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Olentangy Review – Spring 2014

The cover of this issue is a photograph of what appears to be the end of a spinning tunnel in a fun house. The end is in sight, but getting there is the hard part. There isn’t much to hold onto, and your travel is shaky. The same could be said of the experiences people face both in life in general and in this issue of Olentangy Review.

The cover of this issue is a photograph of what appears to be the end of a spinning tunnel in a fun house. The end is in sight, but getting there is the hard part. There isn’t much to hold onto, and your travel is shaky. The same could be said of the experiences people face both in life in general and in this issue of Olentangy Review.

For example, it’s tricky terrain in the very first piece which takes place in an airplane, “Somewhere Between New Zealand and San Diego.” Cathy Calkins begins, “When the turbulence hits, / cups, plates and my sleeping daughter fly into the air above the seats. . . .” The piece speaks to the disillusionment that we are ever really safe.

And in Susan Tepper’s poem, “what’s ahead / bends an arc of broken light— / unscripted . . .” In Elizabeth Crowell’s “Mulch,” the lawn was “tunneled with moles who never once go back / the way they leave . . .” And in her “Pet and Hobby,” one twin thinks “though we’d been born together, / we would die alone.”

My favorite poet in this issue is Amanda Oaks who contributes three poems, each with a different mood and different technique. I read “Ginger” several times, pausing after each stanza to fully take-in the rich imagery. To get a feel for it, here’s the first:

Lining jars of blackberry jelly
next to the green beans, beads
of sweat strung above our lips,
the clang of boiled jars over
the stove, seeds stuck between
our teeth, berry-bruised
fingernails, kittens nursing
in a box at our feet, every
summer since I was ten,
a new litter.

There are a few prose pieces as well which I wouldn’t skip to, but I wouldn’t skip over either. It’s just that the verse in this issue is so strong that you’ll move through the pages for that purpose instead.
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