Our much-loved contributor Ibti Vincent gives us a peek into a local anthology of original poems, essays, short stories, photographs, drawings, scribbles, graphics, and other musings.
Compiled by Politics & Prose
Reviewed by Ibti Vincent
I discovered the first issue of District Lines – an anthology of poems, short stories, photography, and cartoons from around the DC metro area – at a reading this past June at Politics & Prose. It was a lot of fun to hear some of the authors read excerpts of their works, and after seeing Opus the Book Binding Machine crank out copies, I bought one and began thumbing through the pages, eager to read more of the works with intriguing titles like True Plumbing Tales from the White House and My Hug-Loving Hometown.
The collection is a mixed bag in terms of the style and caliber of its contributors, but it’s a great start to what I hope becomes a regular publication that celebrates our city’s innate DC-ness. Diana Veiga’s Summertime and Glen Finland’s A Known Patsy are love letters to characters that give the Petworth and Capitol Hill neighborhoods their unique feel. The challenges of mid-life dating, the ubiquitous type-A parents pushing their kids to achieve, the attempts to clean up the Anacostia River – all familiar to those of us who have lived here awhile, or will be when we venture to other parts of the city. Whether behind the counter at the Florida Avenue Grill or on the 30 bus across from Effi Barry, the writers evoke memories of DC’s greatest and saddest and most hopeful moments… and occasionally some of its most frustrating.
My favorite work in the collection is probably the Ode to the Dupont Circle Metro Escalator by Deborah Hefferon. Tell me you haven’t had to schlep up that looong escalator. While I’m asking questions here, tell me: why is it that half of the escalators in the system seem to be out of commission half of the time? Ms. Hefferon’s words echo those of the Everycommuter:
“My you’ve grown! Forced to surrender right,
I curse your stubbornness, your refusal to give me a lift.”
I notice there isn’t an entry for my beloved Columbia Heights neighborhood in this first issue. Oh, but look, they’re accepting submissions for the second issue now….