It is 2020 and it seems that we all feel immersed in destruction. Destruction surrounds us and we struggle to understand our own complicity in it. This was true when John Sibley Willams’ book, As One Fire Consumes Another was released in April 2019, and seems to have become an even more pressing reality in the year since.
For the great stories alone found in this collection, it would be a masterwork, but the true game-changer is how the collection works together, going from lyric realism to controlled-yet-wildly reaching stories of imagination in which the author and reader disappear before the potency of story—stories which take our world and invert it and show it impossibly aching, failing, bursting at the epoch of dystopian flounder.
TONY MAGISTRALE is Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of Vermont. He is the author of What She Says About Love.
Blacks hid in the woods, coppices and in the slough that ran roughly along Route 44. Several blacks emerged from the slough holding up their hands, but they were shot and killed. Other African-Americans simply ran, but they too were gunned down–frequently among lineated cotton rows–at the hands of the posses.
I can indeed conflate the convincing pieces that led to the conclusion Lonnie took part in the Elaine Race Massacre, but I cannot reconcile my love for Lonnie and his apparent views about and role in racism, as practiced in the Arkansas Delta by whites during the first part of the 20th century.
It’s hard to read Marcus Pactor’s Vs. Death Noises without thinking of J.G. Ballard. The crime-scene labeled portrayal of character in “The Archived Steve,” the incantation-based narrative in “Spell Compendium,” the number-tagged dialogue in “Loss? Found?” and others–many of the stories in this collection defy traditional story structure in favor of forms we (and the characters) encounter in the less-than-literary aspects of our technology-ridden lives.
OLENA KALYTIAK DAVIS is the author of And Her Soul Out of Nothing and Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities.
Mike, thirteen, steals a can of Coke from the cooler in back of the old store. That night, he dreams he is caught, but the next morning he can’t remember his dreams. It’s summer. The can of Coke is at his friend’s house, on the ping pong table. He didn’t leave it there on purpose. He wasn’t thirsty when he stole it.
We are thrilled to announce that U.S. Poet Laureate and GMR past contributor Natasha Trethewey has chosen Green Mountains Review as one of the seven small press publications that she will focus on and promote as she spreads the holy gospel of poetry across the country.