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Red Rock Review – Fall 2006

This issue of Red Rock Review is packed with words. Fifty-seven poems, six short stories, two interviews, two reviews and one essay all crowd between the covers. While not all of the writing is to my taste, I still found plenty to enjoy.

This issue of Red Rock Review is packed with words. Fifty-seven poems, six short stories, two interviews, two reviews and one essay all crowd between the covers. While not all of the writing is to my taste, I still found plenty to enjoy.

The poems here cover every subject and many different styles: pastoral, philosophical, imagist, narrative, tightly crafted and sprawling across the page. Some are deadly serious, like Rodney Gomez’s poem, “Snakes,” which describes a family’s migration from Mexico: “By the end, we couldn’t speak. We / Slithered. We begged. Fought each other. / Ripped the skin, ate the boils.” Christine Stewart-Nunez’s poem, “Directions from Seluck Bey’s Wife,” on the other hand, made me laugh out loud. The speaker’s catalog of Turkish foods and cooking tips ends with the words “Don’t smile too long / at the grocers, especially the one in the yellow / shirt streaked with soil. He likes you and might / ask you to go for a walk, and well, / you’ve met my son, the doctor, no?”

Of the stories, only Zoe Strikeman’s “Five Ways” really drew me in. This tale of a doomed family car trip is engaging and funny. Felicia F. Campbell’s “The Stick Man,” the story of an ex-grad student who destroys the souls of women, had a premise that was a little too abstract for me. Pat Hise’s essay, “Face to Face with a Serial Killer,” is an amazing narrative, but sags a little under the weight of wordiness. The interviews were fun to read, and the three reviews were insightful. Given all of that, the strength of this magazine lies in its diversity. I don’t think many readers would love every piece of poetry and prose here, but I also can’t imagine that any reader would fail to find something to appreciate.

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