The twenty-first issue of Notes is loosely themed around revolt and transformation, explored through political, cultural and personal dimensions. While issue 20 included private responses to death and suffering, Ruby Zajac’s translation in this issue suggests the importance of speaking out publically in light of wider struggle such as that faced by the 43 students abducted in Mexico this year. Her creative engagement with the #AngerMustBeSpread campaign shows dissatisfaction with current systems.
Similarly, Kate Edwards’ essay challenges accepted practices in the teaching of tragedy, which she argues fail to account for the reality of misogyny, instead presenting it as an abstraction. Where these pieces advocate change, Arthur Thompson’s and Maria Cleminson’s short stories take change as a starting point and allow it to play out in interaction with ideas of tradition and community. Both stories display a deft handling of pace and tone, but Maria’s ‘Hokata the fisherman’ moves towards tenderness while Arthur’s ‘An Explanation’ reveals a light-hearted humour.
This lighter side of transformation is captured in other pieces. Although expressed in very different forms, both Nathan Smith’s parodic treatment of ‘The Raven’ and Milo Mordaunt’s mock-journalistic imagining of a future society use change as a means for satirical entertainment. The issue is at its most carefree in ‘Four Lines Regarding the Pennines’ by James Hutton, creating a sense of exhilaration through its playful tempo and language.
Megan Dunne’s ‘Scission’ ends the issue on a more contemplative note, in which the simplicity and intensity of image portrays a quiet, apprehensive revolt. Between the vibrancy of Phillip Babcock’s ‘Shop’ image and the faceless disquiet of Angelia Van Clarke’s collaborative piece, the works in Notes 21 encourage discussion and difference through wit, irony, protest, and sincerity.
We would like to thank all of the contributors, and hope that this issue provides inspiration for future works.
The Notes Team