|The Bridal Dresses in Beirut||
Each dress hangs from a noose.
Sandwiched neatly between
We’d booked a faraway break –
Later, this will be etched
Now you actually have to look:
of course, it’s smaller than you remembered,
The cupboards in your childhood bedroom
And it takes you weeks and months
|What Men Do||
I knew a man who swapped himself for a hostage; brave, as the taker had a degree in torture and humiliation.
In Issue 39 we seem to have naturally gravitated towards poems and prose with a slightly melancholic feel. That isn’t to say that this issue is sentimental or sad, more that it is nostalgic for times past, for lost youth, for moments of clarity and epiphany.
Beliz Mckenzie’s ‘Hammock Revisited’ is one of those poems which manage to capture a moment in time perfectly, as does the gentle rumination in Mike Farren’s ‘Inheritance’. There is also a feeling of recognition of ‘calling out’ the world in which we live. Emma Lee’s poem ‘The Bridal Dresses of Beirut’ and Avril Joy’s poem ‘What Men Do’ stand out particularly for their scalpel-cut clarity and careful observation. Prose wise, we have a real mixed bag – funny, moving, quirky, sad, all of the above.
Maggie MacKay’s ‘Jock Tamson’s Bairns’ is one I keep returning to just to experience the joy of a well-crafted story. In fact, the quality of writing stands out in every piece of creative writing in this issue, and after all this time spent reading and revisiting the accepted work, when I now run my eye down the contents list of this magazine it is like revisiting old friends. I know each piece intimately, or feel that I do.
I would name them all, here, and tell you about their individual strengths, their disclosures, their unique and surprising points of view, but that would take away from the adventure that a good quality literary magazine should be.
Adele Karmazyn’s art give the issue a dramatic attention taking feel. The Victorian melodrama reinforces the melancholic feel for the issue and creates a strong bond throughout the issue.
Enjoy your journey into issue 39 and we look forward to hearing what you think.