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Subtropics - Winter/Spring 2007

  • Issue Number: Issue 3
  • Published Date: Winter/Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Although Subtropics is only three issues old, it’s already hard to imagine the American literary scene without it. Published at the University of Florida, it offers a wealth of quality fiction and poetry, including a few works in translation. In this issue, you’ll find an excerpt from Sándor Márai’s Hungarian novel The Rebels, and poetry by Romanian poet Mariana Marin and French poet Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859). There’s also poetry by Charles Wright, D.A. Powell, and a wonderful piece by Lola Haskins called “From the Lake,” a series of haiku-like poems laid out in a grid. My favorite of these is “Enlightenment”: “As the heron lifts it free, / the fish suddenly / understands.” The fiction ranges widely in style, from Steve Almond’s flash fiction “Nixon Swims” on the back cover, to Laura Furman’s slow moving but ultimately rewarding “Here It Was, November,” about a biographer’s discoveries concerning a famous and ruthless novelist, to “The Story of Joe from New Jersey,” by Matt Freidson, about a hapless Vietnamese American hoping to meet his birth parents in Vietnam, a story rich with the sounds of American speech, despite its foreign setting. Here’s an exchange between Joe from New Jersey and Tran from L.A.: “-Really, though, Tran snorted. How long you kicking it in the motherland? -I dunno. I just figure, whatever. I’m gonna go down South at some point… -Mekong in the house, Tran grinned. We’re from the same hood, Joey Dinero. We gonna roll tight, aight?” While there is no visual art inside, the photo on the cover, “Pet Shop Clerk Holding Young Alligators, 1936,” is worth a dozen less interesting images. Truth be told, the pages inside are oddly shiny and smell a bit funny, but perhaps that’s because Subtropics puts its money into more important things, like paying its excellent writers.
[www.english.ufl.edu/subtropics/index.html]

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Review Posted on April 30, 2007
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