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Prick of the Spindle - 2008

  • Issue Number: Volume 2 Number 2
  • Published Date: 2008
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

Prick of the Spindle is a journal that fills its literary itinerary with almost every literary genre imaginable. It is one of the most comprehensively complete journals in terms of its subject matter as well as its devotion to the concept of representing large intellectual and culturally diverse writing communities. One unifying image of the type of writing that they publish is a merging of a chaotic and energetic prose flowing rapidly but with a structure grounding each piece in a specific style or meaning.

In Matt Lavin’s essay “Day 37,” he describes his mother’s self-prescribed cancer treatment in gut wrenching detail:

I am visiting her on day 37 of a forty-day starvation marathon, a quasi-suicidal holistic cancer treatment that consists of taking into her body only water and vitamins -- no bread or blintzes or flan or eggs – to kill the tumors in her chest by feeding them not one ounce of protein. She said once, by way of refusing chemotherapy, “I don’t think I want to do that,” and would say no more.

The fervor in which this non-fiction piece is written and depicted also shows the determination of the piece’s central figure in winning this fight.

In the prose poem “Company” by Brian Foley, the inanimate objects in the narrator’s house are his closest and dearest friends, and in the tradition of most surrealistic works, these objects have funny personalities as well:

All of my friends have arrived. I can tell by the sudden absence of space in the room. The Wood quickly takes to the corner. He will not make a sound until he's lit. The Ottoman is having considerable success at turning the Television on. I pull out my salami and share it. Grandfather Clock separates his hourly laughter into seconds. The House takes years to warm up to us. No one notices.

With his quick wit and precise and short sentences, Foley endears the reader to the world he has created almost mirrored by such Disney friendly cartoon movies like Beauty and the Beast where inanimate objects in the castle also come alive. In another poem “Rue Du Coq d’Or, Paris” by Christopher Barnes, he relates the drama of a mother facing the day to come, and all the duties that entails. “She’s sensate, \ Radioluminescence at the glass \ From sore red sun, \ And gaunt, frail to the bones. \\ Rue Du Coq d’Or, Paris, seven in the morning. \ He spick-and-span elf-boy sleeps \ On the twists of the mattress.” This poem is like a luminescent vision that reaches out to as if a bright sun was blinding your eyes until they watered and opened up to the present before you and this character's eyes.

In the fiction piece “Uncle Doubt” by Elliot Krop and translated from Russian by I.I. Dubinov, then translated back, and so on…(whatever this means), the main character and narrator describes his uncle’s maladies:

I looked him up and down then, still not recognizing the features. Time had not been kind to my poor uncle. His face had the texture of rubble and he hunched so badly that one could mistake him for a circus performer – a contortionist. Moreover, his hands shook, and the cataracts in his eyes made me wonder how it was that he faced the correct direction when talking to me.

Elliot Krop is not only a master of minutely detailed descriptions of character and action, but is also a master of quick-paced dramatic dialogue as well.

Throughout the many intriguing narrative, interviews, drama, fiction, essays and yes, even a special review section of the most recently released poetry chapbooks, the reader too would be gasping for breath if he tried to mete it out all in one sitting. One thing that makes this journal stand out in the large online literary magazine crowd is not only that it is willing to publish challenging and engaging new work, but that the tempo and rhythm of this work is like the best punk or heavy metal song, full of both sound and fury that will pummel the reader in pummeling the words on the page with their tongues as quickly as they turn the pages enthusiastically to see what will happen or what will be said next.

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Review Posted on August 13, 2008

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