Revolution House, as the editors indicate, “is the brainchild of a disparate group of writers who came together during the tumultuous early months of 2011, when the MFA application anxiety was high and the lows were lower than low. We had a dream of a sprawling farmhouse, a place where we could all escape the dragging monotony of reality. But it’s difficult to find a house with fourteen bedrooms, so we ended up here instead, building platforms to launch other dreams.”
The current issue marks the fifth in their venture, and from the looks of it, they are headed toward something great. If nothing else, they are reaching their goal to help these writers “launch dreams.”
Lindsay D’Andrea’s fiction piece “Upstream” stuck with me long after I finished reading it. In it, a girl named Kate is—having dropped out of Julliard—a summer nanny for a child name Aiden and his father David, who has just separated from his wife. She is put into an uncomfortable situation when David comes on to her, they have sexual relations, he pays her for those hours, and when, one day the father is gone, the mother knocks on the door to reclaim her son. Kate worries, not sure what to do:
Kate rooted herself in the foyer, caught between all directions of movement. This was how it happened, the stage fright. Upon the moment to act, turned stone as if by a curse. She remembered her last attempt at a performance, the way the faceless audience leaned forward muttering as the music in her head turned to mush. Who was she to perform these great and impossible tasks? She couldn’t handle the music, she had failed, but she didn’t want to fail David or Aiden.
The end is a little open ended and unsettling, leaving me thinking about it as days passed.
“The Best-Natured Baby in the World” by James Penha, too, was unsettling; I actually cried out in shock with the very end. In it, a mother is worried as she realizes it is not normal that her baby doesn’t ever cry, not once.
Fatimah Asghar’s “example a: temporality” is a perfect poem for math lovers. Though not really about math per say, you must use it to get the meaning from it. Using equations, it sets up the variables as follows: “q = quest, x = knowledge, n = art, y = truth, b= stories, / r= happiness, d=life, h=history, t=temporality.”
Justin Carter’s “Universe! Universe! (I Am A Lonely Dwarf Planet)” questions about love poems; the narrator states, “My professor says / love poems are always about the ‘I’.” In another part of the poem, the narrator wants to write love poems about “you,” but in the end hints that the poem really is about I.
I put a Styrofoam box in my pool
& sat inside & pretended it was a boat
& that there was a you in it too, but if this
is a love poem, then I guess there isn’t.
Revolution House is different from the norm (perhaps the “revolution” that the title refers to): the fiction is unsettling, the poetry takes on new forms and experiments with new ideas, and the magazine itself explores new types of writing.