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42opus - 2009

  • Published Date: Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly online

As a reviewer who regularly decries the sloppy and disorganized presentation standards of many emerging and established online literary magazines, it is refreshing to find one which states openly: “A good online magazine is accessible, intelligently designed, and carefully organized.” They go on to say: “Above all other technical considerations, the writing selected to appear in 42opus deserves a respectful presentation; we strive toward this goal through design that is contemporary, uncluttered, and professional.” Well, bravo, and I am happy to report that they succeed in this endeavor.

I am always dubious about poems I don’t understand. Norman Dubie’s “Not Noon, 1904” falls into that category, but I liked the poem anyway. The first stanza:

Poincaré sits in the turning dark
of the stairwell
folded in a thin nightshirt
eating a dry husk of carp, mostly
all huge brass head, eyes
with declining bones like a harp.

In the fiction section, “Lillian in White” by Jen Michalski, who also happens to be editor of the online journal JMWW, is a classically constructed piece about a girl who tells her ex-boyfriend that she is pregnant and would like him to drive her to and from the hospital for an abortion. The author’s excellent command of structure here allows an otherwise banal plot to move along smoothly. It is a good story for beginning writers to read concerning the evolution of plot from superb characterization. A peculiarly arresting story is “The Kingdom of Norway” by Bryan Hurt, which concerns an excursion by three friends to a bar: “No one we know has ever been there and no one you know has ever been there either.”

There are also offerings in nonfiction, art, and the classics, the latter having no less than 133 poems and stories by such luminaries as John Milton, Charles Dickens, and Anton Chekhov. It’s a well organized website with enough readable material to please anyone who has a healthy appetite for literature. Definitely one to explore periodically.

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Review Posted on September 16, 2009

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