This month, Sundog Lit opens the pages of its very first issue. Including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, it hosts a bevy of writers, both established and new. Editor Justin Lawrence Daugherty writes in his note that this issue accomplishes what they hoped it would; “it burns retinas.” If there is one piece that stands out as “burning” my retinas, it’s definitely “Caul” by Jenna Lynch. It was, well to be honest, gross (if you don’t know what a “caul” is, look it up), but even though it is eerie and not pleasant to picture, it’s insightful:
The midwife unhooked my veil,
peeled it back, and gave it to my mother,
who, years later,
ground it to a powder,
fed it to me with the white
of an egg.
“Foley” by Daniel Romo is a prose poem that takes the dramatic sound effects of film and television and reveals the wizard behind the curtain:
The Black Knight unsheathes his sword before beheading the
fallen hero. The sound of grating metal is actually a spatula
scraping sidewalk. The school bully repeatedly punches his victim
in the gut. The winded “oomph” his body produces is made by a
man behind the scenes striking a stalk of celery with a large stick.
“Cat Burglars” by Edward Hagelstein is a playful fiction piece in which the narrator’s character is developed through describing his partner in crime Noye. For example, he starts the piece with "I called Noye. His first name was Abner, and sometimes I called him Ab-Noye-mal. It wasn't far off the mark." During a break-and-enter of a restaurant to steal cash, Noye ends up also taking a cat, an action that gets him into trouble later on in the story:
He told them he found the cat wandering and took her in and figured he’d be off the hook. That didn’t work. Apparently they had his latent prints from the restaurant.
“You wore gloves.”
“I took them off to pet Sally.”
“I didn’t want the rubber to pull on her fur and make her uncomfortable.”
“And you didn’t put them back on before you went into the desk?”
Noye was crestfallen. At least it sounded like he was.
“I guess not.”
The one thing that leaves something to be desired is the layout. Arranged as if pages in a print magazine, you “flip” through the magazine; each time, it loads a new page. While it is mimicking a print magazine, it hinders itself a little in the fact that a lot of the poems don’t fit on one page, forcing you to load another page in order to finish reading.
But all in all, I think Sundog Lit is out for a great journey; I’m excited to see how it further develops and how it “moves and rages” and “sets fires and breaks down walls” with the future issues.