Do you want to hear the good news first or the REALLY good news first? Well, the first bit of good news is that submissions have re-open for the minnesota review until the first of April (the cruellest month). If you’re interested in sending us your fiction, poetry, or even critical writing, check out our submission guidelines at theminnesotareview.submittable.com/submit.
So now onto the REALLY good news. Usually we keep a pretty tight lid on submissions we’re forced to turn away, but last semester some critical work showed up without any contact info and only the name “K. West” attributed to the work. A few people have suggested that the essays are the work of former tmr managing editor Kevin West, but I have a sneaking suspicion that these could be the work of a much more famous “K. West.” We’ve decided to post the essays here and let you decide for yourself who in fact is the real author.
The NeverEnding Waste Land:
A lot of people see a college drop-out and assume we don’t care about literature because we don’t make it to our graduation day, but literature has never let me down. Recently I was watching one of my favorite childhood movies, The NeverEnding Story, and I was struck by the parallels between the film and TS Eliot’s seminal poem, “The Waste Land.” Now, some people say that the film is based on the German fantasy novel by Micheal Ende, but that sounds exactly like something the Illuminati would want you think. So here’s what I think.
Consider first, how The NeverEnding Story opens. With The Nothing sweeping in and taking over the land. Sounds like a Waste Land to me. Then, the characters at the campfire in the film. There’s Rock Biter, the Nighthob, Blubb, Whooshwoozool (that’s the dude on the racing snail). “The Waste Land” opens with four different characters telling their story. Coincidence? Yea, you right.
But then there’s the Childlike Empress who Bastian names Moonchild at the end of the movie. I don’t get it. Who comes up with Moonchild? He can literally name her anything he wants: Amara, Bella, Rosaleen, Sharon, even North, but he chooses Moonchild? What? Nevermind. The important thing is the Childlike Empress lives in the Ivory Tower, an obvious reference to the Tower of Babel, heard of it? The biggest connection here though is that Childlike Empress has the power to heal the land, but she’s sick and can’t. Just like the Fisher King in “The Waste Land” and the Camelot stories Eliot was inspired by.
Atreyu’s horse, Artax, dies in the Swamp of Sadness because he’s too sad to go on and just gives up. I’m still crying. In “The Waste Land” there’s the section Death by Water. Phlebas drowns and is like “whatever, I’m dead.” Same thing. They both give up.
Then there’s Morla, aka The Ancient One, is a big turtle that looks like an island. “The Fire Sermon” has a footnote where Eliot admits he put Augustine and Buddha together to represent how religion doesn’t play a part in the Waste Land. Morla is like, no, get out of here. She doesn’t want to help and she sends Atreyu to The Southern Oracle.
The Southern Oracle in The NeverEnding Story is obviously the blind oracle in “The Waste Land,” Tiresias. That one is almost too easy. But then there’s end of both. Both the film and the poem end with What the Thunder Said cause there’s a storm at the end of both. But what really made me stop and wonder, is that at the end of “The Waste Land” there’s like this third person that they don’t see, but who ends the Waste Land. Just like Bastian in The NeverEnding Story. But seriously, why Moonchild? I still don’t get it!
Magna Carta… Holy Grail of the Sun Also Rising:
I have it on very good authority that Jay-Z’s 2013 album, “Magna Carta… Holy Grail,” was actually a sonic imagination of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Don’t believe me? One of the producers on the album was Swizz Beatz. Swizz, five letters. Beatz, five letters. Ernest? Five letters. Want more proof? The main producer on the album was Timbaland. Timbaland, nine letters. Hemingway, nine letters. Then what you can do is take Timbaland and Hemingway and mix up all the letters and you know you get? Dalmatian, cause Jay-Z is dogging it on this album.
Okay, okay. Not enough proof? “Open Letter” was a pretty hot track off that album. And what’s it about? That’s right. Cuba. Still not satisfied? What does Beyonce rhyme with? Lady Brett Ashley. It’s all there man.
Okay, let’s take this one step further. The second part of “Magna Carta’s” title is Holy Grail, as in the King Fisher. That’s right, he’s back. He’s capable of saving all of us, except he’s badly injured and infertile just like… the protagonist of The Sun Also Rises, Jake Barnes. It’s all coming full circle. That’s what the Illuminate are into. Spirals and set theory. The Coup de grace to the whole thing though? Jake, four letters. Jay-z, four letters. Jake is the Fisher King. Jay-z is Jake. Therefore, the Fisher King is Jay-z. Can’t explain that.
Christopher Wilson is a first year MFA candidate at Va Tech. He is from Chicago, Illinois.