Runestone (Review)

2021

Reviewed by Katelyn Ladd

Susquehanna University

Runestone, a national online undergraduate literary magazine, annually publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction works with a side of author interviews and several book reviews. They accept submissions from across the country if the submissions are from a current undergrad student, and the magazine is compiled and edited by Creative Writing students at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The title of this volume, “Volume Six: the sky would be safer than the ground” is taken from one of the poems featured in the mag, arizona hurn’s poem, “how to be a human being.” The goal of this volume and the works in it is to embody hope in a way that has the subject of their work confront the situation and then move on, not just simply escaping.


Lex Chilson’s poem “Why Am I Sadder During the Summer” is the enthralling first piece of this magazine, and it already gives examples of the magazine’s overall mission. The personification of the month August is interesting in the way that the author states they’re embracing change by slipping off “July’s sunburnt crust.” I find it surprising that the author features the month of August as one to embrace change since it is normally the season (and months) of Spring that indicates rebirth and starting anew, but the symbolism works excellently for the message trying to be conveyed.


“Dry Spell” by Maryetta Henry features the character Evans, along with the others they are traveling with, as they cross what appears to be a barren desert or plain in search of wildlife or water. The water dried up a time ago, a drought consuming the land that all the characters lived in, and Evans blames himself. “Dry Spell” gives off an almost Disney-esque vibe, as the characters wander and Evans drowns in guilt, but quickly decides that blaming themself will amount to nothing and resolves to fix the mess they’ve possibly made.


Hannah Baumgardt’s “First Flight” explores the unrealistic childish dream of wanting to fly she has when she is eight. She talks about how she would practice by soaring off the swings during recess only to fall and end up concerning several teachers. She discusses the multiple practice attempts, and by the end the reader can feel the disappointment of realizing your childhood dream can’t come true. However, the author does manage to end on a positive note, stating that humans are limited, but by daring to question those limits she’s learned confidence.


Runestone is a beautifully put together online literary magazine whose goal is to help find and inspire hope in others which— especially during current times— is always needed, and I hope that everyone finds time to read the stories within.


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