Gulf Coast is published twice a year in October and April, and each issue is a work of art in itself. The journal includes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, interviews, reviews, as well as the work of artists – a blend that facilitates both a visual and textual experience. The full-color pages in the most recent issue include collages by both Donald Bathelme and Michael Miller, and each visual artist’s work is accompanied by a commentary on their pieces.
Also included in the spring issue are interviews with David Roderick, Emily Barton, Emily Raboteau, and Tiphanie Yanique. In an issue that is close to 400 pages long, it is difficult to choose highlights. Each selection feels like a gift. One could turn to the poetry of Christine Garren and notice the way the world can offer small gifts after a tragedy, the ability to “hear the dove’s heart in its lavender breast,” “hear / its spigots of blood.”
Elizabeth Bull gives us a short story entitled “Map of September” that is written as an outline. Even though she has only limited space, she unfolds the story of a one-night stand where the two people involved want nothing more than to touch, yet end up passing in the hallway, the woman’s back against the wall where “ancient nail heads prick [her] spine.” What is remarkable about this story, aside from its form, is Bull’s ability to render the fear most of us have to not to be torn in two.
Gulf Coast is a remarkable journal, creating a conversation between literature and the fine arts and inviting the reader to stay and listen.