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Notre Dame Review – Winter 2005

Notre Dame Review &Now, and Then is this issue’s theme, by which the editors mean: “a larger than-traditional conception of what counts as literature” based on the premise that “the world changes” and literature, like painting and music, will “reflect larger historical changes.” &Now plus and Then is/are literally one/two journals, the front cover of &Now becomes the back cover of and Then as halfway through one must flip the journal over and begin again to be reading right side up. &Now, the editors tell us, is a “festival of new writing” and somehow the word festival gives me permission to revel in these “larger than traditional” pieces with largesse. Notre Dame Review &Now, and Then is this issue’s theme, by which the editors mean: “a larger than-traditional conception of what counts as literature” based on the premise that “the world changes” and literature, like painting and music, will “reflect larger historical changes.” &Now plus and Then is/are literally one/two journals, the front cover of &Now becomes the back cover of and Then as halfway through one must flip the journal over and begin again to be reading right side up. &Now, the editors tell us, is a “festival of new writing” and somehow the word festival gives me permission to revel in these “larger than traditional” pieces with largesse. I stop worrying about what I am supposed to think of this work, how to approach it, and simply engage with this work, work that defies categorization as it teases the page, challenges our perceptions of language, structure, plot, meaning, interpretation, and confuses, surprises, troubles, angers, and delights us. and Then is, as we might expect, composed of more traditional pieces, including reviews, though the work here is also fresh and provocative. “Man and Woman,” a poem by Mary Jo Bang (a poet we expect to find, of course, in & Now, though this piece is not particularly unconventional and could easily have fit in and Then), begins: “To spend most of a short life living, / that was the aim.” If you plan to spend most of your short life reading, don’t skip this startling and fascinating issue of the Notre Dame Review. [Notre Dame Review] – Sima Rabinowitz

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