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Salamander - Spring 2007

  • Issue Number: Volume 12 Number 2
  • Published Date: Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

Salamander is nothing less than a triumph, a quiet diffusion of luminous work. From the gripping first story, “Evanthia’s Legs” (Henriette Lazaridis Power) to the socially critical insights of the final poems, this issue proves that too many jewels don’t spoil the necklace. Alternating small groups of poems with prose selections, Salamander ensures a fluid reading experience, anchored at the center by the colorful prints of Boston artist Kelvy Bird. The diligence and care of the Salamander editors is evident on every page, as is a commitment to diverse, expansive writing. Six of the pieces appear in translation, from languages like Hungarian and Bulgarian. Stories and poems arise from a wealth of settings and voices. Errors and typographical mistakes are nonexistent. In fact, this issue is so thoroughly envisioned, and rendered with such exhaustive balance, that editorial presence disappears, allowing the writing to speak for itself. Mary O’Donogue’s masterful story, “It’s Alright for You,” details the tensions between a married couple in exile: “The taxi sped, then halted [ . . . ] On the sidewalks, people went through their usual business [ . . . ] Not having a clue about two people sitting separated by a hillock of bags in the back of a taxi, subtracting themselves from the city.” Maria Efstathiadi’s poem, translated from the Greek by Stratis Haviaris, captures the whirlwind perseverations of its speaker, for whom many types of walls are closing in: “[ . . . ] a long time ago I decided to walk on my knees inside the house; nowadays I no longer straighten them even if I want to [ . . . ]” Poems run a spectrum of human conditions, ranging from the contemplation of an animal’s death (David R. Surette, “In the Backyard”) to an incisive reinvention of the traditional figure of Mary in Annie Boutelle’s “Virgin Mater.” Oona Patrick’s memoir, “The Last Island,” is an incantation, a mantra of memory in lyrical prose. Sarah Gemmill’s first published story, “Lilleba,” deserves to be followed by many more. Salamander is the real deal – both visceral and intelligent. Read this issue in its entirety. Then tell everyone you know.

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Review Posted on August 31, 2007

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