel Lindsay and “The Frog” by Hilaire Belloc. They were reminders of how especially cherished animal poems are. With What Rough Beasts, Moore adds to that precious inventory.

— Carl Little

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Now Do You Know Where You Areby Dana Levin.Copper Canyon Press, 2022,92 pages, paperback, $17.00ISBN: 9781556596339In Ti...

Now Do You Know Where You Are
by Dana Levin.
Copper Canyon Press, 2022,
92 pages, paperback, $17.00
ISBN: 9781556596339

In Tillie Olsen’s Silences, an eccentric, broadly-researched, masterful book published in 1965 about why writers (especially women) don’t write, Olsen states, “Extremity. When overborne, overworn — for a period — one breaks down, gives up, goes under, cannot go on.”

Dana Levin knows what Olsen is talking about. If we’re honest with ourselves, all writers know the precariousness of the writing life. One physical set back, one financial pitfall, one mental health crisis, and a writer can easily absent themselves from the page for years. To write is nothing more than an exercise in persistent presence with the page, but it involves much more luck than anyone would like to admit. In Levin’s fifth collection, Now Do You Know Where You Are, she walks that fine line between writing and silence for ninety-two pages. It’s a thrilling, doubt-filled, harrowingly honest walk.

The book begins in the aftermath of the 2016 election. By January 2017, the poet is in trouble, and so begins the ten-and-a-half-page journalistic poem, “Pledge.” The poet takes the eponymous pledge because her sister “made me take this pledge . . . to write every day for twelve weeks about your feelings (blech).” So much gets expressed in that parenthetical “blech” — is it a burp? A gagging finger down the throat? A casual vomit sound a poet makes when shoehorned into prose? Despite trepidations, the poet follows the pledge dutifully, and while every day doesn’t make it into the poem version, a reader can easily sense the poet’s state of mind:

March 6
Sitting with C., drinking early morning coffee, talking about not being up for the task of being us in this postelection environment, conflict avoidant and inward and hermetic, burrowers, hiders

The passage almost sounds like an introvert’s manifesto, but what’s important to note is that Levin does not fall victim to the silences that Tillie Olsen chronicles. Instead, rather than allow the troubled state of the world to clam her up, she over and over again finds a way to maintain her contact with the page.

The extent of this doubt should not be overlooked. The book is shot through with it. In “For the Poets,” a poem that hoarse whispers in all us poets’ ears, Levin writes, “if only three people like a tweet does anything you offer sound in the forest?” This is the kind of doubt that heads straight to the heart to ask, “why . . . do any of us do any of this?”

Another multi-page, prose-y poem in sections, “Appointment,” speaks deeply to this question, and offers a hero, of sorts, the Body Worker / Mystic Healer Jensen: “Tall and lanky, and his face, in profile, looked like a hawk’s.” He is, in his own words, an “Incarnation Specialist,” who works with the poet to let herself “be completely rewired.” There is much to admire in this poem, from the loose but sincere manner with which it handles the spiritual to the degree of depth it dives into personal story. Yet again, I was drawn to her thoughts about poetry and her trouble writing it: “poetry, marooned inside me. I’d been having so much trouble writing . . . being afraid to write because someone would see it (after four books!)” And while Jensen helps her to be born again as a poet, she also bravely helps herself by staying inside the doubt, finding a way to write in spite of it, and finding a way to allow poetic form to reflect the self.

While there are pages and pages of prose chunks that toe the line between a poem and a journal entry or a lyric essay, Levin also possesses a strong intuitive, experimental expression of line and punctuation. I love the scintillating juxtaposition such disparate forms create in the same book. In the jaw-droppingly austere “Instructions for Stopping,” the pressing physical danger of possible gun violence stretches out into the air as Levin draws the poem out on the page with short lines, spacious stanza breaks, and dashes that Dickinson your breath away. “Your Empty Bowl” goes even further down the line of possible dash usage by interrupting syntax with what seem like section breaks, but are really hyper-extended and drawn out dashes. The effect is like falling down stairs as a snowman.

