Yes, you’ve heard right–Artful Dodge 52/53 is hot off the presses!
We’re looking right into the mouth of the American condition–that is to say, we’re not doctors, and we haven’t quite figured out what the condition is yet. All we know is that we’re hearing a voice, quite a few of them actually, and despite what the psychologist thinks, those voices are real. They’re right here in front of us, in the pages, waiting to be heard and read.
This issue features plenty of new and exciting works, including new cover format which displays a full-cover wrap around photo of a tractor—but it’s not just any tractor. No, this guy is red hot from Stephen Tomasko’s collection “First Place and Our Congratulations.” Make sure to flip to the back cover to see the rest of the mud-splattered glory. You’ll know right away that John Deere has nothing on this guy.
Hop right in to read Jay Hopler’s two poems and a collection of poetry in translation from Georg Trakl. Trakl was an Austrian Expressionist poet, perhaps best known for his poem “Grodek.” Trakl quickly came to be considered one of the most important poets writing in the German language. Despite his relatively short life, Trakl managed to artfully weave poems rich in color and imagery of a world disintegrating into war. Hopler departs from various other previous translations, and instead of translating each line word for word literally, he re-imagines these poems as prose poetry in order to capture the power of the original German and elicit a more emotive reading that reaches deeper and allows the line to transcend itself as a conveyor belt of information.
This issue also includes interviews with Brian Turner, winner of the Beatrice Hawley Award for his debut collection of poetry, Here, Bullet, and Sharon Olds, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her collection, Stag’s Leap. When asked about facets of his inspiration for writing, Turner mentions that often “[Arabic] phrases felt like signposts or guideposts to help me into the poem; or, when I was in the poem, they seemed like stepping stones that helped me get from one part of the poem to another.” Turner’s care in explaining his experiences writing shows us one thing for sure: our American identity as writers is so much deeper than the country itself—we are cannot separate ourselves from the world if we want to be authentically American. Likewise, Sharon Olds reveals that her past follows her, and her religious upbringing does not limit her the way she originally thinks it might. Although she says “My friend who was Catholic confessed and was forgiven. But for me this was not available,” Olds also finds that the direct route of her childhood faith was not altogether barred from her when she discovers her poetry has “no end rhyme, there were very few end stops, and the enjambment worked, to disguise from my eyes the fact that my model was a church hymn.” Both Turner and Olds find their poetry emerging from negative spaces in order to achieve something that transcends the experiences themselves. These poets are obviously more than just the awards that they carry, so be sure to check out their full interviews.
Next, Lavonne J Adams explores the ties between objects and humanity in her poems that detail various Native American (and other) artifacts found in museums in New Mexico, and inspired by the accounts of Navajo and white interactions on and around the Santa Fe trail in the mid 1800s. In the selection offered in 52/53, Adams works to give voice to Navajo experience often overlooked by mainstream history texts. Her poems offer a starting point to understanding a deeper and more dynamic relationship in the voices of American history.
So take a moment, take a few. Learn how to disconnect and reconnect with Joshua Flaccavento. Let Nin Andrews tell you all about orgasms. Wake up in one body and realize it is not the one you remember, your children and wife and husband and parents are all different people now. With each page, discover a new landscape. Perhaps we’ll find a diagnosis along the way.
Thanks to our distributor, Ubiquity Distributors, we have a list of places you can find Artful Dodge 52/53. If the shop doesn’t have it, make sure to ask for Artful Dodge by name. Maybe they’ve sold out, and will ask Ubiquity for more copies. Also, while you’re there, buy another literary journal and support both new writing as well as independent bookstores!
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MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKS – New York, NY
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RICH’S CIGAR STORE – 820 SW ALDER – Portland, OR
AVRIL 50 – Philadelphia, PA
CHESTER COUNTY BOOK CO. – West Chester, PA
If there is no shop near you, don’t fret: we’re working on getting an online ordering system available, but until then you can still order a copy directly from us by mailing us a check of $12 to:
College of Wooster–Dept of English
1189 Beall Ave
Wooster, OH 44691
No need to worry about the shipping costs of the book: we’ve got that covered for you!
With that, happy reading!
autumn smith–Asst. Editor
P.S. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement of our online submissions platform, Submittable!