Horizon Review #5

-Reviewed by Juliet Wilson

Horizon Review is an online journal produced by Salt Publishing, which takes its name and its inspiration from Horizon, the magazine Cyril Connolly ran from the outbreak of the War in 1939 until it closed in 1949. Horizon Review is currently edited by Katy Evans-Bush who says she wants Horizon review to be

‘an experience, a message, a feast like a meal where all food groups are represented and the amino acids and vitamins all complement one another’.

So, is that what Horizon Review really feels like? From the contents list, the reader can see that here are poetry, short stories, essays, reviews, an interview and a couple of cartoons. So in that sense, the journal certainly fulfils Evans-Bush’s vision.

Most of the short stories are quietly insightful dissections of every-day life and relationships. Steven Maxwell’s ‘The Festival’ outlines the way a father and son relationship changes when the two go to Glastonbury together.  Maire T Robinson’s ‘Even the Sea Dreams of Escape’ is a story of how Sophie – stuck in a boring job in a small town – finds transformation.

The poetry ranges from quiet understatement to experimentation, with impressive use of rhyme by almost all the poets included. I loved Maryann Corbett’s poems ‘Portent’ and ‘Holiday Concert’. The former is a struggle to understand a dream about a ballet and ends, as the ballerina is lifted and carried away with the line ‘How do I know this isn’t victory?’; the latter is a description of a concert, full of precise detail and the seventh grade boy who in the future

‘will wince at the thought
of singing, yet will ache to sing, in silence,
silence even to the generation to come’

Both these poems convey the intrinsic oddness in the ordinary social event that is going to a performance.

Matt Merrit’s ‘Zugunruhe’ is a quiet poem that steals up on the reader; it’s a haunting evocation of the unsettling feeling evinced by migrating birds. (‘Zugunruhe’ is a German compound word made up of the elements ‘Zug’ – move and ‘Unruhe’ – restlessness that is used to describe the restlessness of migratory species).

Another poem that spoke to me was ‘In the Garden’, Sophie Nicholl’s poignant imagining of poems that had been buried by a poet fleeing the authorities later becoming part of the orange trees that were planted in the same ground. A beautiful symbol of transformation and hope. I also enjoyed David Troupe’s minimalistic and atmospheric ‘Bob and Jackie Watch Heat Lightning From Their Porch’.

Robert Archabeau’s intelligent and readable essay on Nick Cave was also particularly gratifying. This starts by drawing parallels between Archabeau’s own childhood in provincial Canada and Cave’s youth in small town Australia. There is an exploration of the Romantic poets concludings that they felt ill at ease in the modern world and that this feeling (combined with society in turn not supporting poets, no generous patrons for the Romantics as there had been for earlier poets!) gave them a great amount of artistic freedom. A detailed critique of Cave’s song There She Goes My Beautiful World analyses how his writing aligns with the Romantic movement. Not only was this essay interesting and fascinating, it also got me to pick up the Nick Cave CD which I have neglected for far too long.

Horizon Review certainly offers a wide range of different types of writing and the pieces complement each other well.