Hawk & Handsaw – “The Journal of Creative Sustainability” – “was born out of a deceptively simple pair of truisms: first, reflective sustainability is crucially important to the collective health of our planet; secondly, figuring out how to be successfully sustainable requires a lot of thought and no small amount of patience and whimsy.” This first issue focuses on home – “no attempts at the grand statement, but rather, close observations of the particulars that sustain us.”
My favorite story in this issue is Bruce Pratt’s “The Dawning of the Day” which flirts with but doesn’t descend into sentimentality. It’s a story of a romance, infidelity, and a forgiveness which begins in America but is finally accepted as the couple again accepts Ireland, their returned-to homeland. My favorite piece of artwork is Emily Brown’s “Winter Maple,” a stark ink on paper black and white drawing done with almost photographic realism. And my favorite essay is Michael P. Branch’s “My Child’s First Garden,” maybe since he and his child’s adventures in the garden seem a supplement to Michael Pollan’s Second Nature, a book I’m currently reading. “Only a fool believes that anything in this broken world is foolproof,” Branch writes, “and so the proliferation of things called foolproof is proof only that the world has fools and plenty.” Pollan would agree.
Home isn’t always a haven; it can be hellish as well. In Luisa A. Igloria’s poem, “What I Want Most of All,” the narrator wishes to leave her all-consuming domestic life behind, drop casually off the face of the earth, and show up, unknown and alone, in Europe. In Jennifer A. Barton’s story, “The Monkey’s Fist,” a father and son wait, helpless, as a crew comes to dynamite near their home in West Virginia. And Bibi Wein’s essay, “The Way Home,” recounts distaste with, then eventual love for, a place in the Adirondacks.
Based on the good quality of writing I found, I think this journal has a promising future. I’m interested to see what other themes Hawk & Handsaw covers in its upcoming issues.