“An international magazine of ideas and opinions, emphasizing literature and the arts” – that is how the editors describe tnr. The front cover exhibits delicate pink petals, aside thistles, against a brick cross – beauty, troubles and truth. Art this journal has in abundance – photographs, reproductions of paintings, watercolors, drawings – all very stylish and in color.
A challenging opinion piece by Vitaly Kozyrev opens the issue: “Putin’s Heritage: Back to the U.S.S. R.?” Kozyrev, who teaches at Endicott College, tries to dispel the “myth” that Putin is returning Russia to its previous communistic roots, but does warn of a “delicate balance of power” and “Russia’s futile resistance to globalization.”
This issue contains a good deal of first-rate poetry. There is sincerity ringing through Joan E. Bauer’s “Remembering V.S. Naipul at the Dawn of a Dark Century”: “The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow / themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.” There is reverence in “To your usu daemon” by Beatriz Alba del Rio: “The suffering was it real or was it dream? / it was YOU.” There is sorrow, regret and acceptance in “Requiem” by Patricia Chaddock: “I came upon a cracker box of wonder: / rude home for three newborn kittens / discarded by some heartless wretch / in a vacant lot.” These poems are more than the verbal gymnastics of adjectives and imagery that pass for good poetry so often, they tell a story, show heart, reveal truths, heighten awareness.
A stirring picture of what death might feel like was created by Thomas A. West, Jr. in “The Light is Strong.” “Has the lease run out?” asks the main character of himself, and seemingly in whispers, we are led to his last moments. While the answer might not be novel, the telling is. This is polished, high-class, substantive work – what unites it is the quality – it is meaningful, thoughtful and sincere.