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Porcupine - 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 10 Issue 1
  • Published Date: 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

Porcupine literary magazine is concerned with both the visual as well as the literary arts. Each issue contains poetry, fiction, and essays, as well as portfolios of artists and a full-color section dedicated to visual media. In this issue, Janet Yoder describes the basketry of Vi Hilbert, an Upper Skagit elder, who has been weaving her entire life, binding her community and her past as tightly as her cedar root baskets. We are given photos of two of her baskets and left wanting to see more of this amazing woman’s art. The drawings of Betty LaDuke make up the center of the issue, images she created during her volunteer work in the war-torn areas of Albania and Kosovo. The pictures are accompanied by diurnal-like entries by the artist, recalling a particular family or situation, and conveying the sense that the artist worked in the middle of things. In some ways, the visual art is more powerful than the literary selections in this issue. Most of the issue is dedicated to poetry, with a feature on poet Mathew Rabuzzi, but few of the poems are truly remarkable. The nonfiction, too, lacks a lot of dimension, but the fiction is stronger. The opening short story by Lauro Polumba, entitled “Malojapass,” gives the reader some stellar images and snappy dialogue—for example, one of the characters is initially described with “hair a white apology squirming on his head,” the same character who later comments about photos of himself that he had “gotten so old [he’d] lost track of his own face.” The editors chose wisely in opening the issue with Polumba’s work. It is strong in scene and generates the same visual force that the three-dimensional artists provide later in the issue.

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Review Posted on January 31, 2007

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