• The Iris Review

Review of Coup d'Etat

Coup D’état is the literary magazine for the Boston University Literary Society, a self-proclaimed group of writers and literary enthusiasts on Boston University’s campus. The staff consists entirely of undergraduate students, and the magazine accepts submissions from all over the nation. Issues are published each summer and winter. The Summer 2016 issue is the most recent issue of the magazine that is available for purchase.

One unique and unexpected aspect of the magazine that I enjoyed is the “Editorial Staff” page after the table of contents. Pencil-drawn portraits of each of the “senior editors” and the editor in chief are included under their names. This is a nice detail because it gives readers a feel for the people producing the magazine, and it helps them to engage more.

The magazine contains poetry and short stories, and there are significantly more poetry pieces than short stories. The short stories are placed nicely throughout the magazine to break up the poems. Of the works in this magazine, my two favorite pieces were the poems “Blue Swallows” by A.J. Huffman and “Vesuvio” by Gracelyn Kuzman.

For “Blue Swallows” I like that the poem clearly depicts a loss of desire and the speaker succumbing to the surrounding world in only twelve lines. The imagery of the sun burning away the façade consuming the speaker, the speaker as a prisoner of the sun and sky, and the symbolism of the speaker as a lonely cloud make the point clear. Words and phrases like “I am a creature of constant color,” (ll. 2-3) “false sky,” (l. 4) “perpetual day,” (l. 5) and “permanent part of its imaginary plane (l. 12) engage the reader. It is well written and has a clear point to which readers can easily connect. The title is also quite fitting since the speaker is being consumed by (or swallowed by) the sky.

“Vesuvio” is another short, one stanza poem of seventeen lines that tells about the speaker visiting the historical site of the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii, although that is not explicitly stated. I enjoyed the historical reference of this poem, and the imagery of the ashes and people fixed in various positions since the time of the eruption creates a clear illustration for the reader. Calling the volcano an “assassin” (l. 14) is a powerful metaphor. My favorite aspect of the piece is the description of the ruins as calm, contrasting what certainly would have been terrifying chaos on the actual day of the event. This depicts how time changes the reality of events, places, and people. This is also demonstrated at the close of the poem when the speaker climbs the volcano and stands victoriously on top, and the speaker says “but it did not swallow me” (l. 17). This shows the triumph of the speaker in contrast to the demise of the victims in the historical tragic eruption.



- Jane Loveday, editor

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