East Coast Ink’s very first issue is themed “New Again,” perhaps fitting for a first issue, perhaps not. In the editor’s note, Jacqueline Frasca writes, “Every one of us has a moment where we recognize, This isn’t me anymore. It can leave you lost, hopeful, hopeless—but whether you perceive it as a misstep, a leap forward, or a tragic mistake, you are one thing for sure: new, again. All over again.” For Frasca, this magazine is an attempt to move forward. But more importantly, it’s a place to showcase authors’ works:
Many of the pieces address the “new again” from the point of view of someone who is moving past a break-up or loss. Take, for example, John Grey’s “Unfeeling”:
a dozen words of yours
almost cleaved my heart in two.
And then you sighed
like you were glad that it was over.
And it was over
for all those living on your tongue.
I really enjoyed Jessica Drake-Thomas’s “To My Rochester” in which the narrator compares herself not to Jane Eyre, but to Bertha Mason, starting with: “If we had lived in any other century, you would not have loved me / to begin with—” The poem is broken into three sections, but the third one remains blank, leaving the “new again” open-ended.
Rebecca Thill’s poem “Little Women” is a reference to the Lousia May Alcott novel. Though I’m not sure of the connection of this poem to the book (beyond the lines “I spent my time at the cabin / chasing fireflies and reading Alcott quietly”), the poem ends with a delicate imagery that brings the poem home for me:
I made sure to poke holes
like I was told in each metal lid.
But they died anyways. Their tiny lightless corpses
tink-tinked and pink-pinked against the glass
while I shook my head and the jar
filled with my little dead things
shaking it one last time trying to rattle some light.
And while in this particular issue I was more interested in the poetry, there are quite a few pieces of prose as well. In particular, be sure to read Kyle Hemmings’s micro-fiction selection. Still in the early stages of this publication, East Coast Ink contains some notable selections and is taking steps in the right direction.