CTR Marks Three Years Online
With the publication of the 2012 edition of the Cut-Thru Review, we also celebrate our third year of sharing the poetry, prose, and visual arts of the students, faculty, staff, and friends of eastern Kentucky's Big Sandy Community & Technical Colllege here on the web.
If you've been here before, you'll notice the new look, featuring simpler navigation and easier access. We've also added an interactive gallery of regional photography and original artworks.
Our Poetry and Prose sections are now fully-contained on dedicated pages, with menus devoted to New Arrivals of 2012 and an Archive of poems, essays, and short stories from previous issues.
The Poetry Page
Alongside the wry observations of first timers Helen Faith (There But, Man), Navrin Madras (Lingua domum, My City), Jonathan May (The Fiery Release, Recurring), Avram McCarty (It Was Then), and Wendi Williams (Christmas Angel, Dandelion, A Jazz Tribute), our Poetry Page for 2012 also features the newest offerings from old friends Ken Slone (If You Notice Sunsets, Holdout, The Best Christmas Gifts) and Matthew Smith (The Dead Shall Never Walk Among the Living).
The Prose Page
New contributors to our Prose Page include Kelly Baldridge (I Am Well Trained), Appalachian Days Writing Contest winner Janie Beverly (No More Babies), Jarrid Deaton (Haze), Lisa Jones (Show Me Your Heart), Aleisha W. McCarty (Problem Solved), Steve Minix (The Creek Bank), Shawn Porter (I Believe in the Microwave), Steve Russo (Sitting here in a hotel room in Louisville, KY), Michaela Stepp (I Believe in Getting a Little Dirty Sometimes), and Troy Williamson (Go Your Own Way).
Returning story tellers include Sheldon Compton (All Full Up), William J. Loftus (The Last Time an Angel Visited Me), Appalachian Days Writing Contest runner-up Tom Matijasic (Watch Tower Ministries), and the globe-trotting Phyllis Puffer (Senior Love).
Highlighting the new Gallery for 2012 are the original offerings of Cody Boyd (Judgment), Savanna Jarrell (Jackson), Thomas J. Whitaker (Appalachian Coal Tipple, Beyond Bones, Sweet Petunie, and Wrath), Teresa McCoart (Chillin' and Snowy Day), Shea Maynard (Bride of Frankenstein, Emu, and Lizz), and Morgan Wright--who created this year's cover image as a project in Tim Smith's Art 100 class.
Don't Miss Sheldon Compton’s The Same Terrible Storm
In his first short story collection The Same Terrible Storm, writer Sheldon Compton delivers prose pieces that are powerful and steeped in authentic Appalachia, in its poverty, desolation, faith, and hope. The characters in Compton’s 22 stories are often surviving bleak circumstances, and he paints these characters, flaws and all, in a way that is honest and unembellished. There is nothing heavy handed in the story-telling. Therein lies the magic of Compton’s style – his ability to show plainly characters who are standing in the storm of life or personal turmoil and the way they hold tight to something that allows them to keep standing. Somehow there’s an undercurrent of hope even after all hope has been depleted.
In “Purpose,” for example, Brown Bottle teaches his nephew how to fight and tells him of his wartime days: “We were fighting for our lives, and that’s the best thing to ever fight for, ever” (13). This bit of dialogue represents a theme carried throughout the book. Characters – some combating addiction and poverty – cling to religion or family relations, even when those connections are strained. There’s a palpable refrain of fighting-to-survive.
What adds beauty to this collection is Compton’s lyrical style. Consider the concluding lines of the title story, “The Same Terrible Storm”: “When his mother stirs away from the kitchen window, like a shadow moving with a bank of clouds, Man spreads his hand out again on the rail. When the vibration moves from his hand into his elbow he keeps his eyes on the moon, keeps his hand on the rail, keeps it there for as long as he can” (45). In juxtaposition to the violence and tension, there are quiet moments and lovely landscape.
Sheldon Compton’s The Same Terrible Storm is an impressive debut for any writer of any region. These stories – with their fierceness and quiet – solidifies Compton’s place as one of Kentucky’s great contemporary writers.