There is something delightful about opening a literary journal, especially one with this title, to find the score for a string quartet. Beautifully printed, lovely to look at, it is possible to appreciate the "Quartet For Strings #1" by Nicholas Morrison whether one reads music or not. The music is followed by a dozen or so poems, photographs, including stunning portraits by Wynne Harrison Hutchings, fiction, and several essays in criticism, a form that is somewhere between a journal-length review and an in-depth critical essay. Published at the University of Chicago, much of the work here is authored by undergraduate and graduate students from around the country. Fiction writer Mathew Raymond and the Euphony editors get my vote for publishing the best bio of the year: "a drop-out from Columbia University's MFA program."
For the most part, the poems and stories in Euphony are, quite pleasingly unpredictable. By this I mean they have the capacity to surprise, to move in unexpected ways or to reach unanticipated conclusions. Mathew Raymond's "Essaouria Quartet" (a short story, not another music score) presents four versions or perspectives of the same scene. Jenny Grassl's poem, "Falling Rocks," falls on the page in an unusual layout, a form that seems, appropriately, to work for and against the poem's language. A review by Liam Jackson of a new biography of Byron begins, exuberantly, "How long ago it was that Byron died!" That explanation point is all the motivation I needed to read further. [Euphony, 5706 S. University Avenue, Room 001, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail: . http://euphony.uchicago.edu/ ] - SR