What an act of courage, to start a literary magazine, a print magazine, in our increasingly electronic age. Sometimes I forget how much I like something to hold in my hand. As I looked through the new journal, Adanna, I appreciated its solid heft, black words on a white surface, a collection that doesn't rely on electricity.
Some of my favorite poets are in this journal: Kathleen Kirk, Sandy Longhorn, Angie Macri, and Diane Lockward. I discovered some new poets; I particularly loved Particia Fargnoli's "Father Poem: A Collage." I found collage in the fiction section too: Lani Friend's "Put This on Your Facebook Wall." Much of the fiction, creative non-fiction, and essays are short--less than 3 pages--and lyrical, so it's not jarring to shift from the poetry section to the others.
All of the work here is by women, again an interesting editorial choice. On first read, none of the work here seemed radically experimental in terms of subject or form. Perhaps when I reread, I'll notice a radical tinge, but I doubt it.
Don't get me wrong; lack of radical experiment isn't a fault in this context.
I also noticed a lack of art, again, an interesting editorial choice. The journal cover is a bright, shiny red. I wonder if covers of subsequent issues will change color, or if it will always be red.
I'm a woman who has cancelled all her magazine subscriptions because I found myself doing more reading online than on paper. I got this journal because my poem appears in it too. I'm grateful to Diane Lockward, the guest editor, for choosing to include it and for offering revision suggestions, which resulted in a stronger poem:
They paint me as a siren,
and if you squint at the canvas, you can almost hear
the melody I used to bewitch the wayfarers.
Too often, I’m seen as the cruel jailor
who kept marooned men against their will.
I should have sent that sloppy Ulysses
on his way sooner. All that moping.
But worse, he kept working on home
improvement projects, even when I begged
him not to. All that hammering!
I thought I’d go mad.
He forced on me a new filing system,
and now I can’t find a thing.
He rearranged all my kitchen cabinets.
Spare me from men who don’t cook
but feel called to impose a rational
system to a kitchen arranged for usefulness.
I hid my cast iron skillet.
I know he’s a big believer in cookware
made of fused metals,
but I know the strength that comes from cooking
with my grandmother’s perfectly seasoned pans.
When he eyed the quilts
and told me the price they might fetch
on the mainland, I knew it was time
for him to go. I encouraged
him to tell me all about the faithful Penelope,
and in a week, I was rid of him.
I don’t miss him much, but I find myself pondering
Penelope. Will she mourn her missing
solitude? Has she kept a list of projects
for him to complete when he returns?
He’s been gone for years.
will she still love a man bewitched by wanderlust?
Best Essay Collections of 2017 by Women Authors
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