The basic compositional problem of all narrative is how to create dramatic interest through the use of structure. Story alone can only take you so far. If you drew a Venn diagram of the narrative arts as used in film and fiction, a huge number would appear in the common area, especially techniques related to structural elements (plot and subplot, for example). But you also find an amazing number of rhetorical devices that cross over between the arts. What follows is my movie notes in an outline form, an outline of The Full Monty with an emphasis on structural expedients, techniques, repetitions, nested scenes, scene crunches, images, etc., that went to create a lively piece of film.
- Numéro Cinq at the Movies | The Full Monty: Notes on Narrative Form — Douglas Glover
- Conversion: Ontological & Secular from Plato to Tom Jones | Essay — Wayne J. Hankey
- The Matter of the Orgasm: Short Story — Michael Bryson
- Primitivisms: (Paradoxically) On Modernism — Genese Grill
- The Artful Masochist: Review of The Iceland by Sakutarō Hagiwara — Patrick O’Reilly
- Ishmaël: from The Genealogy of the First Person | Poem — D. M. Spitzer
- Undersung | The Poet-Novelist: Flying Crooked Forever — Julie Larios
- Uimhir a Cúig | The Chief Radiographer Considers: Poems — Paula Cunningham
- Naked Thought: Aphorisms — Róbert Gál
- God’s Middle Finger: An Excerpt | Nonfiction — Richard Grant
- I’m Not Passing Through: Interview with Richard Grant — Dan Holmes
- Horse In The Afternoon: Fiction — Dawn Promislow
- Considering Plasticity: Art — Victoria Palermo Introduced By Mary Kathryn Jablonski
- Tonight’s the Night: Cartoons & Poetry — James Kochalka & Sydney Lea
- “I’d learned this from a war movie” | A Review of Ondjaki’s Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secrets — Benjamin Woodard
- Telling Stories While We Die: Review of Kyung-sook Shin’s I’ll Be Right There — Laura K. Warrell
- My Sorted Past | Excerpts & Photos From The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew— Sue William Silverman
- Top of the Page
- A Love Letter To Our Readers: The July Issue Preview!
Wayne Hankey brilliantly tracks the process of divine (ontological) conversion from Plato through Aquinas to Dante and Beatrice into the secular turn of modernity. Love of beauty still converts the wayward soul, but the result is (divine) marriage not unity with the divine. What was a cosmic plot becomes in the modern novel a marriage plot, the rock-ribbed foundation of oh so many masterpieces.
He didn’t propose, and she got mad at him, and on New Year’s Eve she didn’t want to touch him. “I want to be alone,” she said, so he went back to his place. Two days later she called him. “I want to see you.” They were all over each other in the hallway. Her roommate was away. They went into the roommate’s bedroom, and she came, the best ever. “Why can’t we do that every time?” He didn’t know. He hadn’t done anything different. When he thinks of her now, he remembers her easy smile and her soft tongue, the struggle of her personality to find peace in the world. —from “The Matter of the Orgasm”
Because they couldn’t help but find what they were looking for, it might not be too far-fetched to imagine that the Modernists, when they opened up the passage into other realms and encountered the artifacts and spiritualities of the people they designated as primitive, were actually encountering nothing but their own subconscious minds — seen through the protective veil of the other. —Genese Grill
Hagiwara’s poems are urbane, bereft of the naturalism and flora which had so typified Japanese poetry over the centuries, and full of human emotion. What is subtle or implied in earlier or contemporary Japanese poets, through imagery or cadence or tone, is made overt in The Iceland. Hagiwara is at times contemplative, it’s true, but he is more often screaming in frustration, and he is not shy about telling you his reasons. —Patrick O’Reilly
This figure, Ishmaël,—breaking into a desert, cast out of the shelter of the father, feeling deep fidelity to the mother, wild in a wilderness, hunter, fighter—finds its crater, an original feeling of segregation, of isolation and removal from all else that I take to be a first impression of consciousness/self; different. Hopefully his call sounds like an opening towards consciousness/self, a departure and a way. —d m spitzer
Some writers who gain fame as novelists continue to write poetry “on the side,” not unlike the little smear of cream cheese offered up with a bagel. Some writers quite sensibly refuse to be labeled; they write whatever they please, whenever they please….And some writers who are truly talented poets get shanghaied by the success of their fiction and never regain the courage or the emotional space to re-establish themselves as poets. The categories are many.
