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Passages North - Winter/Spring 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 27 Number 1
  • Published Date: Winter/Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Whoever made the sign adorning the building in Greg Otto’s pastel cover, which reads “The New United Church of Love and Deliverance Miracle Center” must have the same aesthetics as Passages North—there’s space available, why not use it? This massive 250-page paperback is filled with 100 pages of fiction, 30 pages of nonfiction, and 100 pages of poetry. I was a bit put off at first by the number of non-adult narrators in the fiction (half of the stories are told by children or teenagers), but each stands on its own. Alexandra Leake’s “How to be a Moron” is filled with hilarious lines, from, “You and your best friend Molly are the only eleven-year old color analysts in Greater Boston,” to “[Your mother] says bangs are cheaper than Botox.” The poetry distinguishes itself in this issue. The opportunity to read five poems by one author is a rare one, and this is where the size of Passages North pays its greatest dividends. For example, Frannie Lindsay’s back-to-back poems “The Chores” and “Henry” build upon each other, emotionally and thematically. In “The Chores,” a young girl shoots a box full of kittens with her father beside her, “I am his/ good, good daughter. Now, he says, / and I don’t waste a shot.” The older narrator of “Henry” lives with an aging dog, “He’s out of bark, / he cannot smell his food.” The revelation, then, “And death curls sweet, and licks / my hands and neck, and leads him by its leash,” becomes all the more harrowing for the lifetime of normalization of death, and ends with the heartbreaking realization, “I cannot look at him.” Passages North allots enough space for these deeper connections, whether they come in a group of poems or the assembled fiction. [

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Review Posted on July 31, 2006

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