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Sycamore Review - Winter/Spring 2004

  • Issue Number: Volume 16 Number 1
  • Published Date: Winter/Spring 2004

At first glance, Sycamore Review seems a typical literary journal, divided into the usual blocks: poetry, fiction, interview, review. A deeper look reveals an eclectic and engaging selection of work. Smart but not obtuse, the poetry is well-crafted with diverse subject matter - mortality, refugee camps, a child’s collection of pets - but my favorites are the witty pieces. One standout is Mary Jo Firth Gillett’s “On Being Asked by a Student How You Know When a Poem Is Done” (“I say, when you’ve given up searching / for something to rhyme with orange because / you’ve eaten the orange.”) Three pieces comprise the fiction section: one about a new father, another on a divorced mother, and sandwiched between them, C.A. Lahines’ lyrical telling of Wagner, plagued by itching testicles and longings for woman named Mathilde in “Of Tristan, Isolde, and Unbearable Itches.” (Did I mention this journal is eclectic?) This issue is editor Sean M. Conrey’s first. It’s good, but a bit short. Aside from the cover photography, there is no art spread, and that’s a shame because Sycamore Review has featured gorgeous work in the past. Here’s hoping that future issues continue to offer vital content, and more of it. [Sycamore Review, Department of English, 1356 Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1356. E-mail: . Single issue $7.] - JQG

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Review Posted on April 30, 2004

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