What fauna is there is my Jedi essay? Fabulous fauna, I suppose. Wookiees and Ewoks, Jabba the Hutt and a Third Guild Navigator. (My Jedi essay = “On David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi,” Bennington Review, issue five—the “fauna” issue.)
Other fauna caught my eye.
Lesley Jenike’s “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” thinks about bears via natural history museums, children’s books, poet Norman Dubie, Elizabethans, essayist Jon Berger, and Werner Herzog. According to Jenike’s website, she’s writing a book that “mix[es] memoir and creative criticism,” built around “the creatures of the nursery.” “Exit…” can only be read in the print issue, but “The Birthmark” at Tupelo Quarterly will give you a sense of Jenike’s project. “Exit…” is far and away the best prose in the issue that’s not an essay about David Lynch.
Kalil Zender’s essay “A Contemplation of Beauty and Foulness” and Olivia Clare’s short story “What She Has” are good too.
I’ve no experience editing a journal that publishes so many authors—are there 70 in this issue? The following letters are not represented in the table of contents: I, Q, T, U, X, and Y. My hope is the next issue will correct that oversight.
Two new poems by Joana Klink appear among the verse. I like “On Wanting.” This stanza intrigues: “A child sees a stream / and thinks of sharks.” I liked Claire Donato’s “The [Redacted].” I was most delighted to read Meghan Maguire Dahn’s “Shrift”—it’s very good: “What thread I lent / to the endeavor.” Dahn was a member of the loose collective of Real Art Ways poets, along with me, Kristin Kostick, Andrea Henchey, and C. S. Carrier. Last we spoke, she planned to start a journal; apparently, it was The New Yorker.