Welcome to Issue # 28 of Plume.
Yes, October, and here a tablespoon of fall.
Of what to speak? AWP, perhaps. Plume will have a presence there, in Seattle, and perhaps finally I will get to meet some of you — contributors and readers alike, who have been so kind to us over our initial two years. So often I have opened my inbox to find this or that poet asking after Plume’s whereabouts, suggesting if I am in his or her neck of the woods that we might meet for a drink, a cup of coffee. And how often I have wanted to respond: yes, let’s do. Alas, circumstances, schedules almost always seem to preclude these connections. It is my hope that this will be remedied in the spring: I can match faces to written words (as I have in my mind in some case where the Internet has not provided a ready image) — and see for myself just who is reading Plume. And learn: what we do reasonably well, what we can do better, what readers — you — want. So: Seattle. Yes, that will be good. I hope to see you there.
Circulation continues to increase: we reached a new high last month with 7000+ “unique IP’s— individual readers. Much gratitude to you, too, then, to assent to accompany us on our little journey.
As for the current issue: David Cudar is now officially well and proffers new recommendations for your reading pleasure below. A long-form review/meditation from David on Julian Barnes’ work will appear next issue.
Our cover art this month comes from Nils Udo , who has been working directly with nature since 1972. It is a photograph of his large-scale work “The Nest” in situ on LÃ¼neburg Heath, Germany. Of the work, the artist says:
“I smelled the earth, the stones, the freshly struck wood.
I built the nest walls high and twisted the soil of the nest.
From the height of the edge of the nest I looked down on the forest soil,
up into the branch work of the trees and into the sky.
I heard the singing of the birds and felt the breath of the wind.
In the dawn I began to freeze. The nest was not finished yet.
I thought, high above on the edge of the nest squatting:
I build myself a house, it sinks silently past the tops of the trees on the forest soil,
openly to the cold night sky and nevertheless warmly and softly,
deeply into the dark earth dug.”
Our Featured Selection this month comes from Molly Lou Freeman — a lovely suite of poems, I think you’ll agree. Upcoming in the series: D. Nurkse, Chris Kennedy, Rachel Zucker, Brian Swann, Hank Lazar, and Martha Collins. As always, I would urge you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a project in mind for this venue — one of our most popular new features. (Well, the only new feature. Should we sell tee shirts and coffee mugs?)
Finally, for new work received this month, please see our Editor’s Note this issue.
(Oh, one more little note: Andrei Codrescu has a review, an interview and new work up in the Los Angeles Review of Books tomorrow; here’s the link: http://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/andrei-codrescu)
The Book List: Recommendations For Reading
You and Me by Pagett Powell
If you’re familiar with Powell’s The Interrogative Mood, you may already have a sense of tone for his latest novel, by turns funny, philosophical, and surprising. You and Me reads like a ‘white trash’ Waiting for Godot. Its subtle use of language — barbed and warped — ever tilting toward the strange and comic, makes it one of the most original novels to appear in the last decade.
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Author of The Color of Water, McBride turns his attention again to the difficulty of race. Co-mingling styles from Twain to Styron, McBride tells the story of “Little Onion,” and his involvement in a/historical retelling of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry with a fascinating mixture of metaphoric truth, intrigue and imagination.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lahiri manages to tell the story of two brothers, one prodigal, one dutiful, so well that the setting almost seems unimportant. However, it is exactly because the narrative is so universal and her language so rich, that the careful reader will realize how important the particular history and specific politics of The Lowland actual are.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
Hamid, the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, takes a Swiftian approach to those living in “emerging economies.” The novel is structured like a “How Toâ€¦” book, and broken into instructive chapters. What makes the story sublime and ironic is the persistent crosscurrents of romanticism and materialism. In a world where most people consider network as self-worth, How to Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia is a much needed counter-narrative.
See Now Then: A Novel by Jamaica Kincaid
Her first book in over 10 years: Kincaid’s name alone possesses currency. Yet it is not by her reputation that this short, poetic novel gains value. See Now Then marries the mundane and the mythic; life and legend are juxtaposed. Her prose is as elegant as ever, her story reminiscent of Updike’s The Centaur.
As always, I do hope you enjoy the issue!