At the beginning of each month, Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine brings readers one piece each in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, all with an animal theme. With only three pieces per issue, readers can fully enjoy each piece at their own pace, strengthening their appreciation for animal inspiration.
In the June 2017 edition of Animal, Laura Madeline Wiseman pens “Love Dad and the Dogs,” an essay detailing when Wiseman traveled and left her elderly dog, Echo, with her dad and his dog. Texts from her father—signed with the title phrase—are pings of light that shine throughout her solo adventures in Acadia National Park. The light momentarily flickers when she receives the voicemail “Laura, it’s your Dad. Call me. It’s about Echo,” but returns to brighten things for readers once again at the expertly wrapped-up ending.
In poetry, Delia Tan Garigan compares birds to language with “Avian Typography.” She utilizes alliteration in lines like: “Clearing the pavement—over and over—they plummet and climb. / Cascades of crystalline calls—each species of cry a twirled kerning—” and “These earnest punctures / are their punctuation: persistent sound transcribed—” punctuating her own writing with a musical quality that goes hand in hand with writing about birds.
The animal theme is a little more on the subtle side in Marisa Urgo’s short story “In Transit,” in which a freshly dumped, down-on-his-luck man becomes a driver for famous jazz singer Elle May. It takes a moment to pick out how this relates to the animal world until Elle is introduced with animal qualities: “A ball of fur tumbled from the cab. Long legs in black leggings stretched out and high heels clicked against the curb to reveal a woman in a coat that would make PETA furious.” But the real beasts reveal themselves to be human, an attacker who breaks in to Elle’s apartment and disrupts her life. Or, perhaps, another possibility: the narrator himself is the animal, a guard dog standing over Elle. The variety of ways one could interpret the theme in this story makes for an enjoyable read. In fact, all three pieces vary in their connections to animals, and it was a delight to discover them all.
As if the writing wasn’t enough, Animal also offers art paired with each written piece, the best part being links to the artists’ store pages, so if you really love Evelyne Mary’s linocut “Woman on the Bear” like I did, you can easily purchase some of Mary’s art for yourself.
If you’re looking for something a little wild this summer—but still comfortably connected to WiFi—tune in to Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine to see what other creatures are lying in wait.