November 5, 2012
Fall 2009 Issue
Review by Sarah Gzemski (Susquehanna University ’13)
The cover of Coraddi is a striking blend of colors called “Leaf Bustle” by Heath Montgomery, and the eclectic splotches in cool blue, purple, and olive green tones draw in a reader’s eye to a larger picture, the branches woven in subtly and with great skill. The works inside this magazine are well represented by the cover, different parts fused together to create a unique and beautiful product.
Coraddi, as described on its title page, “represents the art and literary community of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.” This magazine has a long history as it has been published “in various forms” since 1897, and the Fall 2009 issue represents Volume 112. Artwork and writing are equally represented, with separate sections and prizes awarded for each. While some magazines pair artwork with pieces of writing, Coraddi aims to represent both the art and writing on their own merit.
“Satan scratched behind the ears of Gomorrah. ‘Who’s Daddy’s sweet kitty? You are! You are!” Sarah Sills imagines the life of Satan in her short story, “Satan Was Pissed,” using humor and Biblical references to enhance her piece. Satan’s encounter with Stella, a wildly attractive woman, and her subsequent kidnapping of his cat, Gomorrah, is laugh-out-loud funny. Her depiction of Hell as a fully functioning office with identification numbers, filing cabinets, and a tech support team is fresh and inventive.
Chris Welsh’s poem, “Backyard Anthropology,” was one of the pieces that really stood out to me, and its description of childhood rang true. The lines that begin the poem—“when i was young and in love with Adolf Rupp / instead of Faye Dunaway, / my father paid someone else’s father, / one with dinosaur tar beneath his fingernails, / to cement a basketball net / into our driveway” —paint a specific setting with their strong images and careful word choice.
Similarly, Amanda Manis’s prose poem “Curb-Sitters” uses powerful description to create a poignant story about two friends and their uncertainty about the future. “I say no, what do you want to be when you grow up and she says an octopus, an eight-legged creature of the deep: solitary, strong.” These lines in the first stanza perfectly capture innocence as well as the wisdom that shows itself most when we think like children.
The art in this issue comes from many different media, from pen and pencil drawings, to paintings and photography. “Fender Height” and “Trust” by Amanda Nichols provide an eye-catching and surprising splash of color. “Fender Height” features a jumping armadillo and commands attention on the page. It made me smile and look closer, since its subject is so singular and detailed, while its abstract red and green background is so cleverly blended. This warm color palate continues on the next page with “Trust,” a more somber scene of a deer lying behind a fence. I really enjoyed being able to see both a fun and a more serious side of this particular artist, and both pieces exemplify the quality of artwork that Coraddi publishes.