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Dislocate – 2006

Making good on its name, Dislocate does not identify genres, leaving it to the reader to discern each work. The second print issue features the usual suspects – poetry, fiction, essays, interviews – as well as a one-act play by Monica Hill and reprinted poems by John Berryman. One story, “Double Concerto” by Robert Wexelblatt, is ideally suited to the issue’s format, as it uses a point-of-view shift to play with genre expectations. Other prose offerings are more straight-ahead but no less rewarding, especially Michael Sower’s essay “Writing Notes: the Chateau and the Chalkboard,” about a different kind of dislocation: that of moving from lawyering to writing and teaching poetry.

Making good on its name, Dislocate does not identify genres, leaving it to the reader to discern each work. The second print issue features the usual suspects – poetry, fiction, essays, interviews – as well as a one-act play by Monica Hill and reprinted poems by John Berryman. One story, “Double Concerto” by Robert Wexelblatt, is ideally suited to the issue’s format, as it uses a point-of-view shift to play with genre expectations. Other prose offerings are more straight-ahead but no less rewarding, especially Michael Sower’s essay “Writing Notes: the Chateau and the Chalkboard,” about a different kind of dislocation: that of moving from lawyering to writing and teaching poetry.

Interviews with Philip Levine and Phillip Lopate rise above their genre and exhibit the qualities we seek in fiction: distinctive, engaging voice and sparkling detail. Levine compares the Pulitzer Prize – “this little glass thing from Tiffany”– with the National Book Award – “a beautiful small bronze sculpture from Joel Shapiro.” Lopate speaks eloquently about scale, locating himself within a “tradition of the quotidian” and saying that he likes to begin with a “modest subject and let it open up into a world.”

Standouts in poetry include Shane Seely’s “Leavings,” which begins with the stellar line, “Kansas is as good a place to leave as any,” and follows it up with the wry observation, “Of course there was a girl there. / There is always a girl.” Katrina Vandenberg’s “Poem on Tim’s 35th Birthday” is also excellent, starting with an image of Lucille Ball that builds to the startling revelation that the speaker’s addressee is “in a Ziplock bag that is starting to break down. / You must be on my paper clips, this page, / my thank-you notes. You must be in my mouth / and in my blood. In that way, nothing’s changed: / I’m losing you. Even this poem’s box / won’t be enough.” Vandenberg makes this dislocation of loss a place we recognize and by which we can orient ourselves. With offerings this good, Dislocate promises to do the same.
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