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Raleigh Review - 2011

  • Published Date: March/April 2011
  • Publication Cycle: Fortnightly online

This entertaining lit mag changes its homepage fortnightly, updates its archives monthly, and issues a print edition yearly. They offer poetry and flash fiction and they read year-round. They also have audio poems presented online for those who like to hear poetry read aloud.

Since I get fatigued at reading—or attempting to read—stuffy and opaque literary poems, I thoroughly enjoyed the “fortnightly poem” on the home page by Sherman Alexie entitled “After the Young Hoopster Asks Me if I’ve Ever Heard of Jenny Craig, I Proceed to Run His Ass Up and Down the Court”: “These kids are younger than the rim and net. / Someday they’ll beat me. But not yet. Not yet.”

Many of the flash fiction pieces are humorous also, like Paul Beckman’s “Views,” a story which is a mere two scoptophilic paragraphs long, but loads of fun, about a male who watches a female co-worker across the alley prepare for work every morning—from showering and shaving her legs to having coffee and toast by the kitchen sink in her slip. While chatting with her at work, however, he learns she isn’t the only one providing an erotic show.

A three-paragraph creation worth viewing in the archives, from July 2010, is Paul Weidknecht’s “A Story,” which begins, “Over my shoulder, the sun dropped into a farmer’s cornfield, the final patch of orange light on the water enough for me to spot the small, vaguely metallic object at my feet.” Wonder what it was? Well, I’ll tell you this, it was so intriguing I wanted the story to be a lot longer.

For international flavor we have “I, Rose,” by Adam Mrozek, translated from Polish by William Badger, the story of a rose from the rose’s point of view. This kind of story could easily be trite and maudlin but the author pulls it off with aplomb. It has an excellent ending reminiscent of E. A. Poe.

The poetry here is generally accessible and down to earth. An example is “New Jersey” by Barry Spacks:

New Jersey to me is Jersey Joe Walcott,
heavyweight boxer who shopped in our Camden
market where I at twelve got to help
choose his beans and kale, hoisting
brown paper bags filled with fruits of the earth
up to his smile and his ponderous arms.

This lit mag was an enjoyable find. I only regret that their archives are incomplete. It would be nice if they would make everything they have published to date accessible because the reading public might be missing some real gems.

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Review Posted on April 14, 2011

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