The Rag Literary Magazine June issue 6

The Rag Literary Magazine Issue 6

Seth Porter , Daniel Reilly , Justin Duerr (illustrator)

Genre: Anthology, Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Poetry, Magazine

Five stars

Personal failure, self-examination, and the tyranny of entropy fill the pages of the Rag Lit Mag in June. Staying true to the monthly anthology’s gritty theme, the tales range from base to darkly whimsical on a tour through the self. My favorites for this issue were Best Work and On Bread Alone with their forays into the whimsical and departure from grim reality into both symbolic and spiritual regions. One or two tales, I felt ended too soon.

Best Work shocked and charmed with the artist’s self-destructive (literally) artistic process and the near-prophetic nature of his meeting with the homeless girl and her voracious drawing.

Bread Alone spun a bittersweet tale of a man who lived multiple lives through different bodies, jumping haphazardly from one to the next, yet knowing every thought and experience of the new self. The narrator’s profound love and ensuing spiritual journey was both ridiculous and beautiful.

The featured artwork was fascinating, and made me want to zoom in and examine closely the active, colorful, joyful, images tinged with terror and darkness.

The poetry in this issue fit well with the theme, illuminating scenes in sharp detail and drawing me into their emotion.

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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Bet on Black by Kenrya Rankin Naasel

Bet on Black:

African-American Women Celebrate

Fatherhood in the Age of Barak Obama

By Kenrya Rankin Naasel

Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, African-American, Anthology

Five stars

Bet on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barak Obama begins with an excerpt of Barack Obama’s Fathers’ Day speech and adds in a little quote before each story in the collection. The inspirational stories that follow come straight from the hearts and lives of black women who tell about the strong fathers in their lives. Some are grandfathers, some husbands, and they represent the strong black men who embodied fatherhood and commitment in spite of struggle and hardship.

President Barack Obama is often thrust into a purely political section of media and our minds. Our critical culture examines his success and failure and forgets his humanity and the enormous symbolism for many people looking to him not just for political leadership, but as an example of manhood and success. His example and wisdom as a father show a side of him often overlooked.

Bet on Black highlights these aspects of our president through the stories of other strong black men. It takes the high ground and gives rightful recognition to men who stayed true to their children through hardship, and in a society where they get none, where they earn scorn instead of praise, and where they live in company with many who didn’t choose to care about fatherhood.

I applaud, first, the gathering together of so many women to give credit where it is due and greatly needed. Also, I loved to hear the struggle and faithful fight these men fought to father their daughters and granddaughters.  It isn’t easy and thanks don’t always come. Mostly, I loved the positive reinforcement and vital role these fathers played in the lives of successful, strong black women. A woman can be strong on her own, but the support of a father makes it a partnership and a joy instead of a battle.

Any man who truly loves his daughter can find encouragement and vindication on these pages. Any daughter can learn about the blessings she has perhaps overlooked, and about the man she must demand as he father of her own children.

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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The Rag Vol. 5

rag pic 2

The Rag, Vol 5

Genre: Literary Fiction, Magazine, Anthology, Poetry

Four Stars

The Rag promises gritty, cutting-edge writing, and it delivers. The stories and poetry in volume 5 pulled no punches. Many of the stories in this issue focus on crime and the people close to it, whether fighting it, contemplating it or committing it. My favorite, called The Girl With Pretention in Her Hair by Bill Lytton, gave us a peek inside the judgmental mind of a man on the subway contemplating the profound ugliness of those around him. We’ve all done it, and the honesty of the piece overcomes the treacherous quality of the act of presuming on the lives of people we have never met.

I confess that I really didn’t understand the poetry at all. A few truths seemed to surface for me, but I guess I’m not hip enough to really comprehend the whole.

Between the writing, the art pieces featured by Meredith Robinson really dazzled me. They are both predatory and awkward, the colors warming the blankness of the animal expressions.

I love, too, the juxtaposition of a digital magazine that brings the reader back in time to a past medium of anthologies, cutting edge and literary tradition. Take a look at The Rag, a unique and progressive approach to literature.

goodreads page: http://goo.gl/QCG2S
amazon page: http://goo.gl/bo92K