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LIT – Summer 2010

Most of the poetry in this issue is exemplified by Nico Alvarado’s “I Dream I Dreamt a Form”:

Most of the poetry in this issue is exemplified by Nico Alvarado’s “I Dream I Dreamt a Form”:

You know you’re not a kid anymore when you get sick and no one rubs your back.
Jeff Bridges in the nude.
That’s what happened to me anyway.
Fishsticks.
My dad is drunk on warm white wine.
Watching Starman and crying.

Though many have a narrative bent (Alvarado’s piece is about the death of the speaker’s mother), the poems are seldom linear. Most are free verse and prose poems told in the first person. They are rebellious and seemingly random.

Daniel C. Remein has one called “julian of norwich, appearing in dishwater.” Farrah Field’s “You’re Really Starting to Suck, Amy” begins, “Blogs galore. You shaved your legs twice. You shaved / off your mosquito bites. Fiddle-de-doo. Too much news.” Janis Butler Holm’s “‘Red Light” is made of phrases and sentences “generated by the online Bonsai Story Tree generator from narrative text.” Slovenian Tomaž Šalamun’s poems have a nonsensical feel—the first, “What’s Up,” begins: “Timid foxes with green eyes, / the joy donates the people.”

Though some might find the style of poetry of Lit off-putting, the same editorial selection really works in a fiction piece called “Calliope Venus” by Vincent A Randlett III. A young girl and a pedophile write missives to each other beginning with phrases like, “Turtledove, Lash an appliance to your back and tell me if you would be happy. Could you carry such a weight? Tell me if you would feel any kinship with the lucky lizard.” This sort of language, similar to that in many of Lit’s poems, is perfect when used in the context of a story told through unreliable narrators attempting to court and hide via cleverness and beauty. The narrative context gives the language a heft lacking in some of the poems.

Another excellent story is “Return to the Bubble” by Rafael Pérez Gay, translated by Eduardo Jiménez Mayo, in which a middle-aged man and woman converse and have sex with their twenty-something selves. Also notable is Clair Hennessey’s “A Good-Enough Town” about an artist who sells the wife of her lover a painting.

In general, though the fiction in Lit has a more universal appeal than the poetry, still it’s worth a look.
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