Volume 11 of The Tusculum Review, published in 2015, features a new 8 x 8 format and a tactile earth-toned intaglio print by Carrie Lingscheit on the cover. This issue, the first edited by Heather Elouej, née H.M. Patterson, is a beautiful art object designed and created by student staff member Hannah Berling and Advisory Board Member Wayne Thomas.
The issue includes Last Look at Joburg, a collection of nineteen poems by Steve Myers, winner of the 2015 Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Prize. The poems are both a travelogue of and reflection on his trip to South Africa with undergraduate students. These are lush and transportive poems, of the sort you rarely encounter anymore. “African Canto” begins at a nature preserve snack bar and sings with the narration of Justice, the visitors’ Tswana guide, until “what seemed a housecat, only much larger, / Sauntered out from under the dark wood deck / we were lounging on, lean, mange-ridden, orange-brown. / A “phage”!—quick enough to run down a springbok / And always hungry—, Justice whispered.”
Myers’s other poems are similarly teeming with wildlife, birds especially, and historical figures: “Mandela’s Shades” features Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, Bill Clinton, and Will Smith. The titles themselves reveal the geographical and emotional breadth of this important collection: “Our ‘In’ at Paballelo,” “Augrabis Falls,” “Virgin Cleansing, Louisvale,” “At the Apartheid Museum We Read of the Coloured Man Forced by Law to Resign from the Whites-Only Birdwatcher’s Society,” and “In this, the other hemisphere,”
Ginnah Howard, author of the novel Night Navigation and others, published her essay, “Existence Load,” an account of her clean removal of herself from her usual life to a worn rental on the island of Cedar Key, Florida with us. Zhanna Slor’s “Missing Things,” a narrative essay on the impossibility of returning to the past, is similarly unmissable.
Among the stories are Taylor Brown’s “Eagle & Anchor” about a husband’s return from his Special Forces life and his wife and son’s unease at his lean alertness, and Jason Mastaler’s “Watchers,” narrated by an albino tailoress in Flybread, New Mexico, which centers on a town infested by mysterious bat bites.
Though this is only a preview of what readers can expect to find in the pages of this volume of The Tusculum Review, these pieces highlight the various settings and engaging storylines at the heart of Volume 11.
Poetry Chapbook Contest Judge: Wayne Thomas
Steve Myers, Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner
M.P. Jones IV
Robin LaMer Rahija
Susan O’Dell Underwood
John Yu Branscum
Aubri K. Adkins