February 29, 2012

Congrat's to Contributor Anthony Varallo, Micro Award Finalist

Congratulations to Weave Magazine's issue 07 contributor Anthony Varallo, whose story "All Very Surprising" has been chosen as a finalist for the 2012 Micro Awards.

Founded in 2008, the Micro Award honors "outstanding flash fiction from both print and electronic media." This is Mr. Varallo's second straight year as a Micro Award finalist, placing him in a small group of writers to be recognized multiple times.

Don't have a copy of issue seven yet? Order yours online today. If you're attending AWP, stop by our table to pick up a copy in person.

February 27, 2012

Weave reviews Christian Wiman, Every Riven Thing

Poetry arises out of absence, a deep internal sense of wrongness, out of a mind that feels itself to be in some way cracked. An original poem is a descent into and expression of this insufficiency… You spend years sealing up the gaps in your uncertainty, shoring fragments of fact and reason against your ruins, all the while praying that in rare moments some ghost of that good unknowingness – call it spirit, call it the unconscious, call it God – will slip back in to save you from your best efforts.
–Christian Wiman, “A Piece of Prose”

Christian Wiman is hardly the type of as-yet-unlauded, needs-to-be-heard poet I would normally review for Weave, and having already mentioned him in a previous post, I feel a little ashamed to be covering a book that has already gotten its share of attention. And yet, there are times when a book feels so massively important, so necessary in terms of both poetic weight and cultural commentary, that it would be equally irresponsible to let the opportunity pass.

Previous reviews of Wiman’s Every Riven Thing seem to have been written with the large strokes of a fat-bristled brush. They make much of the poet’s job as Poetry Magazine editor, the diagnosis of his rare and dangerous cancer, and of his (early distance from, then later returning to) Christian identifications. All of this is a large part of the work, granted, but I have always been more interested in the craft of the work, not its origins.

The first thing I noticed about this book is how wide-reaching the subjects can be: Salvation and moral purpose play against American identity and the dangers of nationalism; disease and health are here too, but so are a searching for masculine identities and the long look back at a troubled family history. Almost unnervingly, Wiman keeps the collection from seeming too schizophrenic by giving each poem its due attention and its own identity. Eschewing a “style,” Wiman instead seems to be taking his direction from the gospel of paying close attention.

A poem like “The Mole,” for example, refuses to speak its subject, but rather reveals it almost unconsciously – the short lines and terse images, though bring forth the affect and the limited senses feared by the hospital-bound. The poem moves from the discovery of disease to the “diviners, machines / reading his billion / cells” to the nostalgia for “mountain / aster and ice / wine, Michigan / football, Canes / Venatici and / the Four North / Fracture Zone,” and so on, combining and coalescing images large as constellations and simple as pedestrian memories. In the poem, too, Wiman describes a machine of “glass and chrome / so infinites- / imally facet- / ed it seems / he lives inside / a diamond,” several lines that not only point to the poet’s ability to see the fine details of the sublime but also to his willingness to probe a terror to find them. Of course, there is also the intended effect of having the signified meaning literally broken away from its signifier, while at the same time, the breaking itself becomes its own sort of sign. Better said, these poems not only speak to brokenness, they demonstrate and display it.

It would not be unfair to say that each of Wiman’s poems represents a struggle at the interstices of darkness and light, and I do not think it is inaccurate to say that he does so with varying degrees of success. Regardless, the overall effect is masterful, and the technique, even when it feels familiar, is always thoughtfully enacted. This is true in two poems that could very well have come from Bishop’s Geography III – in “Five Houses Down,” the poet finds identity and masculinity in an older man’s scrap heap, while “Sitting Down to Breakfast” is a tender portrait of an old aunt who stands as a symbol for everything that is disappeared or disappearing from both life and memory. Both of these poems are working hard to mean something, but, like Bishop, we never seem to mind when they end up doing just that.

In a recent piece in Poetry’s 100 year anniversary, the poet V. Penelope Pelizzon muses whether she, or any poet writing today, will become the rubble of our era. We do have to wonder which of our poets will be disregarded in favor of the Few Big Names, and of course I want to say that a few of us will escape. I also want to say that Christian Wiman’s Every Riven Thing is a book that could define our age. It certainly has a voice and a presence that feels like it speaks for all human time. And yet, the honest answer is that even the greatest poems will not save us, even the greatest poems cannot define us. Then again, the poems in this collection still recognize that limitation, and yet they still seek some divinity or salvation.

Every Riven Thing may just be the book that represents this era’s cautious optimism. In Wiman’s words, “To believe is to believe you have been torn / from the abyss, yet stand unwaveringly on its rim.”

Thom Dawkins
Weave Reviews Editor

February 6, 2012

Issue Seven Arrives

Weave is proud to announce the release of our seventh issue this December.  With each issue, I am still giddy when Weave arrives from the printer on my doorstep. This new object I can hold, that I can place in someone else's hands. Before printing, the stories and poems and art were tangible through the vivid imagery of their creators, but now these pieces are a collective "thing" that marks another successful collaboration between editors, writers, and now finally, readers.

Issue 07 features incredible stories, including those selected for our first flash fiction contest, winner Kelly Baron's "White Bread" and honorable mention Andra Hibbert's "Blighted." You'll also find poems from our first poetry contest; winner Caleb Curtiss' "Dream" and honorable mentions from Noel Sloboda, Jada Ach, and Meg Cowan.

2011 is the first year Weave nominated poems and prose for the Pushcart Prize and issue seven includes three nominees: Lawrence Wray's poem "Alicante," and in nonfiction, Orman Day's "A Whimsical Current" and Eric Tran's "Lipstick Jungle."

Saturday, January 28th Weave celebrated the release of issue 07, along with issue 06, with a reading at Remedy in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. The event included readings from contributors along with musical performances. Enjoy the photos of the event below.

This issue is also our largest ever, packed with poems from Carol Berg, Nicelle Davis, Noelle Kocot, and Nicholas YB Wong, fiction from Ellen McGrath Smith, Brooks Rexroat, and Anthony Varallo, nonfiction from Hannah Karena Jones and Julie Marie Wade, and art by Shoshana Kertesz, Jeannie Lynn Paske, Lindsey Peck Scherloum, among others.

Still haven't gotten your copy of Weave issue 07? Subscribe.