Bennington Review, Issue Seven: The Devotions
Bennington Review—a national biannual print journal of innovative, intelligent, and moving poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and film writing housed at Bennington College—has released its seventh issue, around the theme of “The Devotions.”
"This seventh issue of Bennington Review, The Devotions, is invested in exploring what it’s like to give oneself completely over to a belief or system of belief, an emotion, a cause, a ritual, an idea, a person," writes Bennington Review editor Michael Dumanis.
As G.C. Waldrep writes in his poem “[Ely Cathedral],” “That’s the physics of holiness: it carries.” And then there’s AM Ringwalt’s prose poem “[Some people]”: “I will build my love a tower, a crystal fountain, molasses-mirror. I will build tunnels of green glass. I will turn my head from side to side, streams spilling out until I’m floating.”
The poems, stories, and essays in these pages frequently consider what it’s like to care outside the self. And what it’s like to communicate with the ineffable, the spiritual, the divine, or the dearly beloved. And what it means when a devotion is called into question or wavers.
In the short story “Sister Joan” by Jackie Thomas-Kennedy, the protagonist finds herself depleted by her devotions and responsibilities: “She went to the water cooler and drank two cone-shaped cups. She checked her phone… and ate a mint. She deleted every item on her grocery list. She was too embarrassed to pray, and uncertain that it made sense to seek forgiveness: she was just sitting in a chair.”
Elsewhere there is begging, bargaining, and reconciling. There are breathtaking prayers to one god or another. And also faith in the tangible, in lived experience, in one’s own strength, faith in the grace of others.
This issue features fiction by Maud Casey, Su-Yee Lin, Sabrina Orah Mark, and JoAnna Novak; nonfiction by Jenny Boully, D. Gilson, Joanna Luloff, Josip Novakovich, and Spencer Reece; film by Will Stockton; poetry by Samuel Amadon, David Baker, Adam Clay, Steffi Drewes, Rachel Galvin, Joshua Harmon, Endi Bogue Hartigan, Kirsten Ihns, Jennifer L. Knox, Emily Sieu Liebowitz, Jeffrey McDaniel, Aleš Šteger, Peter Streckfus, Adrienne Su, Matthew Thorburn, G.C. Waldrep, and C. Dale Young.