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New Letters - Number 70.1, 2004

The cover of this New Letters issue features a mural detail in which a face in a mirror mimics its own act of reflection, soliciting your gaze and shooting it right back to you. Inside the issue, broader sections of Luis Quintanilla’s frank, witty frescoes with a Don Quixote theme (fear no macho kitsch here) are enhanced by commentary from both the exiled Spanish artist and his son. This kind of full-meal attention is present throughout New Letters which features at least half of its poetry in groups of two or three by each author, so that poems compliment one another. The fiction here has a range of flavors – from traditional storytelling with keen characterization and cherished themes to more of the acquired-taste varieties that experiment with rhythm, tempo and punctuation. Other generous offerings in this issue include story/poem + interview sets with Mary Gordon and Tim Seibles. In one of those wonderfully spontaneous “conversations” between two writers in the same issue, Gordon joins Quintanilla’s lament for artists who are “enslaved” by established facts or representative details; she, in reference to writing a biography of Joan of Arc; he, in reference to painting characters from Cervantes’ novel. [New Letters, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5101 Rockhill Road. Kansas City, MO 64110. E-mail: . Single issue $9.] – LKB

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Review Posted on November 30, 2004

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