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Ascent – Spring 2005

If you have ever wondered why so many high school students graduate with an indifference to literature; if you have ever considered the impact of war literature on young people whose heroes are largely provided by electronic media; if you have pondered the best words for the dying and what it means to be profoundly changed by a relative stranger, then, by all means, find a quiet corner and put yourself in the good company of this issue’s authorial minds. 

If you have ever wondered why so many high school students graduate with an indifference to literature; if you have ever considered the impact of war literature on young people whose heroes are largely provided by electronic media; if you have pondered the best words for the dying and what it means to be profoundly changed by a relative stranger, then, by all means, find a quiet corner and put yourself in the good company of this issue’s authorial minds. There is plenty of fiction and poetry here, but it is the non-fiction that shines with powerful, elegant prose. Thomas Washington’s thoughtful, cheeky essay chronicles his salmon-upstream attempt, as a high school librarian, to promote a campus-wide reading period (p.s. the resistance wasn’t from the students). College teacher Gail Hosking Gilberg, whose father died in Vietnam, has high hopes—and an existential weep—for students challenged by Tim O’Brien’s magical-grit war fiction. Jim Dameron contemplates both the words and the silence of death, while Richard Goodman’s volunteer service as a companion for an elderly woman foments an inner revolution of sorts. All are gutsy and weighty with, to take a phrase from Dameron, “a nod toward tenderness.” [Ascent, Department of English, Concordia College, 901 8th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56562. Single issue $5. www.cord.edu/dept/english/ascent/index.php] – Lisa K. Buchanan

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