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Controlled Burn - Winter 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 11
  • Published Date: Winter 2005

I am occasionally awed and inspired to be reminded of the number of excellent literary journals produced by this country’s community colleges. Controlled Burn comes to us out of Kirtland Community College of Roscommon Michigan, but in design, content, and skillful editorial vision, this publication is easily on a par with our nation’s more celebrated, ivy-league journals. At 108 pages the winter issue is thin, yes, but in no manner anemic. Five short stories, two black-and-white photographs, and the rest is poetry. In fiction, I found that Sarah B. Wareck’s “At the Drake” was more than enough to merit (and, really, make a jaw-dropping bargain of) the journal’s $6 price tag. A single quote wouldn’t adequately convey the manner in which Wareck’s story reawakens one to the sympathetic possibilities of fiction, practically renovating your sense of participation in the human adventure. Adrienne Lewis’s “Prefect Past Pretense” is another crow-bar to the brain. In its unclassifiable stylism and extremely vulnerable narrative voice, the story moves and surprises, as if single-handedly testifying to the power of less conventional fictional constructs. “And even as I write these words, I want him to see them: to turn a page in some magazine, recognize my name or the title I shared with him as I waited for the piece to come and fulfill its meaning.” Controlled Burn also offers poetry fans plenty of cause for delight. “Walking to the Airport” from Jean C. Howard’s Las Vegas Series, beds a deeply religious sensibility within its irresistible imagery—a potent combo. “They are walking / to the airport / in 107 degrees / where desert reclaims / the footprint / and casinos care not / to go / And sun sits like / a boil upon the hip / of the hill side. / Or like a magnificent / garnet of teeth / of the wind.” Controlled Burn inspires celebration on every level. [Controlled Burn, Kirtland Community College, Roscommon, MI 48635. E-mail: . Single issue $6.] —Mark Cunningham

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Review Posted on November 30, 2005

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