Sunday, October 12, 2014
Martin Appleby has produced a third volume of the literary zine Paper & Ink. This edition holds the theme "Destination Unknown". I've probably mentioned this in previous reviews - one of the reasons I admire this zine is the fact that it is not online, not downloadable, not available on Kindle ... it exists exclusively via paper and ink. In the current digital-or-die era, publishing old-school is an act of revolution in and of itself.
As with most thematic zines, the material in Pen & Ink #3 Destination Unknown both works and doesn't work depending on your perspective. Some of the standout contributions for me are a short fiction piece called Immortal by Amy Kisner and some potent poems by Raif Mansell and Gwil James Thomas. You, however, may find other gems in this issue according to your literary taste. I've probably said this before too: with Pen & Ink, Martin is showing aspiring lit zine editors / publishers how it is done.
This is a brief introduction to oral hygiene written by Rowan Walking Wolf for dental care without toothpastes, toothbrushes, and modern chemicals. When fluoride and other compounds in our water, toothpaste, and products are making us ill, we need to reclaim our health in whatever ways possible.
Primitive Toothcare: A DIY Guide to Uncivilized Oral Hygiene shows how to use widely available plants for their astringent properties to clean, soothe, and heal teeth and gums. Say goodbye to the dentist and hello to self care that is proven to be effective at preventing cavities and gum disease. Excellent resource available via sproutdistro.com .
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Masons On Masons:
How to Start a Secret Society
By Liz and Joe Mason
48 pages / half-letter / $3
Recently ye olde zine reviewer has embarked upon learning about what is behind the social / political veils in our culture – particularly the role played by underground yet hidden in plain sight groups like the Freemasons. Such research could spiral into a lifetime of diversions – there are so many groups, so little time. Therefore, when I spotted Caboose #9 Masons On Masons: How to Start a Secret Society at the venerable Antiquated Future website, I ordered it without hesitation.
Written in a style that is both smart & smart-ass, this zine may give you some ideas about how to create your own nerdy group, order, lodge, happening, etc. All of the bases are covered: groundrules, membership, language, mirthful activity and even handshakes. Oh, and secrecy! Yet what I had hoped to find here was more actual substance about Freemasonry, The Illuminati (though its book-club origins were intriguing), and other elites & followers of our day that seem to wield power and influence in our bizarre and unwieldy culture. For example: who were the Oddfellows and am I related to them?
Ok, I’m off to organize the Freeman of the Mountain Lodge. I’d tell you when & where the first meeting is, but then I’d have to kill you.
Did the NSA just read this? I’m fucked.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Strangury #1 August 2014
$ 1 US
size: 8.5 X 5.5 / 12 pages
“All the news that’s fit to be mocked” is the tagline for Strangury #1, a new zine created by Chris Sitko. Chris has a knack for satirizing the news you’ll read in mainstream newspapers or watch on CNN – exaggeration that actually points out the realities of how the media tells their stories. In Strangury #1 we get a sarcastic look at the David & Goliath saga of
Palestine and Israel, police brutality, and the
insanity of corporations being given more rights than human beings. Is Strangury #1 mockery, or simply pulling
back the curtain on the facade?
Send well concealed cash & a nice letter to Chris at the address above, or send him an email. Cool update: Strangury Issue #2 is officially in the works!
Friday, August 22, 2014
A few decades ago, writer Margot Adler chronicled the new American pagan movement in her book Drawing Down the Moon. Scores of zines like Green Egg promoted new thought and new spirituality. It seemed as if we as a culture might dawn into an age of Aquarius.
Perhaps I am jaded, but it feels like now (2014), any belief north of Christianity in this country is shunned, ridiculed, dismissed, or even persecuted. Red Kitty Volume Two: Sycorax is both a welcome specter, yet alternately frustrating.
Visually, Red Kitty Volume Two is absolutely gorgeous, including black & white and color photography. The content leaves me scratching my head, and I guess is not to be taken seriously despite the editorial introduction which states "This issue has a fun spirit ... but it was the desire to reclaim 'witch' as a symbol of power, not derision, that led us to choose Sycorax as our theme."
