Saturday, June 3, 2017


For years, every Sunday afternoon at 2, o’clock, Gary Entsminger, editor and publisher of Pinyon Publishing, spent several hours on the telephone mentoring his Aunt Jean Zipp in creative writing; later publishing her memoir, Windows: Letters to Ayla, and her poetry in several issues of the Pinyon Review. When Entsminger learned that his Aunt Jean was dying, he continued to encourage her poetry writing, even through the last few weeks of her life, and this month he dedicated Pinyon Review #11 to her, featuring Zipp’s last three poems. This issue of the Review, a journal that celebrates the Arts and Sciences, is a salute to Entsminger’s 94-year old aunt who died in Tucson, Arizona. Jean Zipp had led a multifaceted life as the wife of a serviceman, creating a tactile art gallery for the blind, owning a toy store, working in interior design, and, finally, writing a fascinating memoir. Pinyon Review #11 is a tour de force — by far, the finest issue published by Entsminger and Susan Elliott, artist and co-editor of the Review.

I do not usually tout my own poems that have appeared in the Pinyon Review from time to time,  but I’m especially proud that four of my poems were featured in this handsome issue celebrating Jean Zipp’s life — three lead poems and the end poem written about Zipp’s demise. For the memorial issue, Susan Elliott created a sketch entitled I would like you to keep calling every Sunday at 2, an ink and colored pencil sketch on paper in Zipp’s honor, and Entsminger dedicated a poem entitled "Listening to Liszt and Chopin" to his Aunt Jean, a companion piece for Elliott's sketch.

Pinyon Review #11 showcases a variety of poets and artists, beginning with the cover painting, “By Invitation,” an elegant work of art that gives the reader the impression that he’s looking through a window at a brilliant sunrise or sunset. It was executed by Les Taylor of northern California, a music coach who has found her passion in visual art.

Nine Great Blue Heron images of digital art by Steve Friebert (brother of poet and translator Stuart Friebert ) are scattered throughout this celebratory issue. The first photo of a heron facing a page of poetry looks as if he’s announcing a signal event; in later frames, the great bird (so prevalent in my native Louisiana), is shown fishing and making spectacular liftoffs, then soaring into the beyond.

Friebert’s photographs seem to be a metaphor for Zipp’s take-off into the other world, later emphasized in her poem, “Fine Tuning”:  “If I were to live each day/As if it be my last/I’d have to forfeit custom/Rescind the on and on/Cantata/A petition to Infinity/I sing./ Contingency strikes mocking chords/There is dichotomy/Although they prove me hapless now/I’ll tune them/Presently.”

Robert Lake continues the metaphor in his poem, “Spirit Wings,” then notes that when he finished typing his poem about “A bird/Flying ever so high/Disappears/Within a silver lined cloud,” he observed two doves landing in the persimmon tree outside and thought that Aunt Jean’s spirit was poised to leave the earth. A naturalist, Lake works with glass plate photographic images of Yosemite National Park from the early 20th century.

Many of the poems and photographs focus on the natural world and the ecosystem; e.g. “Solar House Living” by Carla Schwartz “with each new day,/with each new visitor, wonder,/questions,” the voices and images taking readers into sacred places and beyond.

Michael Miller, a poet in western Massachusetts, gives us a brief metaphor of love derived from the natural world in “River:” “Our love is the river/That flows on,/Through darkness, through light,/Over rocks and between them,/Unable to stop.”  Miller has published three volumes of poetry with Pinyon and focuses on brevity of style and understatement in his lyrical phrasings.

Readers are also treated to one of Stuart Friebert’s translations of Elisabeth Schmeidel’s “Mein Clown” (“My Clown”). The translation speaks of the clown as an “escort of my soul…[which] grows quiet too, whenever/love wanders over the graves/pale as a shadow…” Although the poem wasn't intended as a requiem poem for Jean Zipp, it, like many of the poems in Pinyon Review #11, emerges as an expression of the departure of the soul into another realm.

A short story, “Casino Man,” by Neil Harrison, a plethora of notable poets, digital paintings by Jay Friedenberg…this memorial issue for Jean Zipp celebrates her passing with art and song, “singing surrender to a larger life.”

This is a banner issue of Pinyon Review, a tribute to an aging poet who continued to contribute until her passing last month. Pinyon Review #11 is available from Pinyon Publishing 23847 V 66 Trail, Montrose, CO 81403.

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