The spring 1991 issue includes fiction and poetry from Indonesia. The stories from Indonesia have been gathered by guest-editor John McGlynn, and our publication of them was special on two accounts. First, it coincided with the Festival of Indonesia, which was celebrated throughout the U.S. in 1992. Second, in printing these works, we helped to introduce Indonesian writing to a new audience. The highly popular, vibrant, and varied literature of Indonesia had been achieving recognition in Europe, but relatively little of it had been translated into English and still less had appeared in the United States. Indonesian authors in this issue include Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Goenawan Mohamad, Hamsad Rangkuti, Toenggoel P. Siagian, Sitor Situ Morang, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Putu Wijaya, and Umar Nurzain.
In addition, we include fiction from Americasome stories unusual in terms of genre, and others more traditional. In this issue, Batteigers Muse, by Gordon Weaver, and The Absence, by Allan Johnson, are fine short stories in the traditional sense. On the other hand, Public Anatomy, by Thomas Farber (whose story collections, as well as his book on writing and the writing life, Compared to What?are familiar to many readers) is what he calls a non-fiction fiction. With Phil Damons Lost and Found in the Holy Land, we thought you might enjoy a glimpse into New Age writings, rare to literary magazines. Damons writing is decidedly literary, having appeared in many reviews and anthologies such as Best American Short Stories.
Also among the American writing is an essay by W.S. Merwin, The Tree on the Hill; poetry from Peggy Shumaker, David Baker, Linda Hogan, and Adele Dumaran; and a poetry symposium, For Whom Does the Poet Write, in which twenty American poets respond to Fred Chappell.
slicing onions, Mirah accidentally cut her hand. She screamed and popped
her index finger into her mouth. But then, shocked, she took it out
again. Her wet finger was pale. Blood raced from the wound and began
to drip from her finger. Mirah was stunned: her blood was white!
—from “Blood” by Putu Wijaya
was breaking beyond the forest. Still drowsy, I saw it from behind the
awning of the boat whose motor roared like a hungry dragon. The journey
still wasn’t over. When had I left Tenggarong? The Kelinjau River
twisted and turned amid the forest on either bank, sometimes with denuded
patches heaped with piled logs. For a day and a night I had lounged
about in this boat. I thought we would soon arrive at Muara Ancalong.
In my notebook I wrote ‘a journey to examine my heart.’
My fantasies had evaporated, taken by the wind to wherever it would
carry them. I thought of Jakarta, of the many-colored lights along the
streets, of a hostess’s bawdy laugh during a disco number at a
The River’s Song
“If you happen to be an expert in some distinct field of learning such as the order Physallidae or cuneiform script, no doubt there are sections of the British Museum that seem to be not just repositories but models of human knowledge, reflecting, proving, serving as emblems of its orderly and progressive nature. The institution originated, after all, in the middle of the eighteenth century and is still haunted by the spirit of that age—in Europe—of achievements at once grand and contained, a time marked there by a faith in symmetry and an adulation of Reason—a word that those generations used to describe their peculiar view of what they thought was everything.”
“The Tree on One Tree Hill”
of Taxonomy. Crustacea and shells
Dory (Zeus faber) on music, 1990
|About the guest editor: John McGlynn is the editor and translator of numerous works of Indonesian literature, including A Taste of Betel and Lime: An Anthology of Poetry by Indonesian Women; Reflections of Rebellion: Stories from the Indonesian Upheavals of 1948 and 1965; Suddenly the Night, a collection of poetry by Sapardi Kjoko Damono; Shackles, a novel by Armijn Pane; and On Foreign Shores: American Images in Indonesian Poetry.|