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Fence – Spring/Summer 2004

Fence opens with a reprint of Vladimir Nabokov’s marvelous “Canto One,” a tough act for any poet to follow. Eighth-grader Kyle Kenner does a good job with his two prose poems, including “Drafted,” a powerful, understated piece which ends: “A couple of days after the war was no more, his mom received a letter. A letter from the U.S.A. The letter said the soldier fought well, the letter said the soldier was no more.”

Fence opens with a reprint of Vladimir Nabokov’s marvelous “Canto One,” a tough act for any poet to follow. Eighth-grader Kyle Kenner does a good job with his two prose poems, including “Drafted,” a powerful, understated piece which ends: “A couple of days after the war was no more, his mom received a letter. A letter from the U.S.A. The letter said the soldier fought well, the letter said the soldier was no more.” Paul Long gives us a disturbing bit of sideshow history with “The Greatest Natural and National Curiosity in the World,” which recalls P.T. Barnum’s passing off of an elderly black woman as a 161-year-old who’d reared George Washington. The fiction here is often surreal. I loved Katherin Nolte’s “Things Penguins Do,” about the superhumanly strong teen, Bunny, who longs to go to Antarctica to save the penguins. Her dream is deferred by a set of grandparents who hold her back, enjoying the feel of being spun through the air by their gifted granddaughter. Another strong woman – this one part machine – is presented by Deb Olin Unferth in “Maybe a Superhero.” Hers is not the typical extramarital affair story: “She had both of their babies and flew back and forth between planets.” Fence is a magazine of imagination and style. [http://www.fencemag.com] – JQG

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