I have been interested in reading Redivider for a while so was happy when Cherie sent it; a publication by Emerson College – two by one institution in a land of dwindling print literary journals is pretty amazing (Ploughshares is the other). Gender of authors published seems fairly equal. Interesting content. This issue contains the non-fiction flash winner; interestingly, both the winner and runner-up pieces are written in second person. The two fiction pieces that stood out most for me are Charles Haverty’s “Kites” for well-developed characters and a vividly enfolding plot and “The Lesser Horsemen” by Keith Rosson for unique perspective and story; Rosson’s has been nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. The poem “Grown-Ass Man” by Benjamin Myers also stayed in my mind for a while. Really enjoyed the whole issue and don’t recall skipping or skimming anything in particular.
I reviewed Lunch Ticket, Online Magazine Confronts Racism, Classism, Poverty, and Other Real-life Topics, for The Review Review.
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
A creepy little story set in the future, when people of a certain age must choose the way in which they want to die. A tale of one man’s resistance and the social implications to his family. An interesting commentary on social norms and mores.
Great cover illustration. I really liked the story “The Grant Pill” by Dominic Russ-Combs which contains great character development and description. Katherine Robinson’s “North Bay Hotel” was very well done. I also enjoyed Matthew Gavin Frank’s essay “The Clouding of the Clear Clam Chowder.”
I fear this review is all style no substance since the most obvious thing to comment about this issue of the journal is its fresh new design. Along with increasing frequency to publishing six times a year instead of four comes a slimmer, easier to carry with you look that seems more steamlined. Excellent content, as always. Michaela Jenkins very well-deservedly won the 2014 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers for her fantastic poem “indigo sister”. Amy Beeder’s poem “Letter from Inmate 0709-609” was fabulously creepy. Lee Upton’s non-fiction piece “A Reverse Alphabet for Finishing” I very much appreciated, especially this: “And at some point revision should be stopped. The older writer rewriting his or her younger self can consume his own, like Saturn devouring his children.” Indeed.
Some great pieces in this issue, including Natalia Toledo’s poem “Altar” with two closing lines I really love for some reason:
I hear a voice:
the devil has wings
Kelle Groom’s non-fiction piece “Antibody” includes some wise words from Thich Nhat Hanh concerning death. Tony Hoagland offers writers brilliant advice in “12 Things I Know About the Life Of Poetry” as does Juan Villoro in “Sixty-Three Original Languages” (he also mentions his friend Roberto Bolaño, reminding me of the stack of books behind me on my shelves waiting to be devoured this winter…). Amy Butcher offers heart-wrenching confirmation in “A Slow Kind Of Unraveling” on the pain of losing someone.
My favorite piece of short fiction was Caitlin Horrocks’ “Mermaid and Knife”. Beautiful, short, yet such real prose and beautiful sentences that seem simple but speak volumes. “There have been so many sadnesses it had seemed there was not room for more.” “I had such plans, and they all went wrong.” Universal truths veiled in fiction….
Every single piece of short fiction in this issue of the Sycamore Review was well crafted and written. I was excited when Julialicia Case popped up again with “A Certain Kind of Animal” and she didn’t disappoint. Her writing is full of wonderful sentences like this one, loaded with intense visual imagery: “She lifted one arm and, quick as crazy, smashed the fish against the ground.” I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future. And although I haven’t read him, I appreciated a lot of the things Paul Harding said in the interview “From the Inside Out.”