The Heart is Also a Furnace

The Heart is Also a Furnace starts out seeming like a dream journal. Readers are appropriately tipped off to this fact in the first title, A Primer for Dreaming. The pieces of short prose that follow inevitably involve bizarre connections and vague descriptions like those found here: “F. said something at my window that I couldn’t see him say-something about not taking his physics magazines (they were poetry) before he had finished reading them-then disappeared.” Powers usually, though not always, writes in the first person (both singular and sometimes plural) and frequently has her narrator speaking to an ungraspable “you”, who one cannot help but feel isn’t “you” as in “me” (the reader) but “you” as in the narrator’s romantic other. Her narrators reveal superficial insecurities especially concerning competition with other women or deceitfulness of a lover. However, these surfaces mask an underlying fear of being misunderstood and its accompanying isolation. “There are words we learn–that get us closer, but still only to an outline, an idea-like we are always more aware of the shape of the space around the thing than of the thing itself, however impossible that might seem.” The zine starts out seeming like a dream journal but ends seeming like an “awake” journal teeming with anxiety. In the second half of the zine, the connections become less bizarre but the sense of lack of control remains the same. One story reads, “By the time Eva was fifteen, she was alone in the world, her parents having not so much died as simply faded away, becoming thinner and more transparent as the years went on– She had become too much like her parents in a way-ectoplasmic, seeping through their fingers as they [men] tried to grasp her.” Powers writes in a convincingly honest and cynical voice. Her writing is definitely worth checking out. (Nancy Duncan)

Magdalen Powers, zine, $7, 43 pages, Future Tense Books, P.O. Box 42416, Portland, OR, 97242, U.S.A.,


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