Graze, a perfectly delicious foodie literary magazine, is printed in two color: black and green. The design works throughout and pulls the pieces together. This issue features a fantastic cover with various life-like foods in the library: an ice-cream sandwich lies on his back, a piece of pizza sits on the floor, a burrito browses the stacks, and plenty more characters populate the page. Inside, you’ll find plenty more fun.
Jamie Lee Knight’s poem “The runaway tea train” is playful, yet skillfully crafted: “The biscuits crumble, and the saucers / are in trouble, chipped and cracked, / barking a dry laugh when cups land.” And the aroma of Natalie Andrievskikh’s prose poem “That simple” is sweet: “as if you went apple picking in August and brought home a whole bucket, and you stuck bunches of peppermint leaves and clover between the apples . . . and the apples are under the table next to your bed, and they smell; you can feel them smell in your sleep.”
“Michigan Blueberries” by Marilyn Cavicchia is broken into four small stanzas, divided by roman numerals, and it shows the delicacy of life. It seems to hint at a woman who has cancer (“when I knew she was poisoned, / bald under her nightcap.”) and how she should be treated with care:
Flying to see her. In my carryon,
under the seat, countless crushable
worlds, so easily bruised,
pulped if not handled tenderly.
In Cynthia C. Scott’s “Old School,” food is how, while growing up, she determined the status of her family’s wealth and strength. It starts,
After the union went on strike at the factory where he worked, Daddy became a scab, and for weeks we had nothing but spaghetti and hot dog slices, Spam, and cherry Kool-Aid for dinner . . . This was long before the divorce, when our family was still intact, when our Daddy was the only breadwinner in the house. He was old school.
If the food is delicious, she knows that the family has money, and when it’s not, she knows there is trouble. Consumed with pride, her father refuses to let her mother work, and eventually her parents split.
The most experimental award in this issue goes to Akil Wingate for “ennui.” Switching between a first-person narrative and how-to’s (how to make coconut brownie cake, how to remove a stain from a hardwood floor, how to make spicy fried chicken, etc.), “ennui” is a somewhat depressing story of a divorced man who sees no point to his life: “I hate this feeling . . . I have nothing to do. I cannot clean today. I did that yesterday. . . . I cannot read a book or watch the T.V. They offer me nothing lately. I can lie here. I can tell myself to get up to go to the bathroom and take some pills.” But even though his life is so pathetic, I can’t help but feel bad for him, and I can’t stop reading the prose. It’s interesting the way he makes use of his time: “I can imagine myself losing control and eating until there is no trace of it left—and then tomorrow I will have a task at hand, I will have something to accomplish: I will have to make bread again.”
And there is plenty more prose, poetry, and art in this issue to devour. Graze is an appealing magazine, to hold, to look at, to read.