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Notre Dame Review – Summer 2006

In this issue’s engaging and entertaining interview with novelist Lance Olsen, conducted by Renée E. D’Aoust, Olsen dismisses prose he considers to be “the art of consolation and solace” and describes the texts that excite him most: “…the ones that impede easy accessibility, move us into regions of disturbance, make us feel the opposite of comfortable…I can’t imagine a more important role for writing. Wake up, wake up, wake up, the more important of it says.”

In this issue’s engaging and entertaining interview with novelist Lance Olsen, conducted by Renée E. D’Aoust, Olsen dismisses prose he considers to be “the art of consolation and solace” and describes the texts that excite him most: “…the ones that impede easy accessibility, move us into regions of disturbance, make us feel the opposite of comfortable…I can’t imagine a more important role for writing. Wake up, wake up, wake up, the more important of it says.” The work in Notre Dame Review is by no means inaccessible or even deliberately disturbing, but none of it is ordinary, and much of it is intelligent and sophisticated. There is an especially large number of poems this issue based on historical themes, circumstances, and personalities, including work by D. E. Steward, Thom Satterlee, Jill McDonough, Peter Nohrnberg, Anis Shivani, Floyd Skloot, Jay Rogoff, Robert Bense, Thomas O’Grady, and Askold Skalsky, as well as a number of fine lyrical poems by Michelle Detorie, Mary Quade, Cynthia Sowers and others. The prolific Michael S. Harper contributes two new poems, and I am pleased to learn in the “Contributors’ Notes” that he has a new book coming out next year. One of them most delightful pieces is a short essay by the very young and very talented Heather Treseler, who writes about what she learned from Saul Bellow in a class she took with him as a teenager. The essay is funny, insightful, and beautifully composed. The piece in the issue that may come closest to making us feel the “opposite of comfortable,” is classified in the “Table of Contents” as “docufiction,” prose by Dimitri Anastasopoulous titled “Signs of Intrauterine Life: An Expectant Father’s Notebook.” It’s part personal essay, part science article, and part science fiction, an exploration of the biological changes that take place during gestation in the life of the “baby-grower’s” mate (the father). [www.ned.edu/~ndr/review.htm] –Sima Rabinowitz

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