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Waccamaw – Fall 2008

This is a fledgling literary journal published by Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, named after a river that runs through it. The fall issue features fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and essays. The editor, Dan Albergotti, quotes Robert Frost’s observation, “There is nothing as mysterious as something clearly seen,” and says Waccamaw is looking for “work that is at once clear and mysterious.”

This is a fledgling literary journal published by Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, named after a river that runs through it. The fall issue features fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and essays. The editor, Dan Albergotti, quotes Robert Frost’s observation, “There is nothing as mysterious as something clearly seen,” and says Waccamaw is looking for “work that is at once clear and mysterious.”

Most of the fiction selections have an element of mystery. Michael Czyzniejewski’s “On the Other Hand” is a peculiar tale about two men involved in an auto accident whose left hands are amputated, but, unfortunately, switched inadvertently when sewn back on. This story, unfortunately, suffers from something of an abrupt ending which can leave the reader a bit disappointed. Lauri Valeri, in “Cold War,” writes a somewhat rambling account of a thirty-five year old white female writer at the Iowa City Workshop who falls for a charismatic but unpredictable African-American male. The character she draws seems so real one is inclined to believe she is not a figment of the author’s imagination. The prize for the most bizarre story, however, goes to Darrin Doyle’s “Foot,” about a mother so devoted to her child that she is willing to amputate her foot so he can eat it. It is nice that a college literary journal is willing to publish this type of fiction.

The poetry selection, unfortunately, seems a bit tepid, given the elevated credentials of most of the contributors. David Kirby should get plaudits for managing to incorporate interesting history lessons into two cleverly composed poems, “These Arms of Mine,” and “Townes Van Zandt.”

The collection of essays presented is varied in both style and content. Rebecca Barry’s “The Invisible Mom” gives you the grimmer side of motherhood, and includes her poignant declaration to a friend, “Last night I breast fed the baby and put him to sleep. Then I had sex with my husband, which put him to sleep, and then I lay there awake, feeling like nothing else but a vessel for everyone else’s needs.”

This online journal is serving a different fare than is typically found on the internet. The website is nicely laid out and everything is easily accessible by a mere flick of the finger. It will be interesting to see what they have to offer in the future.
[www.waccamawjournal.com]

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