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Gulf Stream - Volume 21

Produced by the Creative Writing Department of Florida International University, Gulf Stream presents about as straight-up a dosage of contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as you could hope for. The contents of Volume 21 all have in common a sheer, dead-on approach, generally avoiding anything you’d call loquacious, and the short fiction in particular possesses a direct, no-frills style that might otherwise seem unreasonably restrained, except each narrative here is so grounded in substance that my overall impression was one of fresh, crisp, dynamic writing. Shawn Taylor’s story “Reliance,” top winner of the Gulf Stream First’s Contest, is a visceral yarn about a young man’s bout with Giardia as he hikes the Appalachian Trail and is forced to accept the care offered by a stranger. “Kotik” by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry is also surprisingly moving in its tale of a teenager, Lena, living in Moscow and befriending the wildest girl in her class. There are four other short stories in this issue, as well as a very candid interview with Sherman Alexie, and lovely poems by thirteen poets, including one called “The Other Side” by Richard Brostoff, a rumination on the inexplicable qualities of Nature within us, the residue of our reincarnate histories: “In the shadows of surf, / almost soundless, / in the water’s rush, / his dormant yearnings / searching for form, / a dozen white birds / trapped in his body, / a chorus of cries / on the other side.” [Gulf Stream, English Dept, FIU Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 NE 151 Street, North Miami, FL, 33181-3000. Single issue $8.  – MC

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Review Posted on October 31, 2004

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