Untitled Country Review (ISSN 2152-7903), published quarterly during 2010-2013, features poetry, book reviews, photography, and short works of non-fiction. Thank you for visiting.

Final Issue - Fall-Winter 2012/2013

Thank You

This is the final issue of Untitled Country Review. We are putting the project to bed now, for the same reason that we started it; because, in the words of Mary Oliver:

"…the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
it calls out to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

Thank you for reading.


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Vivian Faith Prescott reviews Navigation, by Brittney Corrigan

Ruth Bavetta – “West of Reno”
Barbara March – “Liquidation Before Winter”
W.F. Lantry – “California”
Connie Post – “Long Haul”
Nancy Carol Moody – “Merwin On Thyme”
Ellen Roberts Young – “Atomic Power”
Lucia Galloway – “Remembering the Carousel Rooster: Epistle #4”
Frederick Pollack – “Target Acquired”

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Brittney Corrigan. 2012. Navigation. 103 pages. Portland, OR: The Habit of Rainy Nights Press.
ISBN #978-0-9746683-6-9
Reviewed by Vivian Faith Prescott

“We are left in this hemisphere/tilted toward the sky/holding our bodies with both hands/both hands reaching—” Brittney Corrigan’s poetry collection Navigation is a cartography of internal and external landscapes; ancestors with stars behind their eyes, a silver mixing bowl at a mother’s brown feet, tumbleweed in the backyard, a place where birds leave in winter.

The collection is separated by four sections: “Mapmakers,” “Sighting the Land,” “Uncharted Worlds,” and “Journeys and Returns.” The poems are written in a variety of forms from couplets to prose poems and poems such as “Wind River,” whose shape, as if following the curve of earth and sky, moves with the words on the page.

Navigation routes the reader through the first section of “Mapmakers” with poems that consider how people make us who we are. About a grandmother, the speaker says, “She grew to make our syllables/like sucking on cloves…”  And in poems moved by grief and illness: “…in your own private/earthquake…” and “…each touch a small ghost/walking through walls…”

In the section “Sighting the Land,” the poems slip into the landscape with images of loons and thunderstorms, lighthouses, nests, and islands. In “Uncharted Worlds,” the speaker marvels at the joy and wonder and grief of motherhood: “she caught this week's full moon to keep inside/of her until it warms to shining,” along with the heartache and passion in loving an autistic child: “that’s not how/we started is it, little one?” 

In ‘Journeys and Returns’ the poems return to a sense of home again, but not in the sense that all is right with the world, but with “how the center of things/surprise us.” Indeed, the poems in Navigation are centered, yet surprising and sometimes aching, conveying longing and wonder, like bright objects fixed on a star chart ready to be explored.

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West of Reno

Driving up old Gold Lake Road
we dodged lumber trucks
careening unpaved curves at heedless speed.
Sometimes they carried but a single log,
one arboreal body so huge
it could not share its coffin,

a trunk that had survived winter storms,
August thirst, September fire,
only to have its majesty laid out,
carried in a breakneck funeral procession
to the lumber mill at Sattley.

Whatever we can learn
from the now-abandoned mill,
the rusted cone which once burned
the dust of trees like these, is offset
by our tendency to prefer roads clear
and paved, wherever they may lead.

Last year we drove to Johnsville, set up
the telescope, stared at whirling galaxies
where no point is fixed,
where stars roam untethered
by charts and expectations.

Something forces us to search
for what attaches us to earth,
to the keening needles of the pines,
water-eaten cliffs abandoned
by hydraulic miners, sound
distilled to tumbled fragments.

We cling to tender surfaces,
the ever-present wind against us.
Riffles cross the lake
broken, mended, broken.

--Ruth Bavetta

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Liquidation Before Winter

her arms folded, a sideways tightening
outside gold leaves free-

fall onward

to liquidation, no
we call it a retirement sale

for change is rich

in its measure of gold,
ounces of fullness written on

a cashier's check once a week,

until the store and her breath
are bare to the walls

--Barbara March

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Streetlights outshine the moon, and all is well:
eucalyptus weave the western wind
but the small rain lingers in its clouds.
She reclines within, a silken form
investigating Heidegger and Kant
for which I have no patience.

                                                 I'm outside
harvesting the last fruits of fall
and clipping cattleyas, which bloom at night
like moonflowers or jasmine: what's it to her,   
whose thought is deeper than habitual?
I'm musing on the harvest or the moon
which, like a rose in wreaths of cumulus,
comes rising from the deserts of the east.

