With its charming mix of erudition and irreverence, Epicenter is an enjoyable read with a distinctly contemporary feel. This issue opens with Daniel John's "Midden," which at first glance appears to be a standard failed marriage poem, until five lines in, when "a cacodemon ripped / off [his] face." Many of the poems here do that, injecting an element of surprise into subjects that seemed familiar; just as exciting, Epicenter's poets tend to be as knowledgeable of the lofty (Kafka, Thomas Hardy) as of pop culture (Ricky Ricardo, Nirvana). One of my favorites is Eitan Codish's "Nighttime Tea." Japanese ceremony meets American poetry as the speaker carefully prepares tea, wondering how the guest will drink: ". . . Like Dickinson, in short - / dashes - of inspiration, or like Eliot, in / calculated chaos [. . . ]” Though primarily poetry, a few essays and short fiction appear here; a particularly strong story is J. Merrolla's "What the Dope Was," in which a couple of guys tell a stranger what they remember of a mysterious kid named Donnie Jack. No one in the story (nor the reader, for that matter) really learns everything about him. That parallels a bit of enigma in Epicenter itself; with no bio notes, its writers seem more mysterious than they might have otherwise. I think I like that.