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Ninth Letter - Spring/Summer 2004

  • Issue Number: Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date: Spring/Summer 2004

Ninth Letter is a vigorous and fearlessly enterprising magazine, unconventional in both appearance and content without lapsing from quality. Instead of the trade paperback format favored by most lit mags, the Ninth Letter editors have opted for an exhibition-catalog size printing, an eccentric incarnation that aptly suits the journal’s adventurous character and could easily inspire a wider scope of design among the lit mag community. This inaugural issue is peopled by established names such as Dave Eggers, Steve Almond, and Robert Olen Butler (who’s story “Hotel Touraine” is simply enchanting), while managing to feature in its lavishly designed pages a wealth of other writers equally eligible for widespread attention. Three tiny prose-poems by Louis Jenkins fascinate with their sumptuous brevity (paradox intended). Michael Martone’s nonfiction musings entitled “Ephemera” offer John Berger-esque perspectives on the metaphysics behind two brief letters scribbled by Mark Twain a century ago, and launch a whole contemplation on the cosmic significance of such postal curios to our computerized age. An interview with Life of Pi author Yann Martel serves up some candid authorial theory, and a thoughtful essay on the famously truant swallows of Southern California’s Mission San Juan Capistrano takes a look at the meaning of kitsch in our everyday lives. [Ninth Letter, Dept. of English, University of Illinois, 608 South Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801. E-mail: . Single issue $12.95.] - MC

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Review Posted on April 30, 2004

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