2008 (Volume 20)
The theme of war dominates this year's Review. When we are in a war, we think of war and write about war. Why does it seem we mark our lives according to war?
"There never was a good war or bad peace," said Ben Franklin. In 1943 Gertrude Stein said, "A nice war is a war where everybody who is heroic is a hero, and everybody more or less is a hero in a nice war."
We are not in a nice war or good war. It is war. And our writers remind us of that.
Sam Witt's contest-winning poem "Occupation Dreamland" is mysterious and difficult. Against the background of wartime "occupation," one undergoes the private occupation of grief and loss. Siobhan Fallon's "Burning" is our contest-winning story about a soldier returning from Iraq.
In Gail Chehab's story, "Journey of A Red Fez," set in Algeria, Farid and his mother fear the Islamic Salvation Front. "Everyone knew if the Front couldn't win at the ballot box, they would win at the gun." Linda Johnson's memoir "Sitting in the Rain" shows how World War II continues on in her home years after it is over. The narrator's German mother says to her Russian husband, "Dirty pig Russians. Their tanks and clumsy boots ... what they did to my mother." David Paulsrud in "Trauma" recalls a soldier who lost both legs in Vietnam and realizes when he stands that he is only four feet tall. "His moan of pain buit into a howl of rage that still rings in my ears."
COVER: "Solanum Pomiferum Textrina" / Robert Hillestad / fibers