I remember Paula Cunningham reading upstairs in Bewley’s Oriental Café on Grafton Street (with its façade inspired by Tutankhamen’s Tomb. A café made famous by Joyce in Dubliners and by other literary patrons such as Samuel Beckett, Patrick Kavanagh and Sean O’Casey. Paula read a poem that night. It may or may not have been titled “Hats”, but it was filled with hats and filled (like the great café itself) with an historic array of Irish literary figures – on that night as I recall amongst the many hats she wore, she wore her “Brendan Behan hat” and her “Paula Meehan hat”, but that night it was obvious to all that there was only one hat that fit and that was her “Paula Cunningham hat”. —Gerard Beirne
Aphorisms from the Slovak writer Róbert Gál. Provocative, terse and paradoxical. They are thought crystallized in balanced contrasts, one of our favourite forms on Numéro Cinq (see earlier examples from Steven Heighton and Yahia Lababidi). Naked thought. Gál writes: “The obvious blinds.” and “To give life meaning means to make something of it deliberately — and thereby go against it.” Think about them; they unfold and refold like intricate origami birds.
When describing the period in which he researched and wrote God’s Middle Finger, Richard Grant says, “I was in a reckless frame of mind.” If this recklessness put him in danger, it also imbued the pages of his book with a knocking pulse. Here in the prologue, the reader encounters Grant running for his life deep in the Sierra Madre mountain range of Northern Mexico; he is far from the help of friends, law enforcement, or a sympathetic guide. Later, Grant will consider the history of the Sierra Madre, the effects of the Drug War, and the radical hospitality of strangers, but this excerpt introduces us to what is perhaps his principal companion on this journey: the allure of the sublime in all its exhilaration and brutality.
Sometime in the mid 90’s I was living in Tucson and I heard this blues album by Junior Kimbrough, “All Night Long.” It was like no blues I’d heard before. It was kind of a droning, hypnotic, stomping blues and I just loved it and found out it was put out by this label called Fat Possum Records, which was run by a couple of college kids in Oxford, Mississippi. They were going around recording the last undiscovered authentic Mississippi blues men, and they somehow managed to get a million dollars in debt doing this. I was like, “That sounds like a magazine story to me—” —Richard Grant
My husband and I were driving down a country road, a two-lane highway in Amish land of western New York, rolling green farmland and countryside, in the late afternoon. The road unfurled as we drove, and we spoke, then were silent, and the light was the old light of September, golden. But a black horse, glossy and young, and unharnessed, appeared ahead of us in the middle of the road: cantering, stopping, then cantering again. We slowed, my husband slowed the car. The horse cantered past us, a few metres from the car, down the road. I’d seen his dark eyes, clear, his smooth coat. We drove on. —Dawn Promislow “Horse in the Afternoon”
Say the word ‘plasticity’ and most everyone thinks ‘plastic,’ that ubiquitous molded material that we love to hate. In sculptural art, plasticity refers to the degree of dimensionality in an object, and the active interplay between positive volume and surrounding space. The term comes from the Greek word plassein, meaning “to mold.” Always, on a material level, there is a plastic nature to our perceptions of form (an object), which evolve as we take in additional visual information, our brains on auto-update. In studio—what to work through? —perhaps, making visual, the subject of plasticity, mutability, and transformation, and the idea that nothing is static, but nothing is lost. —Victoria Palermo
At NC hybridity is a meme; cross-pollination is an artistic genre unto itself: books & art, artish books, art made of books, cross-genre books & text/art thingies we might not wish to categorize in the name of aesthetic license. This time Contributing Editor Sydney Lea (who also happens to be the Vermont Poet Laureate and a former Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry) combines with cartoonist James Kochalka to produce poetic cartoons or maybe poetoons or maybe just poetry and images, nostalgic, whimsical, and touchingly comic.
“I’d learned this from a war movie” | A Review of Ondjaki’s Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secrets — Benjamin Woodard
Angolan author Ndalu de Almeida, who writes under the mononymous pen name, Ondjaki, is something of a literary wunderkind: at 36 years of age, he has already published 20 books, won the José Saramago Prize for Literature, and been named one of Africa’s best writers by The Guardian. And yet, though celebrated throughout his homeland, Europe, and South America, he remains relatively unknown in the English-speaking world.
The book’s narrative structure is more diegesis than conventional plot. The journeys upon which these three friends embark is more psychological than physical. Loss figures heavily in I’ll Be Right There, particularly death. Jung Yoon is haunted by her mother’s death, the professor keeps a collection of books written by people who died before the age of thirty-three – “the age at which Jesus was crucified and Alexander the Great created his empire and died” – and Miru has named her cat after Emily Dickinson whose death-themed poetry all of the characters admire. —Laura K. Warrell
My Sorted Past | Excerpts & Photos From The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew— Sue William Silverman
Even though I’m now an adult, Pat Boone still reminds me of those innocent all-American teenage summers at Palisades Park, Bermuda shorts and girls in shirtwaist dresses, corner drugstores, pearly nail polish, prom corsages, rain-scented lilacs, chenille bedspreads and chiffon scarves, jukebox rock and roll spilling across humid evenings…. He remains all the things that, as you age, you miss—the memory of this past smelling sweeter than honeysuckle on the Fourth of July…. —Sue William Silverman
In the slider at the top of the page for July we’re displaying a wonderful selection of poems and essays by our esteemed and beloved Contributing Editor Julie Larios, who, when you look back, has been appearing in the magazine since March, 2010, when she broke into the magazine by entering our the First Ever Numéro Cinq Aphorism Contest (oh yes, oh yes, those were the salad days, the days of wine and roses when we ran contests for aphorisms, villanelles, novels-in-a-box and any number of eccentric genres and forms). We published a poem by Julie in May, 2010; we had more contests (please check out her entry for the first ever translations contest, “A Cow’s Life”), poems, essays; now she contributes a regular essay under the series title Undersung.
