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Red Rock Review – Winter 2006

Associate Editor Todd Moffett writes that the journal does not present themes so much as follows a hidden code, one that creates associations between the stories, poems, and essays in the issue “to delight not only us but our reading audience.” If part of my job as a reader is to discover the secret code in this issue, I’d say it was “mystery” starting with Michael Clure’s three “Mysterioso” poems (here is an excerpt from “Mysterioso Eight”)—

Associate Editor Todd Moffett writes that the journal does not present themes so much as follows a hidden code, one that creates associations between the stories, poems, and essays in the issue “to delight not only us but our reading audience.” If part of my job as a reader is to discover the secret code in this issue, I’d say it was “mystery” starting with Michael Clure’s three “Mysterioso” poems (here is an excerpt from “Mysterioso Eight”)—

BLACK ARISEN TO BLACK ROSES IS VOICES
            BETWEEN PETALS.
   The Yellow centers with anthers
            B
            E
            G
            I
            N
            S
   WITH BLACK.

—continuing with Marge Piercy’s “The Mystery of Survival” (“So much feels arbitrary”); Charles Harper Webb’s “My Son’s Fever” (“I’d welcome a nonlethal explanation”); Stephanie Lenox’s “Original Pathos” (“Nothing happens / just once. I have left and I am left now / with an amplitude of leavings”); Justin Courter’s “My Idea” (“I got an idea for reality”); and Amy Billone’s, “If Nothing Else” (“If nothing else let me point to that tree”). The fiction, too, wants to solve life’s mysteries: what can make a teenage mother learn to care for the child she tries to deny or ignore; how can a boy live up to his relatives’ expectations; when and why are people motivated to help each other in unexpected ways? And finally with Teresa Moran’s lovely short fiction, “Unknown.” One of my favorite pieces in the magazine is a poem by Chilean poet Luis Andrés Figueroa, “Winter,” presented in the original Spanish and in translation, which is certainly in keeping with the theme (I mean code, of course) of mystery. The poem concludes:

Yes,
where a man’s space once was
that white of another world
has selfishly hidden the name of things,
sidewalks, birds, a bridge,
windows that turn off their light
in the coming of this violent season.

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