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Room of One’s Own – 2004

This issue of Room–a quarterly out of Vancouver published since 1975 by, for and about women, with stories, poetry and reviews chosen by an editorial collective–makes scars its central metaphor. As editor Lana Okerlund notes, “many synonyms for scar are negative: imperfection, blemish, disfigurement. But, in life, as in many of the stories, poetry and artworks in this issue, scars are more paradoxical than these synonyms imply.” This issue of Room–a quarterly out of Vancouver published since 1975 by, for and about women, with stories, poetry and reviews chosen by an editorial collective–makes scars its central metaphor. As editor Lana Okerlund notes, “many synonyms for scar are negative: imperfection, blemish, disfigurement. But, in life, as in many of the stories, poetry and artworks in this issue, scars are more paradoxical than these synonyms imply.” Scars, at least as Room envisions them, are signs of change and healing, and any woman who has been less than comfortable with her bodily “imperfections” (i.e. all of us) will appreciate the insights offered here. Notable is a series of “artifact” poems by Michelin Maylor, among them “short blue dress / Rough in texture / Let out for maternity” and one “good ring / Five small diamonds / Approx. 1/4 carat per / Platinum band,” as well as “purposely not-flattering” self-portraits by Adrienne Trager that are meant to “reflect the discrepancy between the way that I perceive myself, and the actual shape I take.” Also stunning is the cover image, “Bound,” by Stephanie A. Bush, a work that seeks to express “containment and confinement of the female form” simultaneously. The fiction in this issue is likewise to be applauded, with pieces that range from the tale of a woman about to undergo surgery to remove excess skin after radical weight loss, to a young wife attempting to deal with an unpredictable oven, an equally unpredictable elderly neighbor, and her own off-kilter mental state, to the eerie self-flagellations of a half-crazed nun. Overall, another excellent installment of quality art and writing by women. [Room of One’s Own, PO Box 46160, Station D, Vancouver, BC, V6J 5G5. E-mail: [email protected] Single issue $9 (Canadian). www.roommagazine.com] – KL

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