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Natural Bridge – 2004

Natural Bridge always has substantial offerings, but this issue has some stunners: Alice Ayers’ short story, “Barney,” is a gorgeous second-person evocation to a man about to submerge a profound part of himself in marriage to a woman whose maidenly abode featured lace doilies and was “so pointedly virginal it obviously covered something.

Natural Bridge always has substantial offerings, but this issue has some stunners: Alice Ayers’ short story, “Barney,” is a gorgeous second-person evocation to a man about to submerge a profound part of himself in marriage to a woman whose maidenly abode featured lace doilies and was “so pointedly virginal it obviously covered something.” Amy Hassinger’s “Light the Light” is another strong portrayal of a hidden interior, and Kirsten Smith’s “Divorce Poem” succeeds with a brilliant use of a simple metaphor. Natural Bridge complements its “traditional miscellany” with guest editors, special themes and an occasional focus on a particular form (essays, long poems and, currently, short stories). As with most journals, spontaneous themes can present themselves in the mix. Indeed, some of the Spring 2004 issue’s works (“Silent Theology,” “Rusted Nails,” “Shriners,” “Easter Apology” and “Passing for Mormon”) reflect a curiosity about the ways individuals grapple with religion as a pervasive element in American life. Whatever the parameters, Natural Bridge is always a rewarding combination of the weighty and the whimsical, a literary encounter worth pursuing. – LKB

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