April Issue

April, The Spring Fever Issue, Is Up & Complete!
Numéro Cinq at the Movies: Michael Venus's film for Parasite Single's "The Hunt,"  Introduced by R. W. Gray
Let Us Imagine Lost Love: A Serial Novel | The Eighth & Last Part — Robert Day
Mythology: A Response to Ralph Angel's "The Exile and Return of Poetry" --- D. M. Spitzer
The Doctrinal Murder of a Socratic Beggar in St. Suzette: Fiction --- André Narbonne
Entering A Contrary Moon | Poems & Paintings --- Elaine Handley & Marco Montanari
“Second Thoughts” in Seamus Heaney’s North:  From “Antaeus” to “Hercules and Antaeus” to “Exposure” --- Patrick J. Keane
Torque & Text: Gore Vidal and Ammianus Marcellinus on Julian the Apostate | Essay --- Jacob Glover
A Person On Business From Porlock: Poems in English and Spanish — John B. Lee/Manuel de Jesus Velázquez Léon
The Flower Can Always Be Changing: Essay & Photographs --- Shawna Lemay
Proposal for a Whole New Scale: Poems --- Julie Larios
Signor Farini: Song & Essay --- Ian Bell
Where The Women: Novel Excerpt | Álvaro Pombo --- Translated by Brendan Riley
Uimhir a Cúig | Tinnycross: Fiction --- Nuala Ní Chonchúir
Forms of Vastness: Review of Progress on the Subject of Immensity by Leslie Ullman --- Summar West
Tin-Penny Miseries and Chickenshit Joys: Review of Lorrie Moore's Bark — Richard Farrell
Apologia: Why Do We Write? --- Genese Grill
Dream Eaters of the Apocalypse: A Review of Robert Coover’s The Brunist Day of Wrath --- Natalie Helberg
The Press of a Human Heart Against the Page: An Interview with Victoria Redel --- Jason Lucarelli
April, The Spring Fever Issue, Is Up & Complete!

April, The Spring Fever Issue, Is Up & Complete!

Once again, another superb, engaging, sharp issue of Numéro Cinq is in the books. Spring is here, and like rabbits, the number of wonderful works between our virtual covers just keeps multiplying.

Numéro Cinq at the Movies: Michael Venus's film for Parasite Single's "The Hunt,"  Introduced by R. W. Gray

Numéro Cinq at the Movies: Michael Venus’s film for Parasite Single’s “The Hunt,” Introduced by R. W. Gray

  In Michael Venus’s music video for “The Hunt,” a woman (Katja Danowski) blanched and polyestered by life is haunted by the band Parasite Single, two outfit-coordinated hipster angels, who call to her and torment her with their pop song and provoke her to the possibility of something other than her sweat-pant suit life. From the

Let Us Imagine Lost Love: A Serial Novel | The Eighth & Last Part — Robert Day

Let Us Imagine Lost Love: A Serial Novel | The Eighth & Last Part — Robert Day

This is the end, the final installment, the close of a wonderful adventure on Numéro Cinq, Robert Day’s eight-part serial novel Let Us Imagines Lost Love. For those of you who have been loyally following the numbers as they rolled out, month by month, I will not corrupt your reading of the last pages by over-introducing them. Let me say only that it contains a hilariously gory and explosive climax to the experimental blood lab plot in Berkeley (that puts paid to the hero’s ambitions in the medical field) and a last line that contains the word “plethora” (which was also at the beginning of the novel). Also the narrator’s old (as in first) girlfriend Tina, the one he could only get to take her clothes off over the phone, finally takes her clothes off in person.

Mythology: A Response to Ralph Angel's "The Exile and Return of Poetry" --- D. M. Spitzer

Mythology: A Response to Ralph Angel’s “The Exile and Return of Poetry” — D. M. Spitzer

Where is poetry? the poet asks at the beginning of this poem/essay — call it an epode, call it an extended epigram, a form that somehow contains balanced contraries in dynamic tension, the heart of metaphor, of art. Written in response to an essay by Ralph Angel that we published in January last year, D. M. Spitzer’s “Mythology” oscillates between monster and marvel, labyrinth and sanctuary, fragment and whole, tapping ahead with his words for solid ground and offering, yes, a mythology of the poem, of the imagination (dangerous, contained within a force field — form).

The Doctrinal Murder of a Socratic Beggar in St. Suzette: Fiction --- André Narbonne

The Doctrinal Murder of a Socratic Beggar in St. Suzette: Fiction — André Narbonne

More fable than short story, yet also something of a noir parable, a grim psychological mystery of compulsion and erotic self-abnegation, André Narbonne’s “The Doctrinal Murder of a Socratic Beggar in St. Suzette” tells the tale of a frustrated artist whose wife commits a murder to save her husband’s work from mockery. Narbonne is an old acquaintance; I selected a wonderful story of his for the 2006 edition of Best Canadian Stories (in the time before time when I edited that estimable volume).

