What impressed me the most about this issue of Calyx was how it contained an extraordinary range of voices and styles while still maintaining a high standard of artistic craft that managed to speak to a highly diverse audience. While some of the poems, stories, and artwork in this issue didn’t strike me as “read-again” favorites, there was no question in my mind that they were examples of excellent, above average work.
Out of the twenty-one poets in this issue, I particularly enjoyed Amanda Turner’s “Shringara (the erotic),” Mary Grover’s “My Father on the Phone,” Grace Danborn’s “After I Lied Straight Through My First Confession,” and Jeannine Hall Gailey’s “My Little Brother Learns Japanese.”
Of the artists represented, I was particularly impressed with Donna Dodson’s wooden goddess sculptures, feminized animal totems with a wink toward the playful and humorous, but I was somewhat disappointed in the other artists represented, a possible problem being the lack of color in the reproductions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the short stories by Heather Taylor Johnson, “Rain and Sun,” and Teresa R. Funke, “Lucy—Freer Than I’ve Ever Been.” But it was Donna Miscolta’s “Strong Girls” that was so completely and utterly wonderful that it was well worth the price of the magazine on its very own. Portraying the short high school wrestling careers of overly large identical twins Ofelia and Norma, professionally known as “Oafie and Abnorma,” this story is so perfectly rendered in its tone, craft, and execution that I urge everyone to rush out and read it.