Jack Ross, ed.: Spin 39 (March 2001)
The long-running Spin returns with yet another solid issue. The magazine/journal has long been known for publishing a wide variety of poetry, and in the March 2000 instalment  the tradition continues. The work ranges from Jill Chan’s short and somewhat choppy “Image” to the languid and oddly-themed “A Clearer View of the Hinterland” by Jack Ross. Often edgy and occasionally rather harsh, Spin is an excellent starting place and sounding board for contemporary poetic endeavour.
So Wayne Edwards in the Californian Small Press Review [issue no. 334-5 (11-12/2000): 18]. I think I can live with “languid and oddly-themed” (I have been feeling a bit languid lately: too much absinthe, maybe); after all, he has lots of other nice things to say: “solid … a wide variety of poetry … edgy … rather harsh … an excellent starting place and sounding board.” It sounds a bit like one of us dictated it to him over the phone.
We didn’t, though. Don’t you just love Americans – saying all those lovely things about us for free? “God bless the U.S.A., so large, / So friendly, and so rich”, as W. H. Auden once observed (“On the Circuit.”)
Don Hoyt, another American friend, in his on-line review of Spin 33 [at http://www.webwritersworkshop.com] calls it “New Zealand’s most challenging literary journal,” full of “‘norm bursting’ poems by English language writers from the islands and beyond.” I dunno what that last bit means, and I can imagine what the editors of Poetry NZ, Landfall, and JAAM (or Brief, for that matter) would say about that “most challenging literary journal” thing. It’s clearly well-meant, though. Don goes on to comment: “How B. Z. Niditch of Massachusetts got in here, is a mystery.”
No mystery. He sent some poems, we liked them, so we printed them. I know there have been some complaints here and there about the number of Americans and other “foreigners” (Australians, Brits, Argentinians, etc.) appearing in some issues of Spin, but really, what’s the big deal? Personally, I have no desire to live in a poetry ghetto, and the idea of actually building the walls yourself seems – to say the least – a trifle self-defeating. Do we seriously doubt that the Kiwis can stand the competition? A country that produces poets as various as Jill Chan, Grant Duncan, and Richard Taylor is hardly at risk of succumbing to blandness. I’ve tried to fit in as many of you as I can. Hopefully the results speak for themselves.