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Thought Magazine – 2003

If you’re a literary traditionalist or an anal grammar/perfect-proof reader, leave. You’ll hate this publication. For the remaining (more forgiving) folks, let’s talk. The first section is a bit rough. I swear someone lost pages to the Manil Suri (“Death of Vishnu”) interview. But the “Letters to the Editor” start the engine purring. Look at these beginning sentences: “I love the rain / As a schoolgirl, I read the story of Hero and Leander for the first time in Arabic / I believe that human beings everywhere share similar joys and sorrows.”

If you’re a literary traditionalist or an anal grammar/perfect-proof reader, leave. You’ll hate this publication. For the remaining (more forgiving) folks, let’s talk. The first section is a bit rough. I swear someone lost pages to the Manil Suri (“Death of Vishnu”) interview. But the “Letters to the Editor” start the engine purring. Look at these beginning sentences: “I love the rain / As a schoolgirl, I read the story of Hero and Leander for the first time in Arabic / I believe that human beings everywhere share similar joys and sorrows.”

Reading the international fiction section is a tour around the globe. Highlights include: Elif Shafak, in “Black Meat for White Maladies,” depicting a modern Turkish woman’s involvement in a goat sacrifice; a little Scottish girl losing her mother and new sibling in Thea Atkinson ‘s “An Excerpt from Throwing Clay Shadows”; and an elderly Japanese woman selling her meager bounty in Michael Onofrey’s, “The Vegetable Lady.” In the collection of contemporary short fiction, I loved “Heavens to Betsey,” by Shawna Chandler, who allows her elderly trailer park character to slowly striptease down to her true nature, and “Space Issues,” by Max Ruback, examining space and bonding issues in relationships.

After 304 dense pages, I asked, “What are these folks trying to do? Why read this?” The answer came in Michael Zack’s poem, “Costa Rica.” Sheaves of poems fly off a deck into the hills, mangroves, and beaches. The author muses, “And when the winds reverse / perhaps those poems will all fly back, / rearranged, fonted with this new place / all the better for their night out in the jungle…” It’s why we read: for the hope we will be better for our night out among the thoughts of others. [Thought Magazine, P.O. Box 117098, Burlingame, CA 94011. E-mail: [email protected]. Single issue $8. http://www.geocities.com/thoughtmagazine/] – GK

 

 

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