Only on its fourth issue, Moonshot is a relatively new kid on the block in Brooklyn’s indie literary scene. Eighty-five pages long, the themed issue “Correspondences” offers brief introductions to 30 authors—all of whom have been published before, but don’t yet have major name recognition. As alluded to in the editor’s note, this issue is gritty and real.
While there were a handful of truly stand-out pieces in this issue, Moonshot still seems to be finding its footing among its better-established peers. The issue is composed of many short poems, borderline flash fiction, a variety of art, and a comic. While I admire this diversity, being introduced to thirty artists in such a short journal made for a choppy reading experience. It also made it easy to lose track of the “Correspondences” theme. That being said, some pieces simply blew me away.
Chloe Caldwell and Skye Tyler’s “Who the Others Were” is a three-page series of fast, sensual sentences. Caldwell and Tyler explore complex past relationships that, in a moment’s notice, can swing from kinky to violent to tender. As the narrator jumps from one ex-lover to the next, the urge is to read slowly and to try to squeeze more story from the teasers she provides. By the end, after so many glimpses of so many lovers, the reader is left sitting in tangled bed sheets. For people who have taken stock of their past, or have ever attempted to write their “list,” this piece is an enthralling read.
Nicole Steinberg’s three sonnets masterfully apply one of poetry’s oldest, strictest forms to her modern, consumer-based endeavors. Each sonnet contains original writing from Lucky magazine, and each finishes with a sentiment that forces readers to take a thoughtful pause. Throughout, her language is sharp. She describes “Prada–swathed, mini / Cleopatras” and “hipster horn-rims popped / with a confident cool.” Steinberg’s series lets readers familiarize themselves with her writing in a way that they can’t with the authors who only have one short piece in the issue.
Kevin Spenst’s poem “A Song from Bedlam” also stands out—particularly for his artful layering of images to create a scene. Rita Feinstein’s notable poem “Fourteen,” about a woman holding a snake for a group of people, was equally sensual:
feeling her varnished coils
slalom through your fingers
and loop around your wrists
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
She makes you burn.
The impenetrable beauty
of her slender curves
The element of collage in Steinberg’s poems resurfaces in Stephen Zerbe’s painted book pages. “Christmas in America” is striking, with bright paint smudged across New York City’s skyline. Another artist in the collection, B. Thom Stevenson, uses an uncommon combination of materials (acrylic, correction film, ink, marker, oil enamel, and Xerox on paper). Alexander Rothman’s comic “Reeling” is equally original and captivating, if not a bit complex. While I admire Rothman and Stevenson’s originality, I sometimes wondered if I understood their intentions.
Moonshot is a solid collection of writing. Even though there are pieces I wouldn’t revisit, and the “Correspondences” theme was a bit buried, Moonshot showcases some exceptional, memorable writers.