Sunday, March 23, 2008

La Petie Zine Review

La Petite Zine is an online literary journal published by Web Del Sol and drew me in because of its quirky, artistic appeal. The opening page of the magazine has a quote “Throw Nothing in the Sea” in three languages and represents the value this magazine places upon artistic merit. There are no illustrations online, but the selection of poems and stories they have chosen to include are very creative and artistic. The journal, in its entirety, appeals to those with a taste for art.
The newest Spring 2008 Issue #21, was supposed to be “Not a Monster That Destroys Cities, But Close” theme. And the collection of work here could be just that; the pieces describe human emotions raw and powerful enough that they together could be enough to bring down a city (almost.) There are about 30 pieces included in this issue and a great deal of them are told in pieces. Most are told in parts in this issue with poetry and short stories were the most common. The pieces were all so original that, in fact, there was not one piece which I understood after one reading. One fine piece included was “Two Poems” by Adam Peterson. An excerpt follows:
”My untimely death is not a choice.
But I do get a choice. My jailers bring me a list which they claim to have been long ago written in blood on human skin, but it appears to me inkjetted in maroon on bonded paper. I recognize the font as Copperplate Gothic.
It’s not the original, they claim. Only the warden can see that.
My menu is before me:1. Firing Squad2. Hanging3. Electric Chair4. Gas Chamber5. Lethal Injection6. Stoning7. Drawing and/or Quartering8. Guillotine
Oh, the jaundiced and greenily pretty guard says, we added one too. With a green ball-point he writes ‘9. loNg FaLL’ with irregular capitalization like that. I ask if that’s what it looks like on the original blood and flesh version. They hit me in the stomach. Only the warden can see that, they say, and only if he has on his special glasses.
Why not hanging? I ask.
Got rid of it after what happened to the fellow in Utah, they say.What happened to the fellow in Utah ? I ask.
They hit me in the stomach and leave. I have the night to think about it. I lick the moss growing on the bars of my cell. It tastes like moldy bread tastes, and I know because I have moldy bread for dinner and my tongue aches from operculum. All night the black coots cry from the marshes. I find a paperclip in the corner of the cell and straighten it. I think little about my death.At dawn the guards return and ask me to write down the number of my choice in blood so I prick my finger with the straightened paper clip and ask what flesh have you to write upon? The guards looked confused and pass me a child’s composition book through the bars. Other prisoners have written their choice in these pages and the size of the numbers vary but the color of the blood is always bright like chard. There are many blank pages left. With my bloody finger, I write a 6 of my own lineage, but the guards mistake it for a 9 and take me from my cell in a silk blindfold.It is indeed a long fall, and I have yet to hit bottom though I have chosen, as I have chosen the method, to call it death.”
A piece like this is an example of the sort of work La Petite Zine includes: very original tales of human emotion. This story is so heartbreakingly sad it should dispirit a reader. However, the wording is so delicately beautiful that it offsets the harsh nature of the material of the story. Suddenly, the tale of a man’s execution is something nice to read about. The material in this journal is fresh and surprising in the way it makes a work of art.
The writers whose work has been accepted in this journal come from many different backgrounds. Authors have come from inside the United States for the most part and have credentials ranging from not having a college degree to having been widely published in other areas. The journal wrote a biography for each other which further exemplifies their desire for a quirky form of art. For example, one author’s biography says “Mark Bibbens wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings...” shows the desire of the journal to be different even in the small details of their publication.
La Petite Zine is generous in their submission rules. Authors are welcomed to submit all “genre and anti- or non-genres.” The journal is free online, so authors cannot expect to receive payment. Perhaps this is why the journal is willing to accept all sorts of submissions in hopes of drawing in a wide variety of work from which to choose. The editor promises that each issue is filled with “old friends, new finds, and beds shaped like clam shells,” which suggests that the journal welcomes a certain crowd: those imaginative enough to appreciate that statement. There are only two Editors-in-Chief to read all the submissions, so one must wonder how they read all the submissions.
After a glance at this journal, I was surprised by the imaginative nature of the stories and the high levels of emotion and deep reflection they provoked. This journal has done a fantastic job developing a collection of high-quality pieces for readers to enjoy. I would like to continue following this publication because the pieces were so intriguing.


Temporary Home

This blogsite is our temporary home while our website undergoes an extreme makeover of epic proportions (shifted septums, pacemakers, calf implants, dialysis, a fancy wig, contacts -- the works).

This was our old home, and while it is a bit dated, it's a good source of info regarding recent issues and the history of Prism Review.

Updates will follow regarding our new home. ETA summer 2009.