Find Your Happy Place

Artful Dodge 34/35 opens with work by Orlando Ricardo Menes which centers on the struggles of family during and after their immigration to the U.S. from Cuba. I’m not sure what I should tell you in order to really sell his original works, but I was surprised by them. I was a bit jolted by the open interplay between English and Spanish. Although I had to lean on the footnotes to completely understand the poems’ inner dialogue, I found that the Spanish created a melodic reading, and an honest voice.

Of course, Menes’ introduction to the José Kozer poems in this issue explain not only a piece of Kozer’s history, but a part of Menes’ personal history as well. Kozer is a poet of Jewish heritage, who also grew up in Cuba. Like Kozer, Menes uses his personal history to set a strong cultural backdrop, and give astute and intimate portrayals of his family’s life. So, if you find yourself with a copy of AD 34/35, be sure to pay attention to the first few pages—you don’t want to miss out on something quite special.

 

Weekend’s greetings

—autumn, Editorial Asst.—

 

You can get a dollar off if you order a copy of the Dodge from now until September 1st, when our online submissions platform goes live (we should also have online ordering of issues optimized through Submittable as well). This offer stands for any back issue and our current issue, #52/53 (making back issues $4 and our current issue $11). Just make sure to send in your cash or check with either a note saying “autumn sent me” or a letter in response to one of the hits.
Posted in Poetry, Summer, Translations | Leave a comment

Going No-Where Fast

Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I’m a little tired of reading stories showcasing overzealous romance. I’m tired of seeing that people end up with who they ‘should’ and everything gets worked out in the end. The more honest side of me knows it’s because I’ve seen things end badly before, as is the case with many marriages nowadays, but the hopeful side of me thinks that my distaste of ‘the happy ending’ is more to do with the idea that a ‘bad ending’ is just as powerful (probably more powerful) than a ‘good ending.’

For example, I really loved reading “Anywhere But Here” by Michael Grau (AD 28/29) because it didn’t have a cookie-cutter happy ending. While reading I was just waiting for something to explode between Travis and Kattie, but even that didn’t happen as I was expecting it to. To me, the written ending was more positive than a ‘good ending.’ There was a sense of catharsis knowing that something definitive happened and neither character would be left guessing anymore.

I’ll have to stop with that though—I don’t want to give out any spoilers!

 

Happy reading!

—autumn, Editorial Asst.—

 

As a thank you for partaking in my efforts to stay sane this summer, I’d like to offer you a discount on all Artful Dodge issues (well, aside from the ones we don’t have, of course). I would be tickled pink if you sent me a letter in response to any of my summer hits along with a check for a Dodge of your choosing. Or, if you’re not the letter-loving rascal I thought you were, then it is just as acceptable to send in a small note saying “autumn sent me.” That, dears, will get you a dollar off any of our issues (that includes our current issue, AD 52/53), making back issues $4 and our current issue $11.
This offer stands until September 1st, when our online submissions platform goes live, and you can order issues directly through Submittable.
Posted in Prose, Summer | Leave a comment

Treading Water

I’m sure you have experienced, at one point or another, the feeling of something being so powerful that you barely have the words to describe it. That’s what just happened to me as I read the poem “Foreign” by Tom Blackford. I was just hopping around the pages of 18/19, waiting for something to grab me, when this poem hit me out of nowhere. And, yes, after reading it, I kind of felt like I was merely treading water, completely unable to direct myself or find a way out of an ocean.

This poem is abrupt in the best way. I could not have imagined how strong the last few lines of this poem are, and I could not have imagined how perfectly they tied the rest of the poem together. There’s not much I can say—I certainly can’t speak for this poem—so the best I can do is tell you just to read it yourself so that you might experience it as I have:

 

The pen is foreign to the paper
the Hindu student writes in his room.
His feet are foreign to the stripped floor
as he bows his head, praying.
The words that pour from his lips
are foreign to the air that eats them
before they can be heard.

