I knew that I needed to read Fence from the moment that I saw its bright pink cover. I thought it was eccentric and intriguing, and that is exactly what the Spring/Winter 2015 issue of Fence is, from cover to cover. The front cover features a poem called “Front and Pearl” in all white text. The poem’s surreal lines capture Fence‘s experimental feel. One of the stanza’s reads: “She was the lemon target of reality. / Here, I’ll do the butcher. / Yes, the sun has officially set / until tomorrow. / The cathedral had an unfinished look to it.” An “unfinished look to it” is how I’d describe my favorite poetry. It’s also how I’d describe a lot of the poetry in Fence.
Fence publishes biannually, and its mission is “to maintain a dedicated venue for writing and art that bears the clear variant mark of the individual’s response to their context; and to make that venue accessible to as many, and as widely, as possible so that this work can reach others, that they may be fully aware of how much is possible in writing and art.”
This volume of Fence gives the reader a bit of everything. The table of contents is divided into “poetry,” “fiction,” and “other.” The poetry ranges from short, more-traditional love poems (“Because an Imitation is Almost as Good as the Real Thing” by Charles Olson) to longer prose poetry (“Multiply” by Wendy S. Walters) to some of the most experimental poetry that I have ever encountered (Andrea Actis’s “C-Span Lean Cuisine” and Ben Doller’s “Lancanian Inc.”). One of the fiction pieces that stood out to me was Kristen Gleason’s “Armand.” I also enjoyed pieces in the “other” section, such as Julie Carr’s “Real Life: An Installation” and Laylage Courie’s “Lost Films of Theda Bara.” Carr’s piece is just that, a narrated art installation, and Courie’s is a narration of scenes from the author’s favorite Theda Bara films. And the poem on the back cover, “Rambling Statement,” has two of my favorite lines of poetry: “He suffered a long time ago, / and he will love you forever.”
The front and back covers proved to be a bold and memorable introduction and conclusion, respectively, to a magazine that challenges the reader to embrace new and emerging kinds of poetry. Fence‘s poetry is how I like poetry to be: beautiful and raw.