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Gulf Coast - Volume 16 Number 2

Fall 2004

My first impression of Gulf Coast is not a particularly lofty one, but I’ll say it anyway: I can’t believe this thing is only eight bucks. This 288-page issue contains the writing of 60 contributors, as well as a color photo spread of Jay Sullivan’s straw and plaster sculptures (humanoid, and oddly reminiscent of Alberto Giacometti’s bronzes). The poetry in Gulf Coast is what some might call challenging and others difficult; personally, I most enjoyed Radha Marcum’s controlled but surreal “Reincarnation.” An excerpt: “Streaks of day-glaze like egg-white / over street grit. God // drips from the second story // geranium box, / a wet eye shining out.” The fiction here mostly leans toward love, sex, and all the attendant problems. Joe Meno’s “A Trip to Greek Mythology Camp” is a piece at once funny and sweet as an awkward teenaged virgin gets sent to the peculiar title camp. Michelle Wildgen’s “You Have No Idea” is an erotic story which is – astutely – less about the main character’s new sexual partner than about the relationship’s effect on her disapproving best friend. The nonfiction in this issue is just wonderful (and this from a reader who usually skips it). The essays by William Giraldi, Miki Howald, and Alden Jones are all clear, punchy, and absorbing. [Gulf Coast, Department of English, University of Houston, Houston TX 77204-3013. E-mail: . Single issue: $8.] – JQG

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Review Posted on June 30, 2004

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