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Bat City Review - 2006

  • Published Date: 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

The new issue of the Bat City Review starts off strong with Michael Czyniejewski’s “Pleurisy,” a strangely moving story where the small lies of a marriage get reflected in the inconsistency of the family dictionary's definitions and eventually other written materials in their home. Clocking in at only four pages, its slippery definitions haunt well beyond the story’s size on paper. Elsewhere, Maryl Jo Fox's “Marker” brings us a post-apocalyptic tale regarding an artist’s capture and near-escapes from the vain dictator who rules her world. As the warlord stages twisted beauty pageants and forces refugee artists to paint her image, the narrator can do nothing but flee uselessly towards the borders of her failed society. Cruel and evocative, “Marker” shouldn’t be missed by anyone interested in the quickly emerging slipstream genre. In poetry, Stephen Dunn’s “How to Write a Dream Poem” brings a light tone to the difficulty of conveying a powerful dream to someone else, its advice wisely steering the dream-writer away from truth and toward the more profound potentials of story, feeling, and those ever present dream symbols. The poem begins with the line “do not try to be faithful,” but in fact seems to mean the opposite: Be faithful by giving up hard facts in the pursuit of some larger truth. This piece of advice could just as easily be applied to either of the narrators in the stories mentioned above, making it an intriguing link between the issue’s strongest fictional offerings. With work this good, Bat City Review is certainly on the cusp of a wider recognition. While some new magazines are ones to watch, Bat City Review is one to subscribe to, immediately and without delay. [Bat City Review, Department of English, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station B5000, Austin, TX 78712. Single issue $8.] –Matt Bell

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Review Posted on August 31, 2006

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