“Not reading books is escapism,” insists editor in chief, Troy Ehlers. Reading is an “engagement,” a chance to “contemplate and process.” Minnetonka Review offers eight short stories, the work of two nonfiction writers, and poems from close to two dozen poets to help us think about how we relate to the world, including a section of Editor’s Prize winners with poetry by Rhonda C. Poynter and prose by Tim Keppel.
Prolific poet Philip Dacey’s poem “My Bill Holm Story,” which opens the Review is not atypical of the poetry that appears in this issue, approachable and narrative driven. Holm was a Minnesota institution (Minnetonka Review is published in a suburb of Minneapolis), known himself for approachable and often entertaining verse.
While narrative poems predominate, the journal does not favor them exclusively. Christy Ferrato’s “For,” a prose poem in the style of a dictionary entry – or is this a new form of creative nonfiction? – is an exception. This is one of my favorite pieces in the issue, one that might truly be considered “engagement” in the original sense, work that is explicitly political:
for prep. 1. Used to indicate purpose: As in, uranium is a critical component for both nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons. From 1945 to 1988, uranium was mined on the Navajo reservation for the purpose of making atomic bombs, as part of the Manhattan Project.
The prose, too, is approachable – a kind of reading that makes it easy to engage. Worth noting in particular are a story by Fred Skolnik, “The Iceman,” and a personal essay by Mary Lou Anderson Simms about her odd, unexpected relationship with a Canada goose.
Simms’s essay is complemented by three wonderful black and white photos by Karen Rosenow. There are a number of other fine black and white photographs in the journal, though it is not clear who the photographers are. My favorite is a jubilant dog leaping straight toward me, tail taller than his pointy ears, impressive trees behind me, pages of poems ahead.