To end, I want to return to “Pledge,” which turns out to be a poem about the speaker’s agony about putting down her beloved cat. A friend gives the speaker this advice, “maybe what we need is to feel a poet’s love for her dead cat. Haha! But seriously.”

Yes, very seriously. Yes.

— Jefferson Navicky

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Interview with Robert KellySteve Luttrell: Robert, you are a man of many talents and interests and have been engaged in ...

Interview with Robert Kelly

Steve Luttrell: Robert, you are a man of many talents and interests and have been engaged in so many activities over your career, it’s difficult to know where to start. In addition to your own work, however, you have worked on several small press poetry journals in collaboration with other poets and editors. Do you enjoy working in collaboration with others and what have you taken away from the experience?

Robert Kelly: The thing to remember is that we were all young. It’s not only that poetry is written by the young — poetry in its own nature, by its own nature, speaks from and preserves the youthfulness of the mind. Reading it, thinking it. When I began working with other people — Economou, Herndon, Molinaro, Eshleman, Rothenberg, Antin — on various projects including Chelsea, Trobar, Caterpillar, Sulfur, Matter and so on, my concern was to be with people for whom writing mattered. We were trying to speak to find our own voices and use voice to say what we felt, still feel, the world needs to hear so those enterprises of magazines and small presses and all the work that I’m still joyous to have done and been connected with the time turned out to be a way of preparing myself for a lifetime of speaking and writing and caring about what others are saying. Publishing, making public, is speaking in the street; it isn’t about proclaiming oneself, it’s about letting the words that find you find others, it’s about being there for other people. Speaking and hearing became the dominant motive (conscious, semiconscious, unconscious) through most of my life, and it guided me into years of writing and teaching, teaching people as best I could to speak, and to speak from themselves, not to say what I want them to say but to speak what they have to say.

Working with people to speak the word of poetry out loud in a world often indifferent to it, because our society offers so many louder, brighter, things to hold the interest of the young. And poetry is for the young, by the young, and doing it preserves the youth of mind and desire — but you know that. What I learned from working with people is the intense sense of the group, the Company of The Grail that some poets find comfortable, strengthened by their own outrageous distinctiveness, by a sense of union with others just as solemn or just as silly — soul–ly the word once meant — as themselves. So I worked with others to find my own work. We won’t know what the world really is until everyone has spoken.

SL: How does the poem come to you? By what means does it reveal itself, and in what way do you approach the making of the poem? Also, how do you know when the poem is finished and done?

RK: Words say. A word or phrase comes into my head. I go from there. Usually this is at liminal times: first awakening, sleeping time, or moments of sudden silence. A word comes and I follow it. Breath helps. I do not have a plan, or intention, or a ‘meaning’ in view. Meaning comes out of what says itself using human breath. This sounds fancy, but is wonderfully ordinary, language is what happens from us. The poem is done when the words stop. If it were otherwise, the poem would just be saying my opinions (and opinion is intellectually trivial — though dangerous in election years).

SL: In your long writing career you have published well over 50 books. I wonder, what is your memory of seeing your first work in print and where was that?

RK: More than 80 books I guess by now. But I have two answers. First time name in print that I recall being moved by: a long poem in the college magazine, “Midchannel of the Hudson,” about this magical river that flows two ways. Little did I know I would spend most of my life on its shore. But the next six years after that college double-spread were so hard. I felt ready for a book, I had a book in me, you know the feeling. That wait was painful — magazine publications and public readings didn’t make up for the absence of The Book. Then in 1961, through the angelic kindness and sagacity of Jerome Rothenberg, my first book was published by his Hawk’s Well Press; slender, printed in Ireland of all places, Armed Descent. I didn’t feel jubilant, I felt relieved. Now it was real, now I had my visa, and I could get on with my work.

SL: I am intrigued and very interested in your collaboration with your wife, the well–known translator, Charlotte Mandell. I believe you call it METAMBESEN (exploring the fl**ges of words). Could you say how it came to you and how you got started? It seems a very far-reaching project.

