Literary Magazine Reviews

Posted February 27, 2004

Volume 21 Numbers 1 & 2

Fall/Winter 2003


Reviewed by Jeannine Hall Gailey

This issue commences with a wonderful essay by Jane Hirshfield on the nature of language, “Language Wakes Up in the Morning: A Meander Toward Writing,” which playfully begins by describing a personified language as it goes about its day. Guest poetry editor for this issue, Michael Ryan, chose a variety of poems about loss, from a litany of everyday lost things in a little girl’s life (“My Daughter’s Sadness, a Casual Analysis), to a mournful meditation on the brief lifespan of a hummingbird (Anna’s Hummingbird), to the effects of the death of a loved one (“After Your Death,” “Poem for After Peter Dies). The art work in this issue, Richard J. Murphy’s series of black and white photographs titled Cancer Journal, also chronicles loss in the photo essay that movingly portrays a woman’s struggle and eventual death from breast cancer. The work throughout the issue is full of arresting images and heartbreaking moments, especially Autobiographical Raw Material Unsuitable for the Mining of Fiction, the piece by Charles Yu about a young man’s relationship to his mother. [Alaska Quarterly Review, University of Alaska Achorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508.] JHG