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Columbia - 2003

  • Subtitle: A Journal of Literature and Art
  • Issue Number: Issue 38
  • Published Date: 2003

It's hard to know where to begin — there's so much here. A dense, but readable volume with something for everyone: more than three dozen poems, a dozen prose pieces, fiction and nonfiction, two thought-provoking interviews (Ruth Stone, Breyten Breytenbach) and artwork by five wildly different artists, handsomely reproduced. Big volume, big names: Billy Collins, Anne Babson, Kimiko Hahn, Ray Gonzalez, Padgett Powell, David Shields. And some newer stars, too: Mathew Zapruder, Suji Kwock Kim, Jeffrey Faas, Emily Frago. Fass is, in fact, one of three award winners in this issue (one each for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), and his honest and disturbing essay about visiting a close friend in prison ("Five to Life") is an exceptional read. Thomas Beller's essay "The Toy Collector," with its deceptively breezy style, is another. Lots of memorable poems here, too. As always, I'm delighted to find new poets whose work I can look forward to. I'll certainly look for Beth Woodcome's name whenever I peruse a table of contents. Here is a fragment from her poem "Sweden:" "Don't touch. Not like that, or now. / You feel life scared to live itself. / You're north with failure." When I get a bit frantic trying to highlight the best and brightest in these journals or begin to wonder what gets published and why, perhaps I should turn to Ruth Stone's poem "Submission:" "The poem was hanging around in the locker room / chatting it up. / 'Five laps,' said the poem, / with a strange look around the slits in its skin." Buy this issue if you want to know what happens to the poet's submission. [Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, 415 Dodge Hall, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. E-mail: . Single issue $15.00.] - SR

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Review Posted on August 31, 2003
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