Sunday, May 1, 2011
Stone Telling 3: The Whimsy Issue
Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel
"In Whimsy we tilt sideways to look at the world askew--and all kinds of things fall out of the pockets." Stone Telling's editor, Rose Lemberg, tells us in this issue's introduction. And the reader will find that she is right--this issue is like a kaleidoscope of lyrical narratives and language, a train that invites you to jump on and explore the country at all the many stops along the way.
The issue opens with Jo Walton's The Weatherkeeper's Diary, a strong-voiced poem that speaks of life alongside clouds and breezes in a place where there can also be light.
Next Benjamin Cartwright tells us things about Newton's First Copy of Euclid that will keep us reading and re-reading, mostly because Mr. Cartwright knows how to subtly dazzle with language, but perhaps also because we would like to "[speak] star, like a native".
The poems continue flowing. The reader will find that all of them present something else to look at, be it mushrooms or rice cookers or a strange zodiac that has "The Starship" as a sign. Each poem offers something different and in a different way, which makes a picking of favorite our outstanding pieces so very hard. This Whimsy Issue does indeed feel like the collection of the odd items people might carry in their pockets and assembled as they are, they give us the opportunity to discover new things and to find beauty in what we already knew.
This issue has what I would like to call a grand finale in Catherynne M. Valente's The Secret of Being a Cowboy. Herein we will find honor and--of course--a horse and a faithful six shooter. The audio version of this poem was done by singer S. J. Tucker who takes us down south with her voice alone, hence listening to this is especially recommended.
While Stone Telling never shies away from showing us work that deals with difficult issues, the magazine's third issue seems to take a lighter tone at first glance. Reading and re-reading this for review, I found that most poems tend to come back though, want to be read again or stay with the reader. The artwork displayed with the poems fits the words like a glove, especially Suspension by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison felt like it was just made to be seen next to The Weatherkeeper's Diary.
This issue also features non-fiction that was not reviewed here, but may offer some deeper insight for the interested reader.
Read The Whimsy Issue here: http://stonetelling.com/issue3-mar2011/