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Alligator Juniper - 2006

  • Issue Number: Issue 11
  • Published Date: 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

This publication of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment combines fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and black-and-white photographs from the college’s students as well as national prize winners, all chosen by guest judges. The fiction runs the gamut from the naturalistic treatment of a poor woman giving birth in a tobacco field (Vickie Weaver’s “Distance”) to the magical realism of a murderous mountain lion (Andrew Beahrs’s “Full”). I couldn’t dispel the impression that Weaver tried too hard in “Distance,” particularly regarding the king snake, which is jarringly anthropomorphic and gratuitous. Conversely, Deborah Setzer’s “We Know What to Listen To,” about a female “cowboy,” captivated me from the first line. The poem “Dugan’s Shift” by Jendi Reiter stands out (who wouldn’t be compelled to verse by the quirky fact that poet Alan Dugan was working in a plastic vagina model factory when he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1962?), as does Kim Kapin’s photo “Achille,” which is worth repeat viewings simply for the range of emotions it arouses. Finally, in his well-considered essay “Centered in Edge Effects: Poetry, Nature, Culture, and the Neighborhood,” David Williams succinctly encapsulates what seems the shortfall of much contemporary verse: “Each poem requires discovery. It’s pointless to obscure conventional notions with rhetorical flourishes and call it creative work. It seems equally pointless to collect startling images and arrange them for effect. . .”
[www.prescott.edu/highlights/alligator_junper]

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Review Posted on November 30, 2006
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