The Island

From the Shelf

Last year a group of freshmen decided that what this University needed was a good five-cent parody of The Advocate. While preparing the projected spoof, the fledgling editors discovered they could assemble enough competent poetry and prose to put out a serious magazine, whence The Island. The editors have consistently demonstrated sound judgement (and laudable enterprise in arranging interviews with W.H. Auden, Howard Nemerov, and Adrienne Rich). Their Winter issue is predictably excellent.

The Island's insightful and eminently readable poetry concentrates on easily recognizable, sometimes commonplace, experiences and feelings. In "The Crest of the Rut," for example, Stuart Davis writes about Cambridge, an ambitious subject for a short poem. Davis' observations are to be taken seriously; but he presents them in the almost comic perspective of someone resigned to the frustration that most students have, at some time, associated with the city: Gashed egos siren here

While cycles whine, O baby, baby, braced

against the hump of waitresses I peer

beyond you to the next booth where my last

disaster spreads herself to disappear --

Jonathan Kamholtz also writes about Cambridge, but replaces Davis' resignation with an energetic and--in a sinister sort of way--humorous frenzy:

A love song to authority because I want to know

what to do with the runaway librarian who is

in my room, and whom, she tells me, is overdue.

Bruce Pennington, Walter Sullivan, and Michael Schmidt record events which would not normally arouse much interest, like walking, swimming, and watching fruit-pickers. But it can be fascinating to look into a fishbowl through the eyes of Schmidt:

There in a fishbowl

sun garbles seaweed and fish in shadows

you discern an occasional eye pass

dead and unblinking near glass