Entering A Contrary Moon | Poems & Paintings --- Elaine Handley & Marco Montanari

Entering A Contrary Moon | Poems & Paintings — Elaine Handley & Marco Montanari

Ekphrasis is the Greek rhetorical device of inserting the description of a work of art into a text as a way of creating meaning (by analogy or parallel). Coincidentally, the standard classical example of ekphrasis is Homer’s description of the shield of Achilles in the Iliad (also Hesiod’s description of the shield of Hercules). It’s a device with an ancient tradition, never abandoned. And so it’s delightfully literal that Handley and Montanari have chosen warriors and shields as their central motif, adding to an ancient tradition that in this instance they have reanimated with more recent wars and warriors. Gorgeous, sad, dignified, violent images and words, given yet another twist by the poet’s particularly female point of view.

“Second Thoughts” in Seamus Heaney’s North:  From “Antaeus” to “Hercules and Antaeus” to “Exposure” --- Patrick J. Keane

“Second Thoughts” in Seamus Heaney’s North: From “Antaeus” to “Hercules and Antaeus” to “Exposure” — Patrick J. Keane

Today would have been Seamus Heaney’s 75th birthday and to celebrate that celebrated absence we offer an essay by Patrick J. Keane who does what the best critics do: he goes straight to the heart of the man through the poems and thence to the poems again. In 1972, Heaney famously and controversially moved from the bloody ground of Northern Ireland to Wicklow in the Republic, abandoning outright political action and commitment for a more contemplative and poetic life. He did not make this decision easily, and out of his personal struggle came the poems in North, what Keane calls his “most powerful and controversial collection.”

Torque & Text: Gore Vidal and Ammianus Marcellinus on Julian the Apostate | Essay --- Jacob Glover

Torque & Text: Gore Vidal and Ammianus Marcellinus on Julian the Apostate | Essay — Jacob Glover

Both Vidal and Ammianus deploy roughly the same facts toward decidedly different ends. Vidal torques his facts, even his reading of Ammianus, to create a complex heroic figure bent on holding back the Leviathan of Christianity (which, unfortunately, as far as Vidal is concerned, prevailed). Ammianus focuses on Julian’s participation in the grand meta-narrative of the late Roman Empire, the succession of emperors, the rise of Christianity and the church. Vidal’s novel is about an individual. Ammianus’ history is not about Julian specifically but his part within the larger tapestry of his period.

A Person On Business From Porlock: Poems in English and Spanish — John B. Lee/Manuel de Jesus Velázquez Léon

A Person On Business From Porlock: Poems in English and Spanish — John B. Lee/Manuel de Jesus Velázquez Léon

In poetry, the local is the universal. As William Blake wrote: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand…” John B. Lee is an old friend, published many times in Numéro Cinq, who lives in Port Dover, Ontario, just down the road from the farm where I grew up. We both have a special affection for Norfolk County, to me, always both local and an epic ground, filtered with blood of ancestors.. And in these poems, he remembers a relative of his, Ida Wright, born in Waterford, the farming town, where I went to high school. Ida went to China as a missionary — the rest I will let John tell. But notice, yes, how these poems rise by degrees to compass all life (and beyond), from a southwestern Ontario schoolroom to eternity.

The Flower Can Always Be Changing: Essay & Photographs --- Shawna Lemay

The Flower Can Always Be Changing: Essay & Photographs — Shawna Lemay

The moral overhang of plants, in the present case a disregarded bonsai, is the notional subject of this deft, intricate essay (with photographs) by Shawna Lemay, an essay that is also an anthology of quotation and gnomic phrasing, an essay that almost seems to unwrite itself as it is written. “…we understand each other illegibly.” “In this way we come to know the unrepeatable secrets of flowers, and then to forget them.”

Proposal for a Whole New Scale: Poems --- Julie Larios

Proposal for a Whole New Scale: Poems — Julie Larios

Herewith impish, gracile, nimble poems by Contributing Editor (one of our own) Julie Larios whose continuing Undersung series has become a mainstay of the magazine and a model of poetic discourse. Julie’s poems are playful, yes — the body “poor sot” and men! who only need “A belief in the afterlife, or in the theory / that size doesn’t matter.” — and her language is fast, packed with snappy rhythms, sly puns and rhymes that twist and curl meaning from word to word.

Signor Farini: Song & Essay --- Ian Bell

Signor Farini: Song & Essay — Ian Bell

Herewith Ian Bell’s lovely, comic/lament ballad “Signor Farini,” a song about The Great Farini, a 19th-century (he lived till 1929) tightrope walker famous, among other things, for doing somersaults over Niagara Falls in 1860. But The Great Farini was really a man named Hunt, born in Lockport, New York, and Ian’s song is as much about the mystery of creation as it is about tightrope-walking and fame. It’s about having the courage to make oneself, to change, to gamble and risk, to take a chance in life. And beyond that (there’s more), Ian also offers an insightful and readable account of song-writing, the art itself.

