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Literary House

“As If” Helps Cherry Tree Bloom


Date: January 20, 2016
With its inaugural issue, Cherry Tree: A National Literary Journal @ Washington College, is living up to its moniker, as well as its mission to feature new works by emerging and established writers.

One of the poems included in Cherry Tree, Julie Kane’s “As If,” was selected by renowned poet and critic Edward Hirsch for the 2016 edition of Best American Poetry.

Hirsch’s selection of Kane’s poem positions Cherry Tree amongst the likes of The New Yorker and Poetry Magazine, long-running publications well-respected by the selection committee for Best American Poetry.

Kane’s poem was a clear favorite among Cherry Tree’s founding editor Jehanne Dubrow, her fellow faculty editors, and her staff of student screeners, who Dubrow says are trained “to look for pieces that pay close attention to the relationship between form and content, that use language beautifully but also to speak about important matters, and that risk something emotionally and/or intellectually.”

Dubrow developed a course, “Literary Editing & Publishing,” specifically to prepare student screeners for the task at hand. In addition to providing hands-on training in the process of editing and publishing a top-tier literary journal, the course includes extensive research and discussion of nationally recognized literary magazines and covers topics such as a publication’s mission statement, its aesthetic vision, and its editorial practices.

“As If” stood out to Dubrow and the students both for its rich content and imagery. “Julie Kane’s poem is a brilliant sonnet that tells quite a very big story in its 14 lines,” Dubrow says. “That Kane can do so much in such a short poem, each line filled with vivid imagery and furthering the narrative, is what makes the text such an impressive, high-wire act of language.”

James Hall, the poetry and creative nonfiction editor of Cherry Tree, was drawn to the intense language and structure of the poem. “There was so much tension and propulsion in the language itself, which is characteristic of Kane’s work in general.  Like Professor Dubrow, I was immediately drawn to the way Kane interweaves the personal and the political,” Hall says.

Edward Hirsch, the 2016 guest editor of Best American Poetry, is the author of the national bestseller, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry. He has also published nine books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems, which anthologizes 35 years of work, and Gabriel: A Poem, a book-length elegy for his son that The New Yorker calls “a masterpiece of sorrow.”

The second issue of Cherry Tree will be available on February 15, 2016. Presale and subscriptions for Cherry Tree are available here.  Best American Poetry 2016, published by Simon & Schuster, will be available for purchase in September.

Last modified on Feb. 25th, 2016 at 4:14pm by Meghan Livie.