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Conjunctions - 2005

  • Issue Number: Issue 45
  • Published Date: 2005
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

There is something sinister about children (a fact every Hollywood horror movie knows), with their made-up languages, their hidden play spots and their games of Hangman. The work in Conjunctions 45 makes good use of this, offering up a thick portion of eeriness in their “Secret Lives of Children” issue. Shelley Jackson starts the issue off with a dark and absurd vision of a hangman game, whose title is a line sketch of a scaffold. There are plenty of recognizable names here (Howard Norman, John Ashbery, Robert Creeley) and plenty of unknowns. Robert Creeley’s six-page poem “Caves” was my favorite piece, taking caves’ hiding spots as a motif: “So much of my childhood seems / to have been spent in rooms- / at least in memory, the shades / pulled down to make it darker.” Malinda Markham also offers up three excellent poems, “To Hunt in This Landscape” especially. The most delightful surprise, however, is a John Ashbery translation of a selection of Stéphane Mallarmé’s musings on English nursery rhymes. Mallarmé taught these thoughts alongside the nursery rhymes in his English classes, though his responses read much more like prose-poems than explanations of themes: “Everyone obeyed him, and when he said: ‘Quack! Quack!’ and nothing more, the ship began to move. Do you see it now, that beautiful ship? – Yes, Mother, in the land of fairy tales.” 

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Review Posted on December 31, 2005

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