The Variety and Richness in Branch Redd Review issue 6 Literary Journal by Bill Sherman
(Edited & published by Bill Sherman, Branch Redd Books, USA, 2002, pp 80, £5/$10. ISBN 0-9615784-8-3)
BRR edited & published by Bill Sherman is one of the most admirable literary Journals. It is marked by genuine autobiographical touches. Sherman has brought to his Journal a wide experience of literature, sincere sympathies, and a rich sense of humour. Sherman is unhappy due to lack of public interest in the English translations of the poetry of Dagny Juel, along with ” the deep feminist introduction” by the translator, Norwegian poet Hanne Bramness.
As I came to know that the issue Number 6 would be the last one, I wrote to Sherman that such highly accomplished quality Journals deserved more publications.
The Journal is highly informative. For example, we are told about Pound’s insistence that the “hyacinth girl” in Eliot’s The Waste Land was not Marianne Moore. Besides, BRR has the last four letters Asa Benveniste wrote to Sherman. AB died in 1990; Tom Raworth’s obituary appeared in Critical Quarterly (Volume 32 Number 5). The four letters alone are worth the price of the Journal. What is good about the letters is the enormous vitality of relations between Sherman and Asa Benveniste. The inter-relationship illuminates us about Sherman’s life, his “health crises”, “longstanding hangups with women”, and his book Pango Pango.
The Journal is unusual in presenting rare facts: Hawthorne’s daughter, Phoebi Merivale, donated the manuscript of MARBLE FAUN to the British Museum. The Journal contains 2 circular poems by Richard Kostaelanetz, and ” Death of the Poet Arthur Rimbaud 1854-91″ by Asa Benveniste. The phrase “the blunt economics of murder” indicates that Asa Benveniste is psychologically more penetrating than most of his contemporaries.
The content of the Journal is enriched by some of the finest poems of Michael March, Boris Vian, Paul Vans, Patricia Clare Lamb, Jeremy Hilton, Bill Sherman, Frances Presley, C.C. Gilmore, and R. W. Ferrara. Ruwayda Rifka’s “The Blue Note” proves that the variety and richness of BRR is quite bewildering.
Bill Sherman from NJ, USA is Ph.D. in English & American literature. He has taught at the University of Hull and The University College of Wales. He is the author of Tahitian Journals: In Search Of Taata Mata, published in London by Hearing Eye Press and Editor of Branch Redd Review. Eric Mottram says, “A certain wry self-knowledge surfaces in William Sherman’s letters, and its humour and obsession articulates his writing.”