So, within its pages we are treated (or maybe tricked) to a list of the ten best witches ever (most of whom are fictional - why does one need fictional witches when there are so many flesh & blood witches to celebrate?) and ... some silly "spells" found on the internet. Even the photographic portfolio titled "Elementals" seems like it belongs in a zine that parodies pagan poseurs. I'm confused as to the actual intent behind Red Kitty Volume Two ... it disappoints whether it's meant to be serious or humorous or both simultaneously.
You can find a copy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/197792356/issue-two-sycorax?ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_query=red+kitty+zine&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery
Monday, August 11, 2014
It's punks vs. nerds ... no ... wait! Look! Up in the sky! It's ... Mishap #33 Volume Two!!!
I've been basking in zine goodness recently & I want to shout out much appreciation out for Ryan Mishap who sent part two of Mishap #33. How many zines can claim to have a volume two of the same issue? Tis a rarity indeed.
Volume Two continues the book review format. Ryan closes his introduction to this edition by saying "One thing has never changed about me: I always wonder and ask why. And I usually turn to books for the answers."
Bibliographic zines are a joy - and Ryan's reviews are concise, describing in varying detail the essence of books he has read. Once again, beautiful black & white panoramas of Ryan's travels provide a visual break from the text and could comprise a zine of their own.
Write to Ryan for more information on his zines: PO Box 5841 Eugene OR 97405.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
What’s better than reading an issue of Operations Manual or Stink Eye? Reading both in a split zine! Jesse Hogan and Marx Aviano are two exceptionally creative zinesters & have joined forces to express their perspectives on their lives in 2013. Marx has a sense of humor that is just twisted enough for me to appreciate – yet there is an undercurrent of pointing towards serious issues in our culture that need urgent attention. Like yesterday!!!
Jesse creates visually stimulating collage work & inspired visuals. She includes zine reviews and a tribute to the death of film as we knew it. I hope that there are future collaborations planned – every page is a delight. Now, stop reading this review & go forth on the interwebs & find a copy. Scram! Get!
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Reglar Wiglar #22
8.5 X 5.5 / 40 pages / $5
This is the first printed issue of Reglar Wiglar in almost ten years, which was regularly produced between 1993 and 2005. Where does the name Reglar Wiglar come from? Chris suggests that a viewing of Errol Morris’ documentary Vernon Florida will reveal all. I remember watching Vernon Florida back in the day but don’t recall the reference.
Reglar Wiglar is a lot of fun, bordering on goofy at times. Chris includes a history of his various jobs and income producing projects over the years.Then silliness ensues: fictional “forgotten” American music masters are profiled; there is a list of the top ten numbers (yes, numbers) and a cartoon featuring … a cassette tape. Cool stuff for people who grew up reading Mad Magazine.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Publications Received July 2014
from Ryan Mishap
digest * donation / trade
Zines and books blend together like peanut butter & jelly, so a book-themed zine is one natural bridge between two closely related worlds. Mishap #33 is the 20th anniversary issue of Mishap. Ryan dedicates this issue “to all those punks and zine creators still angry and still enraged in the struggles to make a better world.”
Reading this zine is like having a friend recommend titles you may never have heard of, but sound intriguing. Books like “Shaped by Stories: The Ethical Power of Narrative” by Marshall Gregory or Judy Pasternak’s “Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a
and a People Betrayed.” Ryan sometimes boils down a fully realized review to a
final admonition like “You. Read. Now.” Poisoned Land
I’ll be the first to admit that I rarely read fiction (maybe one novel a year), but that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for book review zines. Mishap #33 features both fiction and non-fiction in reasonable measure, peppered with gorgeous photographs from Ryan’s recent travels.
More on the zine/book connection …
Sometimes one’s recent travels involve book hunting in the great musty cathedrals that we bibliophiles worship in. Shelf Life #1 chronicles the book hunting & gathering adventures of Annie & Tim, two people that I think I’d get along very well with. Having spent many years on the quest for elusive titles (pre and post internet) I totally relate to this wonderful meditation on the delights of perusing miles of dusty aisles at legendary bookshops like
Strand. Shelf Life #1
is a beautifully collaborative zine and wherelse could you read about a book
like American Communities by William
Alfred Hinds which chronicles another passion of mine – American communal
societies of the past two centuries. For
more information visit studiumpunctum.etsy.com.
