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Freefall - Fall/Winter 2010-11

  • Issue Number: Volume 20 Number 2
  • Published Date: Fall/Winter 2010-11
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

Freefall is true to its name, and you never know where you’ll land. John Wall Barger’s prose poem “Scream” begins on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 and winds up in India in the early years of the next century:

My mother saw the Beatles at the Ed Sullivan Show in ’64, she was 16, George was her fav, the way he bobbed his head!...Forty-six years later, my mother & I stumble off a night bus north of Dehli, onto a dusty parking lot, as lightning bolts split the sky, white veins of a god, over the Himalayas, thunder roaring close by.

Wall Barger’s is not the only scream or the only surprising transition. Nancy Lee also gives us a boisterous prose poem, “Four Men Stole Munch’s Scream”:

Two carried the mouth and two the burnt horizon. Ten years later, it was taken again with the Madonna. The Scream had moisture damage and Madonna suffered several tears on the right side…The gods made her a trade for silence. Gave her a piece of the horizon. Carried away her mouth.

Jeanie Keogh’s short story “Out of True” includes a funky little chart of pros and cons assessing the status of her romantic relationship. Richard Harrison defies his own constraints with a long prose poem “Haiku” that is very Haiku in its un-Haiku-ness: “The Haiku is not my form, but I keep returning to this one that I am not writing.” And writing preoccupies Rosemary Griebel, too, whose poem “Insomnia” has not helped me with own severe sleeplessness, but who has, to her credit, contributed to my appreciation of poetry’s ability to make a wakeful night worthwhile: “someone at a small window writing the world / while a distant keening in her head will not lead her back / to sleep.”

Ron Schafrick’s story “The Boy from Ireland” is a terrific example of how to create a character the reader can care about with relatively little backstory and detail. This is one of those stories in which nothing happens, but we get inside the mind of a character we end up caring about, which creates its own sense of drama. I find this is often attempted, but rarely successfully executed. And what more can we ask of fiction?

Finally, Laurie D. Graham’s “Astrometry” is all the proof I need that Freefall deserves its self- assessment as “Canada’s Magazine of Exquisite Writing”:

Night stretches over the field, moth-bitten and complete.
I’m wary of the too-perfect geometry, its bevel over the wide earth.
Vantaged in this containered city block, how does triangulation work
on this field I’ve got going…
And all the fields recalled with a ranging, improvised clarity.
I go back in and sit on the bed and don’t speak,
a lightbulb left on
in the hope the moth can find it.

Find Freefall at, and let go.

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Review Posted on February 27, 2011

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