This issue would be worthwhile for the artwork alone – stunning reproductions of photos paintings, and drawings by Sialia Rieke, Ana June, Richard Sullivan, Norm Hamer, and Kim Gibbs, Rebecca O’Day, and Kira Becvarik, among others. Many of this issue’s poems and stories are equally memorable, and I was happy for the opportunity to get to know the work of writers I’d not encountered before, in particular poetry by Anne Valley-Fox Christien Gholson, and Mary McGinnis, and prose by Laura Madeline Wiseman. Wiseman’s essay, “To Starve to Die,” is a carefully crafted meditation on anorexia, more lyrical, less self-indulgent than much of the writing about “disordered eating” and more powerful for its balance between revelation and restraint.
The journal has a decided predilection for poetry that is conversational in style and tone, though there is, as well, some interest in the lyrical and abstract. Prose pieces tend to be the same, short and decidedly “of the moment,” with quick rhythms and conclusions. A poem by Rachelle Woods is a good summary of the journal’s cultural richness, “we don’t know if god is man or woman / so we are both . . . Allah is called / one word that is all words // so many colors to wear.”