Why We Read: 2

Being a project dedicated to growing Colorado literature, we ask ourselves this question at the Almagre quite a bit. Why build a journal, paper no less, and expect others to read it?

For us, the easy answer is this: pick up a copy of Issue 3, open it, fan the pages, breathe in the spine’s scent. Take it, sit with it, create a silent space. Then…explore the poems within, the stories, the essays, the art. We know that the Authors and Artists in Issue 3 will give any reader their money back many times over…restored in full with ideas, new perspectives, as-yet-learned words, and renewed optimism in the power of imagination.

But that is self-serving. And it’s really about more than our journal. It’s about participation in all that’s going on. Literature promises truth; and that is even when it distorts history, or kneads it, bends it, warps it, or is about hypocrites and thieves and liars; or deals with gouging, skullduggery, banditry, or lowlifes. Literature promises truth, because it triangulates around it, shines a flashlight one way, then another, producing a changing shadow that can provide deeper understanding. The point is, literature begs us to know that any given subject requires curiosity and examination from multiple angles. This curiosity should never end.

We’ve entered an age of alternative facts…and that is a worrying thing. In certain venues, we prefer it one way—facts as facts—a thing which doesn’t build on alternatives but on additions. With literature (fiction and nonfiction), we are faced with an honest proposition: “Here is my side of the story,” or, “Here is a side of the story.” By taking the time to do this, we acknowledge that a gain in understanding is a journey. A matter of course. For those who believe they have reached a destination, we feel pity.

To read is to fend ignorance, acquire knowledge and wisdom, to join the polity as those who would prevent a world of alternative facts. For many of us, it is the way forward.

With Profound Gratitude to all our Readers,

Editor & Artist, John Lewis

 

Publisher, Joe Barrera, shares about John Nichols

Issue 3 of The Almagre Review–Environment–features an interview with Taos writer John Nichols.

We are fortunate to have with us a writer and philosopher whose name everyone knows.

John T. Nichols, best known for his Milagro Beanfield War Trilogy, lives in Taos, a mere 4-hour drive from Colorado Springs. He has written numerous novels, whose setting is usually the hardscrabble Chicano villages of northern New Mexico. John Nichols captures the ambiance and the culture of the people of northern New Mexico like no other writer, whether Anglo or Hispanic. If for no other reason, this would set him apart as an American writer of the first-class–one who is faithful and accurate in rendering his subject matter–and in the process revealing to the world a much ignored people who deserve to be recognized.

John T. Nichols is also a prophet, warning us of the fragility of our planet. He is a lover of nature, happiest when he is climbing the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo and fishing in the Big River, el Rio Grande. HIs latest environmental book, the last in a long list of books dealing with nature, is called My Heart Belongs to Nature. Read it. You will be moved at the lyricism of his descriptions and the beauty of his photographs.

Joe Barrera, publisher
The Almagre Review
June 18, 2017

Issue 3: ENVIRONMENT, available June 22

In January, 2017, The Almagre Review went to Taos to interview famed American author John Nichols. For two nights, he spoke about his life, his novels, and his political and environmental philosophies. Highlights from this interview are in Issue 3: ENVIRONMENT.

A literary journal founded in the crease; Come be a part of the narrative that tells the story of the mountains and the prairies.

Book Chat: The GAIAD

On the brink of The Almagre Review’s publication of Issue 3 Environment, this is a perfect time to reflect on our Issue 2 contributor, Will Burcher, and his recent book, The GAIAD.

Mr. Burcher’s novel surprises! It also makes big promises. The author possesses an intelligent, cunning, almost slickly in-between, ability for prose and idea. The idea—well, it is large. How large? Immense. And the prose—it combines grit and realism with an unapologetic use of literary language. I confess to learning new words in this book (for me, a pleasure).

The protagonist, Fleur Romano, a competent twenty-something-year-old Denver cop, is in obvious need of a big adventure. Don’t we all? Something of a loner, she manages to get to a concert, sans friend or partner or date. This is where it begins. The adventure! And the author kickstarts it with a mysterioso of haze, trance music, performance art, and a shock-pool of blood.

We’re soon thrusted into a pan-historical epic that is an international-action-thriller/illuminati-esque/spiritually-ecstatic tale delivered in Mr. Burcher’s competent handling of prose. For instance, when the heroine, Fleur, is shown a video by her abductors, the reader is made to feel as if the video is actually being watched. Not an easy task.

As the narrative peels into the driving premise of the novel, the story surges through time, back into the deep past where humanity is shattered. What kind of story takes 30,000 years to tell? Why do stone-age animal hunts and cave paintings figure into the book? How does this necessitate the appearance of elegantly thin spaceships calibrated to a cosmic music? Did I mention that Mr. Burcher makes big promises? The answer lies hidden in the title.

The GAIAD, the first installment in the Logos series, lives up to that promise. Perhaps as interesting a question as this grand adventure is, is whether the author can deliver the goods in the following books. This story is a joy to discover, and I fell completely in line with Mr. Burcher’s narrative voice. We luxuriate in the sensuousness of the language—in many ways, this is a story of the flesh. Not vulgarly. But the grand secret that drives it all, begs the author and the audience to experience this tale as one expressed deeply inside the skin.

There are many things the author has done well in his telling. The close proximity of high and low, grit and eloquence, provide a constant strength to the text. This is Mr. Burcher’s debut novel, and as a Coloradoan, we are lucky to have him. I feel optimistic that the following books will carry this epic tale to its right and thrilling conclusion.

For those interested, please support local art, local artists, and visit Will Burcher’s site @ https://williamburcher.com/# to find your way to a copy.

John Lewis

Issue 3, Environment; An Exciting Edition on its Way

Here at the Almagre, we are thrilled about our upcoming issue (Publication in JUNE). This will be a great opportunity for Colorado readers and writers to experience fantastic local talent alongside voices from all over (and we do mean all over!). There is, of course, the interview with famed Southwest writer, John Nichols, sharing insight about his environmental philosophy and the ways it manifests in his writing.

But this issue will feature much, much more. Readers will find contributors from all over the country whose work has appeared in other prestigious publications such as the Massachusetts Review, TriQuarterly, Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Sun, and others. We have words penned by some of Colorado Springs’ finest talent as well as beautiful poems from as far away as India and the Netherlands.

These are exciting times for Colorado Springs’ newest literary journal, and we’re asking those who are passionate about art and narrative to come join us. Spread the word to friends, to family, to fellow authors and artists. Absolutely everything we make from this passion-project pours back into the pages which carry the magic of the written word. Come help us tell the story of America.

          With Gratitude,
          The Staff of La Revista Almagre