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The Laurel Review – Spring 2004

The Laurel Review is unpretentious and reliable, qualities not to be underestimated in these precarious times, especially when that means poems like Susan Ludvingson’s “Barcelona, The Spanish Civil War: Alfonso Laurencic Invents Torture by Art”: “We know the body can be made / to lose its recollections birthed in music / its desire for bread / and sex, its only remaining wish / confession // Who’d have guessed how easily / the brain opens its many mouths / to red.”

The Laurel Review is unpretentious and reliable, qualities not to be underestimated in these precarious times, especially when that means poems like Susan Ludvingson’s “Barcelona, The Spanish Civil War: Alfonso Laurencic Invents Torture by Art”: “We know the body can be made / to lose its recollections birthed in music / its desire for bread / and sex, its only remaining wish / confession // Who’d have guessed how easily / the brain opens its many mouths / to red.” How I wished, on reading this poem, that it were not of the moment as much as of another era, were not an example of a poet’s uncanny ability not only to look back, but forward. My anguish is not so much soothed as momentarily appeased by Katherine Soniat’s still life of a poem, “Hopper’s Wife” and then re-stimulated by Kent Shaw’s “Prologue”: “the ocean consumes itself / and the ocean consumes itself.” There are many other fine poems, as well, including Arielle Greenburg’s “Tumbler” and Bin Ramke’s “Song of the North American Martyr’s.” Six solid stories round out the issue. My favorite: Judith Slater’s “Snow Day,” psychologically astute and hopeful. Also, astute — Peter Makuck’s review of Robert Cording’s Against Consolation. This issue introduces a new feature, “Book Recommendations,” chosen this time by editor John Gallaher. 

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