Tipped-in, original artwork is visible through issue no. 5's die-cut back cover: an original etching created specifically for Carrier Pigeon by Russ Spitkovsky, who has created 25 different etchings in editions of 40 that will be dispersed evenly throughout 1,000 copies.
The intricate cover and interior design by Wai-Jee Hoe is bookended by pages created from etchings by Evan Summer. Issue no. 5 maintains the internal structure of six works of fiction, including short stories, poetry and playwrighting, plus six artist portfolios. What started off as a publication of "darker" content has naturally evolved into a sounding horn for contributors' most personal touchstones and concerns, connecting fictional situations with real turmoil and anticipation.
Althea Hanke-Hill's "Cut in Half" relates a rural adolescent boy's confrontation with illness, death, and the ripples that scar a family. This story is illustrated by by woodcuts from printmaker Frances Jetter. "5 from Sonnet Crown," poems by Rose Swartz, takes a smoothly self-deprecating look at how internal perspectives color our outer environments, accompanied by bright spot illustrations by Christopher Darling. Casey Fleming's "What You Did" is a strong account of a woman's search for meaningful love within the push-pull of two different approaches to spirtuality, illustrated with monotypes created by graphic artist and painter Rachel Burgess. "Sin Corazon," written by return contributor Victor Giannini, is a restrained fantasy about life within, beyond and adjacent to death. Ray Jones captures the off-kilter world with his trademark, sinuous inkfest. August Schulenburg's short play "Presents" takes a naturally skeptical young woman on a ridiculous and quirky ride with one of the Western World's most recognizable characters. The soft textures of Donna Diamond's illustrations reflect the cosmic scope of the tale. "The Enemy," written by newcomer Dustin Leddy, is a gravely authentic mind-twister about two teenage would-be terrorists with little knowledge of their own motivations, illustrated with equally disturbing monotypes and charcoal drawings by artist Max Kahan.
The first artist portfolio, by renowned artist Malcolm Morley, juxtaposes hyper-realistic canvasses of wartime battle with similarly intense sporting events. Printmaker, collagist and artist book author Ilse Schrieber-Noll shares a collection of her explorations of Bertolt Brecht's 1953 Buckower Elegian, poems generated from his response to the June 17, 1963, uprising in East Berlin, and offsets them with her own stark impressions of the 2011 Arab Spring. Veteran New York artist Ellen Peckham plays her poetry and etchings off of one another in a confident back-and-forth. Joseph Kupillas, collagist and mixed media artist, displays a sharply graphic collection of works that exist in a world somewhere between photo-surrealism and photo-journalism. Prominent American artist Marshall Arisman contributes a portfolio of dramatic new etchings on suicide bombers along with a series of mesmerizing metal plates that have been colored, etched, and carved with images of animistic art forms, a nod to his careerlong exploration of the prime subconscious. Joseph Hart rounds out the issue with an alternately calm and chaotic series of mixed media images that explore deliberate versus incidental mark-making, keeping the human figure at the center of a controlled whirlwind.