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Versal - 2007

  • Published Date: 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Amsterdam – city of hashish, soccer riots, bicycles – city of canals, tall people, and even taller people – continues now to bring us this international literary journal. The word versal means rare or universal as defined on the inside of the superbly designed cover. In this Versal 5 are indeed rare words that will cut edges in your mind. If you seek Versal for the atmospheres of Amsterdam, though, you will be disappointed. Versal is perhaps not the best of international literature, but holds a sure-shot at becoming just that. “Answer The Question” Jeffrey Beam titles his 21st century haiku, which then seems to respond with: “Question the answer // Narrow the way this way that way.” A poem that at once conjures up spiritual fine-tunings as well as what could be easily be irreverent remarks to a police officer. There are quite a few remarkable poems in this issue like Beam’s that crash against the pages to reveal greater truths. However, the prose poems often lapse into feigned importance: a literary trick that at once helps purge and mock not only yourself but others. There is an exceptional piece by poet Matt Sadler titled “Letter to Mary from the Future.” His driving questions and intuitive phrasings cause the reader to linger over the lines and dig into them. No false guides, just honest speculation ripened into verse. A fine momentum for Versal. Also of note is a “Waiting,” a short story by Billy O’Callaghan, all-around great illustrations by half a dozen artists (including color reproductions throughout), and solid layout and design. For lovers of literature, Versal 5 beckons with a broad sampling.

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Review Posted on July 31, 2007

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