December 6, 2008

FENCE 20, December 4

FENCE is a biannual journal of poetry, fiction, criticism and art, published in partnership with the New York State Writers Institute and the University at Albany. The journal is known for including writing from both experimental & mainstream authors, the unknown & lesser known rubbing vowels & consonants with some of the most well-known & respected writers of our time. The editor is poet Rebecca Wolff who has read locally in the community at Point 5 & at the UAG Gallery. This event was a reading by 3 authors to mark the 20th issue of FENCE, with its picture of the President-Elect on the cover.

Writers Institute Director Donald Faulkner introduced Rebecca Wolff who introduced the readers, beginning with Ira Sher. He read 2 pieces, the first (not from the current issue of FENCE) a section from a novel-in-progress, "maybe a beginning chapter." His second piece is on page 133, an abstract psycho political vignette.

Edward Schwarzschild has also read out in the community, at the Fuze Box in the Jawbone Series & at Point 5. His straight-forward prose style belies the tension & sometimes chaos beneath. "Police Report from the Provinces" (page 97) is based on an actual report. The second piece was the beginning of a short story, "What to Expect Before Becoming Pregnant."

While Shelley Jackson's work was described as being in that category of "Other," her piece in FENCE was listed under "Fiction." Yet "Mars, Marred, Married" is decidedly "other," with its parts in prose & verse, from the pages of the New York Times. While it tells the story of characters called Life, Death & Bird Fu, all the words came from 2 pages of the Times. I was also fascinated by her website with it's cyber links & obsessive self-introspection/indulgence, as well as the green streak in her hair, more Brooklyn than Albany.

If you were lucky enough to be there you got your copy for only $5. You can check it out online at