As part of SpringGun Press, SpringGun Journal has just transitioned from a biannual publication to an annual one with this issue. I hope that they still get decent readership, because the writers—at least in this issue I know—deserve it. Without given much to go on about editorial taste, you really have to read the journal to discover how it feels. While I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it as themed, it does seem to ask, “Where are we going? What’s next? And how do we get there?”
Kelsie Hahn’s piece “Not Cryogenics” takes a new view on death. The narrator’s “friend” dies the day after he throws a party, one in which the narrator opens the freezer to find a frozen parrot:
He’s dead. This is what it’s like when we die—we’re just dead. We could be in a freezer or the ground or an urn, it doesn’t make any difference. He doesn’t know any better. Neither do we. No joy. No pain. Just peace.
But if death bothers you, don’t read M. R. Sheffield’s “Brief Instructions.” Either way, it will give you chills, so perhaps you should read it anyway for a thrill. These instructions are how to, when you are a seventeen-year-old at prom, give birth to your secret baby, kill it, and hide it in the woods so that nobody finds out. But beware, there isn’t much advice for how to live with yourself after: “Regret the tiny cross you left in the woods. Its sentimentality. The truth of it—that it will be used to undo you, to string you up if it is ever found.”
Brett Gambino’s “The Answers are Not in the Square” speaks out to a seemingly lost soul. In two parts, the narrator advises that the answer to happiness—contentment? life?—is not found by going out and drinking, and it’s also not found by sitting at home, moping, and not taking care of yourself: “. . . You’ve got to / fry the pork and listen / to the fire. Hold grease / with your hands.”
I’d also recommend Lauren Eggert-Crowe’s poem “Confection,” Laura Minor’s poem “Driving through the Crutch of What and Rock,” and Sally Molini’s poem “Premonition with Exotic Birds.”