Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Endicott Review Volume 33, Issue 1

Art by  Lauren Gallagher

The Endicott Review
Volume 33, Issue 1
Faculty Advisor Dan Sklar

Just as Dan Shaughnessy feels compelled to tell us that John Henry owns both the Red Sox and the sports page he writes for, I need to disclose upfront that I accepted Doug Holder's invitation to review this issue with a certain trepidation because he is the faculty editor of the Review as well as the editor of this blog. But my trepidation was replaced with pleasure as, over the last two weeks, I have found myself returning again and again to its pages. At first I was drawn by some of the excellent photographs and art reproduced in it.

Two of the many images worth mentioning are a painting by Lauren Gallagher of the upper torso and head of a young woman who is lying on her side half in water so that we contemplate a horizontal symmetry created by her reflection and a visual joke by Lindsay Silverman that is a photo of an egg cooked over easy lying on a pink plate with a vertical smile sliced across the yolk presumably by the hatchet arranged like an eating utensil beside the plate.
I would have appreciated some information about the contributors to The Review which “consists of creative work from the Endicott Community and other contributors,” because I was left to wonder, if “Tightening,” by Richard W. Moyer, which ends, "Each talk, each pull makes/you look young again,/forget that you are sixty." was a good poem about plastic surgery by an “other” or an astonishing feat of imagination by an undergraduate.

Several poems in the collection give that pleasure which comes from a display of technical facility. The most complex of these,by Alex Munteanu, has six stanzas of six lines ending in the same six words (morning, again, mind, LA, dreams and weekend). The first line of each stanza ends with the word that ends the last line of the previous stanza and the seventh stanza has three lines:

Again I've promised to take your dreams
with me to Denver because we hate LA in our mind.
I'm glad this weekend is finally over, I'm moving on to morning.

Each of which contains two of the line ending words and the poem ends by circling back to make an intriguing exploration of the title "Everything Again" as it concludes with “morning” which ended the first line of the poem

So in contemplating this poem yet again I too am circling back to one of my initial trepidations about doing this review. On my first read through of the collection I had dismissed "Everything Again" because I was too absorbed in my preconceptions about the Review’s undergraduate content to pay attention to its complexity, which now gives me much pleasure.

I had been pulled into the Endicott Review by the excellence of some of the images scattered through its pages because they absorbed me, wholly and quickly. That satisfaction slowed me down so that I then took time to examine the writing and I discovered that while some of it is by undergraduates  whose writing often triggered my editorial instincts and that response was only another of the pleasures to be encountered here. After all a poem that is good enough to leave you thinking of ways it might be better is a poem that has left you thinking creatively and on many days a little creative thinking is the best that one can hope for.

**** Wendell Smith is a Somerville Bagel Bard, poet, retired physician,  and one of the first reporters for the old Cambridge Phoenix (a predecessor to the now defunct Boston Phoenix)

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