RK: Collaboration means to work with, and in the simplest, richest sense, we do it all the time. During the thirty years Charlotte and I have been married, she has read every word I’ve written. And I have read all of her translations as she writes them. Famously, she doesn’t read ahead, so translating is akin to composition — she collaborates with the text. She and I function as First Readers of each other’s work — and the First Reader is a vital figure. When you watch someone read for the first time a text you’ve written, your eyes and ears and breath and pulse tell you how well the text speaks, even before the reader looks up and says . . . whatever.

Collaboration opens a larger and less individual theater. Charlotte and I began Metambesen a decade or so ago. It is named for the stream that runs past our house, coming from the old mines in the far east of Dutchess County. When I first moved here, people still panned for gold in the stream — and found some. I’ve seen the gold dust. Lovely streams, medicine creek for the Native Americans as archeology suggests, flows into the Hudson. So that is Alph, our sacred river.

Many years ago in Detroit, a famous book collector put into my reverent hands a little green covered pocket notebook that Walt Whitman had made for himself. In it, only one page was written on, and that page read only this: the fl**ges of words. Now a fl**ge is what holds an object to a surface, so we must seek out what holds words to words, and more than that, what holds what we have written or spoken to the great company of our fellow beings. The Company of the Grail at its greatest extent. Bring the word to them as best we can. We decided to start an online publication that would make new poetry available to all who wanted to dare it. We wanted to publish books or chapbooks, and to avoid the marshes of money. So each book is formatted as such, and the reader is free to download and print it out. Like a book. No money involved, except the modest cost of maintaining a website — our donation to the Cause. Charlotte and I choose the poets to invite or the texts to publish — and she does all the editorial and formatting for computer work. There is something lovely about a free book — it makes no claim on you but your attention.

SL: I know that many years ago when you were publishing Matter, you published Stan Brakhage. Also, you dedicated poetry to Jonas Mekas. Both known for their contributions to film. I wonder if or how you see the relation of poetry to avant–garde cinema?

RK: I want to spare us both a long trek through the blossoming jungle of anecdote. But two must be told. First, when I was in my early teens my mother gave me a subscription to Cinema 16, Amos Vogel’s pioneering venture in bringing experimental films to a wider audience; Sunday showings at the elegant Paris Cinema on Barbizon Plaza. I was faithful, and learned much.

Second, in a 2nd Avenue café a man came over and introduced himself, Stan Brakhage, just arrived in NY from SF where he’d been close to Duncan and Jess. He explained that Duncan had urged him to seek me out, that he and I had something to tell each other.

Years later I still am grateful for Robert’s gesture, especially since Brakhage’s work so clearly makes visible the deep connection with poetry as I understand it. Briefly: I was already thrilled by the urgent sense that a poem is an act, an action, word summoning word, words carried and held together by the breath. The excitement of Olson’s “Projective Verse” was with us all. The poem is not a planned out statement of opinion. It is a song of immediacy, the song of breath right now, in the act of speaking into the poem speaking out the mind of the moment. And there was Brakhage, and all his comrades, though he was and is the best exemplar of the unscripted, un-plotted exuberance of vision.

I loved movies as a kid, went every afternoon I could, but when I grew up a bit, I wanted on the screen what I wanted in poetry — not the script, the pre-existing story that movies then and now insist on trying to control our time and vision with. The avant–garde film was giving us right now, the eternal now of the writing and the making, reading, sheer seeing. (The scholar and theorist P. Adams Sitney in his writings and communications played a huge role in making poets and film makers aware of one another’s achievements.)

In Brakhage’s later work, the hand-painted films, he reached exactly the instantaneity of gesture that marked my sense of the poem — no more frames, a pure continuity. I envy that purity still, I still write in words, love words, am a child of my mother tongue.

SL: Do you think that maybe poets put too much faith in the ability of language to convey thoughts and feelings to others in any meaningful way?

