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Buffalo Carp - 2004

  • Issue Number: Volume 2
  • Published Date: 2004
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Many of the works in Buffalo Carp, “a hybrid, an amalgam” of two species native to the Quad City Mississippi River area, also celebrate the natural world. Dennis Saleh’s terse yet lyrical poem, “The Delta Songs of the Harper,” evokes Ra, the Sun God from Egyptian mythology. The worshipper once praising the day now laments the onset of night, of death, of the divine: “For thy God is secret / is how his strength / is known.” Cullen Bailey Burns also honors light in his prose poem, “American Music”: “the sunlight is not lonesome, for it falls on everything and we turn our faces to it.” The short story, sort of prose poem, “Until the Crow Turns White Again” by Lynn Veach Sadler, is on one level a story about a young woman’s first love and on another level a love affair with art and a crow she names Corbaccio. Themes of art and nature wouldn’t be complete without pain and death. Terry Savoie’s brilliant poem “Hide-&-Seek” deals with a teacher’s difficulty in convincing his immortal teen students of the imminence of death. In the creative non-fiction piece, “Church Dust,” Robert J. Konrardy recalls that moment in Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam, when he “grabbed a huge clump of his black, shiny hair and jerked the body from the mound” and jerked himself back into the church of his altar boy youth, where the dust enveloped him like the dead enemy’s hair. Dust rains down from the main character’s crop duster in Michael Standaert’s birds-eye “Duster,” a short story that structurally swaps the present and the past, enticing the reader to uncover the source of Duke’s unabated guilt for his unresponsive wife. There are other poems and stories by writers native to the river borders between Illinois and Iowa that add to Buffalo Carp’s balance of poignancy, humor and irony. —Rob Duffer

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Review Posted on November 30, 2005

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