Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Literary journals have been around for a long time; the oldest being the North American Review, and the oldest continuous one being the Yale Review.  Here at Sewanee, literati take pride in the Sewanee Review which was established in 1892.  Today there are the “ezines,” or online journals, which include prestigious publications like Evergreen Review, Story South, Unlikely Stories, and numerous other journals online that are eyed askance by the print publications but which contain arresting stories, poems, and articles.

A newcomer on the literary journal scene is one that I’ve mentioned in previous blogs – the Pinyon Review, a journal published in Montrose, Colorado by Editor Gary Lee Entsminger and Managing Editor, Susan Elliott.  The May issue of this journal just arrived in my post office box yesterday, and like any poet hungry for publication, I searched for my poem “In Memory of Mint,” which is included in the journal.

As I’m a Louisiana native and also live in what I call "misty, moisty Sewanee" part of the year, my eyes were drawn to the cover photograph of a spring blizzard by Rob Walton that was more reminiscent of foggy mornings in both locales and of the 19th century Louisiana artist, Drysdale, and his famous misty landscapes.

Poetry comprises a large part of the Pinyon Review, and among the well-known poets featured is Dabney Stuart, whom Gary describes as a “master of the English language and highly acclaimed poet,” the author of 17 volumes of poetry, most recently Pinyon Publishing’s Greenbrier Forest.  Three of Stuart’s poems are included, but the minimalist poem, “Times’s Body” particularly resonated with me:

The skybell
with neither clapper nor dome

Air draws
words into its passing,
nothing in some other
guise, time’s

Snow fills the bell,
gathers into its tolling,


Stuart’s collection of poems for young readers that inspire wonder about the animal world was published by Pinyon in 2010 in a volume entitled Open the Gates and included enchanting paintings of porpoises, lemurs, doves, water buffalos, and other animals rendered by Susan Elliott.

Gary and Susan treat us to the first chapter of the Fall of ’33, “Turtle,” in this issue of the journal, alluding to “something happened that changed everything,” a chapter which should titillate readers to order the book and discover the happening that changed everything in a family in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains during a train ride west – a story that includes Indian and mystical ancestry in Virginia, dating back to Shakespeare’s time and even earlier.

Julia K. Walton, a newcomer to the journal, wows readers with her textile artwork, incorporating repurposed fabrics.  Walton creates patchwork, appliqu├ęs, collages, rag rugs, and acrylic paintings, drawing her ideas from nature and colors natural to the environment.  Her set of Nine Green Britain and 1 Austerity Britain of flags comprising patchwork quilts with cotton and cotton mix textiles is an arresting picture among three “Fire Horse Textiles” photographs in Pinyon Review #3.

Another art chapter entitled “Watercolor Baskets” by Mary Moran Miller presents interesting colors and forms in baskets made of heavy watercolor paper.  The paper is painted, cut into strips for weaving, and made into baskets.  I was attracted to “Harlo, 2011,” a basket 18”x4”x2” in different shades of blue and formed in a conical shape, an interesting vessel that Miller describes as “holding my ideas.” 

A friend and academician laughed aloud when she read Richard Cecil’s poem entitled “Faculty Annual Report”:

Honors: None Grants and Awards: Zero.
Course Development: Taught the same way
as always for exactly the same pay.
Conferences—attended/session leader: No.
Professional Activities.  Trudged through snow
to school in January, through rain in May.
Publications (novels, stories, essays):
Poems in small journals (see below).
Volunteer Activities: None.
When I did work, I didn’t work for free;
in unpaid time, I loafed or else had fun.
Service in the University:
Attended pointless meetings of committees.
Attended pointless meetings of committees.

These are just a few of the contributions in the third issue of Pinyon Review, another significant collection of literature and artwork published in a small cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado -- a journal of “diverse styles and techniques,” as publisher Gary Entsminger describes the latest edition of his literary publication that celebrates the arts and sciences.

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