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New Letters - Number 70.2, 2004

  • Issue Number: Volume 70 Number 2
  • Published Date: 2004
“Every story in this issue is redemptive,” promises Robert Stewart’s editorial note at the front of New Letters Volume 70, Number 2. Jacob White’s story “You Will Miss Me When I Burn” is a high-octane beginning toward support of that claim, following two colossal young men habituated to death defying antics on their beloved homeland lake. “We took to being juggernauts,” proclaims the magnetic narrator early on, and the story roars from there, complete with a magical realism reminiscent of Rick Bass’s early ‘Kirby’ stories. White’s homely first-person poetics are irresistible from start to finish: “I saw Reg grab hold of the pulpit and lay his voice across those people with the soft heaviness of a husband’s arm in sleep.” “The Living,” by Peter Christopher, takes us into the murderous, junky-swarmed New York projects, yet the author still manages, through an artistic alchemy vaguely Rilkean, to transmute his subject matter into something poetically beautiful. Wayne Harrison’s story of a recovering alcoholic struggling with anger management in the wake of divorce is aptly entitled “Wrench,” since that is precisely what it will do to most reader’s hearts, taking well-worn fictional territory and achieving uniquely moving effects. Thirty-six poems are also offered here, most of them philosophical and elegiac in style, as well as a fine essay on the nature of language by a lifelong stutterer and one-time Hungarian refugee Peter Ruppert. [New Letters, University of Missouri—Kansas City, 5101 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO 64110. E-mail: . Single issue $8. www.newletters.org] – MC
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Review Posted on June 30, 2004
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