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Introduction

Brian Topping

This year’s Black River Review certainly brought out some painful experiences found throughout the area. Many of the works focus on loss, abuse, misunderstanding, and darkness in general. This may seem depressing to some, those that prefer poetry filled with flowery vocabulary and fiction pieces that always end with the loving couple being reunited in everlasting passion, but art and creativity often come from these unspoken places, familiar to many.

While it may not be apparent, the creation (and now publication) of these works brings forth the spreading of knowledge, understanding, and hope. It is only when we recognize the demons in our world that we learn how to combat them. These works allow the reader to identify with the “monster” that may have influenced youth, the painful realities of war, or the often daily struggles with self-esteem.

But this volume may also bring hope, discovery, or a new awareness. The works bound here urge us all to seek the deeper truth, avoid the artificial shortcomings of first sight, and to embrace the possibility of the impossible. Dig in; find a corner and a warm cup of coffee or tea and open up your mind.