REVIEWS : : Marking the Magic Circle
The result of [Marking The Magic Circle] is not regional literature, strangely enough, at least not as I imagine it. The boy running away from school and hitchhiking…could be any of us….
—Anita T. Sullivan, Corvallis Gazette-Times, 1987
Venn's poetry has been celebrated among Oregonians for some time. Now they can see Venn's versatility….
—Paul Pintarich, The Oregonian, 7/5/87
[Marking the Magic Circle] is a superb evocation of the sense, the meaning, and the values of times and places…. the book is prima facie evidence that the concept of regionalism is so rich and lambent that only the creative act can begin to articulate it.
—Louie Attebery, Northwest Folklore, Spring, 1987
This is a thoughtful, sometimes wonderful collection of essays, short fiction, and poetry….
—Booklist, April, 1987
George Venn is one of the foremost serious regionalists in the Northwest, and one of its fine poets…. For me, Marking The Magic Circle is a "best of Venn" collection and the best of Venn I find in the excellence of his poetry and the insights of his essays on the grounding of Northwest literature in its native place….
—Glen Love, Northwest Review, 1988
...Venn's text is an example of continuity "among language, experience, and environment." It is a defense of regionalism in the best sense, by both example and precept. All this is not new, but it is humane. And it is universal in its impulse because it is aware of other regions and their intimacy….
—Carol Long, Western American Literature, 1988
Marking the Magic Circle will be read, talked about, argued about and the ripple ring will widen in a much bigger pond that Venn would have guessed…. His name will be mentioned in the same breath with Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, and William Stafford, as well it should….
—David Memmott, Ice River June, 1987
This is the kind of book that makes one wish more writers had the interest and ability to explore their worlds of consciousness in different literary forms and that publishers would make them available. The pieces collected here fit together well, forming a natural habitat.
—Nathan Douthit, Publishing Northwest, Sept/Oct 1987:5
George Venn, in this collection of poetry, fiction, and essays both personal and literary, challenges his readers to root themselves in the strength of home, rather than looking for direction to far away intellectual and political centers. His writing resonates with the reality of life in the Northwest — the spiritual richness of a life lived in harmony with the requirements of place, and the problems of unemployment and poverty faced by so many in the region. In his literary essays, Venn explores the rich variety of the Northwest’s literary heritage, and undertakes to convince those who live in the region of the value and authenticity of this heritage. Venn’s blend of creativity and scholarship is unique in the Northwest, enriching both his scholarship with a poet’s vision and his poetry and fiction with a deep understanding of their context and roots in the region’s literature.
—Jo Alexander, “Marking the Magic Circle,” OSU Press, 1988