 

The sun was born to itself. It
is foreign to the earth it burns. The earth
foreign to the moon it pulls down. The moon
foreign to the tide it breathes into the sea. The tide
foreign to the scaled fish that flow in and out with no home.

 

The finned creatures are foreign
to the glazed net that filters them out.
The chipped skillet is foreign
to the fire that chars its bottom.
The Hindu scout that eats this meal is foreign
to the land that presses against the balls of his calloused feet.
The unseen bullet is foreign
to the young boy’s mouth, which it enters, en route to the brain
where it explodes.

 

The dead soldier’s brother prays in an isolated room.
The tear is foreign in the land of his cheek
but writes its relatives to come.

 

Best,

autumn, Editorial Asst.

 

You can get a dollar off if you order a copy of the Dodge from now until September 1st, when our online submissions platform goes live (we should also have online ordering of issues optimized through Submittable as well). This offer stands for any back issue and our current issue, #52/53 (making back issues $4 and our current issue $11). Just make sure to send in your cash or check with either a note saying “autumn sent me” or a letter in response to one of the hits.
Posted in Poetry, Summer | Leave a comment

Picture This

I think it’s kind of weird how places become more than just physical landmarks once people have touched them. That probably sounds weird but I’m not sure how else to say it: a place becomes more than itself once we start associating things with it, like people we’ve met and grown close to, and memories we’ve had in those places. Of course, this is an ongoing process where some random house a few doors down may not have much meaning to you until you go there, but it means something to the person already there.

… Anyway, I was really struck by this feeling while I was reading through AD 26/27. I’ve already talked a little bit about place so I’ll try not to repeat myself too much, but I was part comforted and part distraught when I was reading James Reidel’s translation from the German of Thomas Bernhard’s poem “My Parents’ House,” and I wanted to share that here. I was comforted by the familiarity of the feeling of being at home, but caught off guard with Reidel’s care towards the complexities of being home that are often over-looked: Reidel’s image of the home wasn’t just some pastoral dreamscape. The more I read, the more I realize how integral a sense of place is to our experiences, and the more I realize how well Artful Dodge integrates literature that has such a strong sense of place in its pages.

 

Safe travels,

—autumn, Editorial Asst.—

 

As a thank you for partaking in my efforts to stay sane this summer, I’d like to offer you a discount on all Artful Dodge issues (well, aside from the ones we don’t have, of course). I would be tickled pink if you sent me a letter in response to any of my summer hits along with a check for a Dodge of your choosing. Or, if you’re not the letter-loving rascal I thought you were, then it is just as acceptable to send in a small note saying “autumn sent me.” That, dears, will get you a dollar off any of our issues (that includes our current issue, AD 52/53), making back issues $4 and our current issue $11.
This offer stands until September 1st, when our online submissions platform goes live, and you can order issues directly through Submittable.
Posted in Poetry, Summer, Translations | 1 Comment

By Way of Explanation

A lot of literary magazines that I’ve come across have a strong inclusion of writers in the way of interviews. Artful Dodge is no exception: we’ve included authorial interviews ever since the budding days of our pages. I think this dedication to getting to know authors is really important because it invites readers in to what the writers’ lives are actually like. I know I am no stranger to romanticizing other people’s lives, a great flaw of mine, so it is always a nice reminder when I get to hear people talk about their struggles and triumphs, as well as some of the interesting asides that makes each of our lives stand out in some little way.

Most of all, I find it exciting to see that a writer has had a similar experience to my own: it’s comforting to find out that someone so far away from me has somehow shared some incident with me, even if that incidence happened at two different times and in two different places.

I had this kind of experience when reading Sharon Olds’ interview in the newest issue of Artful Dodge (52/53). So, I guess that’s my hit for today. I’ve already talked a bit about Olds’ interview in the announcement for AD 52/53, and I don’t like to unnecessarily repeat myself, so I’ll just direct you to the announcement instead:

 

https://artfuldodgewooster.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/new-and-ready-for-reading-its-artful-dodge-5253/

 

Happy reading!

