Fayetteville High Litmag Connotations XXXII to Be Unveiled at OPWC

By Robert Laurence

Fayetteville High crestFayetteville High School has a long tradition of producing a quality, award-winning magazine of literature and art every spring. Connotations it is called, and this year’s edition is designed and loosely themed around the concept of symmetry in nature. Imperfect symmetry, perhaps, but still.

The FHS student writers, poets, designers and artists (some now graduated), plus their adviser, Katie Stueart, will be the guests at the May meeting of the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective. Tuesday, May 26, at 7 p.m. at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. Connotations XXXII will be unveiled and available for purchase as will refreshments and other books on the shelves of Nightbird. The public is invited, and there is no charge to attend.

Connotations XXXII comes in three parts, separately bound and tied together with ribbon, each edition signed by the student binder. The idea is that with each part the symmetry becomes more complex — a complexity reflected in the bindings themselves as well as the literary and artistic contents. Symbolically, this increasingly complex symmetry is shown by the progression from the symmetry of a citrus slice, to that of a cicada wing, to that of a jellyfish.

The writing matches this progression. (As does the artwork, which must be seen by you, not described by me in words.)

For example, Part One contains Issa McCann’s “directions to my house”: “walk south for ten minutes / slow down if your breath gets hot / watch for the right tree / you’ll know it when you see it . . .”

More complex is Annie Molesso’s “six notes I passed to candice” found in Part Two: “… 5. / I liked your / chlorine curls / after that cold / and cleansing / public pool / shower.”

And Part Three ends with Joshua Sadinsky’s playful “Avant-Guarde Polymorphic Writing Exercises,” which takes the reader from “I took my dog for a nice walk in the park. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and there was a pleasant breeze. It was a perfect day,” to “Dog. Me. Park. Day. Breeze. Birds. / took. was. Shining. were. singing. was. was. / the. the. the. a. a.”

There’s more: Sarah Leflar’s bilingual poem “Parallel,” a quiet portrait of Tokyo Bay. (I am trusting by the title that the Japanese is just as quiet as the English.) Michelle Qui’s touching story — or is it a memoir? — about a girl meeting her father for the first time. Sophie Rickard’s bittersweet flash fiction, “In the Summer, the Blackberries Grow.” Abigail Walker’s somber “I Think I am Destined to Miss You.” Michelle Peng’s odd little contemplation of the pistachio nut, “The Happiest Fruit,” a poem complete with bibliography.

I could go on, but why not hear the students for yourself? Tuesday night. May 26. 7 p.m. Nightbird. Before and after the students read there will be an open microphone for members of the community to read four minutes’ worth of prose, poetry, memoir, ranting, what have you. The audience tends to be supportive, and the open mic can occasionally be adults-only. Please join us.

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