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American Literary Review - Spring 2011

  • Issue Number: Volume 22 Number 1
  • Published Date: Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

Jude Nutter’s starkly eloquent “16 October, 2009, 17.55 PM: Little Elegy” is illustrative of the issue’s approach and strengths, with its description of life with horses, somehow both intimate and personal, yet distant, a portrait of another life:

my father would stretch out
beside her to work on his crossword, reading
the clues out loud. But, mostly, she was silent
because she had no use for language,
the way it frothed toward metaphor
and privileged the living, Somewhere
a bird. And a sudden scar
of sunlight as clouds break…

Nutter’s strong poems are well accompanied by poetry from Mark Wagenaar, Chad Davidson, Anne Boutelle, Dean Kostos, Natalie Giarrantano, Chuck Carlisle, Claire Bateman, Marjorie Stelmach, and 10 other poets, including translations of Nikola Madzirov’s poems by Peggy and Graham W. Reid.

Prose is similarly affecting, beautifully crafted, personal, yet also polished with a sort of odd far-off quality like Nutter’s verse. These effective pieces include the journal’s prize-winning fiction by Karen Heuler, stories by Adam Pearson, Laura Walter, and Scott Nadelson, and nonfiction by Sabine Heinlein, Sarah Heston, Jeff Walker, and Danielle Deulen. Prize-winning essay “Pomp and Circumstance” by Heinlein is especially effective:

Of all the bridges in New York I like the Verrazano the least. As I drive across it on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon to visit Edwin, a young, blind man from Staten Island, I try to figure out what I have against America’s largest suspension bridge. My gaze glides to the right, over the hazy Lower Bay, then along the bridge’s vertical suspender cables and its towering pylons into the sky. In one blow I feel the bridge’s enormous dimensions and the precarious trust we bestow on engineering. Our faith in human abilities tied to our fear of falling.

The issue also includes a revealing interview with poet Scott Cairns by Tony Leuzzi and intelligent reviews by Rick Joines. The covers are evocative and expertly composed black and white photographs from Jess L. Bournay and Tim Fitts. This is solid, satisfying reading from accomplished and serious writers and artists cleverly attuned to the world of ideas, emotions, and rich imagery.

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Review Posted on April 14, 2011

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