New South, Ga. State University, Winter 2011
I wasn’t familiar with this litmag before it appeared in my mailbox, but I suspect that previous issues were of the popular thematic sort. For this one, though, the editors have chosen an interesting juxtaposition – short (less than 1000 words) prose pieces, and the longer (two page limit) poems.
What makes this an interesting collection is that the short prose pieces demand economy of words, via tools such as allusion and metaphor. The two-page limit for poetry allows the writers to stretch a bit toward the prosaic. But does this editorial experiment work?
Yes, to some extent. When, for instance, Gregory Fraser’s long poems are compared with Stacie Evans’ short, short prose, we see (Fraser) a vignette of a couple attending a party buried in an elliptical poetic dance of images and wordplay against (Evans) short story built of staccato sentences simulating poetic rhythms. Still, the poetry emphasizes rhythm and a collage of imagery, while the prose emphasizes story – much as we’re accustomed to see.
Of the pieces included, the poetry seems much stronger than the prose. But what does this imply? In this reader’s mind, a skillful poet, in composing extended pieces, has much greater tools at his/her disposal than does a prose writer committed to extremely short pieces.
I find the strength of the pieces included uneven in skill and talent, from the excellent to the clumsy and sophomoric. Still, this is a worthy collection, based on the contrasting of poetry and prose, and I would recommend it as worth an hour’s read.
Causes Bob Mustin Supports
Native American culture. Education. Creative writing.