ARCHIPELAGO.

I’ve mentioned Archipelago magazine before, but that was just to highlight a single item, and besides, it was several years ago. Now that they’ve got their final (and 10th Anniversary) issue online, it’s time to feature them again. There’s poetry and fiction and autobiography and criticism (Laurie Calhoun’s The Irrevocable Consequences of Cruelty, about Elia Kazan’s Blanche Du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Milos Forman’s Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and an essay by Jeffrey H. Matsuura on Thomas Jefferson and Intellectual Property Law and Helena Cobban’s Amnesty After Atrocity? (which “examines the effectiveness of different ways of dealing with the aftermath of genocide and violence committed during deep intergroup conflicts”) and other things as well—they cast their net wide; the ones that particularly appealed to me were Tracy Robinson’s amazing story Open Your Eyes, Red! (I don’t even care what a story’s about when its language is this vivid: “There was a short, lean, bald son of a whore, born in a trailer near a dirt road in Sooke. Son of a welder whom his mother said was the WBA Welterweight Champion of the world. Through public school he showed alacrity, above-average intelligence, mild dyslexia, and a type of AD/HD, only the teachers gossiped that he was a snoopy, fidgety, slow little bastard who might fell trees if there were any left and if he didn’t wind up dead of some foolish stunt, or in jail…”) and Kevin McFadden’s group of poems titled Anticism!, from which I regretfully choose only “Loan, Glasgow” to present here:

Where I first learned to say things, Ohio, my accent
was the local legal tender: good in Edinburg
as Dublin or London. Then came Glasgow (proper).
One year abroad in broad Glaswegian, the notes
brought from home bouncing everywhere, overdrawn.
Want a wild time? In Glasgow time was tame.
See the town? You had to hear the tune. New loans,
including my name; I began saying Cave-in
if I wanted the right introduction in a pub. The road
was rude, the power sometimes poor. My voice
skim milk in that butterchurn of gutturals, Scots vowels
clotted and spread like cream, I learned to hear
everything twice and nothing the same. Glasgow
still hasn’t left me alone: it’s left me a lane.

(Via wood s lot.)

Comments

  1. I quite enjoyed the McFadden poem, although I generally don’t care for that kind of word-play in poetry.
    Ironically, the ‘town’-’tune’ link was broken for me, with my /tju:n/ pronunciation.

  2. Unsurprisingly perhaps, it doesn’t work very well in my Scottish accent. And why Edinburg, I wonder. Could it be a typo?

  3. I assume he’s talking about Edinburg, Ohio; similarly, Dublin, London.

  4. marie-lucie says:

    Tracy Robinson’s book was reviewed a week or two ago in the Canadian paper the Globe and Mail, and it sounds like a great book, though not for the faint of heart. Having read the review, the tone of the first chapter was just what I expected. Sooke is a place about an hour’s drive west of Victoria, B.C., on Vancouver Island.

  5. Duh.

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