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subTerrain – Number 43, 2006

A theme-based literary magazine from Vancouver, the fiction, poetry, commentary, memoir, and photography in the current issue of subTerrain explore the idea of “neighborhoods,” both fictional and real. Much of the work is vivid, raw, and gritty (poems Christopher Shoust and John Roberts, stories by Hungarian writer Grant Shipway and Katherine Cameron). Given the edginess of so much of the work, Diana E. Leung’s commentary, “Buying-in-Security: Safe Zones and Sanitized Living” about the culture of fear in which we live and the building of crime-free zones in Toronto seems appropriate, and given the times in which we live, it is satisfying to find a thoughtful commentary about these issues in a literary magazine.

A theme-based literary magazine from Vancouver, the fiction, poetry, commentary, memoir, and photography in the current issue of subTerrain explore the idea of “neighborhoods,” both fictional and real. Much of the work is vivid, raw, and gritty (poems Christopher Shoust and John Roberts, stories by Hungarian writer Grant Shipway and Katherine Cameron). Given the edginess of so much of the work, Diana E. Leung’s commentary, “Buying-in-Security: Safe Zones and Sanitized Living” about the culture of fear in which we live and the building of crime-free zones in Toronto seems appropriate, and given the times in which we live, it is satisfying to find a thoughtful commentary about these issues in a literary magazine. The most spectacular contribution in the magazine, however, is a collection of color photographs titled “Rearview Window” by Vancouver-based photographer Mike Gill. (The accompanying text by novelist and art critic Clint Burnham is informative, but the photographs really speak for themselves.) Gill’s photographs of alleys, deserted streets, and garages in disrepair, set against the vast western sky are utterly extraordinary. They capture singular moments in the life of these places through what Burnham describes as “shadowless light.” Rotting wood and leaves, broken fences, garbage pails, telephone wires, dirt tracks, leaning fences, discarded appliances, and paper litter have never looked so intriguing or so devastatingly beautiful. I don’t know if subTerrain features photography in every issue, but if so, the magazine is worth subscribing to for this reason alone.
[www.subterrain.ca]

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