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Tampa Review – 2005

I had a sense of déjà vu while reading The Tampa Review. I held the large slim 7×11 hardcover and remembered beautifully illustrated fairy tales books from my childhood. Although The Tampa Review is not filled with whimsical tales, the cover artwork by Florida artist James Rosenquist along with the black and white photos in the journal creates a book of beauty.

I had a sense of déjà vu while reading The Tampa Review. I held the large slim 7×11 hardcover and remembered beautifully illustrated fairy tales books from my childhood. Although The Tampa Review is not filled with whimsical tales, the cover artwork by Florida artist James Rosenquist along with the black and white photos in the journal creates a book of beauty. The unusual format also sends a subtle message that the journal should be treasured and enjoyed over and over again. The journal opens with Patrick J. Murphy’s “Night Fishing,” a story about young boy who defies his new stepfather’s rules and takes a skiff out deep sea fishing. Instead of returning home with a fishing trophy, the boy catches and kills a giant ray. This unexpected disappointment and tragedy mirrors his own life as his father is replaced with another man. Another interesting regional work is Marcia Fairbanks’ “The Ghost Orchid of Fakahatchee.” The author searches for the allusive “ghost orchid” made famous by the movie Adaptation and Susan Orlean’s book about an orchid thief. The non-regional works are all solid pieces of writing reflecting other areas of the country and other dreams. W. Scott Olsen’s piece “The Joy of Beginning” heads out onto the Alaska Highway. Rafael Perez Estrada’s poem, “The Enterprising Young Man,” shows the stature gained by a young Bangladesh man who sells his kidney to a New Yorker. “Lessons,” a short story by James S. Proffitt, portrays a man who can’t find home—geographically and mentally. 

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