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Swivel - 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 2
  • Published Date: 2005
The second issue of Swivel is a wry collection of fiction, essays, poetry, and yes, even the occasional comic strip, all written by women. “This time,” says editor Brangien Davis, “the zeitgeist is littered with beasts,” meaning that thematically, this issue seems inexplicably connected by animals — including giraffes. Even the cover dons a slightly smirking goat, his one eye winking, as if you were also in on the joke. While it was difficult at times for me to figure out exactly how this journal defines wit — writing that is funny, silly, dark, or perhaps even naughty, like K. R. Copeland’s “dirty sonnet,” which suggests some disturbing uses for zucchini — I did find myself chuckling out loud at a few clever plots and puns. Perhaps the most notable writing of this issue is the short story, “Reasonable Terms,” excerpted from Hannah Tinti’s collection Animal Crackers, published by The Dial Press in March 2005. In this delightful story, the animals at a zoo set about making demands of the community, including a wider variety of food, better housing, and more stimulating activities — perhaps “[t]he possibility of ice cream.” When their demands are not met, the giraffes stage a mock suicide that elicits both disturbing and poignant reactions from all involved. Also worth a gander are Tami Sagher’s essay “What I (really) do,” which is about hiding her job as a writer for Mad TV — even from herself: “I scale great heights of procrastination. I pick my nose [...] I call my sister so I can whisper that I’m at work, I can’t really talk, I’m swamped”; Deborah Stoll’s piece “Messages,” which makes one reconsider the value of an answering machine; and Courtney Hudak’s poem “Existentialism,” which is not so much witty as wonderfully strange. Except for a few superficial pieces of writing I can only explain as filler, this journal may well find a home on my shelf.
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Review Posted on September 30, 2005

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