Wednesday, June 21, 2017



FUTURES TRADING, Anthology Four, Edited by Caleb Puckett
(Futures Trading, 2017)

I’ve been a fan of FUTURES TRADING, edited by Caleb Puckett, since I discovered it a few years ago. Anthology Four, the print compendium of four issues from May 2016 to February 2017, maintains my high regard. For assessing anthologies (and literary journals) I think of three parameters (of course there can be more than three, but I’ll focus on these for purpose of the revooo):

First parameter: does the publication provide pleasure and/or insight? I’m happy to share that such are provided by FT’s contents, including but not limited to the darkening sheen of Michael Rerick’s imagery in “from Moss” ; the smart humor and ingrained ars poetica in Giles Goodland’s “Language is Sick” ;  the charisma of Holly Day’s “Closing Time” ; the empathy evoked for the protagonist in Mercedes Lawry’s “Prey” ; the poet’s sharp eyes in Texas Fontanella’s “Erasure Sequence” (yep, effective visual poetry!); the perpetual slyness of Mark Young in all of his poems (and I’m glad he shows up more than once); the funny “yep-ness” of Willie Smith’s “A Door To Adore,” among others.

Second parameter: does the publication introduce the reader (Moi, in this case) to writers new to the reader and worth knowing?  Absolutely, and one of my two picks from this issue is Robert Wexelblatt for his story, “Frederick Van Epps, Retired.”  It’s a lot of what I want from a story: good writing, often funny, interesting tale, And memorable.  Here’s its opening—doesn’t this want you to know/read more?

(click on images to enlarge)

My second pick is Sanjeev Sethi for his refreshingly on-point poem, “Denouement”:

Third parameter: what is the editorial vision or aesthetic and does that pull together the individual contributions to warrant the creation/organization of the publication? For this purpose, Caleb Puckett’s “Editor’s Note” is noteworthy as well as offering a good raison d’etre for the issue. He cites how “the world has mutated in vexing ways” over the time span represented by the anthology. And he ends his Note with

“I believe we can live better when we write and read better.”

Such puts a heavy onus on the offerings within the volume. It’d be a ridiculous irony if such a sentence was appended to crappy work, e.g. as sloppy and/or inauthentic as what Puckett cites to be “the new regime’s facile hyperreactivity, ‘alternative facts’ false nostalgia for ‘greatness’, desperate desire to go wall-building.” To the credit of the editor and all of the participating writers, their well-written works step up to Caleb’s editorial vision with writings the promote a better way of life.


Eileen Tabios is the editor of Galatea ResurrectsHer 2017 poetry releases include two books, two booklets and five poetry chaps. Forthcoming later this fall is a new poetry collection, MANHATTAN: An Archaeology (Paloma Press). She does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor, but she is pleased to point you elsewhere for a recent review of her work: Dina Paulson-McEwen reviews AMNESIA: Somebody's Memoir for WALK THE LINE!  More info about her work at

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