In the poetry selections, we have new perspectives on lives and experiences in such pieces as Dorothy Field’s “My Father’s Hands Are Blue,” celebrating the ancestry and nobility that we often don’t recognize at the time we experience it:
“I’m going to the Jew,” they say. Only the handsSimilarly, Angela Patane’s “Why I Don’t Want to End Up a Housewife” is a lyrical prose poem that turns ideas into a moving confession of memories and feelings:
Of Jewish dyers burn deepest lapis lazuli
As when the desert night hides its unborn moon.
Maybe it’s Good Housekeeping; or that, nearly every afternoon, I drive home with my partner, and then cook us eggs for lunch before he drives back to work and I do the dishes; or perhaps it’s fertilized by unplanned confessions: I’m frightened by everyone I love; I don’t want to end up like my mother.In the fiction category there are five fine pieces that would make it difficult to choose if this were a contest. Kate French’s “Spiders” makes for an excellent example of these slices of life, fictional though they are. These are reflections of youth and visions of possible futures, all of which are as thoughtful as they are creative:
She bent down to pick up a bag of odd socks, crying out as she felt the grotesque legs of a spider graze her hand. It was massive, body the size of a quarter, rearing up with its front legs before skittering behind a folder of art projects in the closet. Jane hated spiders.In creative nonfiction there are two pieces that make me regret that the journal is only 100 pages. These two ‘unusual’ reflections are Robert Boschman’s “My Prince Albert” and Scott Messenger’s “Cuba, on $25 a Night.” Each has its own charm, even though the content may not provide the resolution that readers might most like. From Messenger:
“Instead, you couldn’t help but wonder if Vinales is the same as it was, or if it had become complicated as it reconsidered its needs, as it, like the rest of Cuba, attempted reinvention. You wondered if you could still visit for $25 a night.”It may seem out of place that there are three conversations (interviews) that provide us with insights into the work and ideas of Juleta Severson-Baker, Nancy Holmes, and J-Michael Fay. Additionally, there are four reviews, which make for as interesting reading as the purely creative work. It’s these seven pieces that provide both informative and entertaining perspectives on the creative process. You don’t have to know the authors to learn; their observations are encouraging and to the point.
There may be a little overconfidence in the Freefall subtitle of “Canada’s Magazine of Exquisite Writing” (I’ve reviewed quite a few Canadian journals of unquestionable quality.), but there’s certainly a claim to fame here, so I invite readers to compare them (all?) and decide for themselves where the best writers tend to appear the most.