Wednesday, November 18, 2020


I wish that Gary Entsminger, former editor and publisher of Pinyon Publishing, had lived to see Pinyon Review #18, the journal he and his wife Susan birthed during his lifetime. This latest special journal with hand sewn Japanese Stab Binding on Mohawk Loop Inkwell Vellum EcoWhite Paper is a limited edition dedicated to Stuart Friebert. The work of Friebert, poet and translator of international fame, first appeared in Pinyon Publishing’s inventory with the award-winning book, Floating Heart, and his work remained a constant contribution to the publications of Pinyon until his death this year.

Susan Entsminger, now editor and publisher of Pinyon Review, introduced this special edition with a brief poem of her own entitled “Perspective,” and voiced the lament that the “sequences” in her life, “which had become as sacred as ritual” are no longer (referring, perhaps, to the sudden death of her beloved husband, Gary.) However, she also speaks of “staying suspended in the universe,” a phrase attributed to the poet, XIA Haitao, whose work appears in this issue of Pinyon Review.

Some of the outstanding authors who have appeared in former issues of Pinyon and whose books have been published by this independent press include Chuck Taylor, Luci Shaw, Martha McFerren, and Neil Harrison. However, more recent poets such as XIA Haitao will transport readers into vistas overlooking the sea from the summit of Mount Tai in China and from which Susan Entsminger derived the line, “Only when you stay suspended in the universe,” in her introduction to this issue of Pinyon Review. During this time of Covid-19, the particular line that resonated with me and inspired me to read further was XIA Haitao’s long poem covering almost ten pages about a mountain that “has been standing/ since 2.4 billion years ago/in silence as if nothing has ever happened/to him.” It’s a tribute poem that illustrates the lastingness of both geographical formations and poetry, and the appearance of Chinese script, side by side with the poem enhances the format of the translation and contributes to the international flavor of this artistic journal published in southern Colorado.

I loved the imagery about a Religious figure in Mark Mitchell’s “Past,” in lines like “…Relics lack/substance, but they can grow real again. She/kept holy cloths handy in case someone/happened past her room — they must never see/through the spells she’d been taught by evil nuns…” The imagery reminded me of supernatural inhabitants in the works of New Orleans author Anne Rice’s works about other world spirits. Mitchell’s poem is brief but is a powerful evocation of the “also world,” which a Religious friend calls the afterlife.

Maria Roca’s contribution of “It’s Always Windy in Portbou,” translated from the Catalan by Sonia Alland and formatted side by side with the Portuguese version, features more of Susan’s placement of multilingual renditions and is a gusty lyric that “pushes a train car over and it falls on the tracks like an enormous dead animal…blows with sudden blasts…everyone tousled with hair blown backwards or forwards…” The poem will remind Louisiana readers of the furious hurricanes that beset Acadian residents in Louisiana each year. Powerful phrasing that describes“windows trembling and beds shaking," may be traumatic for southern Louisianans, but the translation redeems itself with the line that concludes “everything [is] purified by the wind.” However, as a part-time Louisiana resident, I would venture that we’d rather not experience that form of redemption,

A special section by Richard Kent is another example of Pinyon’s photographic surprises. Kent introduces ‘Lessons in Recursion’ in which a recursive image of a scene captured in photography may alter a viewer’s perspective of an ordinary landscape. When Kent encounters blank wooden signs in which messages have been erased by wear and time, he creates “recursive progressions” or transformations of place by photographing landscape scenes and placing the images on blank signs, some of which might startle viewers as they travel through various states. Seven signs showcase his complex photographic representations, several of which are attached to trees throughout the US.

As usual, this Pinyon Review #18 is a small masterpiece, a volume that will invite new readers and delight old ones as well. This edition is a wonderful tribute to Stuart Friebert and to the Entsmingers for preserving outstanding literary and artistic contributions. It contains some of the creative output of our country’s best word and visual artists.

Copies available through links above or snail mail from Pinyon Publishing, 23847 V66 Trail, Montrose, CO 81403.



Jo Ann Lordahl said...

Wow Diane - terrific as usual - Jo Ann

MaryAnn said...

Hello Diane,

What a wonderful review of this book!
Hope you and Vickie are doing well midst the pandemic and enjoying life despite the difficulties. Andy and I are well and greatly missing the folks of St. Mary's community.

Be blessed! Looking forward to the time when things return to "normal" and we can enjoy fellowship together again.

MaryAnn Gay
FYI My mother fell, with no broken bones fortunately, but lots of pain to add to the pains of her arthritis and neuropathy. She's in rehab now for another week and not a happy camper. Would appreciate your prayers for her.

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