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Sojourn - 2006

It is hereby noted that Sojourn has everything in it. Consider it a digest of contemporary writing, featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translations, interviews (with poets Noami Shihab Nye and Ted Kooser), a play, and an array of photographs and paintings that build momentum from one page to the next. Yet in trying to be everything to everyone, Sojourn can feel incomplete and lacking in places. Kooser, for one, comes off rather reticent in his brief interview. The prose pieces, with colorful titles ranging from “As I Fold My Ego Origami Style” to “Tahini is a Sesame Seed Paste,” will cause a few eyes to roll. Without the table of contents, you can’t always tell which pieces are fiction and which are hyper-memoir, but you can’t deny that the voices in these works are in command. The latter title, for example (hint: it’s fiction), plays on post-9/11 paranoia as an excuse for an academic to reveal his inner resentment: “Remember – Tahini is not, at this very moment, running roughshod over the Arts and Humanities Department at RCC with a posse of ACLU lawyers at his back.” And on the translation front...well, what a front, indeed. The fiction and poetry includes Robert Sadler’s rendition of the luscious “Volverán Las Oscuras Golondrinas” by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer: “The dark swallows will return / To hang their nests on your balcony, / They will call time and again – playing, / With their wings at your windows.” Sojourn has its holes, but the sheer multitude of creative voices makes up for it. []

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Review Posted on April 30, 2007

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