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Joshua Dickinson

“Memory is the first thing to go.” Perhaps because he has fewer of them to clutter his mind, my son always crushes me when we play the game memory. Concepts such as loss and memory often haunt Black River Review volumes. I’m not sure if people’s struggles with the recent recession, deployments, or family account for this. Maybe our unpredictable local weather reminds us that things can always turn worse.

Or better. “Two solid weeks of sunshine in March. Ideal weather.” We’ll remember this as if it were a month of seventy-degree bliss. We tend to misremember, filtering out good and bad for our purposes. The writers of this volume seem intent on teasing out these implications of time. They show us what can happen when we arrive at artistic interpretations of what was. Meghan Harney’s “The Writer’s Almanac” shows us a poetic voice musing over a public radio voice. Freedom, routine, the familiar—all are brought into fortunate combination through the poem’s lines. Olivia Nammack’s “Prissy Cissy” presents another memory game: This time, bullies do get punished. Zac Barnes’ artwork also reflects these themes aptly.

Throughout this twentieth (or so) Black River Review, embrace what these voices say about the workings of memory. The effect can be soothingly disturbing or disturbingly soothing. I can’t quite remember which…