The Review: Now More Than Ever
Should you pick up the new Southampton Review expecting familiar contributors, you’d be right and wrong. First of all, who’s going to complain about opening a journal to more poems, four of them, by Billy Collins? That star of versification known for a peerless sense of humor is here contemplative — digging up an old toy truck in his backyard and thinking of the past, or pondering the oddity of the writing life.
Jules Feiffer, another returnee associated with Stony Brook Southampton, the journal’s publisher, not only changes up his distinctive cartooning with a portfolio of sketched and watercolored superheroes, in doing so he brings a welcome reminder of his tutelage under the late Will Eisner, the creator of the revolutionary strip “The Spirit,” who with his 1978 “A Contract With God” more or less invented the so-called graphic novel. Mr. Feiffer’s take is characteristically witty — a hangdog costumed hero, for instance, eyes downcast: “Superhero Without Motivation.”
Also in the spring edition, well reproduced across its glossy pages, is a series of colorful images, mostly of an oarsman plying the waters, from “What Shores, What Seas,” a book by Barry McCallion, an East Hampton artist.
Four watercolors by Walter Bernard, “waterscapes” all, from a pond near Northwest Creek to the Bridgehampton surf, are eye-catching, appearing suited to wall-mounted immensity. A closer look reveals they average only about 7 by 11 inches, however, leading to helpless speculation that if Mr. Bernard had simply substituted feet for inches he’d be sitting atop a mound of coin worthy of Scrooge McDuck.
There is, of course, much more: an eight-and-a-half-page poem by Kenneth Koch and an interview with his second wife, Karen Culler Koch, cartoons by Gahan Wilson and Michael Maslin, a memoir by Jennifer Brooke, a documentary filmmaker who lives in Sag Harbor, on her experiences with a sperm donor, and fiction by Rachel Pastan, the author of the novels “This Side of Married” and “Lady of the Snakes.”