Kevin Oliver sent me two very intriguing black & white collage zines titled (I think) blighted blighter and stay cool in the evil zone #5. Thank you Kevin! Surrealist art pulls us out of our mundane perceptions & these zines succeed in doing exactly that. Zines like this are meant to be experienced rather than described so write to Kevin at
Street Worcester MA 01605.
Paper and Ink Volume 2 is a literary zine centered around the theme of “Home”. There’s a cliché that says that something can be more than the sum of its parts and Paper and Ink illustrates this nicely. The quality of writing in Paper and Ink overall is uneven, but when it is brilliant, it holds beauty and emotional impact like with the quietly powerful story “The Coach Home” by J.E.G. Jennifer Chardon’s “Your Life Is The Story You Keep Telling Yourself” is literally true – our minds decode the world by creating and designing stories about our past, present and future every moment of every day.
Paper and Ink editor Martin Appleby’s vision for this literary journal rings true and resonates – nothing academic or pretentious here, thank Christ. it is a not-for-profit, paper-only zine that you can not download & won’t find on your Kindle (please give away / recycle / destroy your Kindle if you have one. Thank you - fm). For more information check out inpursuitofexpression.com
Friday, July 25, 2014
The officers of the American Amateur Press Association have approved an annual grant in the memory of Lee Hawes which will help ajay’ers publish their zines and journals who may be in need of a little financial assistance. The AAPA Lee Hawes Personal Journalism Grant will cover costs up to $150 toward helping an amateur journalist to get their journal onto ink and paper.
In recent years, the cost of printing materials and maintaining a press have soared, and even desktop publishing has become expensive and prohibitive for many. It is our hope to provide a small amount of financial relief for ajay’ers while stimulating creativity.
In order to apply, AAPA members will need to fill out and submit a request for proposal form by October 1, 2014. The officers will review applications award the grant based upon the scope of the project and financial need. Journals printed with grant funds will be included in the AAPA bundle.
Requests for Proposal forms may be obtained by sending an email to me at
or by sending a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope to: Peter Schaub 212 Ladybank
Williamsburg VA 23188.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Ye Olde Zine Reviewer has been offline more, dealing with work, life, stress and changes internal and external. When I'm not at work I'm often so exhausted that I fold into a quiet state of existence. Growing older creates its own internal rhythms and boundaries. I'm in the process of awakening to eldership & having my eyes opened in complete horror of what's been disguised as our American culture. It is a path of pain, but also a path of growth.
Therefore, as I endeavour to "spend" my "free" time on this earth more wisely, when I make the time to post reviews on this blog, they will be reviews of zines that ignite and affirm my love for the artform we call zines and zines that speak to my internal ethics. Mostly, rather than posting reviews online, I will be reviewing for paper publications such as Xerography Debt and my APA zine Cuneiform.
So ... dear readers in zineland ... please do not send me zines like Kiss and Tell Volume 2 for review - you're wasting postage. One of the last things I want to spend my time reading or writing about is a poorly written, narcissistic expose of someone's so-called sexual adventures, or lack thereof.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
40 pages, color cover, b&w interior, 9.5" X 5.5"
Reading review zines is a passion for me - I love to discover new publications that I haven't heard of. Zine Nation #2 focuses on primarily Canadian zines. There are also interviews with Ghost Pine creator Jeff Miller & others.The reviews here are fully detailed and informative. My one criticism is that this seems to be a review zine for the internet addicted only - with email and web contacts given - no postal mail. Somehow, that feels counterproductive to the zine culture that I love. At least the zines reviewed are paper zines. It's been a decade since the first edition of Zine Nation & I'm hoping that it won't be another decade before we see the next.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Let It Sink #7
32 pages / half letter
available from antiquatedfuture.com
This is a wholly unique zine unlike every other I have ever read.
That statement might be true of any zine, or every zine.
It is certainly true of this one.
I could go on like this. It reminds me of dreamtigers helping Brautigan with his arithmetic.
Let It Sink #7 contains three bodies of work – an excerpt from Pablo Neruda’s memoir, an essay about modern hauntings, and a meditation on prayer. The creator of Let It Sink offers several ways to read the zine with accompanying illustrations. It’s a simple but effective visual / lateral way of experiencing the zine.
Jim Joyce (any relation to you-know-who? Or is that a pseudonym?) knows how to mesmerize with words. Like most new delightful and surprising discoveries, I want to visit previous issues. Where can I find them?
