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Front Porch – Summer 2010

This journal is run by the MFA students at Texas State University and was founded in 2006. Each edition produces some combination of fiction, nonfiction, book reviews, interviews, poetry, and audio/videos.

This journal is run by the MFA students at Texas State University and was founded in 2006. Each edition produces some combination of fiction, nonfiction, book reviews, interviews, poetry, and audio/videos.

I thoroughly enjoyed “The Many Fictions of Mustafa Kahraman” by Benjamin Doty, which begins “The day before the secret police arrested him, Mustafa Kahraman sat with Ahmet Gül over glasses of tea and contemplated the many lies of his life at a small Istanbul café.” I was less impressed, however, with “Red Rover, Red Rover,” by Rene Saldana, Jr., the story of a man who kills his ex-wife and her male friend in a fit of rage and then tries to flee to Mexico. This kind of plot is not only trite and well-worn, but is presented in neither a fresh nor an innovative way.

I was knocked over by Albert Abonado’s poem “In a Field Called Vietnam.” Lugubrious poetry at its best, transcendental:

Sometimes, I have
two mothers. I’m not sure which one

was the one I once saw holding
the hole in the neck of a man

dying in a field. I saw the hole  
grow teeth and now the man travels

around the country talking  
out the back of his head with two

voices: the bored voice
and the surviving voice,

and when he asks for water  
his mother tilts his head back

toto let the air out of his brain.

There are excellent, very professional reviews of books written by or about luminaries such as Raymond Carver (A Writer’s Life, by Carol Sklenicka, reviewed by William Jensen), Alice Munroe (Too Much Happiness, reviewed by David Norman), and Anne Frank (another one about Anne Frank??), (Anne Frank: the Book, the Life, and the Afterlife, by another luminary Francice Prose; reviewed by Daniel Keltner) and more obscure writers such as H. L Humes. Humes, whose massive tome, The Underground City, about World War II, plus his gradual descent into madness, is expertly delineated by Evan McMurry. It did not make me want to read the book, but I was certainly impressed with the review.

I finish with another poem: “Grace,” by Jennifer Wrisley:

Grace is the egret, whose legs stream behind
like thin ropes when flying.
Or maybe, grace is the act of looking
when the head wants to turn. Grace in the sky,
and grace on earth: on earth, sometimes, it is
wanting the truth, and this, a small act of mercy.

Jennifer Wrisley took her own life at age thirty, the victim of chronic pain and seizures for many years.

Life is not fair.
[frontporchjournal.com]

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