Artifice announces that its editorial aims are to showcase “by context and content” work “aware of its own artifice.” Issue 2 is certainly true to this mission, beginning with the self-conscious Table of Contents, divided not by genre but by more abstract classifications (“Those That Tremble As If They Were Mad”; “Innumerable Ones”; “Those Drawn With a Very Fine Camel’s-Hair Brush”; “Others”; “Those That Have Just Broken a Flower Vase”; “Those That From a Long Way Off Look Like Flies”).
Self-aware artifice-ness is evident in the stylized language of Brandon Blackburn’s faux-historical prose tale, “Black Snails by Sunrise” ("‘Tis not merely a hedgerow maze such as may be found anywhere throughout County Derbyshire”); in the syntax and diction of Kent Leatham’s short numbered poems, “Driving East is Madness Much (435)”: “Since driving east is madness much— / (“Danger! Us straight! Weigh your demur!”; in the brashness of Elizabeth Hildreth’s poem, “My World” (“Is like telling the Prom—Go fuck yourself,” the poem begins), which is an English to English translation of Brandi Homan’s “Explaining Poetry on a First Date”; in the structure of Andrew Kirk Farnsworth’s “Endnotes (Recent Instantiations of Blind-Shift),” numbered fragments, presented in varied font sizes and types; in the architecture of M. Kitchell’s “Architecture, Anamnesis,” with its brackets, varied fonts, reverse type, text in blocks, and streams of unbroken text:
Extra strength sleeping again where you are this time here besides can’t feel your shape slope an incline weight of a body pushing the mattress down where could you have gone why aren’t you here sleep walking again better get up find you find me the moonlight descends into our tomb.
and in the marvelous sounds of “down the atlantic” by Tony Mancus: “We have beyond-the-sky left: this big / countryful of sweeping departures. Hallways / of ash-can and smoke”.
Rachel Yoder captures the essence of the artifice’s implications in “Translation Machine”: “Of course, language has its limitations. We use language to try to express these shortcomings. The point here is that we do not yet have a tool to perfectly understand each other.”