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Identity Theory - Fall 2009

  • Published Date: Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle: Online

This literary magazine overwhelms the senses with information. Their home page is chock full of fiction, nonfiction, interviews, poetry, book, music, and film reviews, art, and a social justice blog. They have a sizable list of staff members and they are looking for more. One gets the impression that there is much to read and learn here, and maintaining this website must be a formidable task.

I tried the fiction first and was enthralled by “Life of the Mind” by Ryan Mazer, who relates he has only recently graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in film production. His maturity, however, is evident in this Kafka-ish, ironic farce in which the world appears to be turned upside down.

James Warner contributes a regular blog to this website. His October 1 offering concerns “the twilight of the short story as a commercial form” since 1959. He brings James Joyce and Anthony Burgess into the mix, pointing out that literary short stories are now largely subsidized by universities and grants. He believes a cross pollination between the literary and commercial short stories might help matters in the future.

In the nonfiction section, Aisha Sloan, a bi-racial female, writes a rambling essay with interconnecting stories about her family, growing up black, relationships, and the jazz musician Thelonious Monk. Periodically, she throws in sentences that are deliciously symbolic of so much more: “Los Angeles glints because of the way sunlight illuminates the smog that hangs in the polluted air. Blonde hair also glints. Brown, curly hair, for the most part, absorbs things.” Good stuff.

Under the column entitled “Social Justice” there is an article about workplace violations with refugees. It cites a study released by the Institute for Social and Economic Development which found that the lowest wage earners in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago are routinely discriminated against by being denied overtime pay, paid less than minimum wage, and not given workers’ compensation when a serious injury occurs.

There is much, much more in this well stocked website. Poetry is distributed throughout, including some classics. I highly recommend this journal, and feel you can’t go wrong with a reproduction of their reproduction of Emily Dickinson’s “The Mystery of Pain”:

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.

[www.identitytheory.com/]

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Review Posted on November 16, 2009
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