Magazine Review: Haute Dish Spring 2016 edited by Debby Dathe
This pun-titled periodical is the thrice-yearly organ of Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It features the artistic (mostly photography) and literary talents of the students there. This issue is thin compared to most college literary magazines I’ve seen, and the written contributions short–the longest doesn’t quite make four pages.
Of the photographs, the one I enjoyed most is Debby Dathe’s “Apprehension”, showing a steep wooded staircase from a kitten’s point of view. Another good one is “Tulip” by Jeremiah Grafsgaard, a dew-sprinkled tulip blossom about to open; this is placed directly opposite the prose piece “Iselder” by Alyssa Kuglin, which is about recovering from trauma and has tulip imagery. The juxtaposition of these two pieces is easily the best editorial decision in the issue.
“The Student Body” by Debby Dathe (again!) struck a nerve with its tale of being chosen last in gym class. But my favorite of the prose pieces was “Evidence” by Gina Nelson, about a person being coached through how to make a screenshot,,,for disturbing reasons. There’s some poetry too, none of which stood out for me.
This magazine will be of most interest to students and alumni of MSU, and perhaps their family. But collectors who take the long view might consider these sorts of things as investments should one of the authors represented hit the big time so that their early student work becomes valuable.
Magazine Review: Lapham’s Quarterly: Spring 2015 Swindle & Fraud Edited by Lewis H. Lapham
Mr. Lapham’s literary magazine is based on the principle that history has much to teach the present on many subjects, so presents excerpts from many famous (and not so famous) authors on a loose topic for the education and entertainment of its readers. This issue covers swindle & fraud, and the topic of lying and stealing more generally.
The pieces are all short, none more than six pages, and most hanging around the two-three page mark. A long time spectrum is covered, from the classic Trojan Horse gag to the sub-prime mortgage bubble of the 2000s. After a lengthy editor’s introduction, we start with Lawrence Osborne buying his own death certificate. Through many authors we proceed to Oscar Wilde’s short play “The Decay of Lying.”Along the way we hear from Charles Ponzi (his original scheme was legal, but he couldn’t raise money for it without resorting to fraud) and Malcolm X’s thoughts on how white politicians lie to black people to get their votes.
There are a few original essays to round out the issue, “Rogue Wounds” by Daniel Mason, on faking illness; “We Buy Broken Gold” by Clancy Martin , on the retail buying of precious metals and gems; and “A Fish Tale” by David Samuels, about Herman Melville and the nature of fiction in Moby Dick.
The issue is profusely illustrated with classic artworks and other depictions of the theme, infographics and short quotes. Everything is properly attributed, or at least it appears to be.
The general selection of items is high quality, and since they’re short, if a particular piece doesn’t interest you, another one will be along quickly. It helps that crime and corruption are such interesting topics. The shortness does however mean that most of the topics are only touched upon in the briefest of terms and you will want to investigate further if a given one interests you.
Highly recommended for strong readers who have limited time at any sitting.