Where The Women: Novel Excerpt | Álvaro Pombo --- Translated by Brendan Riley

Where The Women: Novel Excerpt | Álvaro Pombo — Translated by Brendan Riley

Lost love, unrequited love, love all too achingly brief (and yet ever so slightly comical) is the subject of this excerpt from Álvaro Pombo’s novel Where The Women (translated and introduced by Brendan Riley). Here we get the story of poor Aunt Nines, packed off to a convent (the Sisters of Adoration in Letona) after she refuses to eat for lost love. Not just lost love, her only love, the deliciously named Indalecio, whose life is cut short by a swimming accident. “Oh, how Indalecio went running along the beach! He charmed everybody that summer.”

Uimhir a Cúig | Tinnycross: Fiction --- Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Uimhir a Cúig | Tinnycross: Fiction — Nuala Ní Chonchúir

In her story “Tinnycross,” Ní Chonchúir alludes to the prodigal son parable, but here the unexpected presence of a wife in the family home repositions the fraternal conflict. Not surprising since the returning son finds himself at odds not just with his brother but “with every blade of grass on every acre of the land.” Ní Chonchúir uses language like a plow, turning over the upper layer of the brothers’ hardened relationship to bring to the surface the roots of abandonment in the hopes of cultivating some form of reclamation. A cruelty borne out of rectitude, decency even.

Forms of Vastness: Review of Progress on the Subject of Immensity by Leslie Ullman --- Summar West

Forms of Vastness: Review of Progress on the Subject of Immensity by Leslie Ullman — Summar West

I’ve found a guide and companion for this season and country in the poet Leslie Ullman and her new collection of poems, Progress on the Subject of Immensity. I have been enthralled with a book of poetry that by its title alone seemed to promise a journey of intensity and possibility, of questions both philosophical and spiritual, and of movement toward insight and understanding. The book delivers on those promises — more than one could imagine setting out.

Tin-Penny Miseries and Chickenshit Joys: Review of Lorrie Moore's Bark — Richard Farrell

Tin-Penny Miseries and Chickenshit Joys: Review of Lorrie Moore’s Bark — Richard Farrell

What lengths will we go to in order to avoid being alone? Why are we so hell-bent on love? These are age-old questions, ones that philosophers, poets and priests have been unable to answer. Moore’s rendering of scenes, her dramatization of the beginnings and endings of love, is nothing short of a profound examination of the quintessence of the human condition. Why do we love? Why do we tell stories or create art? We are trying to close the gap, between self and other, between idea and reality, between life and death.

Apologia: Why Do We Write? --- Genese Grill

Apologia: Why Do We Write? — Genese Grill

If we were to let up at long last, give up, resign ourselves to silence — I dare not even suggest what might happen, what horrific indifference and simulated emptiness might ooze into every last crack and bury us alive, unable to remember the slightest thing, unable to form sentences or consider our actions, unable to value, denounce, celebrate, or dream. We may never know what nasty nightmare our often thankless little efforts keep at bay. But let us, at the very least, write in thanks and tribute to those who have persisted in the past, against such odds, in believing that writing, that ideas, that visions and images, do matter.

Dream Eaters of the Apocalypse: A Review of Robert Coover’s The Brunist Day of Wrath --- Natalie Helberg

Dream Eaters of the Apocalypse: A Review of Robert Coover’s The Brunist Day of Wrath — Natalie Helberg

Robert Coover’s The Brunist Day of Wrath is a boisterous, bloody, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring—for any writer, humbling—sometimes painfully, but always expertly, protracted ride. Countless characters and their countless voices well up out of its thousand pages, mingling as subplots crisscross and ramify: God-fearing townsfolk square off against cultists, vying for property; cult benefactors drain joint bank-accounts, siphoning their husbands’ money; skeptics balk and forewarn; believers pray, persist together, at odds, or else wail for reckoning… —Natalie Helberg

The Press of a Human Heart Against the Page: An Interview with Victoria Redel --- Jason Lucarelli

The Press of a Human Heart Against the Page: An Interview with Victoria Redel — Jason Lucarelli

Herewith a superb interview with Victoria Redel, the brilliant and prolific author of stories, novels and poems, also a former initiate of Captain Fiction himself, the irrepressible and undaunted Gordon Lish. Redel’s most recent books include Woman Without Umbrella (poems) and a story collection Make Me Do Things, both reviewed in NC. Conducting the interview is Jason Lucarelli, our residence Lish expert, conversant in all things Lishian.

RECENT BACK ISSUES

Vol. V, No. 3, March 2014