Volume 20 Issue 1
Perhaps the most instantly recognizable literary magazine being published today, the ever-beautiful The Gettysburg Review enters its twentieth year with this excellent issue.
Perhaps the most instantly recognizable literary magazine being published today, the ever-beautiful The Gettysburg Review enters its twentieth year with this excellent issue. The lead story, an excerpt from Scott Blackwood’s We Agreed To Meet Just Here, welcomes the reader into the vivid world of The Gettysburg Review, and is heralded in by a wonderfully honest (and at times grumpy – who wouldn’t take the attention brought on by the anniversary to scratch a few itches?) essay by founding and current editor Peter Stitt. Blackwood excels in his precise and economical characterization, “If you had lived long on our street, and drunk late at our parties, you would know that before retiring and moving to Texas, Odie Dodd had been a government physician in Georgetown, Guyana. Squawking through the hole in this throat where his larynx had been before the cancer, Odie would have told how Jim Jones had asked him to the People’s Temple to vaccinate the children.” Like Blackwood, Gail R. Henningsmen paints her characters with a deft brush in “Strokes,” juggling all the members of a family in town for a second marriage, including the divorced parents and their significant characters without the reader ever feeling rushed or confused. The poetry also features well-drawn characters (especially in John Pleimann’s “Head On”), even if some are simply a well-defined voice – Bob Hicok’s carries “Root root root for the home team” to his final thought-provoking question, “What could be more American than the stolen base?” The paintings of Michael Allen, which grace both the cover and eight glossy pages inside, are silent landscapes, gorgeous in their patience. All of this for a shockingly low price of six dollars – The Gettysburg Review may be the best value in literature.