We are awarding fifty dollars and a complimentary copy of Volume One to the reader who submits the best feedback on a piece appearing in each issue of The Summerset Review. Runners-up receive complimentary copies. For information on how to submit your feedback, see our Guidelines page.

Award winner for the Fall 2007 issue:
Marvin Rabinovitch of Hod Hasharon, Israel

Tammy Raynor of Spokane, Washington
Carly Svamvour of Toronto, Canada

We want to thank all those of you who submitted entries. We recognize the investment you've made to read our publication and write to us. We sincerely appreciate the interest.

Marvin writes -

Self-exposure in Julie Dearborn's "Unsolicited"

Quite an interesting narrative stratagem underlies this memoir of a young woman's coming of age in the last quarter of the twentieth century. To maximize rapport with the reader, Ms. Dearborn deliberately exposes the disingenuousness of her own reportage.

Comprising four separate anecdotes about male self-exposure witnessed by the author, this account describes the narrator's responses to such shocking encounters: intimidation, fear, indignation… and humor. Her way of diminishing the act's toxicity is to accentuate its risibility, and she does so by lampooning her own reactions.

This necessitates a counter-movement to restore a sense of the piece's authenticity. Ms. Dearborn provides such a remedy in the form of self-exposure as a caricaturist. What I have just told you is not the unvarnished truth, she confesses. But look at it this way: my candor in admitting such petty dissimulation makes the story all the more believable and compelling!

Personally, I found the essay evocative indeed. The literary device of self-exposure certainly struck a responsive chord in me. It humanized and deepened what could have easily remained a mere chronicle of sexual pathology.

Tammy writes -

Apartment Buildings, Catsup Packets and Eggs to the Rescue

Reading "Unsolicited" brought back two frightening childhood memories of mine.

I grew up on the north side of Chicago. It was 1974 when I first encountered a "male streaker," as we used to call them back then. I was with a girlfriend of mine and we were walking back from the grocery store. We were only 12 years old. A man drove up, parallel to us, honked his horn, whistled, opened his door and 'Voila!' We screamed and began to run. He kept following. We instinctively darted into the nearest apartment building and began to ring all the doorbells until someone let us in. He finally drove away.

The second encounter happened when I was fifteen. It was in the heat of summer. I'd say it was pushing upwards of one hundred degrees. I was walking alone toward my home when I noticed my next door neighbor standing on a bridge across the street wearing a long raincoat. I thought it odd with the temperature soaring. I wanted to cross the street to see if he was O.K. when to my utter disgust I discovered him ‘flashing' to a car that drove by. Yuck! I started to walk faster when he noticed me. He called my name and, of course, I looked. 'Voila!' I ran home as fast as I could and told my mom.

One week later, with summer heat still sizzling, I noticed his car parked in the alley. It was hidden behind a row of tall green bushes. I emptied catsup packets on his windshield spelling out the word "freak" and, cracking two eggs, I watched them start to cook. I heard a noise. It was him. I ran and hid. I never got caught.

I hope they did.

Carly writes about "Unsolicited" -

Golden Gate Transit

A brilliant lass, the author,
who shares with us her woe
at how her life seems plagued by
these men who like to show.

Now I don't mean a racing bet
or something like a house;
I'm talking 'bout their penises,
Some no more than a mouse.

The first of these exhibits
was on The Golden Gate;
the driver couldn't stop to see
till all was clear, they'd wait.

Distressed she was, and rightly so,
that no one seemed to mind
a fellow airing out his dick
for all to see, that time.

When she told her girlfriends
they laughed and squealed with glee;
beg pardon dear, did you say penis?
Charmed with this, delightfully.

It made a splash, this story,
she couldn't help but tell
the whole thing over every time
some willing folks said 'swell!'

In Switzerland, she and her friend
were hiking in the wild
when someone standing in the trees
got out his thing and smiled.

Oh look! They squealed, it's Cocks R' Us!
The bloody thing's humungous!
'Twas really so much bigger than
the one seen on the bus!

In Barcelona, she and friends
were ripping up the town
when she went off to have a widdle,
found a chap who had 'em down.

Embarassed she, thought she was wrong
to be there at the time,
she ran back to her friends and then
reported same, like some old rhyme.

It seemed she was pre-destined
to see these sights and won
much more than she had asked for
when out to have some fun.

In downtown San Francisco
when she got home from Spain
she took a job of teaching,
felt better, it was plain.

Then one day on another bus
the time was five-o'clock,
another chap was playing pool,
with testicles and cock.

When she spoke to the driver,
she was quite loud and said
there is a man who's jerking off,
thinks he's home in bed!

The driver was indignant
approached the cad and spat
'You get your butt right off my bus!'
And that, he said, was that!

Now our girl's no compunction,
she'll laugh at your equipment
and kick you in the rear, my friend,
should you be thinkin' different!