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#11, Spring 1994

134 Humbolt St.
Santa Cruz CA, 95060

250 pp., $14/2 issues

Edited by Nathaniel Mackey. A recent scarlet manifestation of HAMBONE continues the journal's decade (plus) streak of vigorous and elastic editions, presenting high-quality lyricism by 30 important writers from various locations of place and verse. The cover's skeletalized figures dancing with elbows and knees locked, and, wordwise, the excerpt from Will Alexander's "Isolation, Neutrality, and Limbo" particularly illustrate HAMBONE's serious though not always grimacing organism of poetics forms, where "breath and bone" remain the writing giving waters. Labyrinthine as ever, HAMBONE #11 begins with Tan Lin's "Anyone Can Perform//an interlocking series of 'random/codes' or information patterns..." and subsequently takes the reader through Ed Roberson's urban heron-watching reflections, three "Odes of the Extravageted" by Gustav Sobin, Willard Gingerich's detailed interview with Armand Schwerner, and "The Delights of Memory, I: Lily," a one-act play by Jay Wright, among many further complementary and sophisticated strands of poetry, telling and singing. Alexander's piece, addressing an "environ of upset, of weakened gregarious eating," in which "carnivorous instigation will more fully evince its unseasonable tremor, creating collapse by orchestration," is a fulfilling meditation on the curiosities and whirlwind of our Babylon, a call to action, to realization, and, actually, to kindness for our worlds, "no longer swayed by rewards, by ego-centered missives and doctrines." Don Byrd's "Manifesto: Culture War," a partial condensation of his discursive prose of the last decade, also seeks "to find the way from misery to felicity." As ever, HAMBONE distills one of the more energizing reading experiences on the American poetry scene.--Chris Funkhouser

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #5,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1996.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press