In Bertrand Cayzac’s “In the City Where Mother Dwelt”:
- To what historical period does “Pyrenees escape lines” refer?
- “Haman” refers to the book of Esther. What historical figures might Haman represent?
- “Fair students” refers to appearance. In light of “Haman” and the “escape lines,” why might identity be all-important?
- What emotions does the poem evoke concerning the past, present and future?
- The poem follows a strict form of prosody. What is it? How does it differ, at times, from epic meter?
In Tom Vaine’s “Her Mother’s Girl”:
- How is Sadie’s mother represented? What is the tension between mother and daughter?
- What does the title mean: “Her Mother’s Girl”?
In Russell Helms’ “The Forensic Toddler”:
- Can you identify point of view shifts in the narrative?
- At what age would Justin become a suspect in the double murder?
- Justin is emotionally disengaged. Is he merely young and precocious or is he a psychopath headed for a life of crime?
- What television dramas might the story parody?
In Charles C. Cole’s “The Far”:
- Why might Junior Tetley have nicknamed the strange creature the “Far”? Why not some other name?
- Is the “Far” one creature or might it be more than one?
- Why does Bumpus commit suicide?
- The “old man” feels guilty that he lent Bumpus a scythe. Is his guilt earned or unearned? What might the townspeople have done differently?
In Gary Beck’s “Children of Despair”:
- What children, exactly, does the poem refer to? How and why are they treated unfairly?
- Does the poem overstep Bewildering Stories’ “inspirational” guideline?
In Mark Dennis’s “Certifiable Love”:
- How many martinis does Chris Gilmore drink while waiting for Taylor? Why martinis rather than a less flavored beverage?
- Why might Taylor send Holly to deliver the certificate without accompanying her? Is he being cautious or careless?
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?