I have always considered The Briar Cliff Review to be one of the most beautifully constructed print literary journals produced, which causes me a heavy heart to include with this post the fact that Briar Cliff University will be jettisoning many of its general education programs, and with it, this decades-long literary tradition. Our condolences to the staff of Briar Cliff Review for this monumental loss to our community. They will fulfill their commitment with their final publication in 2023, so let us celebrate these final contributors to each remaining issue. Featured in this collection are winners of their 26th annual contest: Anna Round, Nancy Fowler, Patridge Boswell, William V. Roebuck, and Christine Stewart-Nuñez. As always, the remainder of the magazine features a plethora of poems, fiction, nonfiction, art, and book reviews in a handsome full-cover, large format. Cover image: Saga of the Secondaries by Dan Howard.
In Volume 33 of The Briar Cliff Review, readers can find a poem that I think most people can relate to after the past year. “Gargoyles” by Sara Wallace describes the empty of feeling of craving someone else’s touch. While the poem does lean toward the romantic side of touch (“No one’s biting your lips, / no one’s tasting you.), it comes at a time when I’m seeing my friends celebrate the ability to hug their loved ones again after, and ends up feeling more general. After being separated from friends and family during the pandemic, who hasn’t missed the intimacy of touch?
Wallace carries the idea of gargoyles through the poem, first as a smoker standing in a doorway of a bodega, and finally as the game “statues, / how when you were tagged // you had to pretend you were stone,” and could only move again when “someone touched you.” I love this thread she carries through from present to past, keeping with that yearning for physical touch.
“Gargoyles” by Sara Wallace. The Briar Cliff Review, 2021.
In this issue of The Briar Cliff Review, find poetry by John Blair, Simon Perchik, Twyla M. Hansen, Julie L. Moore, Tony Tracy, Dante Di Stefano, Sarah Fawn Montgomery, Ann Hudson, Michael Hill, Jimmie Cumbie, Alyse Knorr, and more.
The 2020 issue of The Briar Cliff Review explores themes of violence, disconnectedness, and the legacy of slavery. Find poetry by Jed Myers, Claude Wilkinson, AE Hines, Lindy Obach, Doug Rampseck, Laura Stott, Melanie Krieps Mergen, Mary Fitzpatrick, Dar Hurni, and more; fiction by Deac Etherington, Carrie Callaghan, and others; and nonfiction by Karen Holmberg, Ryan McCarl, and more. Plus, two book reviews and pages of art.