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Sonora Review - 2006

  • Issue Number: Issue 50
  • Published Date: Spring/Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

For its 25th Anniversary Issue, Sonora Review called on some of the University of Arizona’s MFA graduates and the journal’s previous staffers: Antonya Nelson, Tony Hoagland, Ken Lamberton, all of whom have gone on to successful careers. The cover features slivers of 37 past covers, all artfully arranged side-by-side in a bright stack of faulted literary strata. And although they couldn’t get Richard Russo and David Foster Wallace, also one-time SR staffers, this issue reaches lyrical heights without them. In Geoffrey Baker’s clever sarcastic “Know Your Saints,” an American recuperating from his ruined marriage spends time leading tourists around Italy on fake art tours where he spins lies like, “Before 1500… all depictions of Jesus showed the holy genitalia” and “the Dominicans and Franciscans were the Crips and Bloods of their day” before a single “customer” brings into question issues of morality, miracles and divine intervention. Angered by her irresponsible and now-deceased lover’s loyalty to her brother over her, Sadie, in Antonya Nelson’s “D.W.I.” — a short, internal story occurring mostly inside the protagonist’s noisy head — struggles to accept the return to her normal domestic life, the life she was escaping through the affair, and her own insatiable appetites. In addition to 31 poems and an excerpt from Maud Casey’s forthcoming novel, 3 essays accompany the fiction. In “Blurred Lines, Borderless Wings,” essayist Ken Lamberton investigates nesting Harris and Cooper’s hawks in Tucson and concludes that our lawns are as much wilderness as national parks. Still scientific but more personal, Ron Grant’s “Holding Abraham’s Knife” leads us through the murky debate over circumcision’s medical necessity. With great wit and a few impressions of his Polish great-grandmother (“Zees is ze knife zey cut your little peepala wiz.”), Grant, a pediatrician who performed his own son’s bris, confronts his feelings on the legacy of his Judaism and explores the power of tradition versus scientific opinion. Tucson may seem far off the East Coast-centric literary map, but SR proves a journal need not be near Manhattan or Iowa City to be a literary powerhouse. [www.coh.arizona.edu/sonora] –Aaron Gilbreath

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Review Posted on August 31, 2006
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