First, it’s a slick saddle-stapled with gorgeous surrealistic/abstract cover art that wraps around (I just don’t have it in me to pun myself right now, thank you kindly). The interior art and page presentation of each poem is clean and crisp. Overall, it’s the kind of digest-sized publication that screams, “Aesthetically pleasing!”
The Skinny . . .
I’m familiar with a good many of the names from the TOC but won’t list every single one of them. You can go here (time_shark ) to Mike’s LJ for that. See what I did there? Good.
The Really Big Deal ™ in Issue 20 is, of course, some dude named Neil Gaiman, who I think has a bright career as a writer if he sticks to it. He’s got a pretty good game all the way around, and I hear he dabbles in comics, prose, and screenplays. Yeah, so long as he multitasks as a writer, he’s *bound* to be a hit. His poem “Conjunctions“ has this impressive lyricism that sneaks up on the reader with each stanza, accruing the metaphorical weight until hitting hard in the final stanza with a [spoiler redacted].
Strong offerings abound in pieces like “Soldier’s Daughter” by Kacey Grannis; it’s a short yet poignant poem. Darrell Schweitzer’s “The Birthplace of Homer” handles “the game” of every place in Greece being, well, the birthplace of Homer with just the right dose of humor. Now, “Genesis” by Holly Dworken Cooley is among my personal favorites period with its look at creation and religion through the lens things artistic (It’s gotta be the crayons!).
The Fan in Me and Some Personal Other Faves
See the bit about Gaiman above. Now, I don’t know how you currently look at trout hearts, but you won’t look at trout hearts the same way again after reading “Conjunctions.”
Also, the Creepy McCreepster poem, “In the Astronaut Asylum,” by Kendall Evans and Samantha Henderson (no relation) is a fun, surrealistic journey and well-placed in the middle of the issue.
In “Lake Vostok” by Deborah P. Kolodji the juxtaposition of things icy and bound with things warm and free, all balanced on this handy little fulcrum of a stanza that I liked so much: “Newspapers say the Russians plan/to drill down to Lake Vostok/but I already know that they’ll find.” Good stuff, Maynard.
Perhaps the only other poem to creep me out as much as “Conjunctions” and “In the Astronaut Asylum” is Stephan Malin’s “Lavoisier’s Final Proof.” Ah, scientists! Ah, the French Revolution! Ah, guillotine experiments with friends! I simply think Mike Allen did a careful job book ending this issue with the Gaiman and the Malin poems.
As for the Rest . . .
I read this issue in two nights only because I nearly feel asleep the night I began reading it. Now, back up a moment, because I’ve been fighting a nagging cold and some concomitant exhaustion. As usual, we read and pick and choose. It’s a buffet, but Mythic Delirium 20 is a go-back-for-a-third-plate type of poetry ‘zine. I’ll end up re-reading it because it’s simply that good. And whether you call it flash or prose poetry, Rolli’s two pieces in the issue will have me re-reading just for pages 28 and 29 alone.
So, there you have it. If you get a chance to get yer hands on a copy, I think you'll enjoy Mythic Delirium 20. I sure did.