Published by the New York City College of Technology, 2 Bridges Review is a new magazine that seeks to publish both unknown and established writers and artists. The magazine is named after the East River Bridges that connect downtown Brooklyn with downtown Manhattan. Editors Kate Falvey, George Guida, and Yaniv Soha say that “between these bridges a community of writers and artists has found a home in the former warehouses and factories of New York’s most literary outer borough.”
In this journal’s very first issue, Dorianne Laux has a lovely poem, “Clay Bowl,” about dropping and breaking a “small object I loved / to gaze upon / while brushing my hair.” Unassuming in language and concept, it is a disturbing meditation on what such losses can do to our hold on identity. After picking up the shards and standing, she catches herself in a mirror,
though it was someone else
who gazed back, a being
whose blue eyes darkened,
a soul I didn’t know
but who seemed to know me
“Clay Bowl” is a reminder of how much power remains in the poetry of epiphanies of everyday life, when the writer’s imagination and craft are strong.
Laux, whose latest collections are The Book of Men and Facts About the Moon, both from W.W. Norton, isn’t the only poet of stature in this inaugural issue; although, her poem is one of the best. Billy Collins, Colette Inez, Gerry LaFemina, Kwame Dawes, Sandra M. Gilbert, Lewis Turco and Harvey Shapiro are among a number of established writers who have contributed to an illustrious start for this new kid on the block.
Among poets less well known to me, I like William Herman’s “I want to know someone,” Mervyn Taylor’s “Mother Moon,” and Crystal Williams’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” This last poem involves young girls sparkling with the joy of self and self-absorption, “bean-headed boys” who throw rocks at their bus, and an elderly bus driver who embarrasses himself by going after them. But he leaves an indelible and loving memory of himself—“chasing that grim darkness down / on platform shoes, / the bells of your pants / whipping like wings.”
Brad Barkley’s short story “The Reindeer Sleigh” and Danielle Ofri’s “Monday” are standouts among engaging fiction selections from Helen Maryles Shankman, Nick Ripatrazone, Lisa Pacenza and Sarah Van Arsdale. Ofri, in a chapter from her novel Malignancy, takes us inside the crazy, meaning-questioning world of an urban emergency room. Barkley’s zany story is a thrill ride with an inept young guy who may have found himself and got his girl back by falling head-first off the wagon. At least he thinks he has. But maybe not. But she’s left messages on his cellphone . . .
Peter Bricklebank’s nonfiction “Wet Sponge” is a tour de force about disgusting stuff in your sink that you never imagined could be turned into art. Well-written memoirs by Marilyn Krysl and Jean Feraca round out the contents, along with art and photography by Nicholas Wilson, Christopher Woods, Todd Behrendt, and Robin Michals.
After this caliber of an inagural issue, I hope to see 2 Bridges Review come out regularly and often.