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Some Notes on Film Vol. 1
8.5 X 5.5 / 56 pages / $4.50
First issues of new zines tend to be ambitious, with the creator trying to both convey the thematic content and build the foundation for possible future issues. Some Notes on Film is succinct in both of these aims – it is a zine that is visually beautiful and brimming with exceptional writing. The introductory essay offers one of the most coherent messages regarding the world of websites and blogs vs. the world of print that I have ever read. Some Notes on Film then explores a scene from “The Jerk”, a premise on art-maing proposed by Brian Eno, and much more. This is a substantial work that film lovers and non film lovers can enjoy. If a zine’s mission is to educate, entertain, and expand the reader’s horizons, this one succeeds on every level.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Folks at The Cultural Aether blessed me with a good mail day when they sent me three of their illustrious zines to review. Writing about these zines with no accompanying visuals is a challenge: they all feature eye-catching cut and paste collage mixed with thematic text. The most straightforward in this collection is The Doomsday Clock, which is a chronicle from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists of how close we have come and how close we are to nuclear annihilation. Love and Beauty #1 includes “words to yearn by” with brief or extended quotes, philosophies, conversational fragments related to love, beauty, and the angst of relationships. Here’s one gem: “Immature love says I love you because I need you. Mature love says I need you because I love you.” The centerpiece of The Cultural Aether #5 includes lyrics to It’s a Beautiful Day’s song “Time Is”, surrounded by gorgeous clock and hourglass graphics. Each page is a journey unto itself.
Send some love & cash to:
The Cultural Aether
Monday, April 21, 2014
The folks at Hand Job Zine sent me a wonderful note along with this issue of their lit-zine. It reads in part: "We are a UK zine on our fourth issue, and like to keep the righting very British so there may be a few dubious slang words in there for you. You seem to share our love for the printed word though, which is the main reason for sending this. We need to keep it alive instead of reading on migraine inducing machines."
Amen to that. Hand Job Zine is definitely keeping the tradition of underground lit zines alive and well. There's poetry, art, short fiction, and too much cool stuff to mention in this issue - made with real sweat and tears by real hands and real people. I love the anarchic feel that is captured in these pages. No gods, no masters. No shit. Hand Job is the kind of zine that stops talking about freedom and revolution and actually does something.
For more info try:
Monday, April 14, 2014
The zine community is celebrating two decades & ten issues of Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos. This edition features articles, collages and sketches from the past ten editions and is a joy to explore cover to cover. Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos is delightfully old-school, typed on a typewriter, images cut by hand, everything pasted up and mailed via the postal service. Issue # 10 is bilingual (French & Anglais) and delves into cool Czech pop music 45s, a primer on Rockall, literally a rock in the Atlantic Ocean, and a description of other remote islands. That article alone had me intrigued by geography - I love obscure and forgotten places. Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos is wondrous in every sense of the word. Here's looking forward to the next ten issues!
Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos is FREE upon request - I suggest sending some $ for postage, zines, postcards, a letter, etc. to:
2-7 Larch Street
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
This cool mini-zine by Celia Perez has disappeared from etsy since I purchased it so I'm not sure where to find a copy. Library Ghosts is a complete delight, celebrating the magical wonders found in libraries that have mostly passed into history. Celia also includes a piece of microfilm and a card from a card catalog with this zine! I love libraries so ... I wish I had 100 copies of this to give to my friends.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Show Me The Money #39
Contrary to conventional wisdom, I love judging a book (or a zine) by its cover. The cover of Show Me the Money #9 had me smiling from ear to ear. The cover itself, with messages in artful fonts writing against pink card stock, should be made into a poster. It reads, in part:
Anarchy is NOT chaos
Anarchy is NOT lawlessness
Anarchy IS based upon the principle of SELF-OWNERSHIP.
Anarchists are PEACEFUL people who reject initiated aggression against anyone WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
According to the mainstream media, anarchists are Molotov cocktail throwing terrorists. WRONG.
Tony Hunnicutt reports the news that mainstream media does not want you to hear. It’s not just that they are being lazy, or are too busy covering Miley Cyrus’ latest bout of optional clothing syndrome. Nope – they truly do NOT want you to know why the postal service is failing, that 30 million bees have been found dead in Canada, that the majority of rivers in the United States can not support aquatic life, how many jobs were lost and where, or what the Federal Reserve is up to in terms of economic manipulation. Zines like this are indispensible because you can’t make this shit up, and corporate controlled media won’t bring it to your attention.
