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Black Warrior Review - Spring/Summer 2007

  • Issue Number: Volume 33 Number 2
  • Published Date: Spring/Summer 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

This very cerebral and provocative issue of Black Warrior Review begins with an unexpected critique of U.S. culture and international perceptions of the U.S. in Beth Ann Fennelly’s poem, “Cow Tipping.” The idiotic “tradition” of cow-tipping is juxtaposed with the speaker’s confusion about negative views of U.S. society/culture in other countries; in the end, she begins to understand that these international criticisms view bragging about cow-tipping “at a party for a laugh” as representative of a self-centered approach to the world. This issue is full of great poetry, notably Stephanie Bolster’s “The Life of the Mind.” Bolster’s poems interpret paintings, Sylvia Plath’s last residence, and captions from books and newspapers. Her words animate material objects. While the majority of the literature in this collection is well-written and thought-provoking, the most fascinating work was Leslie Jamison’s “In Defense of Saccharin(e).” Jamison imbeds a romantic narrative within a twenty-one page piece of literary criticism focusing on sentimentality in literature. She excoriates the over-the-top and clichéd sentimentality, but admits her own weakness for well-written sentimentality, comparing it to saccharine because both are very rich and sweet in satisfying our desires. Black Warrior Review clearly has a strong eye for good, intellectual literature, which makes the reading experience slower yet mentally fulfilling.

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Review Posted on April 30, 2007

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