I bear the fruit and flowers to the house:
disturbed, she rises and throws on a dress,
strolls out past bougainvillea, trumpet vines
and ferns I mixed to please her wanton eye,
to her Mercedes Benz: Vivaldi roams
through all the seasons as she drives away

without a word of explanation or
even a glance to say she noticed these
strange birds and blossoms I have gathered here.
Macaws scream overhead, monk parakeets
pillage the avocado, but I close
the front door as the empty rain comes on.

--W.F. Lantry

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Long Haul

When your sleep
is the heaviest thing
you’ve carried all day
you must remember
how to position it
how to tuck it under your chin

When everything is lost
in the gravity of dark
you must act normal
when the doorman offers
to help carry your bags

When large sacks of insomnia
like groceries on your hip
you must learn
where the benches are,
how to settle in
between old ladies
and homeless men
who rest with the pigeons
until dusk

you must step over
the sand man who is now
a war veteran, holding a tin cup

you must find places
to set the dark down
before the bag breaks,

before your nocturne
is scattered across a wide street

and you are left
on your muddied knees,
with no way to sort through
the dark figs, split oranges
rolling down a side alley
where you once prayed

--Connie Post

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Merwin on Thyme
At this altitude
four hundred feet
it will not grow
not even
in this pot I have
chosen for it

further up the mountainside
eight hundred feet
one can see the thyme
such an intricate weaver
of itself
as it steals through
every crag and sinew
the plumes
of its breath rising

no one
not herbalist
nor horticulturist
can explain it

in this advancing hour
one more question

without answer

--Nancy Carol Moody

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Atomic Power

Curanderas have no use for smallest particles,
know plants’ properties vary by the earth,

water, wind in which they grow.  Chemists
diagram atoms linked in hexagons,

isolating compounds from plants that heal,
won’t replicate environments.  It’s enough

to synthesize the complex molecule,
as if its host were irrelevant, as if bodies

were only stacks of atoms, not
columns of energy in constant interplay.

--Ellen Roberts Young

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Remembering the Carousel Rooster:
Epistle to the Despondent Urbanites, #4

Salutations from one who remembers the carousel rooster in Tilden Park circling in jocund docility.  From one who knows not whether that fellow, when the late afternoon fog touched in from San Francisco Bay, noticed the medicinal tang of eucalyptus or thought about hens.  Blessings from one who thought (as well one might) that an egg mobile was something bright and existential above an infant’s crib.  Learned since that privileged hens now travel in wheeled cages, rolled each day to a new spot where they waddle down their little ramps onto new plots of grass (my thanks for this to Michael Pollan).  They peck for new grubs to give their eggs that robust golden yolk.  (Did Mr. Pollan ever meet the carousel rooster—that jolly dinosaur?)  Earthlings all, some of us have known backyard roosters marshaling hens in their enclosures, giving their wake-up calls.  Are we blessed that roosters thrive in their estate?

                        Ruffling loud feathers
                        letting loose muscled vowels
                        he says nothing at all

--Lucia Galloway

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Target Acquired

Remember how, during the Gulf War,
General Schwarzkopf displayed
to an appreciative press corps
“the luckiest guy in Baghdad” –
a driver exiting
a bridge the instant before
a missile hit it?

So many years without élan,
without victory –
I can almost creep out
on the pedestrian walkway,
dust off my jacket, cross. 
But this city
is neither poor, dry,
terrorized, ugly, nor armed. 
Windowboxes and fountains flourish.
Bikes lean against walls.
The statues in the parks have gone
beyond even poets.  Sheets
are white, diagnostic machinery
gleams in the clinics.

It is the city of defeat.

Which is why no one’s here –
I don’t love them, no one loves it.

Thus at least the distant
watchers watching me believe.
It’s fall.  The raptor high above
will fire soon an air-to-ground.
I sit beneath a tree,
its leaves as dense and red
as petals of a generous rose.

--Frederick Pollack


  1. Scot -- So sorry to hear your beautiful and inspiring journal reach its journey's end. And a lovely final issue it is. Moody's "Merwin on Thyme" will haunt for many hours to come. Thank you. I'm honored to have been in your pages. And who knows what's next, eh?

  2. Karla,
    Thank you for your contribution to the journal.

  3. Today is when I learned of Untitled Country Review and visited. Am sorry there are to be no more issues. The ones I browsed are interesting to read and beautifully produced. Am glad the UCR is still up. Hoping to visit the archives again soon to read and see more.


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