It’s a sad day in zinedom. This is Dale’s last paper issue of Opuntia. Due to postal increases and other reasons, Dale (who has been a major supporter of the papernet) is taking Opuntia online-only via efanzines.com. Opuntia has been published since 1991 on paper only and has been a consistently excellent source of information and book reviews covering numerous scholarly and science fiction topics. This is a huge loss and I’m at a loss for words. I REFUSE to take my zines online where they are at the whim of isp providers and easy digital manipulation or deletion. Dale – don’t do it! Stay with us out here on the postal plains & fight the good fight.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Cheer the Eff Up #6
5.5 X 8.5 / 58 pages / $3
This iteration of Cheer the Eff Up opens with Jonas’ truthful, emotional soul searching spilling onto the page in the aftermath of his wife’s miscarriage. Rarely do I read writing that is this raw – with all of the impact of pain and its implications – revealed in a zine. Cheer the Eff Up is also about hope and healing. About a quarter of the way through the focus shifts to Jonas’ complicated history with his friends and their inevitable drifting apart. Supposedly this is the final zine in this series. I highly recommended reading each one.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Oh yes, Shawn is back with the fifth installment of Bad Day at the Plastic Mines, this time illuminating Abstract Dictation, a new concrete language / experimental artform using ipads & other technology. It seems computers try to translate your words into print, and in the conversion process some interesting things happen. Add more than one voice to the mix and you have scrambled sentences for breakfast.
This one-page/doublesided/folded zine is always fascinating to read and shows what can be created with a piece of paper, something to say, and some ink.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Learn more about Dreams of Donuts at heatherwreckage.blogspot.com
Friday, January 17, 2014
This is the first digital / online zine that I have reviewed, and I don’t intend to make a habit of it! Note to digitalheads: TRY PAPER. It rocks.
Another article explores a 1962 Canadian film board documentary about Paul Anka. From my limited exposure to CFB films, I’d watch just about anything they produced from that era.
There is some daft poetry in this issue, but if overlooked,
#11 is a solid and illuminating read. Dairy River
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Echoes of the Past #106
Full size / 30 pages / $16.99 for four issues
How reassuring it is to find a magazine like Echoes of the Past being published on paper in 2014! Echoes of the Past is essentially a doo-wop music fanzine, celebrating vocal group pop and r&b from the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Issue #6 includes interviews with members of The Kids, Golden Bells, Paul Evans, David White, and more. Most of these musicians hail from
New Jersey or Pennsylvania and had
local followings in their communities. Echoes From the Past delves into
discographies, the stories behind the recordings, and the obscure careers of
musicians that could have been more well-known. This zine is a treasure for
vinyl 45 aficionados and those who enjoy learning about bands and music before
the monstrous commercialist industry of our current culture emerged.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
The Blue Suitcase #1
half letter / 24 pages / $3
available from microcosm publishing
If I were writing this review in a bygone era, I might open with a line similar to this: “the young Mr. Carlough has triumphed again upon the printed page, sharing a gripping tale of a forgotten man’s curious ephemera.”
In a bygone era, there was no Facebook, no Google, no internet search engines. People’s lives were chronicled in vanishing footsteps and private moments – scrawls left on scraps of paper, battered notebooks, postcards, notations penciled in the margins of books. The life and thoughts of Antonio San Martino Carbayo are a mystery with only a few dusty fragments to sift through for clues. Mr. Carlough has preserved these fragments gleaned from the deceased Mr. Carbayo’s apartment within a blue suitcase which has sat like a beckoning, deranged intruder in his apartment for several years. The Blue Suitcase is a title worthy of an Edward Gorey anomaly, and indeed there are dark meanderings of the mind contained within.
I won’t give up the circumstances surrounding – or contents within - the blue suitcase. For those details, please read this fascinating zine / chapbook. Mr. Carlough promises three more volumes as he delves methodically into Mr. Carbayo’s notes, writings, and bizarre preoccupations (hypnotizing women for sex is just one of them!). I’m looking forward to reading his insights.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Receiving two editions of Bad Day at the Plastic Mines in the mail helps make a bleak day a good mail day.
