The rest of this issue’s title is “The Story of Clyde as told by Kemel Zaldivar.” This journal, featuring just nine poets (including guest editor Kemel Zaldivar, Octavio de la Paz and J.P. Dancing Bear), opens with a brief story about Clyde and Jessica, two lovers who mistakenly drift into the open sea. We are told by Zaldivar, that “this [story] is ultimately about the poems appearing in this issue.” In between the poems of authors, we are given more poem-chapters of Zaldivar’s Story of Clyde, which evolves into a myth about humanity, language, life, love and even God.
All of the poems are strong, and Zaldivar’s editorial choices are effective overall, but his choice to include Nicole Mauro’s beautiful “Swedish Pangram” and Angela Armitage’s powerful “Starburst” just as Jessica’s character is reintroduced into the Clyde framework was a particularly deft and memorable move.
The entire issue reads like a journey – a journey that is musical, spiritual, experimental and full of vivid but conflicting images that draw attention to the similarities of the represented experiences. Zaldivar asks us to abandon our expectations (or, at least, prepare to have them destroyed!), and join him in a world where the boundary between dreams and reality and fact and fiction are purposely blurred. I’m certainly glad I came along for the ride.