Tag Archives: Salt Hill Journal

Three Print Magazines I Read Recently And Said WOW

1 May

Artifice 4

First, let’s celebrate the fact that Artifice lives and will continue to do so. (And yeah yeah, a little sad bummer tear for it going electronic, for the bye-bye to that slick little print format…okay, that’s enough, MORE GOODNESS TO COME FROM THEM.)

This issue does what Artifice set out to do: publish work that is aware (duh) of its own artifice. And I declare that it does it better than any of the previous (yes, still stellar) issues, because this stack of good words is also the most accessible (for me), the most purely collar-grabbing bunch so far (admittedly what I look for most in a mag is a bunch of stories fist-fighting and making out for my emotions and attention). A little selfishly perhaps, I was constantly thrilled to find a piece that made its point with the artifice and then leapt out at me and never let go.

Take this beginning to “& What Shoulder, & What Art” by Marc McKee:

Sing la la la. Sing huzzah,

huzzah, motherfucker:

The weather’s clotted with events

increasingly, the piano you carry

has a piano factory on top of it

and on top of that the city

futzing out in all directions

like a busted hydrant.

PANK 6

And how about this beauty! PANK’s print issues continue to be my favorite hunk to lug around, their gorgeous design, their assemblage of “the brightest and most promising writers for the most adventurous readers,” their fulfillment of the promise to provide “access to emerging and experimental poetry and prose,” as their mission statement says. And that’s another cooool thing about a magazine, this magazine at the tip-top: doing what they say. Lots promise to provide the best and to give voice to the up-and-comers and to do it different (and the best!) and whatever; PANK has never let me down with that promise. And like Artifice, this might be my favorite of the four issues I’ve read. You’ve got a wild sonnet by Sherman Alexie; you’ve got stories from Vouchers Christopher Newgent and Ashley C. Ford; you’ve got some beautiful poems from shining people like Russ Woods and M.G. Martin; you’ve got thumping stories from Ashley Farmer and Lindsay Hunter; you’ve got so much more people why haven’t you ordered it!?

Check out this beginning to Lindsay Hunter’s story “Candles” (or maybe it’s CANDLES):

I AM IN THE CANDLE SHOPPE I CAN’T HELP IT

THE NEW AUTUMN LINE IS ORANGE NUTMEG AND IT IS AS CLOSE TO BARF AS THE BOTTOM OF A DIP CUP

I DIPPED ONCE RIDING IN THE CAB OF THE TRUCK OF MY ONE TRUE LOVE, HE WAS DRIVING HE WAS GETTING A HAND JOB FROM A PUERTO RICAN PUTA WE WERE GOING ABOUT FIFTEEN MILES AN HOUR NOT EVEN ENOUGH FOR THE WIND TO LIFT MY HAIR IN A POWERFUL FUCK YOU WAY

Salt Hill 28

Two questions: How’d it take me 28 issues to get a hold of one of these beauties? Are they all this lovely or what?

I love how this magazine surprises me! I’m not always into literary surprises, but these are neat enough, subtle enough, for real enough, that I am joyed. I turn the cover and am hello-ed by strange choir-boy faces singing but maybe shouting in pencil drawings. Everywhere poems and stories that stretch that cord between thinking and feeling,  interviews that REALLY say something, images that startle me into a “hmmmmm.” I read through and the end is a Ben Mirov poem “Destruction Manual” aligned horizontally, destructing me, or maybe more appropriately the issue, out of this beauty of an artifact.

Here here here is the beginning to my favorite piece, “Because Thought Isn’t Prayer” by John Gallaher:

This is kind of a danceable tune. To turn ourselves

around and then think about it this other way. “I’m

unsure about it,” we can say, and kiss someone new

or kiss no one at all. Think about every dog

you’ve ever hand, or every cat you’ve ever had,

or every time you’ve ever played put-put golf. Is there

anyone left in America who hasn’t played put-put golf?

you can ask yourself. Are there no more reasons

to be thankful? you can say.

There is Something About the Weight of Words in our Hands: Salt Hill 28, A Review

5 Feb

There are a lot of things I’ve never done. One, review a lit mag. But when I saw the list of contributors for Salt Hill 28, I was excited. And when I read Salt Hill 28 in full in one sitting, I was even more excited. The editors note sets the tone stating,

Each of us is contained by and immersed in personal experience, our brackish travels of the past and their briny apparitions in the present. We bring these journeys to the page to create and confront life, to embody the paradox of being conscious…Yes this life may constrict but in its vessel, seas are held, ones upon which we both float and drown.

I love that. And I love the lines from the following pieces and the way in which that editor’s note  is fulfilled in each. In each one is multi-dimensional thought, thundering words and encapsulation that threatens to break boundaries.

From “Because Thought Isn’t a Prayer” by John Gallaher

We’re going through alone,
or asking for help, and how can we get there as us
or as ghosts, with this tin cup. This ocean.

From “Abstract Lessons” by Nate Pritts

Emphasis is a trick we apply
to the stupid animal hum when the real feeling
employed isn’t right, or enough.
Whenever I get confused I use maps
to help me; they show how our limbs
are nothing but bundles of blood & twisted.

From “Falling in Love with the Death Thought” by Zachary Schomburg

This is how you
love: you try over and over again to throw a
red balloon across the river from a tree.

“Foreign Wedding” by Maile Chapman and “Gown Rain” by Sarah Rose Etter also instigate, investigate and enamor.

Salt Hill Journal
$10.00