03 June 2015

Fourth 'Line of Advance' Journal Keeps Rolling Along

LOA No. 4 cover by Daniel Kasza
In keeping with its tactical title, the veterans-lit journal "Line of Advance" continues to grind and attack forward with a rocking and rollicking fourth issue. The Spring 2015 edition of the Chicago-based on-line publication is available via a $5 single-issue purchase or $27 annual subscription. The magazine is available in either Apple-friendly epub or Amazon Kindle formats, or PDF by e-mail request to the editors.

The stories presented are all moving, as are the characters within them—whether moving away, forward, toward, or through. Editor Chris Lyke sets the theme in motion with his introduction. With furor and fervor, he places the issue at the crest of recent news events, which include riots and protests, shootings and calls for revolution:
All of these ideas I imagine to be influenced by something more nefarious. I think perhaps they are not a happenstance, but the echoes of something violent itself. We’ve seen this unrest before in our recent history, during the Vietnam War. This state of affairs, I tell my friends, isn’t a coincidence. This malice and shortsightedness is a bi-product of that “foul dust” brought home from a murder. […] 
I say to my friends not directly linked to the war that there may be something else going on. There may be an unseen player in this drama that does not have our best interests at heart. The echoes of the deeds in Western Asia are reverberating through our society just as those from Southeast Asia harangued our people forty years ago. This is, of course, why we publish Line of Advance. The works in the following pages are not black and white. They are as those telling the facts of a car crash: different, and gray, and true. All of them true in one-way or another. And, as a people trying to move forward with our humanity we would be wise to embrace the in-between thoughts, and the sliver truths, and even the ghosts we cannot yet see.
Eric "Shmo" Chandler is here, not only with poetry, but with prose. His short non-fiction story, "Isolationist," begins with an airport pickup and ends on the cusp of war. There is much here on which to chew and muse on, from his own experiences as an F-16 jockey turned commercial aviator. His poem "Did Joseph Heller Know King David?" also made me laugh on a biblical scale, and his "Quid Pro Quo" made me cry like a dad.

Poet David S. Pointer is here, too, with his signature stream-of-consciousness style spat out like bullets, or bomblets. His "Serious Psychological Development" invites multiple readings. I often discover myself reading his work aloud, and always find different targets with each round.

Chandler's and Pointer's works each deserve to be read all at once, in all their pithy and punchy glory. I'll not quote them here, for fear of spoiling the surprises.

Storyteller, poet, and former sailor Travis Klempan is here. I recently had the good fortune to meet at the Military Experience & the Arts Symposium in Lawton, Oklahoma. His poem "Christmas in Bamyan" echoed my own reactions to Afghanistan's archeological demise, but he achieves a far grander voice and effect than I. I also enjoyed the implied interconnections to Chandler's kingly theme, and to Lyke's editorial manifesto. Here's a taste of Klempan's work:
[…] Goat bones and battery packs—the long cold detritus of war and forgetfulness.
For weren’t we born without kings?
What reasoning madness compels us to stay, standing
In long lines waiting, turn after turn, the saddening gyre rolling onwards? […]
If all this isn't enough to move you to subscribe, check out the FREE sample short story "Road Construction," by Samuel Chamberlain, is available at the Line of Advance blog here.

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