RK: Convey is the problem word here. I have learned to keep faith with the words — without faith in them, if you put it that way, but I do not ask them to convey. My writing is not for the most part messaging. Yes, I write love poems sometimes, and greetings and long poems that language lets me keep from being just letters home. But for the most part, I find myself writing down 95% of the time what the words tell me. I enter the act of writing with no intention but to do my job — that is, to let language use what there is of mind and energy and vocabulary in me, helped along by my breath, to make something that has not been said before. Whether precious, trivial, magnificent, doesn’t much matter — make it new, Pound famously said, without exactly specifying what ‘it’ means. For me, it means a new constellation of words that has not been there before. I sense it as my job to give as many such new texts to the world as I can. Along the way, yes, language sometimes lets me write to people something I want to say. But mostly that’s what the phone is for, text messaging, chalk scribble on someone’s door. Say something that has not been said before — the words do all the conveying needed. Don’t look at me, I just wrote it down. Ask it what it wants. It is there now, out there to be used, for you.

SL: One of the seemingly predominant strands that runs through your work would seem to be a strong interest in mythology. So, as contemporaries, teaching in colleges less than 100 miles from each other, I wonder if you ever met or had any correspondence with Joseph Campbell?

RK: Mythology gave me the license to perceive the divine, the hidden power intrinsic in ordinary people. Aphrodite is not just sleek stone shivering in a museum, she is alive in that old woman watching swans on the lake, in a girl learning to play tennis, even in that young man smiling as he watches wind in the trees. Mythology peoples us. The gods of myth are forces and even facts that we humbly, fiercely, learn to embody. In Tibetan Buddhism, a ceremony called empowerment connects you with a deity — you don’t worship the deity, you become the deity, and do the deity’s work in the world as best you can to benefit others. As the great master T’ai Situ Rinpoche once suggested, it’s not about being a Buddhist — it’s about being Buddha.

No, I never met Campbell, though I read his books with reverence and benefit. I didn’t know he lived nearby, never thought to seek him out. But I think of him with gratitude, as I do of Jung, whom I never met either and regret it still. That articulate and compassionate mytho-therapist James Hillman was as close as I came to the Jungian tradition of using myths to mend our lives.

All the magisterial voices I knew were the poets. . . . mythos in Greek meant originally ‘word.’ Myths come back to life in their poems, new names, new perceptions of deific reality awake in their poems. Rilke, Yeats, Apollinaire, Pound, Duncan . . . I only ‘met’ one of them but I meet them every day.

SL: There are some poets who feel that poetry must serve a political function, poems of protest, social commentary etc. It became a very popular genre in the 60s during the war in Viet Nam. What would be your thoughts on this subject, and have you ever engaged in this activity?

RK: Human decency commands us to struggle against all the attitudes and energies that lead to racism, sexism, antisemitism, despotism, all the fascisms of thought and feeling. Every art has its own weapons and methods for our struggle, and each artist has a personal range of gestures and deeds to work with. Some shout like Mayakovsky or Ginsberg, some whisper like Lorca or Celan words and textures so deft and gentle that they awaken kindness, human feelings, even love in the reader.

Language is social, societal. Language is society itself. Every word we speak or write down takes its meaning from, shares its potency with, the world of those who speak that language. From that point of view, all poetry is political in its sway. Words prompt thoughts, prompt action, dislodge old ideas . . .

SL: Who was Paris Leary? And how did you come to co-edit a popular poetry anthology with him?

RK: Your question, seemingly from left field, is welcome, since it gives me a chance to speak gratitude. Albert Paris Leary and I met through print, as poets do, and we corresponded meaningfully. He was from Shreveport, but had spent years studying theology and literature in England, and was ordained there an Anglican priest. Back in the United States he was working at Bard College. One of his students there was the vital young poet Jonathan Greene, whom I had met a few times in New York, when he and Charles Stein were high school students of the rapturously articulate Belgian-American poet Armand Schwerner (read him!).

In late spring of 1960, the college suddenly found itself in sore need of a German teacher. Jonathan and Paris thought of me, who had worked the last few years as a translator of German scientific and medical articles. They got me invited to Bard, and after some hesitation (what was this place way out in the country?) I accepted a generous offer to come teach German. I came. In a year or two I was happy to shift into English Lit, and at Bard I remained for sixty wonderful years.