Each issue of Bad Day at the Plastic Mines is a colorful sheet of paper folded in thirds and limited to 100 copies. Issue #3 involves a songstory of Roxy Music's "Mother of Pearl". Issue #4 chronicles Shawn's early morning observations at a diner. Shawn manages to capture the feelings, sighs, and sounds into a narrative snapshot of a series of small moments. Plus there is a teaser of information on Abstract Dictation, which seems like a high-tech dadaist found poetry technique. Shawn says there will be more about Abstract Dictation in the next issue & I'm looking forward. For more info contact Shawn at KillmarkPub@gmail.com
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Quickening Zine Issue 1
Digest / 32 pages
$3 + $2 shipping to
Canada / $3 international
A good percentage of the zines I receive for review brim with negativity and angst. Quickening Zine is refreshingly positive, optimistic, and heart centered. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, yet our current culture seems to ignore spiritual dimensions of life in favor of shallow, narcissistic imagery and messages.
Heidi’s zine reflects her personal journey. She writes about her vocational path and how she became a healer. One essay focuses on self loving and sexuality, and another on bringing financial prosperity into your life. Heidi explores grief and dying and what she would like for a remembrance ceremony, and there’s even info about roller derby. Quickening #1 is a beautiful zine in every sense, infused with energy and spirit.
Monday, December 30, 2013
I originally read Chris Bird's parable The Sea Books in Whistle Zine #2. Here the story is contained within a stand-alone mini zine with dark pen & ink illustrations. Nothing detracts from the central mystery of this story - a surreal time and space where books wash ashore, changing the lives of people in a seaside village forever. Captivating prose.
A Little Zine Called Love is a mini zine from Fall 2012. It visually tells the story of hoe Annie changes the downward spiral of negativity into love with some balloons and zines. I like that National Public Radio plays a central role in this narrative. Exquisite, with a much needed moral.
A lot of heart & creativity goes into these projects. I'm not sure where to obtain either of these zines. Check online at www.lunablueartcollective.com
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Basic Paper Airplane #7
Joshua James Amberson
32 pages / ¼ size
Every issue I've read of Basic Paper Airplane feels like a cause for celebration. Each has its unique thread, its own story to tell. Joshua is such a friendly guide into his thoughts and world, its like reading a letter from a far-away friend.
I am alternately suspicious of and yet admire people who seem to have their lives “figured out.” Of course, we need to be aware of and comfortable with our true natures, our core selves. Yet we are always evolving, maturing, growing, changing. That’s the adventure of life. Basic Paper Airplane #7 explores not having it all figured out, and that’s just fine.
Joshua tells stories of trying to create art, making zines as a kid, reading a sixth grade essay in front of an audience, and more. Basic Paper Airplane flows like a stream of consciousness. Dive in.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Paper and Ink Volume One:
Broken Hearts and Broken Bottles
Martin Appleby’s introductory notes to Paper and Ink were music to my ears. He talks about his love for paper zines and wanting to create a physical publication in an age when e-books are outselling traditional books. Martin writes “Maybe the printed word is doomed and I am fighting a losing battle, but maybe … just maybe there are still some people out there that will appreciate good old fashioned words, on paper, printed in ink.” Indeed, Martin, some of us are still out here on the edge of the papernet, sharpening pencils, dipping fountain pens into inkwells, applying postage stamps to real letters. There is hope. There is more than hope.
Martin has assembled an impressive group of creative writers in Paper and Ink Volume One, all thematically weaving narratives of loss and heartache. The zine’s opening piece, a punk romance by Chris Eng, is well written but the characters have cloudy intentions, spending one last night together before parting ways. William James lifts the quality bar a notch with his poem titled “Kids Like Us Will Be Alone Forever” & the zine hits its emotional stride with a brief but powerful poem by Martin. Anthony Macina’s The Breeze is an intense and beautifully realized short fiction. Then … the issue is over, all too brief.
The debut of Paper and Ink holds much promise and shows Martin’s strength in choreographing the zine’s literary dance. I’m looking forward to issue two and hopefully, beyond. On paper.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Ghosts I Have Seen by Violet Tweedale
East End Days
Design: Joseph Carlough
Illustrations: Alyssa San Valentine
I believe this is the second volume of Violet Tweedale’s memoire that Joseph and collaborators have reproduced from the original book which was published in 1919 (the year my parents were born!).
