...Book Review ...Fiction
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by Jack Alchemy and David Gershator
For the first time, MAG RACK highlights online mags.
Suggestions re sites welcome. Forward to firstname.lastname@example.org
Review copies of printed mags via domestic US Postal Sevice to:
PO Box 303353
St. Thomas, VI 00803-3353
The Heron's Nest is a 15 year old online haiku mag, now archived back to its founding year. It appears online quarterly, but the editors haven't given up on paper yet. An annual anthology comes out in April. The Heron's Nest is a good place to start for those who like their poems small and succinct. Old hands and beginning"haiku master" represented.
Some stand outs in the March 2014 edition: the Editor's Choice Award went to Bob Lucky (Ethiopia):leap year
once a year my brother dies
no matter what
And here's a few additional Gershator picks:
Mark loves Mary forever--
Jay Friedenberg (New York)
"You are here"
Barbara Snow (Oregon)
paul m. (Rhode Island)
Jack Alchemy says, "For the non reading public of the future, haiku is a great format."------------------------------------------------------
In the June 2014 issue of Pedestal (the next comes out in December), editors Bruce Boston and Marge Simon selected 15 poems and prose poems, "strange tales, inventions, and observations," which they call speculative poetry. A surreal, archetypal, and mythic cast pervades these pieces. Check out Jocko Beniot's "Kafka's Notebook" and Lee Ballentine's long poem "Ultima Thule"-- here's the first stanza, off and running:out of the solitary spirits
out of their solitary treasons
out of the fallen cake of knowledge
and the sweet lens of forgetfulness
Editors John Amen and Daniel Y. Harris selected three "Hybrid/multi-genre works," which in this particular issue are all short fiction that purport to cross the border into non-fiction and memoir: Chris Deliso's "Some notes on the inflection of 'lobster'," a clever mock academic treatise on language; Andrei Gurianu's "The Distant Beautiful," a kind of memoir, written in the poetic and philosophically cliche spirit of the young romantic; and Stephen Dawson's "Kujawski's "The Myth of Religion," a "transcript" of a professor reading a (fake) paper by Igor Kujawski, "a scholar who needs no introduction" (the introduction follows of course). The so-called transcript includes deletions, garbled words, comments, digressions....
Eleven appreciative book reviews round out the mag on a high note.
The winter 2013-2014 issue of Mad Hatter's Review features a wide range of visual art--photographs, prints, drawings, abstract and folk art--plus an extraordinary series of intricate tapestries by Shawne Major.
Multimedia pieces include videos of Andrew Keating's drawings, animated; Carol Novack and Jean Detheux's shimmering dream death meditation; and audio clips of musical compositions and poetry read to music.
Among the fiction offerings, Dawn Wilson's rant at the cultural wrecking ball, "Atlas, Holding Out," Meg Tuite's short takes on childhood, and Susan Tepper's "String," a classic tale of understated desperation. A one act play by Yussef El Guindi, "The Review," embraces personal, political, and writerly concerns--funny and poignant, reads like a short story.
The poetry (by 56 poets!) leans to a selection influenced by the use of disjunction, displacement, experimental line breaks, abstraction and "poetic" language which on occasion, despite the emphasis on technique and vivid imagery, can come across as dry and soulless rather than engaging. Among the many poems that grabbed our attention were those by Fedor Svarovsky, translated by Alex Cigale, represented by two arresting narratives with a surreal science fiction quality and one tongue-in-cheek praise poem for an office functionary. (For more about the poet, the non-fiction section includes an article by Peter Golub and Alex Cigale.)
John Amen's poems are fresh, yet down to earth and accessible. From "self-portrait advent of autumn"...you've abandoned one riddle for another
you're playing yr part
until some sensitive god on a fast track
singles you out for yr 13th labor
Rob Talbert's off beat narratives zig zag onto another plane in a mix of lyricism, surrealism, and humor. From "Galloping":Everything meets somewhere:
a mouse and a broom, a deer and a car.
Mad Hatter's editors and guest editors provide a rich, varied smorgasbord--an array of offerings in several styles and genres, both literary and artistic. The format is good for dipping or systematic exploration, with easy access by genre and specific contributor.
Altogether, an impressive undertaking.