We are pleased to announce we are bringing in the New Year with an open call for poetry submissions. We are currently caught up with future editions and are looking forward to receiving your best. We carefully read all submissions and strive to provide poets with a timely response. Please read and follow the guidelines when submitting. You can find our guidelines here: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/
twisting blissfully down
through the faint breeze
in the image of the paperweight
I would gaze at as a child,
in beautiful flurry, set down at will
by a suddenly gigantic hand
Nature is in the process of being tamed in “Portraits of Soul,” a poem placed later in the collection:
juggernaut mowers crop the lawn,
bushes are trimmed, the sand is combed
and brushed away from the walkways,
a team sweeps and lines the clay courts,
boats bustle with gossip and cleaning—
By Lynette Esposito
Hap & Hazard and the End of the World by Diane DeSanders is a 286 page novel written from the viewpoint of a young girl trying to understand the adult world around her.
Set in Texas during the 1940’s, innocence is challenged by situation, choice and misunderstandings. The observations of the young narrator draw a clear picture of how a youngster can see but not understand the mysteries of adults, their issues and the choices they make.
It is difficult to sustain the strength of the storyline when it is presented from the viewpoint of a juvenile but DeSanders does an adequate job for the most part. She is creative with her chapter titles which serve as guides to the points made and symbolic messages suggested. For example, Lone Star Oldsmobile and Cadillac is the first chapter title and the situation involves a car ride with our narrator in the backseat and her father driving. In the chapter, I Call Him Nathan, the narrator details a friendship with a boy who is a foster child whose choices are not very good and the adults who choose to turn him out. In the final chapter, The Bullfrog, our young narrator tries to interpret the frog’s situation allegedly trapped in a chlorinated swimming pool and relate it to her understanding of reality.
DeSanders places the narrator in family situations where, while she is present, the adults do not really notice her and talk more at her than to her. The young girl details the happenings to the reader without realizing the complexities of what is going on. It is as if the reader is in the room and is reviewing, with the narrator, the mundane family happenings and the stark loneliness\ of some of the characters. The characters exhibit much psychological pain in their reactions to every day life and our young narrator is confused as to why the adults around her are acting as they do.
Although this is not a novel about solutions, it is a novel about situations that are common to the majority of average people who have hopes and dreams often unrealized.It is a novel about the vulnerability of childhood and all of us.
DeSanders is a fifth generation Texan and a history buff. This is her first novel.
She also has an active interest in the theater arts and sings in New York. The paperback is published by Bellevue Literary Press. For information on their titles go to blpress.org.
Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.
By Marian Frances Wolbers
FootHills Publishing released the third and final volume of the labors of our fingertips: poems from manufacturing history in berks county by Jennifer Hetrick this past autumn. Swimming within these tender memory-poems are the jagged edges and startlingly soulful snatches of remembered machine work in the factories and businesses of Berks County decades ago. Faithful to the worker-narrators’ storytelling, Hetrick braids honorable, dignified word-portraits on her lyrical image-loom, whether a worker affixed left-hand side doors on military trucks or spent every day “securing strong stitches” on endless bottoms of belt loops. The detailed troubles and trials of men and women in stanzas that—short or long—perfectly match each person are juxtaposed with unabashed pride in the unique parts each individual played in the workplace, using hands and minds to produce not just hosiery, paint, or smoked meats but the totality of community, economy, opportunity, and familial necessity. Each alliteration, phrasing, and turn of thread in the line displays a range of emotion and circumstance: wry humor (“masking tape, a rare few worked with it as i did”); awareness of war; bodily stresses (“every night, i came home, felt fuzzy / wads of sweater aftermath in the creases of my neck, elbows”); and philosophical recall (“nestled in an italian neighborhood. / we were the only black family there. my neighbors / used to give us tomatoes from their backyards. i didn’t know / prejudice”). Generous and vivid are the pictures of the way things were, as well as the way folks speak and see themselves in their own mind’s eye. This is a gem on multiple levels in its sweet artistry, thoughtful voice, documentation of the past, and revelatory extraordinariness of ordinary men and women.
As a fellow writer and documenter of days, I am very holistically aware of how this work stretched well back across time and place and memory-worlds of these workers. It’s always been my impression that people record every silly little ant that crosses their picnic table at a birthday event, while ending life with virtually NO record of their long, long, much-longer-than-home-life hours spent in life’s labors under the thumb of a supervisor.
Marian Frances Wolbers is a self-confessed fan of interstices and author of novels (including Rider, St. Martin’s Press), short stories (The Southampton Review, Westview, Remarkable Doorways), drama (Return of the Sun Goddess, Holding the World, American Beauties) and poetry (Juked).