Rain. It’s one of the most consistent features on the North Oregon and Southwest Washington coasts. Capable of influencing the mood of any particular day with sprinkles, showers or down pours, it’s what unites us as residents of this often wet area.
This year’s issue of Rain Magazine, Clatsop Community College’s student-led annual literary magazine, is full of work as varied, beautiful and transcendent as our coast’s climate.
Reading this year’s magazine is seeing local landmarks dramatized and heightened by carefully crafted prose, poetry, fiction, nonfiction and photographs. Frequent characters include the Astoria-Megler Bridge, Cape Disappointment, Saddle Mountain, Youngs Bay and Cannon Beach as well as animals and Northwest centric species like Alder trees.
Poems of place that focus on rain and nature like James Dott’s “Returning Rain” pay close attention to its subject.
William Chamerlain’s poem “A Few Lines for Don Wirkkula” shows the cyclical nature of our region in the poem’s final lines: “That we cleared creeks, let them breath – / that seedlings we planted are trees over our heads now.”
The beauty of the beach is on full display in Steven Mayer’s poem “Along The Beach.” Mayer writes: “No thoughts / of politics, religion, sports, family / only fresh ocean air / I sit on the rocks / enjoy nature’s symphony: surf, wind, sun, clouds hint of deep mysteries.”
Other work, like Elizabeth Winter’s poem, “Soothe The Suffering Earth,” bears witness to climate change and its impact on the environment and animals: “Birds, bears, bees, wind in the trees; nature’s orchestra sings in harmonious symphony / Blissfully unaware they are refugees from the urbanizing destructive scheme.”
Poetry is meant to be read aloud, and all of the poems included deserve slow, careful reads that reveal their insights.
There are powerful meditations on objects like a lamp and typewriter in the magazine, too.
The issue also features work that surprises, twists and reveals wise truths.
Nonfiction and fiction work like Andrew Barker’s “The Preacher’s Kids,” Luc Fenix’s “It is Post-Apocalyptic Armageddon Time In America Again,” C. Alex Gramson’s “Let Loose The Drugs of War,” Amy Waseschle’s “The Bear And The Shotgun” and Luke Manning’s “The Beast of Cranbourne Alley” are all particularly memorable.
The stunning works of art and photography that feature natural settings compliment the written work also on the page.
Celebrating 50 some years in print this year, the issue features interviews with past advisors and editors. Over the years, famed Northwest literary giants like Brian Doyle, Kathleen Dean Moore and Robert Michael Pyle have contributed work to the magazine alongside local writers.
Whether read by a fire or on the beach, this year’s issue is full of humanity that illustrates why we live here, our yearnings and joys and seasons of nature and life. This is a magazine that rewards re-reading.