So I have much to thank Paris for. Not just my lifelong job — through his connections, we were able to get Doubleday to do, and do correctly, our anthology which they (not we) named A Controversy of Poets — Paris choosing the more decorous, more traditional poets, I the madmen and free verse. A year or two after its publication I read the royalty statement, and realized that through our efforts, sixty-five thousand people had read Zukofsky. And through that same connection, Doubleday published my first novel, The Scorpions.

Paris left Bard after a few years, and we fell out of touch. His novel The Innocent Curate is worth finding.

When I think of all that Bard has given me, and all the young poets who worked with me lured by that anthology, I realize that Leary gave me more than I can adequately thank him for.

SL: Over the years, many of your poems have appeared in various small press journals. What do you see the future of small press poetry being, in print form? Do you see it ever going online only, or do you see the tactile value of it as being an object of art in and of itself, that will continue to exist albeit to a small audience?

RK: As long as we have bodies we’re likely to want books. Matter is holy, we love things. Our hands are hungry for something to hold while our minds work and our eyes read. We sit there and our arms and shoulders get in the act. Our clothes have pockets yearning for things. There is something about matter which I call holy, something that shows up when we read a book. The look of the type, the contrast with the color, pale or dun, of the page, the page itself stiff or yielding, thick or thin, easy to flip or needing a licked fingertip to turn. Tiny physical things, but they affect the way we read, the way we think, the way we feel while we’re reading. So I’m all for a future that has books, chapbooks, pamphlets, hand-outs, flyers, postcard poems — things we can get our hands on, comforting, bodily, alongside the wonderful inventions of so recent time, computers, devices, phones, tablets with print size as big as you like, high contrast (so important for people with visual problems, who are, alas, too often ignored, even online, especially by overdesigned websites), no storage space required — books online, hurrah, we built our Metambesen with that in mind, yet every book on our site is formatted so as to be read page by page online, readily printed out on paper — to be a book at last, not just a string of words. In that way, both modes of reading are available. Though there is great beauty in the fleshless aether in which online poetry can so quickly find its way to readers all over the world, a new gift from the gods of language.

If I allow myself to guess, I think as I have said that there will always be physical books in the world, and especially I expect poetry to form a large portion of such triumphant paperwork. Poems typically are small, intimate, slow, ask for reflection — look away from the screen, look down at the page.

But what poetry will be there on the page? Two kinds I think: the urgent writings of the new generation, almost compelling itself to produce books that can go from hand to hand, inscribed, written in, cherished. The new commerce of print-on-demand makes that even more available.

And then there are the big publishers, who survive by being big and selling big, and the university presses — they usually publish poetry when the poet is safely dead.

And the young are alert to feeling, to the implicit and the potently unusual, they make time their own. Just as so many younger music lovers delight in old vinyl, and making new vinyl, so the lovers of poetry will always be anxious to get their hands on the actual.

So don’t give up hope. To my hylonoetic mind, one of the great things about online publication of anything is the sparing of trees. I rather hate it that we kill trees to print poems on — though we can read that as the trees’ self-sacrifice to aid human consciousness.

SL: Robert, you’ve been a teacher for more than half your life. What do you feel this experience has given you that you value most?

RK: ‘Teach’ seems to come from an old word meaning to point out. So a teacher is someone who stands there and says, “Look at that. Look again. Look close, closer . . . ” So presumably the more things teachers know and notice and can point out to students, the better teachers they are. But the reason they’re standing up there gesticulating, the sole reason and justification for all their gestures of word and deed and tone, is the students. Good students make good teachers — it’s as simple as that.

What has been the greatest joy of my years teaching is the sheer quality of so many of the students who graced me with their appetite for writing and learning.

So professional poets, writers, and scholars active in the world have worked with me, some closely, some from afar. Many of them express their gratitude, but I haven’t had much of a chance, till now, to thank them for what they have given me. Giving and receiving, telling, and hearing — they are a single dance. If they don’t ask, I don’t know to answer. The student summons the teacher’s awareness, makes the teacher put together in meaningful array all the bits and pieces accumulated over time, makes the teacher formulate in order to inform. Most of what I think I know, I know because of talking to them — and listening to them. And when, beyond all that, I think of what I have learned from listening to younger poets whistle my tunes and improve my songs and add a little of me to their own amazing gifts, I am humbled. Many came to me as real poets already, already writing strong work before a word of ‘teaching’ bothered them, I am humbled anew. They taught me how to help them onward. And when I think of other poets who came to focus more on poetry while near me, I feel glad to have been an impetus.

