Friday, September 1, 2017



Spillway 25 edited by Susan Terris
(Tebot Bach, Huntington Beach, CA, Summer 2017)

I suppose it’s fitting the Spillway 25’s theme is “HELLO & GOODBYE” for it’s the last issue edited by Susan Terris. With seven years of editing Spillway and, before that, RUNES, Terris has been editing poetry journals for 17 years. She describes this last Spillway issue as giant with “about 150 poets…, almost a 70-year age span from the oldest to the youngest, …poets from 34 U.S. states plus six overseas. There are several poets here whose first published poems are in this issue. Mixed among the lesser-known names are some well-known ones.”

Significantly to me, she ends her description with, “And BTW: I’ve never met most of the poets whom I publish.” That’s the way it should be in that the statement implies a close focus on the works. Looking at Spillway 25’s contents, then, says something about the editor who compiled the poems—and what they say is that Terris has fine judgment with a nice openmindedness about the forms of poetry. This does well for her theme in showcasing some fresh ways that one might think about “HELLO” and “GOODBYE.”  (For full disclosure, I note that one of my poems is included in this issue.)

One of the more interesting HELLOs for me is Jane Hirshfield’s poem:

And one of the more interesting GOODBYEs is Juleus Ghunta’s poem:

I cite one example each of the theme only as the bulk of the poems meet Terris’ hope for the issue—that the issue “will move you, will make you cry and still find some ways to make you laugh." Here are the contributing poets:

Laughter, indeed, is a fine goal and here’s an example that actually combines both HELLO and GOODBYE-- David Alpaugh’s poem:

Because this is Terris’ last Spillway issue, the journal also does well to present an interview of the next two editors, Marsha de la O and Phil Taggart. The interview, conducted by Spillway’s Essays and Reviews Editor Lynne Thompson, is illuminating. Here’s the last Q&A:

Is there a question I haven’t asked that you wish I had? Answer it anyway!

There’s always the question of how poetry functions in a visual/digital multi-tasking age. We think one of the functions of poetry is to create an altered state, and to do that through concentration and inner listening. Poetry is the counterpoint to the age, and in a troubled time it is especially vital and needed. Sound is the physicality of poetry, but also it incantation. If we think of a magic spell as a set of charged words with the capacity to transfigure, to bring a being into wonder, to alter reality, that charge is the fundament of poetry as well. And how is it done—with repetition, with alliteration, with mystery, with sound as a means of intuiting the invisible, of discovering the unseen in the depths, like echo location. When whales sound, they dive deep.

It sounds like Spillway has a great future ahead.

And the poetry world thanks Susan Terris for her service!


Eileen Tabios is the editor of Galatea ResurrectsHer 2017 poetry releases include four books, two booklets and six poetry chaps. Most recently, she released MANHATTAN: An Archaeology (Paloma Press) and Love in a Time of Belligerence (Editions du Cygne/SWAN World). She does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor, but she is pleased to point you elsewhere for recent reviews of her work: T.C.. Marshall reviews MANHATTAN for The FilAm Magazine while Joey Madia reviews it for New Mystics Reviews. Her books have been released in nine countries and cyberspace. More info about her work at

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