With a selection of two poets and two pieces of fiction, this issue of The Bacon Review offers a spotlight on four writers, giving all of the writers the focus they deserve.
Minka Misangyi contributes a piece of fiction titled “The Mermaids Tail,” in which the little girl Darlene wishes for nothing more than to be a mermaid. She stays with her family on vacation at the beach, and, after overhearing a quarrel between her aunt and grandmother about a “monster” that lives under the grandmother’s bed, Darlene starts to wonder how such a monster is made. She speculates to her two cousins Rebekah and Tommy:
Darlene and Rebekah dropped their heads. Maybe Tommy was right. Their grandmother was a lady, well-mannered and proper, and devoted much of her time with them to making sure they knew their manners too. Certainly a respectable old woman could not—would not—have anything to do with monsters.
The child-like innocence is captured perfectly in this piece as the children cannot and will not understand conversations between adults, why a human cannot be a mermaid, and why fish wash up dead on the shoreline.
The other piece of fiction, by Penelope Mace titled “Pharmacists and Celts,” is an excerpt from a novel that also deals with the child’s perspective. Four children, left by their parents, try to live on their own in a new city as the two eldest become the “mother” and “father” of the family. The characters are developed more throughout the excerpt; I’d like to learn more about them through the novel.
Mariela Griffor contributes three poems including “Daphne and Non-profits in the Western Hemisphere,” “Chiloe Island,” and, my favorite, “Andres the Barbarian,” which is a poem dedicated to the characterization of Andres:
For me he was the man who taught me to read,
and the man who hit me in the head
every time I forgot the letter “H”.
How can I pronounce the letter “H”
if it didn’t have any sound?
Nils Michals’s poety works with anaphora and repetition of words as the poem builds from beginning to the end, melding ideas the ideas together. See this in “Chantepleure” (“chantepleure” means to sing and cry at the same time):
Soon chantey, soon soup, soon cold, soon fog,
soon snow’s program in lieu of,
soon noon snow, a handmaiden not to touch,
for who, whose knife for soup, whose touch, for what
fee, for what strange attractor is mimicry
While I was drawn more to the fiction than the poetry in this issue, it is a nice sized issue, giving a sampling of a select few authors, rather than publishing a ton of work each month. I like this approach as a way to discover new writing and writers to follow. The Bacon Review seems like a journal that is really dedicated to its writers and that values the writing it publishes.