More poets in our world! What more could I ask? Poets who speak clearly more than they know, who sing, faithfully as they can, what the trees and cities and rivers and ancient monuments and subways and science and Love itself tell them.

SL: Robert, this interview could go on forever, you have done so much in your career, it’s hard to know where /when to stop, but here would seem to be as good as anyplace. Thank you so much for your talent, time, and patience! ONWARD!

RK: Steve, I am grateful indeed for all your questions — and half a dozen more that came to mind but did not get asked. You’ve given me an opportunity to express some of the gratitude I feel for the people and situations that have sustained me and inspired me to writing and action.

When Edward Gibbon, author of the huge Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was presented to King George, the King smiled and said “Scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr. Gibbon?” I thought of that a few years ago when I had the chance to offer a newly published book of mine to the great T’ai Situ Rinpoche at a formal offering ceremony. He took the book and smiled and in a whisper asked “What number book is this?” I guessed eighty. I keep trying to do, and help others to do, the task we are born to perform, to speak the word.

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Craig Sype - Poetry Editor/Audio Danny Louten- Art Director Katie Benedict- Managing Editor Kevin Sweeney- Poetry Editor Lucas Diggle - Online Editor Megan Grumbling- Reviews Editor Roger Dutton- Typography and Design Steve Luttrell- Founder and Publishing Editor Wayne Atherton- Archivist

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First Order of Things. The poem is by Wang Ping from the latest issue of the Cafe Review - the Chinese issue - which I just rec'd in the mail.
For the song I only put the last eleven lines of the poem to music. love singing these words. It was my birthday yesterday and I spent several wonderful as in wonder filled hours singing this poem into song.

Another excellent review of Between Lakes in The Café Review! With thanks to Mike Bove for his thoughtful attention to Jeffrey Harrison's work.

"Despite the intricacy of their subjects, the poems in Between Lakes are not tangled....Harrison’s tight lines are simple in the best sense of the word....Strong writing happens when the poet, after years of practice, engages the machinery of flow to achieve something that appears to have been effortless."
Audio clip for the poem "Diary in self-isolation" recently shared in The Café Review
Thank you The Café Review and Steve Luttrell for the invitation to be part of the Spring edition of this beautiful poetry/art magazine published in Maine.
I was also thrilled to see New Brunswick artists Schofield and Romeo Savoie featured in the same issue.
Teachers and professors: with Lit Mag Adoption, integrating literary magazines into course curricula is easy, and comes at no cost to you. Participating magazines include A Public Space, Alaska Quarterly Review, American Chordata, Bone Bouquet Journal, Brick, A Literary Journal, Broadsided Press, The Café Review, Carve Magazine, Colorado Review, The Common, Conjunctions, Creative Nonfiction, The Fiddlehead: Atlantic Canada's International Literary Journal, Flock Literary Journal, Friction, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, Ninth Letter, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine, Rain Taxi, River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, Salamander, Sinister Wisdom, The Southern Review, The Timberline Review, and more!
A recording of the one and only Bobby Byrd reading some of his poetry on The Café Review ... Our favorite: "Early Morning, Front Porch."
OPEN CALL: THE OPEN COLLECTIVE is a mentorship program for LGBT poets in New England between the ages of 18 and 28 who have not received a college degree nor are currently enrolled as matriculated full-time students at a university or college, yet have an aptitude for poetry. Applicants need to be open to constructive criticism for the purpose of revision. If you fit this criteria and are interested, or know of someone who would be interested, the application instructions and more details can found here:
The Spring issue of The Café Review features a new poem by Bruce Whiteman, 'The American Poet Ezra Pound Recommends Peanut-Butter to His Italian Friends' - click the link below to have a read.

Bruce Whiteman's 'The Sad Mechanic Exercise' was no.40 in our Devil's Whim Occasional Chapbook series.