Sunday, December 27, 2009

LitMag Wave: Willow Springs 63

Is Willow Springs on your radar screen? It should be. The magazine has been around a long time--30 years--and it quietly publishes fine fiction, poetry, and reviews. Plus, it's in the Top 40 on my 2010 Pushcart Prize Rankings.

In addition to poetry by Kim Addonizio and others, Issue 63 includes three pieces of fiction: "Uniforms" by Robert Lopez is an excerpt from his new novel, recently published by Dzanc Books: Kamby Bolongo Mean River. The excerpt is in the voice of a boy with a problem who is happy to be wearing a uniform (although it isn't clear what that uniform is, it seems he might be in some kind of residential home or detention facility) because it's "one less thing to worry about." It's a compelling voice, and bodes well for the novel, I think. "Last Words of the Holy Ghost" by Matthew Cashion is a terrific coming-of-age story (I hate coming-of-age stories) about a kid who gets baptized in order to be allowed to date a girl, only to discover that the girl is using him. And the poor kid, Harold, also has to deal with his dysfunctional family: "His heart was a trout lying in the woods. A sun-baked trout whose mouth kept moving, spilling final words from the Holy Ghost." And then there's "Reduction" by Joseph Salvatore, about a woman who thinks she needs breast reduction surgery and the man who is trapped between his feelings for the woman and his rejection of traditional male role that he instinctively plays.

I also enjoyed the interviews. The first one is with the poet Lynn Emmanuel. The second is with Thomas Lynch, whose essays are widely read. (Note that many of the magazine's interviews are archived.)

There's a lot in this slim volume.

2 comments:

Andrew Marcus said...

Actually, the Emanuel interview is online: http://willowsprings.ewu.edu/interviews/emanuel.php

Cheers!

Clifford Garstang said...

Thanks. That link was broken when I posted. I'll update now!