The Fourth River

Lit World Spotlight: Tenderloin

By on February 12, 2015

Eat Your Meat

–by associate editor, Sharla Yates


noun: tenderloin; plural noun: tenderloin

1. the tenderest part of a loin of beef, pork, etc., taken from under the short ribs in the hindquarters.

2. North American informal

a district of a city where vice and corruption are prominent.

It may be odd for a vegetarian to love TENDE RLOIN, but I do.  Easy to digest, fulfilling, complex in texture, and rich in flavor—it’s a staple in my diet. And by diet, I mean the poetry I read. Sure, I could extend this metaphor further, but let’s leave it for now—like a slab of meat steaming between us.

TENDE RLOIN, an online poetry journal about corruption, behaves more like an art gallery than a journal.  Each month, editors Mel Coyle and Jenn Marie Nunes, showcase one poet and his or her work. Each issue includes the poet’s bio, 5-10 of his or her poems, a link to hear the poet reading those poems, and an interview.  Sometimes there are extras as well. For example, issue 37 includes a link to Chris Shipman’s review of poet Chris Tonelli’s first book The Trees Around.

This unique journal or gallery is a chance for the reader to get to know the poet and experience a variety of his or her work.  Under the submission link, there is a an explanation of Coyle and Nunes’ intentions: “The tenderloin is a district everything. Poetry everything. The district everything forms a community. The community of your poetry. We want to interview you. Look at your face. Show you off.  Take you to the dentist.” There’s room here for the poet to indulge and be indulged.

I appreciate how the tidy webpage makes reading easy and includes the link to archives where I can read past issues at my leisure. Because TENDE RLOIN is celebrating its third year, that gives plenty back issues to choose from. Issue 33 featuring Colleen Barry’s poem, “part one,” speaks to what I sense each time I open the journal:

louise understands selflessness is boring

she wants you to walk into a room where she is also

and think: something is really ripe in here

really festering

I understand that for some holding poems in your hands may satisfy you in ways online reading cannot. I’m pleased to say that in March of 2014 TENDE RLOIN published its first chapbook: BEGLESS by William Burke, and may have more in the works. So give TENDE RLOIN a read. Go ahead. Take a stab at it. Savor each bite.