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Versal - 2008

  • Issue Number: Number 6
  • Published Date: 2008
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Versal Six is published by wordsinhere in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and features poetry and prose written originally in English, as well as work translated into English from a variety of languages, and artwork, including reproductions of drawings, photographs, and paintings, as well as sculpture and ceramics. The journal is handsomely designed and produced – the quality of the paper and printing is exceptional. This issue includes work by writers from the Netherlands, the United States, Argentina, Uruguay, Morocco, Australia, Romania, Wales, England, Germany, China, South Africa, and the Czech Republic. It is worth noting that many of the writers who appear in Versal Six have extensive international experience, having studied and worked in as many as a half dozen different countries.

While the magazine features the work of writers of vastly different backgrounds who have lived virtually all over the world, their work has much in common, a kind of edgy novelty. By and large, this is work that strives and succeeds in being original, provocative, unusual, and attention-grabbing. A quick survey of first lines will demonstrate what I mean: “Last week Lela buried rubber baby dolls in the ground: now everywhere she looks, children are stuck in trees,” from Jenny Arnold’s short story “Whose Peasants are the Angels?”; “mother femme fatale pulled from the mud father weeds grow everywhere / brought the spirit from mothermother butterfly of tales” from, “Family Tree,” by Rozalie Hirs (translated from the Dutch by Ko Kooman); “Poppy was filthy and Gaston was famished,” from the short story by Tom Bass, “Poppy and Gaston”; and “thousand white lines in / a hundred time. Proof there / never were no echoes there,” from Ben Doller’s poem “An Ex. For X A.”

Several pieces, happily, defy categorization, such as Wiliam Doresky’s “Nothing to Confess,” which is listed in the table of contents as a poem, but might as easily be considered flash fiction. In her opening note (“An Alder, What Widens”), editor Megan Garr’s editor must connect with an aesthetic “wider than our own,” which is truly what Versal Six accomplishes for readers, as well.

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Review Posted on September 21, 2008

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