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Arts & Letters - Spring 2006

  • Issue Number: Issue 15
  • Published Date: Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

What I like best about Arts & Letters is that there is no best — everything is worth reading. This is sophisticated, polished work by experienced and accomplished writers. I'm not even tempted to skip around, but to read straight through from the Table of Contents to the Contributors' Notes. This issue gets off to a quirky start: an interview with Bob Hicok whose answers to Jessica Edwards's questions are similar in tone to that of his verse ("I'm not telling you what to do / anymore than I'm telling you what to feel, / I'm not telling you what to feel / because I'm not sure I feel anything, / I'm not sure there's anything to feel / because I'm not sure language is real.") Of course, the prize-winning short play by Phillip William Brock, three fascinating essays, the elegant translations by Alexis Levitin of poems from Portuguese by Eugenio de Andrade, the exceptional poems, solid short fiction, and book reviews that follow demonstrate not only that language is real, but really impressive in the hands of the right creators. If you're a reader who skips around, don't overlook Sarah Kennedy's three entries for her "Witch's Dictionary," poems whose epigraphs link "current events" with eighteenth century "witchcraft" or Rebecca McClanahan's moving personal essay about "My Affair with Jesus," or Viet Dinh's story "Faults." You'll appreciate just how real language can make an imaginary world seem with prose like Dinh's: "The first thing I ever stole was a heart."

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Review Posted on May 31, 2006

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