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Isotope - Spring/Summer 2004

  • Issue Number: Issue 2.1
  • Published Date: Spring/Summer 2004

isotope, Utah State’s journal of literary nature and science writing, is not content with the usual dichotomy between wonder and funeral song that characterizes our discourse on the environment, but strikes out fearlessly across new (and ancient) terrain with a backpack full of ceaseless questions and a full canteen of inspiration. If the world is preserved by acts of attention, local or cosmic (from Lilace Mellin Guignard’s “dead bee in a shaft of sunlight” to Douglas Schnitzspahn’s description of “the Andromeda galaxy, a spiral island of stars [ . . . ] too distant to properly comprehend”), isotope demonstrates that seeing clearly is our best defense against extinction in all its forms. In Sandra Kohler’s “Mesa Verde,” a mother, against the backdrop of a vanished civilization, grapples with the everyday mystery of her child’s vanishing into his own becoming. Contemplation of a crab leads Mary Crow to speculate on a less knowable species: the human being. And Scott Minar, in a rough terrain, rounds up strayed elements of his own character. Staking out the territory between the facts of the natural world and the human imaginations inspired by them, isotope’s unique dual vision reminds us that the telescope, moving, as John Q. McDonald writes, “with ungainly precision and surreal silence,” is an artifact of human longing no less than Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and that a poem is capable of preserving a periwinkle (see Carla Panciera’s wonderful “Plum Island and Back”) as well as any museum of natural history can. [isotope, Utah State University, English Department, 3200 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-3200. Single issue $5.] – AS

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Review Posted on July 31, 2004

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