Sonic Boom is a journal “for writing that explodes.” Even the cover art of the April 2016 issue explodes with rich colored graffiti, a photograph by Kyle Hemmings. Issues start out in the Poetry Shack, then move on to Paper Lanterns—a section for haiku, tanka, senryu, and other Japanese forms—before continuing on to prose, art, and an interview, with 64 total contributors found in this issue alone.
In the Poetry Shack, Kayt Hoch waits with “Quiet Unlearnings,” which reminded me of the institutions girls were sent to in the 50s-70s so they could quietly have babies outside of wedlock before being allowed to come back home: “Voices in white aprons pushing the chairs told her good girls wear white at their weddings. / She wondered if the white made brides just a little bit invisible; maybe made it easier to be good girls.” This is a piece that explodes but does so quietly, questioning the concept of purity.
The poetry in the Paper Lanterns section cascades down the pages, carrying readers eyes down with it, one poem easily falling into the next. Rob Scott compares getting a haircut to falling snow, Djurdja Vukelić-Rožić cheekily writes of coming home after a party, and Kala Ramesh speaks to a baby tortoise. These are just a few of the gems found in Paper Lanterns.
Moving on to the fiction section, all pieces are no more than two pages long, flash fiction a perfect choice for Sonic Boom. Opening lines hook readers in, like Aria Riding’s “What You Were Crying About”:
The night was hungry. You plucked out my eyes with a spoon. There they rolled between the gaps in the table. Then, into the ruts in the floorboards, such rough, splintery channels, still they steered me – as all the blood in my body suddenly rushes past the ears.
And endings explode, like in “Taking out the Garbage” by Eva Roa White, an ending I won’t spoil for readers. Every piece found in the fiction section is unique in style and subject. A reader doesn’t know what to expect, and will not be let down by what they end up finding.
The visual art in this issue is just as varied. Bill Waters provides “Closed Doors,” a poem created by stacking book spines, set up in front of an American flag. “Three Sheets to the Wind” by Kyle Hemmings melts down the page, forcing readers to take a second look. Leslie Bamford superimposes a tanka on a vibrant photograph. Each piece of art draws the eye in and refuses to let go.
But after seeing the eye-catching art and reading the engaging writing in Sonic Boom, it’s easy to see that’s what this magazine is all about: it’s impossible to ignore an explosion.