The journal that calls itself “Canada’s eclectic review” very nearly earns the title based on the cover photograph alone. “Miss Julie” lounges in a flowered black overshirt, high-gravity malt liquor in hand, infinite stories to be told with her painted lips. Inside, Alberto Manguel’s essay could be a case for eclecticism. He contrasts the inclination of the great artist to produce a diverse range of works with posterity’s tendency to remember a single one the artist may not feel is representative. Nature themes abound, appropriate in a Nova Scotia-based publication. Eleonore Schönmaier’s poem, “Tracks,” features a protagonist challenging her place amongst the trees and clouds and snow. Karen Shenfeld’s poem, “Bathurst Manor,” evokes a simpler time “When the summer air cooled like bath water,” and time was passed by “squinting through the deepening dusk / to wait for the wishing star.” Human nature arises in Christine Birbalsingh’s story “Trapped,” which depicts a young mother whose eagerness to care for her children is her undoing.
There are other kinds of human frailty apparent in Crystal Hurdle’s three vivid poems, ranging from physical and mental illness to the way insecurity can affect our decision-making processes. And human and nature combine as Brianna Brash-Nyberg condenses a full short story of meaning into a three-section poem that sets dead birds as the mile markers on the road to adulthood. After fifteen years of contemplating the meaning of the dead birds in her life, the protagonist finally understands. Her lover touches her and “she trembles / with the old resonance of flight, spread open like pinfeathers / against his body’s sky.”