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Ecotone - Winter/Spring 2005

  • Subtitle: Reimagining Place
  • Issue Number: Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date: Winter/Spring 2005

Ready to stand at indistinct edges or walk vertiginous margins, the aptly named Ecotone is a brave new offering out of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As editor David Gessner explains, it’s the edges, “between genres, between science and literature, between land and sea, between the civilized and wild, between earnest and comic, between the personal and biological, between urban and rural, between animal and spiritual” that Ecotone feels are “not only more alive, but more interesting and worthy of our exploration.” Worthy of exploration as well is this first issue, a nicely produced perfect-bound volume weighing in at over 150 pages, with a center section of art devoted to gorgeous collages by Pamela Wallace Toll. The remaining pages are chock full of biggies such as Reg Saner, Philip Levine, Bill Roorbach, Gerald Stern, Wendell Berry, and Peter Matthiessen, to name only a few. My only complaint about volume one is that at times it seems quality has taken a second seat to star-power; for instance, the piece here by Reg Saner–author of many very, very fine essays–was a disappointment. That said, the journal still has much to offer, including an interview with Mark Doty as well as several excellent poems; Doty is, I think, physically incapable of producing so-so work. Also noteworthy is a lovely lyric essay by Brad Land, as well as a tribute to the work of “nature-writer” John Hay, to use an appellation that Peter Matthiessen, in his response to Hay’s work, quite rightly calls “insipid and obsolete.” No such complaint can be made about Ecotone, whose travels to the “lands in-between” will no doubt continue to result in a journal well-worth reading. [] – Kathe Lison

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Review Posted on June 30, 2005

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