11 October 2010


While I'm on the topic of favorite mags, I thought to mention Rich Owen's Damn the Caesars, which, like P-QUEUE, also features real editorial vision with careful design and lengthy single-author-selections (and is coincidentally also a Buffalo rag (or was a Buffalo rag until very recently)). I guess I'm puzzling through the great divide between editor and compiler--that magazine culture nowadays thrives on the very principals poets generally abhor: like, say, the market-driven impulse to fill the page with as many heads as possible despite deep and often antagonistic aesthetic difference; that more and faster and cheaper are generally better...

For me, reading DTC means studying it's editor's obsessions through a carefully orchestrated conversation/argument/song. The magazine often features large, uninterrupted swatches of transcontinental voices, often with a single chapbook length feature wedged down the center in grey text-stock. Last issue (#5) featured tons of great stuff from Roberto Tejada, Stephen Collis, Kaia Sand, and Alan Halsey, with a forty-page feature by Tyrone Williams (!) and a twenty-four-page feature by Brenda Iijima. AND THEN, as if that weren't enough, we get a lengthy interview between Tyrone and Brenda where, among other choice cuts, Brenda exclaims:

"I think that line about the peaceable life of rabbits might be the one faded button on the rotting garment that is romanticism in that opening sequence from Remembering Animals. Romanticism quickly morphs into expressionism. Several lines into that poem a commando instructor disembowels a rabbit and flings the organs onto the students in a classic desensitizing exercise used by marines in training during the Vietnam War--thus the title: Rabbit Lesson..."

So there's that. But also, besides these generous lengthy selections, Rich writes amazing editorials, a detail of the Modernist "little magazine" sorely missing in the current glut of dime-a-dozen "author showcases." The compiler can't write an editorial, because the complier is missing the very frame that allows editorializing at all. Check out what Rich does with frames here (click to enlarge):

DTC's current issue features all kinds of interesting contributions including an essay by Dennis Tedlock reexamining the relationship between Language writing and his seminal ethnopoetic mag Alcheringa and a feature on Allen Fisher's visual work. We also get a bunch of Mike Baskinski, Keston Sutherland, Carrie Etter, etc. etc. A must have. Pick it up here.

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