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Thanks and Praise for San Pedro River Review

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The latest issue of San Pedro River Review includes a poem of mine.  More on that below.  It’s an all poetry journal which fits some sixty poets into an issue.  Some of the names are familiar to me from their submissions to Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, which makes me feel that there is indeed a community of poets.

And I like the fact that they don’t print the poems in order by the poets’ last names (being a Young, this has often bothered me) but take the time to arrange the poems in an interesting sequence.  This is something I’ve recently learned to do as an editor of Sin Fronteras.

The poem they’ve printed is, for me, a longer one called “Crossing the Heartland,” It draws on over a decade, now past, of driving from New Mexico to Maine and back every year.  It attempts to combine the routine of such travel with the ruminations of the mind as one drives.

Wind hits the car as an old
eighteen-wheeler without deflector passes.
Shielded in metal and glass we drive
for hours between corn fields and bean fields,

Here is my view of two familiar highways:

U.S. Highways, sensible and straight
in the west, trick us: Highway 54,
so lean and lovely through Kansas,
winds into Missouri hills, the main street
of bustling lakeside resorts.  Highway 50,
broad and smooth into West Virginia,
turns Appalachian, weary, worn
and ragged as the homes it passes.

San Pedro River Review is edited by Jeffrey and Tobi Alfier.  It comes out twice a year.  More information can be found at http://www.bluehorsepress.com

Road Maps

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William Least Heat Moon’s book Blue Highways is one I enjoyed reading when I was younger.  It celebrated the lesser roads which were blue on road maps.  Not the least of roads, but roads that went to small towns off the U.S. Highways.

When the Interstates came in someone decided that their color should be blue.  Now another color was needed for the lesser roads.  On most maps I’ve used the U.S. highways were and still are red, except where they’ve been turned into limited access roads and are then entitled tobe colored blue.  What to color the lesser roads?  Our American Map uses orange for the secondary roads and yellow for those which are only “other paved roads.”  A nice color scheme.583 map 1

Except for the fact that colors carry emotional weight.  Blue is a color of hope “the wide blue yonder,” “the sky’s the limit.”  Orange is the color of danger.586 road sign 1

Orange is used for warning and road work signs because, as I have come to realize after seeing signs ahead on the road for years now,  it is the most visible.587 road sign 2

But orange as a line on a map doesn’t call us out the way blue suggests possibility.  And those big blue highways don’t lure us out, they command, insist.  Driving the big blue roads is a matter of minutes and miles, not of countryside and new impressions.585 map 2

Our U.S. map book is several years old now and we thought we should get a new one.  We have it in the car, but we don’t use it much.  The big blue roads look much like the roads in the old book, but all the other roads, major and minor, are pink.  We can’t get used to it.  What does pink have to do with going someplace? P1000588