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Harpur Palate - Winter 2007

  • Issue Number: Volume 6 Issue 2
  • Published Date: Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

“There are no more quiet places to read.” This is poem XI, by Joshua A. Ware, and it captures the essence of this issue of Harpur Palate. The journal begs to be read, it shouts, and even nags with lines like, “By now you will recognize / that I have taken some liberties… and that when / I describe the third most / happening bar in town I mean / this one,” from Jeffrey Dodd’s “Translator’s Note.” It’s surprising how many good lines this issue contains, and how many stories are fun and engaging to read. For example, reading T. J. Forrester’s “The Revolving Door” is the account of a terminally ill sex-addict writing to his lovers from a hospice over the course of his last days. The character’s letters first begin: “Dear Skyler, How ya doin, snookems?” but he instead resorts to the formal: “I regret to inform you that…” If there is redemption for the weak and lost, Forrester helps the reader to find it for this protagonist. It’s probably as close to salvation as a character in literary fiction can get if he has inadvertently harmed other people. And here’s another good line from Valerie Fioravanti’s “Beer Money”: “Sometimes she Rose Anna wanted better for her children so bad she wished she’d never had them.” The story is rich with points-of-view of a mother and a daughter, and their understandings of what the world is. If reading fiction should make humans more tolerant (as Antonya Nelson would have it), this is a must-read story for the journey to enlightenment. Not to leave unmentioned Bruce Wrighton’s photo-feature “The Sacred in the Mundane,” prize winners, and conference papers, but this issue is amply represented in Casey Lord’s poem “What’s on a Plate,” with the lines, “All meals have the earth in / common,” and “The earth must / harbor breath from 20 years / ago. My eyelash is in the soil / somewhere too.”

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Review Posted on April 30, 2007

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