After twenty-four online issues, apt, in existence since 2005, has done something uncommon in today’s literary scene. At a time when many journals are abandoning print altogether to establish themselves exclusively as online venues, no doubt as a strategic move toward long-term viability, apt has decided the two mediums can and should exist alongside one another. For its 2011 inaugural print issue, apt has brought together the work of Curtis Tompkins, Janelle M. Segarra, Christina Kapp, and David Bartone among others.
Vincent Scarpa’s “God Is in Agriculture” takes up no more than a page and a half; its power, however, is in its restraint. It is the story of a farmer, his wife, and their precarious relationship with their future:
Tony Granik looks up at the silo, that blue angel of death, then over the acres that reach out as far as drowning arms. It’s two weeks until harvest, and he knows the corn hasn’t gotten the attention it needs. He knows that during growing season, corn is like a newborn baby, that it needs love and water and a close eye on it. Granik knows all the variables of a year’s work: fertile soil, good drainage, full sun, space and infestation. Babies grow for nine months, corn for ninety days, and Tony Granik finds out in two weeks which will harvest better. Which, if either, will be worth the investment.
Scarpa digs deep into his characters’ psyches, flushing out both hope and hopelessness in this short piece of fiction.
“Evinrude” is Brian Bahouth’s piece about a sixteen-year-old boy who sets out on an unyielding quest to build a machine that will allow him to recreate the elation he feels while flying in his dreams: “An instantaneous connection between thought and flight made every joyous escape from gravity a carnival of free will. The waking flightless world was barren and colorless by contrast.” In the end, it is an eighteen-horsepower engine that this boy finally decides to affix to the back of his johnboat—rated for no more than three. Bahouth’s wonderfully eerie imagery had me circling back to revisit his disconcerting resolution.
I also appreciated N. A’Yara Stein’s ease of phrasing in the poem “To Have and To Hold”:
Border radio sings 50 thousand watts out of Mexico,
melds static with the papery rustle of palm fronds in fan breeze.
As if in prayer, he bows his head as she refills his coffee,
pirates a flash at the spot where he wants to pin a kiss.
In the editors’ note, Ranldoph Pfaff, Carissa Halston, Robin E. Mork and J.F. Lynch write, “In a time when readers are crying that print is [finally, honestly, genuinely] dead, we’ve moved to the tangible page.” Forge ahead apt. Trust your instincts and broaden you readership. Being bent on doing things your own way may just be the fuel behind your success.