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The Bitter Oleander – Summer 2003

This issue of The Bitter Oleander is heavy on translations and features an interview with writer and editor Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz as well as a selection of his poetry, which, overall, provides an international flavor to the collection. The translations in this issue are accompanied by the pieces printed in their original languages, from German to Spanish to Swedish, which I think adds nuances to the reading that otherwise might not be caught.

This issue of The Bitter Oleander is heavy on translations and features an interview with writer and editor Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz as well as a selection of his poetry, which, overall, provides an international flavor to the collection. The translations in this issue are accompanied by the pieces printed in their original languages, from German to Spanish to Swedish, which I think adds nuances to the reading that otherwise might not be caught. The short fiction pieces are lyric and dream-like, and mix easily with the many prose poems throughout the journal. The poetry includes work by Robert Bly and Ray Gonzalez, among others.  I enjoyed the Kafka-reminiscent poem by Katherine Sánchez Espano called “The Fiancée”: “…A roach tries on / my wedding gown, fabric / billowing like rain clouds, informs me / I’m fat. I see / my pant seams divorcing.” I like the fact that this journal continually publishes newer voices, and that the way it weaves these new discoveries with seasoned writers seems completely seamless. A delicate but tense aesthetic of image dominates the editor’s choices. [The Bitter Oleander Press, 4983 Tall Oaks Drive, Fayetteville, New York 13066-9776. Email: [email protected] Single issue $8.00. http://www.bitteroleander.com/issues.html ] – JHG

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