Superlatives fail. We are at the threshold, about to enter the Kingdom. You can almost hear the harps and trumpets and the heavenly choirs. But maybe after that there is another Kingdom, and another. Or I’ll get a better thesaurus and find new superlatives. Or perhaps I should try the understated approach: here we have another issue of Numéro Cinq, the usual outrageously varied, scintillating, profound, subversive, cheeky thing we produce here every month.
Vol. V, No. 5, May 2014
- Numéro Cinq at the Movies: Matthew Brown’s “Mother’s Song”, Introduced by R. W. Gray
- Walking, Researching, Remembering: W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn as Essay — Patrick Madden
- Tragedy Postponed: The Mystery Novel as Comedy — Wayne Grady
- Tattoo: Fiction — Dede Crane
- 12/14/09: Memoir — Donald Breckenridge
- What Wolves Eat: Poems — Patrick O’Reilly
- Dystopia Now: Review of Xu Zechen’s Running Through Beijing — Steven Axelrod
- You And I, Alone in the Garden: A Review of Kjell Askildsen’s Selected Stories — Adam Segal
- Uimhir a Cúig | Moorfield Street: Prose Fragments — Martin Mooney
- Flirting & The Excellence Of Rain: On Translating Tirukkural | Essay & Poems — A. Anupama
- Off The Page | Codes, Texts & TexTiles: Art & Interview With Ingrid Ruthig — Nance Van Winckel
- SWAGGER: Musical Influence in Camden Joy’s Fiction (aka Tom Adelman) — Trinie Dalton
- Undersung| Invisible Adrien Stoutenburg — Julie Larios
- Claw: Short Story From This Is the Garden — Giulio Mozzi
- From the Garden Grows the Word: Review of Giulio Mozzi’s This Is The Garden — Tom Faure
- Rescuing the Wicked Queen: Review of Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird — Laura K. Warrell
- Surrounded by Strangers: Interview with Lydia Davis — Benjamin Woodard
- Top of the Page
- The Shape of Things to Come: A Day in the Sun — The May Issue Preview!
Vol. V, No. 6, June 2014
- Numéro Cinq at the Movies: Ryan Cockrell’s “Fishhooks” | Introduction & Interview — R. W. Gray
- The Connoisseur of Longing: Fiction — Dave Margoshes
- A Pocket Epic & The Hermit Poet: A Review of Robert Lax’s Poems 1962-1997 & Lorine Niedecker’s Lake Superior — David Wojahn
- Dear Dirty Dubliners, Revisited: James Joyce’s Classic at the Century — Bruce Stone
- Reflecting, Playing and Obsessing: Review of Warren Motte’s Mirror Gazing — Julie Larios
- The Serpent on Barnet Knoll: Three Essays — Sydney Lea
- Tales Told by an Idiom: Fiction — Tim Conley
- Shadow Play: Excerpt from a Novella in Verse — Jody Bolz
- We’re Not Shadows Yet: Review of Shadow Play /Interview with Jody Bolz — Jason DeYoung
- In The Direction Of North: Poems & Paintings — Denise Low & Thomas Pecore Weso
- Music for The Last Flower: Jazz — Diane Moser
- The Originality Paradox: Review of Samantha C. Harvey’s Transatlantic Transcendentalism: Coleridge, Emerson, and Nature—Patrick J. Keane
- Dial M For Muriel: A Review of Muriel Spark’s Memento Mori — John Stout
- On Sutures, Sutras, Cobbled Bodies And Jovian Goddesses: An Interview With Dodie Bellamy — Natalie Helberg
- The World Aristocratic Governor of the Year: Report From Vladivostok — Russell Working
- The Old Mermaid: Novel Excerpt | José Luis Sampedro — Translated by Brendan Riley
- Memory’s Soft Melody: A Review of Bohumil Hrabal’s Harlequin’s Millions — Sebastian Ennis
- Uimhir a Cúig | In My Own Light — A Memoir: Extract and Interview with Raymond Deane — Siobhán Cleary
- The Shape of Things to Come: Re-Joyce! — The June Issue Preview