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Katy Haas

Rattapallax 9 - 2003

September 30, 2003
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This issue of Rattapallax focused on new Brazilian poetry, presented in the original Brazilian-Portuguese along with the English translation, as well as a scattering of experimental American writings. Quite a bit of the poetry in this issue was a little too clever or experimental for me, but I warmed up to some of it after more than one reading, particularly Rodrigo Garcia Lopes’ “Thoth.” Here’s an excerpt from the English translation of the final paragraph of that prose poem:
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I wasn’t sure what kind of experience to anticipate from a journal named HazMat, but I was pleasantly surprised by most of what I found between the perfect-bound covers. Not every piece is a hit, but the ones that don’t make it fail for lack of craft rather than heart.

Diner - Spring/Summer 2003

September 30, 2003
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Diner serves poetry Fresh and hot, just the way you like it! This issue of “Diner” satisfied my craving for concrete, prose, and other experimental forms, while serving up some of the more traditional fare. (All right, I’m done with the diner jokes now.) Although generally I prefer more traditional syntax in my poetry, I found Karen Neuberg’s prose poem, “Persephone,” evocative, especially these lines:

CALYX - Summer 2003

September 30, 2003
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This issue of Calyx showcases art, poetry, and prose pieces that describe women overcoming adversity and celebrating their individuality. Susan Brown’s acrylic “Monument to New York City,” which uses intricate bird-symbols to communicate her feelings about September 11, was intelligent and moving, truly a visual poem. Equally moving was Smoky Trudeau’s short fiction, “Good-Bye, Emily Dickinson” about a homeless woman who is convinced that she is Emily Dickinson’s daughter. I enjoyed the lyrical images of bats in “I Watch Nature While Breastfeeding” by Melissa Crowe:
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This is a journal that prides itself on taking risks and elevating the new. In this case, one of the new things it introduces us to is the poetry of Picasso, featured across seventeen pages, in translation, with lines like “III and in the organ fry up the dead leaves/ II that draw blood/ III that the lake’s light astonishes/ I and makes sing.”
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This annual journal from Truman State University tips the scales at a hefty and generous 250 pages —18 stories, 32 poems, an essay, and 3 reviews. Don't skip the reviews; admirably, GHLL reviews poetry and novels from lesser-known, independent presses.

Out of Line - 2003

September 30, 2003
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"We welcome writing that makes us feel and think deeply about serious human concerns such as tolerance, diversity, freedom, nonviolence, multi-cultural awareness, healthy relationships, environmental justice, globalization, personal growth, and spirituality," say the editors of this annual publication from Ohio, now in its fifth year. This issue features writing on peace and social justice and includes stories, poems, and short personal essays on a wide range of themes, among them:  war, the conflict in the Middle East, anarchist organizations, the life of the Pueblo community in the southwestern United States, racism, the life of migrant workers in the United States, the internment of Japanese American citizens, living with disabilities, domestic violence, and the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001. Contrary to what one might expect, encountering these themes together is not overwhelming. In fact, this accumulation of social justice themes actually seems to work in their favor, creating a large and more commanding vision.
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In his Editor’s Notes, Gerry LeFemina, who here edits his last edition of Controlled Burn, admits his preference for poetry.

Tessera - Winter 2003

September 30, 2003
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The blood red cover announces this volume's theme "Blood/Le Sang," as well as this Canadian journal's bilingual presentation. The Canadians are leaders in feminist writing that crosses "the boundary between creative and theoretical texts," and this issue's introductory essay by editors Martine Delvaux and Catherine Mavrikakis is an excellent example. This exciting work links personal story and reflection, ideas about the meaning of "blood relations" and the language and uses of blood from writers and philosophers and religious texts, and explores the meaning(s) of "blood" in advertising and social interactions ("Blood. It's in you to give" – from the Blood Services of Canada). Alternating between French and English, Delvaux and Mavrikakis’ piece sets the stage for the essays, poems, other prose texts, and artwork that follow.

Euphony - Summer 2003

September 30, 2003
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There is something delightful about opening a literary journal, especially one with this title, to find the score for a string quartet. Beautifully printed, lovely to look at, it is possible to appreciate the "Quartet For Strings #1" by Nicholas Morrison whether one reads music or not. The music is followed by a dozen or so poems, photographs, including stunning portraits by Wynne Harrison Hutchings, fiction, and several essays in criticism, a form that is somewhere between a journal-length review and an in-depth critical essay.
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