Friday, January 10, 2014

Radio Silence: Literature and Rock & Roll

The first issue of the literary journal Radio Silence came out in 2012 (read some of the pieces from it on their website) and included fiction from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and more, essays by Geoff Dyer, Sam Lipsyte and more and poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay (why not?!). I picked up issue #2 over the summer to read an interview with Bruce Springsteen and Ray Bradbury, a poem by Bradbury and  a short story from Edith Wharton. There are also three poems from WWI poet Siegfried Sassoon, an essay on Woody Guthrie and Rick Moody writing on Sleator-Kinney.

Seriously, how could I pass it up?
I am a big fan of literary journals. They give you the opportunity to try out the work of a lot of different authors without committing to a full novel. They also expose readers to writers they would often never find otherwise, or even know to look for. In the case of Radio Silence, there are several different formats in each volume, and even illustrations. Plus, where else are you going to find Springsteen and Sassoon in the same place?

It's almost mind-boggling how well this all works. (When you add Wharton to the mix it practically makes my head explode.)

Radio Silence is published annually right now, with the next issue due this winter. (It will include Dashiell Hammett!) As explained in New Pages, it is run as a non-profit and the journal raises money for books and musical instruments for kids.

I encourage you to check it out and have your horizons broadened. It's really rather extraordinary and certainly thought-provoking. Here is Siegfried Sassoon's poem "Suicide in the Trenches" form issue #2:

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again

* * *

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

No comments :