Oct 012010
 

Okay, the judges are having a meltdown over this. Rereading the finalists only makes each one of the look better. E.g. The judges just noticed the very neat (not to mention witty) time control device Vivian Dorsel uses in her box novel. Instead of counting time normally, she tells time within the narrative by chapter. The judges don’t believe they have ever seen this done before. Characters are bursting with desire in these texts and desire is endless. Rich Farrell’s hero dreams of swimming to Green Island, evades the sharks, reaches the island, sleeps with Eve, but then the next day he pushes on in a rowboat to the west. Gerdy the steward in Julie Marden & Chris Willard’s bottle novel dives off the death ship at the last moment, twists past the broken cork and swims toward the light (one also has to admire the huge cast of characters they manage to organize in such a tiny space). Mitchell in Shelagh Shapiro’s gorgeous avalanche adventure forces himself to think about the light. Jonah, of course, just wants to win. The judges love the play with boxes (Vivian, Anna Maria), bottles (Julie & Chris), and burial (Shelagh). Traps and desire–and, of course, mixed form: fairy tales, poems, real boxes and paint, acrostic, literary reference (the blank chapter [Sterne] and the incarnadine [Shakespeare] scene in the bottle novel). Every piece here pushes out beyond mere realism to play and myth. What have you guys been drinking? Do you realize the headaches you’ve inspired?

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