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Alaska Quarterly Review

Literary Magazine Reviews

Posted February 27, 2004

Vol. 21 no. 1 & 2Alaska Quarterly Review

Volume 21 Numbers 1 & 2

Fall/Winter 2003


Reviewed by Jeannine Hall Gailey

This issue commences with a wonderful essay by Jane Hirshfield on the nature of language, “Language Wakes Up in the Morning: A Meander Toward Writing,” which playfully begins by describing a personified language as it goes about its day. Guest poetry editor for this issue, Michael Ryan, chose a variety of poems about loss, from a litany of everyday lost things in a little girl’s life (“My Daughter’s Sadness, a Casual Analysis”), to a mournful meditation on the brief lifespan of a hummingbird (“Anna’s Hummingbird”), to the effects of the death of a loved one (“After Your Death,” “Poem for After Peter Dies”). The art work in this issue, Richard J. Murphy’s series of black and white photographs titled “Cancer Journal,” also chronicles loss in the photo essay that movingly portrays a woman’s struggle and eventual death from breast cancer. The work throughout the issue is full of arresting images and heartbreaking moments, especially “Autobiographical Raw Material Unsuitable for the Mining of Fiction,” the piece by Charles Yu about a young man’s relationship to his mother. [Alaska Quarterly Review, University of Alaska Achorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508. E-mail: Single issue $6.95.] – JHG




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Page Updated: 1/12/10  By:  Jeanette Bartz