Welcome to the sixth installment of Conte! Issue 2.4 is a special landmark for us since it concludes our first full year of publication, and ends our self-proclaimed "Year of Conte" on a superbly high note--maybe even a high 'C'. (Note our hubris...perhaps it's the eggnog talking.) We hope this collection of poetry and prose finds you well and warm this holiday season, relishing those tender, quiet moments with friends, family, and of course good writing!
Despite their eclecticism, the poems in this issue seem to share a sense of reflective wonder, and are a fine fit indeed as this year draws to a close. We open with two powerful and intimate pieces by Brandy McKenzie, which helps set the tone for the familial motifs found in several of our other poems--particularly those by Jessica Murakami and Michael Constantine McConnell. Additionally, M. Frost and Chloe Yelena Miller extract a great deal of lyric potency from deceptively simple moments, be it near the narrow bank of a stream or at the family dinner table. Finally, Laura McCullogh, Ruth Goring, and our old friend R.T. Castleberry (who helped us begin 2006 with a bang in issue 2.1) focus on the sinister intersections between violence and politics; theirs are truly solemn omens as we cross the threshold into a new year.
Like many of the poems, our prose selections this issue also largely revolve around family - though not always in a traditional sense. Chad Faries' shares a vivid and imaginatively painted memoir of a Michigan clan which is anything but traditional; Kristin Berger pens a hauntingly poigniant memoir of a solitary uncle and a lonely river that brings the smell of silt and spray to our noses. Yveta Shanfeldová's capriciously captivating protagonist falls unexpectedly into a new family (of sorts) that isn't quite what it first appears to be, while Janet Irvin's digs deep to uncover a family secret perhaps best left in the ground. Lastly, Sandra Lambert takes us on a vibrant and stunningly scenic journey of rural Florida, after which we had difficulty returning to the cold reality of our mid-Atlantic December.
So no matter what holidays you celebrate this wintry season, we wish you peace, goodwill, and the small, quiet miracle that pulses from the very heart of storytelling. For us here at Conte, these poems and stories are our gift to you, dear reader, at the close of a truly bountiful year.
Adam & Robert