—autumn, Editorial Asst.—

 

You can get a dollar off if you order a copy of the Dodge from now until September 1st, when our online submissions platform goes live (we should also have online ordering of issues optimized through Submittable as well). This offer stands for any back issue and our current issue, #52/53 (making back issues $4 and our current issue $11). Just make sure to send in your cash or check with either a note saying “autumn sent me” or a letter in response to one of the hits.
Posted in Summer, Translations | Leave a comment

The Ghost in the Attic

As I was reading through Artful Dodge 44/45, I found a couple of prose-poems by Nin Andrews. I remembered the first of the set, “Calling the Snakes,” because I had read it sometime before, without actually remembering who had written it and where it was from. But it stuck with me, and I get the feeling that now that I’ve read the others, they too will stick around, bumping up against the walls of my brain. You see, although they are short, they elevate everyday experience to the mythic. Straightforward experiences become suddenly complex and some characters inexplicably arrive to their destinations with the aid of some unknown force or intuition. I find this especially true in “Calling the Snakes” where Jimmy becomes the master of the snakes by not only calling them, but asserting his dominance over them as a human. Jimmy is thus an angry god and the snakes are reduced to nothing more than a ritual sacrifice meant only for the sake of appeasing the tyrannical deity’s boredom.

It’s these kind of surprises that create tension between the reader and the text, and, further creates the need to continue reading.

 

On that note… Have a lovely weekend,

autumn, Editorial Asst.

 

You can get a dollar off if you order a copy of the Dodge from now until September 1st, when our online submissions platform goes live (we should also have online ordering of issues optimized through Submittable as well). This offer stands for any back issue and our current issue, #52/53 (making back issues $4 and our current issue $11). Just make sure to send in your cash or check with either a note saying “autumn sent me” or a letter in response to one of the hits.
Posted in Poetry, Prose, Summer | Leave a comment

Between the Lines

One of the poems that I’ve been waiting to write about is “The First Tampon” by Karen Wolbach in AD 36/37. By now, I’ve read through this piece quite a few times, and every time I get something new out of it, or I get to think more deeply about what I’ve already found. Having that kind of a relationship with a poem is refreshing because I don’t always read things that have layers of meaning.

You can’t really get the whole effect without reading the entire poem, but here are a few lines that I find especially potent:

Like a price tag, the cut end of a sausage,
a tail of spittle hanging from an old woman’s chin,
or the loose thread inevitably
dangling from your hem,
then your mother coming after you
with scissors. This little white thing,

            There’s an open conversation here about what we, as a society, believes should be kept hidden. In some ways I read this poem as a plea of guilt or shame, but the very writing of this poem makes me feel like there is another layer of pride for having to ‘just deal with it.’ The first tampon becomes both something to hide and a necessary rite of passage.

I think that’s also a really wonderful part of poetry too: each line has the opportunity to completely shift the reading of that poem. So, a poem has a kaleidoscopic movement where each line can shift the reader’s perception.

 

I hope you’re finding something new!

—autumn, Editorial Asst.—

 

As a thank you for partaking in my efforts to stay sane this summer, I’d like to offer you a discount on all Artful Dodge issues (well, aside from the ones we don’t have, of course). I would be tickled pink if you sent me a letter in response to any of my summer hits along with a check for a Dodge of your choosing. Or, if you’re not the letter-loving rascal I thought you were, then it is just as acceptable to send in a small note saying “autumn sent me.” That, dears, will get you a dollar off any of our issues (that includes our current issue, AD 52/53), making back issues $4 and our current issue $11.
This offer stands until September 1st, when our online submissions platform goes live, and you can order issues directly through Submittable.
Posted in Poetry, Summer | Leave a comment