Ghosts I Have Seen is a gorgeously produced chapbook. Violet Tweedale discusses religion and spirituality, Madame Blavatsky, and curious phenomena within these pages. She approached life with an open mind and audacious spirit, and chronicled her experiences via flourishes of nimble prose. Though San Valentine’s childlike artwork seems oddly incongruent juxtaposed with the substance of Tweedale’s writing, I highly recommend this chapbook.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Red Kitty Issue One
The whimsical, colorful cover of this zine enticed me to investigate further. In the 1990s I published two literary journals / magazines / whatever you wish to call them, yet fiction, poetry and creative writing have been relegated to the back pages of my reading list in the past few years. I decided to take a chance on Red Kitty – probably because it is bound with red thread. This issue features some simplistic yet effective artwork and accessible, well crafted writing. I was pleased to see the inclusion of John Grey who I published back in the day. Red Kitty Issue One is a solid debut effort.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Decades of Confusion Feed the Insect #66
The creator of this zine surely had a different childhood than mine! Justin Duerr chronicles the first 15 years of his life in this full-sized, surreal, Dadaist memoir. Justin’s unique visual and narrative style draw readers into his early life story in absorbing tales of haunted closets, mysterious art, fantails, shortwave number stations, dubbing cassettes, cake decorating and more as he grows into an adolescent. Decades of Confusion Feed the Insect #66 is unparalleled and wondrous, and I am grateful that Justin is sharing his journey with us.
Monday, December 2, 2013
The Maudlin Sound 1 & 2
20 pages / quarter size
Here are two beautiful chapbooks printed on quality paper featuring snippets of narrative by E. Blake from
At first the brief bursts of prose seem random but soon start to take shape and
flow. Blake’s use of language is both sparse and poetic, minimalist in the best
sense: painting sketches and scenes, internal emotions and external space, with
an economy of words. Some of these vignettes are interconnected, some seem to
stand alone, all seem to leave a thought or image dangling like an unfinished
conversation - dreamlike in some passages, vivid in others, wrapped in the
absence of a ticking clock, the spinning of a turntable, or the slow descent of
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
What qualifies me to review feminist zines? I'm solidly male, after all. Perhaps the Women's Studies class I took in college. Or maybe just being human.
Habits of Being Issue One focuses on a women's intentional community and the people who live there. It is comprised of oral history interviews with three women and two thematically related narratives. My copy came with pages collated out of sequence which made for much back & forth page turning. Oral history is my favorite technique for exploring our biographies, culture, and evolution. Habits of Being is an absorbing read and is available coupled with an audio cd of the interviews on etsy.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Its not everyday that you receive a record that is complete in its beauty – sleeve art, red vinyl, postcards, stickers and even lyrics included! This release from Bears (Craig Ramsey and Charlie McArthur) features four melodic indie pop songs for the holidays. These tunes are introspective and real – pondering where we go for the holidays, who do we see, what do we do. Lyrically, these songs explore the longing that comes with the winter season – a time to face our fears, a longing for connection, a yearning for magic from childhood to still be true. Timeless sentiments for the moment of now.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Real Fake Clouds
Field Guide and Audio Companion
Edition of 150
Bodies of Water
Field Guide and Audio Companion
Edition of 150
$5 cash each from
Lemon O Books
P.O. Box 11872
P.O. Box 11872
Real Fake Clouds is a gorgeous chapbook of impressionistic photography flowing around a cloud / air theme. Some of these images seem like windows into an imagined sky, one far above the clouds, a world of crystalline shivers touching the outer atmosphere. The accompanying cd includes two tracks: one by Druome that conjures up images of dissonant thunderstorms, and a lengthy, airy piece by Daniel Menche that brings you into the space around and between raindrops and wind.
Bodies of Water is equally visually intriguing. Slowly absorbing the images and music, one might find themselves diving and surfacing within liquid dreams. And the sky makes a reappearance, completing the cycle of water / cloud / rain / water. The two tracks on the Bodies of Water cd by Frippenino feel infused and informed by water, the womb, and ambient melodies that trickle just beyond our hearing.
Both of these zines are works of art, labors of love, and wondrous to hold in one’s hand and gaze as the accompanying audio washes over one’s awareness. A sensory delight.