The eleven year span of Dogwood-ing, as we’ve become accustomed with, has overseen a variety of development and reform from our first perceptions. In appreciation of visual formatting but despite the irrespective breaks between issues (the jump from 2003 to 2012, namely) I felt particularly attracted to separation of seasonal graphics, per existence. Spring editions provided an eloquently wistful font style permitting the front cover, which has survived for nine years. This encourages a continuance that credits the editor(s) in providing a production value that binds editions as a family, not as individualized issues, which I feel is important in establishing an emotional bond which can only duplicate financial reward.
With whimsical declarations for the aesthetics aside, I immediately warmed to a poem I found myself re-reading and repeating from Dogwood’s Spring 2003 edition: You Came Skating, by Veronica Patterson. Indeed, I found myself fixated with the earliest edition in general and seemingly set; it appealed via an underlying sense of forlorn, of forlorn continuity, of a limited forlorn continuity, which I liked. There remains a real effort to encompass what a poem or prose emotes – not always represented in meaning, just purely emotion – which comforted me, despite a melancholic. In You Came Skating, Patterson epitomizes those senses. I found myself unsure, deliberating past words, almost breathless with anticipation as opposed to pacing. The final line reading: “we were granted this collision” provided a unanimous end, spinning an alternative outlook to one that I would normally hold. In working seamlessly despite such succinct lexical boundaries and overall length, I was won over. I feel that doing so without needing to scrawl numerous pages is an art, a courage and a talent.
I also vicariously enjoyed Lizzie Reinhard’s Shark, which renders a hopeless nanny to deficiency whilst containing a sexually dark humour. Dark humour, I feel, can prove tricky in depicting efficiently; one does not want to spiral into banishing darkness, neither grasp a common lighter ground with ease, but merely teeter with an inky deliberation. Lines like “I’m too busy thinking Mila’s a whore to give me a chance to be one” and “We each take a shot and she puts on her shoes – fuck-me heels if I’ve ever seen them” which genuinely made me laugh, although I felt rude in doing so. Despite this, levelling out the narrative with mention of an ailing drug addict mother that claimed “you should have let me go” anchored me back to a cold reality that this nanny really is tragic. In a ruthlessly fragmented way, I enjoyed that there was no happy ending; sadistically, a lack of happy endings make me feel generally happier about my own pitiful existence. The nameless nanny and I share much in common.