The second issue of Jelly Bucket is diverse, eclectic, and thoughtful. With a variety of poetry, prose, and creative nonfiction, Jelly Bucket does not seem to have specific, exclusive criteria, with the exception that all accepted work should reveal a new truth or way of life.
Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s “Recalling Virginia Woolf” captures the sentiments of Woolf’s novels, namely Mrs. Dalloway, in the sense that the female narrator strongly identifies with feelings of miscommunication, disconnect, and emotional isolation. The narrator confesses:
After his thirteenth confident
on music, poetry, politics,
I’m Lily Briscoe once more
afraid when I look again
I won’t see what I see.
Later, the narrator fully exposes her fury and desperation for escape, to shake free of the shackles that bind her to this material world. She says: “Anger strokes me all morning. / I’m the moth with the ragged wing / batting the glass pane. / Outside in the open air / swallows light on the eaves / shaking their forked tails.” With such fine-tuned vocabulary and turns of phrase, Kirkpatrick’s poem feels like a modern take on Woolf’s voice, one feminine perspective connected through common sentiment, surpassing years of literary history.
On the other hand, Ryan Ridge’s “H” is short and simplistic, employing dialogue to shape his faceless characters. However, when Ridge relies on descriptive details, they balance out the conversational dialogue. The dingy accommodations of a room are further emphasized by telling details:
Now a jolt of fear shoots through me and I drop the knife. I step away from Stone and take an inventory of the room. It’s an orgy of whiskey bottles and mannequin heads. Nothing unusual. I light another cigarette and soon I’m at the window, peering through the plastic blinds. The parking lot is empty and the empty spaces look to me like a framework for atheism.
In another piece, perhaps such details might read as melodramatic, a morose punch line unwarranted and unearned. Fortunately, the characters and the environment call for such proclamations, as these are Godless men vacationing in Salem’s Lot.
Adam Knight’s “Rut” exposes the humanity of an adulterer. Instead of a soulless monster, the adulterer feels guilty, even remorseful that the husband of his lover is so woefully spineless. He desperately yearns for an altercation, an incident of physical violence, in order to get rid of the suffocating feeling of regret, of having stolen something, or rather someone, without a fight.
Jelly Bucket is certainly for the reader who enjoys variety in his or her journals and is not afraid to leap from one opposing theme or style of writing to the next. The poetry feature showcasing Tea Topuria’s multi-lingual poems are quite different from the fiction feature dedicated to Chris Offutt. But it’s Jelly Bucket’s ability to juggle multiple schools of thought and clashing executions of language that makes it so different, like the broken pieces of glass that compose a single mosaic.