Friday, December 28, 2012
Review of CONJUNCTIONS: 59, COLLOQUY
By Barbara Bialick
CONJUNCTIONS: 59, COLLOQUY, literary journal, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Editorial communications to Bradford Morrow, Editor, Conjunctions, 21 East 10th Street, 3E, New York 10003 (include SASE, no electronic submissions.), “Bi-annual volumes of New Writing”, www.conjunctions.com, $18 for subscription, single copy $15.
Conjunctions 59 is a literate and professionally written magazine with an emphasis on fiction, essays, or other prose, with some long poems included. It is also devoted to new and emerging authors and has a substantial poetry prize. The Bard Fiction Prize 2013 went to emerging writer Brian Conn, who gets $30,000 and a one-semester seat as writer-in-residence at Bard College.
The hefty 350-page journal plus 15 advertising pages, has beautiful cover art designed by Jerry Kelly. It is detail from “Jesus in the Olive Grove” by Master Vyss Brod, c. 1350, Narodni Galerie, Prague, Czech Republic.
From the point of view of a poet, this doesn’t seem to be a very available market, though I believe the prose work is also very competitive. Here’s a snippet of poetry from “The Immediacy of Heat” by Arthur Sze:
“’No Trespassing’ is nailed to a cottonwood trunk,/but the sign vanishes within days. You’ve seen/a pile of sheep bones dumped off this dirt road/to the river…”.
In a separate section with its own table of contents called The Alphabet and Its Pretences,
it says “The discovery of some intriguing stories by a couple of younger writers led us to the notion of this small portfolio of writings—stories, poems, essays—more or less on the theme. In this era of the dying book—of reading, writing, words, form, language, libraries, the mouths of angels.”
Another fascinating section is called “Theses on Monsters”. In prose/poetry, China Mieville writes, “Ghosts are not monsters…Our sympathy for the monster is notorious. We weep for King Kong and the Creatures from the Black Lagoon, no matter what they’ve done. We root for Lucifer and ache for Grendel…/The saw that we have seen the real monsters and they are us is neither revelation, nor clever, nor interesting, nor true. It is a betrayal of the monstrous, and of humanity…”
One thing a writer wouldn’t weep for would be getting into print in Conjunctions…