Escape Into Life: Issue No. 31


Witness with Apprehensive Mouth, Jan Snell

Lives of the Artists: Jan Snell . . . As artists speak of their work in their own words and without an imposed organization, one is reminded of the particular courage required to evoke and maintain artistic vision. Snell describes the figurative-abstract fusion that has informed much of  her work, her historical predecessors and the tradition of controlled randomness that lends a naturalness to the the most exotic imagery. The floating colors seen in her portrait work and the intensity of mood in all her imagery are given a context in this intriguing contribution to the series.

Book Review — Kafka’s Last Love: The Mystery of Dora Diamant . . . gives us a glimpse into the lesser known details of Franz Kafka’s last months of life. As the twentieth century history’s violent tides surged across Europe, Kafka and his last mistress lived together in a series of small Berlin flats as he battled the grim decline of his terminal Tubercular infection. A back-door or coat-tail biography such as this sheds light on both the famed individual and the ordinary and beloved people living beside them.

Movie Review — 127 Hours . . . After the resounding success of Slumdog Millionaire, director Danny Boyle surely gave careful thought to his next project. A somewhat surprising choice, 127 Hours presents a fictionalized version of the actual wilderness nightmare experienced by American hiker, Aaron Ralston. Those of us who live in the far west are all too familiar with hiking-gone-bad stories of endurance and disappearance, but Ralston’s was unusually gripping since he escaped only by removing his own hand. Luke Grundy’s review analyzes the elements that make this particular adventure drama successful as a film.

The Poetry of Joe Wilkins . . . “Childhood is always too much, or not enough”, Wilkins reminds us in the initial lines of his poem “Shooting Carp”.  The exactness of that statement is an excellent example of the direct and evocative specifics of Wilkins’ work. These poems etch jagged lines of reality, describing places and ties that, whether familiar or not, become as haunting and vivid as our own dreams.

Essay: Living Myths . . . James Curcio describes the creation and underpinnings of this new anthology of essays, entitled The Immanence of Myth, with reminders of the difficulty in pursuing a mythic idea that is, in itself a mythological creation. Curcio gives the reader a quick introduction to the ways and means of thinking about the complexities of the explosive and comforting allegories so necessary for human survival.  This excellent sentence provides a lucid jumping-off place for those eager to lay hands on the book: “Myths are our symbolic interface with the world, often but not always presented in allegorical or metaphorical form.”

 

Stacy Ericson is an editor and photographer who is interested in imagery both in word and in art.  Her work often reflects her roots in the western states and her abiding interest in other cultures, ancient languages and religion, and visceral passions. She lives and works in Boise, Idaho. and her poety, fiction, essays, and photos can be found at The old bouquet.