…Journal Spotlight

The California Journal of Poetics gives us the scoop:

First of all, thank you, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, for your interest and support and for inviting us to introduce ourselves to your readers!

The California Journal of Poetics (CalJoPo) was founded in April of 2011. In 2014, we transitioned from a fluid blog-roll format to an annual serial format, and our first official issue launched in December. We publish original poetry, poetry in translation, art, comics, critical essays, reviews, interviews, and other poetry-related pieces (like “Po-Chops” and our annual “Blurby Awards” for the best poetry book blurbs of the prior year).

We’re proud of our first issue, which features original poetry from more than a dozen emerging and iconic poets, ranging from Kim Addonizio, Nick Flynn, Valzhyna Mort, and D. A. Powell, to David Tomas Martinez, Helwig Brunner, and Rae Gouirand. It also features poetry-related (loosely defined) artwork and comics by the likes of Bianca Stone, Charles Jones, Mel Chin, Julian Peters, and T. Jay Santa Ana. Not to mention our interview with Robert Pinsky about his life after Slate (a follow-up to our previous Pinsky interview), a review of Dan O’Brien’s War Reporter by Ruben Quesada and Brian Kornell, and the first ever online appearance of Ann Lauterbach’s epic 16-poem eulogy “Alice In the Wasteland” in its entirety.

Although much of what we publish is “serious,” we also like to have fun! The Blurby Awards are one example, and “Poets with Animals on Them for No Reason” is another. Here, Whitman, whether he likes it or not, gives an otter a lift:

Whitman with an Otter on Him -- (by Brandon Lussier)
Whitman with an Otter on Him — (by Brandon Lussier)




In addition to our more lengthy, serious pieces, and our dashes of humor, we believe that paring a poem down to its bare bones is a worthwhile exercise in thoughtfulness. We publish close readings of entire poems as well as smaller pieces we call “Po-Chops,” which are delightful little examinations of a few lines or a stanza that have incredible power and/or beauty and often speak volumes on their own. The following example hones in on lines from “A Short History of Friendship,” by G.C. Waldrep and John Gallaher:


“…what looked like / part of the performance / was often just a lightning bug, or a planet / a chip of mica in the road. We clapped anyway.”

Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (Boa Editions, Ltd. 2011), a tremendous collection of collaborative poetry by G.C. Waldrep and John Gallaher, is electrified by lines such as these found in “A Short History of Friendship,” which have the spirit, specificity, natural elements, and depth of haiku. The lines could stand on their own without the reader having to know a single detail about “the performance,” which could be any number of life’s glittering spectacles.

The power of these lines is intensified by the dismissive tone of “just” and “anyway.” While witnessing an unnamed, man made, and surreal spectacle of fire and lasers, the speaker and other observers see additional glimmers of light which they believe, momentarily, to be part of the performance; but they are “often just a lightning bug, or a planet / a chip of mica in the road.” The downplay of these phenomena—a bioluminescent insect, a celestial body, a shard of geologic history in a modern roadway—works to intensify their extraordinary nature and their unlikeliness. Each glimmering object represents millions, if not billions of years of formation, transformation, or evolution. Like fire they are ancient, archetypal, and continue to inspire awe (and applause!), even in an age of lasers.

(by Carrie Moniz)


Our goal as a journal is to share high-quality, innovative work with the world and to encourage thoughtful and intelligent conversation about poetics.

We are currently accepting submissions for Issue 2. Anyone with questions or inquiries is free to contact us. We can also be reached via facebook and twitter.

Thank you for taking the time to get to know us. We look forward to getting to know you, as well!


The CalJoPo Editors


note: this is the first of a new series where we invite other journals and publications to tell a little bit about themselves. If you'd like to be featured in this series please send an inquiry to other [at] queenmobs [dot] com


Brandon Lussier's poems and translations have been published in Harvard Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, and elsewhere. A former Fulbright Scholar and NEA fellow for literary translation, he works at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Carrie Moniz is a poet and artist from the San Franscisco Bay area. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Ploughshares; Superstition Review; Yellow Medicine Review; Suisun Valley Review; Third Wednesday; Corium Magazine; An Island of Egrets Haiku Anthology; A Year In Ink, Vol. 4; San Diego Poetry Annual; and Web del Sol Review of books, among others. When she isn't writing, editing, or tutoring children in English and math, she works as an interior designer. She divides her time between the Bay Area and San Diego.

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