Who could resist Glendy Chan’s dazzling cover design of this edition of The Cimarron Review? Luckily, the poems and fiction within the journal don’t disappoint. Though not a themed issue, the editors clearly chose pieces with the big picture in mind. This journal really hangs together, with each work speaking to the next.
In fact, many of the poems emphasize communication (or, to be more precise, miscommunication) of voice and body. These representations range from the revealing dialogue between partners in Linnea Johnson’s “Knotted Rope,” to the difficulty of translating life into text in Richard Cecil’s “My Prelude,” to the body’s methods of speaking up for itself, as seen in Adam Day’s “The Hog” and Susan Elizabeth Howe’s “What I Long for On a Tuesday.”
The fiction emphasizes the concept of identity and the consequences of its associated expectations. Edward J. Delaney’s “News from the Rodeo” features a middle-aged fieldworker facing the reunion of his girlfriend and her husband at a barbecue. “Tribes,” by Robin Beeman, follows a family camping trip, beginning with the speaker hitting a deer with her car and ending with her realization that there is more to her mother than she ever thought possible. One woman reflects on her own experiences with death and dying as she cares for an elderly patient in the issue’s only nonfiction piece: Jennifer Anderson’s “Caregiving.”
Overall, the strength of this issue of The Cimarron Review is that its pieces shine individually and as a collection.