Most magazines will tell you they’re not concerned about subject matter or esthetic or stylistic approach—only about good writing. This one means it. There are poems here as rewardingly difficult as Leora Fridman’s “A Fattening,” and as direct as marc t wise’s “new jersey”:
when you’re hungry you eat.
there really isn’t
any other choice.
There are ample short stories that build their impact, slowly and cumulatively, like Travis Eisenbise’s “Independence, Kansas” and David Milofsky’s “The Spite House.” And there is a generous helping of prose of flash length—some clearly poetry, some fiction or non-fiction narrative, some inhabiting the marches.
I was delighted by two prose pieces by Lance Larsen, “A Brief List of Discoveries on My Paper Route,” and “Spots of Time.” The latter, a riff on childhood memories, begins innocently with “Happy as a painted house, west windows open and opening.” But soon there’s a hint of sex, and then we’re in the emergency room, and then there’s a brush with evil, and we’re “happy as murdered rooms we dream to keep our lost ones breathing; happy as my sister sleeping in a sleeve of couldhavebeenme.”
I also could immediately click the “like” button for Joyelle McSweeney’s series of “Interflug” poems (referring to the old East German airline); Greg Gerke’s flash story “The Lute Music CD”; Francine Witte’s “Suspect,” which flirts with the mystery genre; and Elizabeth Hall’s interview with Dodie Bellamy, whose most recent publication is the buddhist, which began as a breakup blog and is now a book.
But even though I’m reluctant in old age to acquire new things to put on shelves, I’ll find a place for this issue. I want to come back and reread so much else here that is intriguingly challenging: ambitious work by Kim Chinquee, Eric Weinstein, Lawrence Giffin, James Shea and Lynne Potts. Denver Quarterly is a keeper.