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580 Split – 2004

Reading the contributors’ prior publishing credits creates a kind of funky experimental poem of its own—Can We Have Our Ball Back? 10 Tongues, slapboxing with jesus, Pie in the Sky, baffling combustions, doomdarling.com, Good Foot, The Sour Thunder, Da Word, A Very Small Tiger, Skanky Possum—a reflection of the journal’s irreverent and innovative tendencies. Reading the contributors’ prior publishing credits creates a kind of funky experimental poem of its own—Can We Have Our Ball Back? 10 Tongues, slapboxing with jesus, Pie in the Sky, baffling combustions, doomdarling.com, Good Foot, The Sour Thunder, Da Word, A Very Small Tiger, Skanky Possum—a reflection of the journal’s irreverent and innovative tendencies. And true to form, this issue of 580 Split is a wild, experimental ride in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, the language of mathematics (Shanzing Wang’s mother tongue and his geometry) and the language of neologisms (Elizabeth M. Young’s  “throughosmosis” and “doublesuch.”) But there’s no mistaking experiment for pure fun and games here, this is serious work, tackling meaningful themes with provocative aesthetic strategies. And there’s no mistaking one experiment for another, Juliana Leslie’s poem “almanac” is as different from Lee A. Tonouchi’s “Da Secret Origin of Oriental Faddah,” as any two more conventional pieces might be. As expected in experimental writing, there’s an abundance of wit, sarcasm, irony, and humor, but also pathos, even earnestness, and a uniquely pleasing sort of lyrical sincerity: “the linguist approach to your suffering” writes Sarah Mangold in “Aloha,” one of many memorable poems that make this issue of 580 Split worthwhile. [www.mills.edu/580split]

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