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Fourteen Hills – 2010

Fourteen Hills spans the spectrum of creative writing, producing an exciting and vivid cross-section of contemporary writing. Alison Doernberg’s rich and textured poem “(Save)” kicks off the issue, with “everything / suspended in ink, and everything that is not” an apt description of the content that follows.

Fourteen Hills spans the spectrum of creative writing, producing an exciting and vivid cross-section of contemporary writing. Alison Doernberg’s rich and textured poem “(Save)” kicks off the issue, with “everything / suspended in ink, and everything that is not” an apt description of the content that follows.

The short story “Holly” by John Maradik is a fast-paced, intelligent story of a family where the mother is dying of cancer; the strangeness of the family, particularly the title character, the sister “Holly,” defies sentimentality that often accompanies such topics and lends the story an air of authenticity.

The issue includes Julia Halprin Jackson’s interview with the featured author, Alice LaPlante, a writer of fiction and nonfiction, followed by an excerpt from her novel Do not Go Gentle. The art section is a set of austere black and white photographs by John Chabalko, featuring the empty landscapes of America, and photographs by Monica Regan.

Teresa Sutton’s poem “Another Elegy for Paul” fits with the theme of loss of reality, magic realism, the uncertain truth that seems to emerge in this volume. The speaker corrects herself often in the poem, saying “But none of this is true, yet every word of it is.” The true account of her son’s death mixes with the false details added in by time and grief. The theme of grief and absence arises again in the poem “Diary of a Newly Divorced Man,” by Michael Schmeltzer. His family gone, even the messages on his answering machine are “like children playing hide & seek” and he is “too disoriented to find them.” Loss of reality appears in the second stanza, where he remembers “arguing with a spider about which [wine] went better / with my TV dinner.”

A pleasure to read, this issue of Fourteen Hills quilts together a variety of styles and genres to create something altogether unique.
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