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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 420

Sing a Song of Cookies

  1. In Mike McGonegal’s “Cold Searing Strings”:

    1. Why is “she” absent? Has she walked out or died? Does it matter?
    2. Why would punctuation ruin this poem?
    3. If the poem were sung rather than recited, what form might the song take?
  2. In Cherry Rao’s “I Called You My Butter Cookie”:

    1. Punctuation is a great help in reading this poem. Why?
    2. What is the effect of the interlocking interplay of sonorities and colors?
    3. Bill Bowler’s “Songs of the Lovelorn Poet” may be characterized as a set of song lyrics in various styles. In like manner, consider “Butter Cookie” as a song: in what musical mode might it be sung?
  3. In Channie Greenberg’s “Coins and Fleas...”:

    1. If “Coins and Fleas” is not a lyric poem, what is it?
    2. The subtitle “Committed Beggars” seems ambiguous. How might it be explained?
    3. What moral ambiguity or tension does the poem portray?
  4. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “Rupert and the Girls’ Night Out”:

    1. Is Carlos’ intervention foreshadowed at any point in the story or does he emerge as a kind of deus ex machina? Why might it be advisable not to anticipate Carlos’ appearance?
    2. Does Carlos’ taking the lead in facing down the thugs diminish the “girls’” courage in any way?
    3. The story implies that violence combats violence in homophobic societies. Would the same strategy apply in misogynistic societies?
  5. At the end of Richard Ong’s “Sacred Ground,” how might the story end if Simon and Abigail were spared the “nuclear accident”?

  6. In Rebecca L. Brown’s “A Beautiful Lie”:

    1. Does the narrator’s discovering that the bird is artificial come as a surprise?
    2. Should the bird’s nature be taken literally or figuratively? If literally, what might the narrator discover if she happened to cut herself?
    3. How do you imagine the narrator puts up with the egotistical, manipulative Eva for so long? And the relationship ends only when Eva leaves. Why does Eva leave? Does she tire of using the narrator as a punching bag or can she find nothing more to steal?
  7. What kind of mental disorder might K. C. Gray’s “Horse Men” portray?

  8. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s Error:

    1. How does Jonas’ appreciation of television characterize his emotional state?
    2. Jonas does not know what is in the packages he is delivering. Why might he not want to know? Why might he suspect he is not delivering drugs?

Responses welcome!

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