Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bits and Pieces about Keep this Bag away from children vol. 2

            When Keep this Bag away from children Vol. 1 came out I dropped a mini shout-out at the end of a longer review of some other books. I've decided to go whole hog on Vol. 2 because this mag is worth it.
KTBAFC has a lovely, professional format; the insides primarily composed of poetry interspersed with a smattering of prose and images. Their site is regularly updated with pieces from the magazine so if you don't feel like shelling out the five bucks for the hardcopy you will eventually find them here (though I would recommend the shelling out, for support reasons if nothing else) with different pieces by the same authors (see Andrew's comment below). I love seeing folks put effort into internet lit, the act of pulling it off and out of the screens and putting it into your hands gives it a certain legitimacy and the print always smells nice, nicer at least than my computer screen.
            The volume begins with a resounding and intelligent smashing sound. Erik Stinson's meditatation on internet fame, with all it's global and temporal implications, its teacup tempests and sad victories, toes the wild edge without ever falling over. It ends with a pronouncement (which seems to be an impending hellish gift for a few alt-lit writers in the future) at once bleak and beautiful. Following is Mark Thomas Stevenson's piece which is funny, a welcome comic relief from the preceding work.
          An untitled series by Dwight Pavlovic is nice, poetic with a vivid eye towards colors. It's a shame his pieces are as sort as they are, I'd love to see them expanded upon and given greater cohesion. Sophia Diaz has two poems in this issue, the first Savor of Protocol is a story poem which dwells on the tastes and scents of city life, the little automatic movements we make in a crowded place. Voyuerism is an oral fixation, a gutsy exlporation of the body, the mouth, the hands. David Fishkind's two prose poems segue well from Diaz's piece: the city, the senses. A certain mysteriousness.
          Eric Tyler Benick's poem The risk of caring about anything blew me away. It starts off well and builds with a crescendo to what is probably the first line of verse in two plus years that has actually 'moved' me:
"Someone still has to take the trash out,
pick up dog shit, and remain taciturn through the lesser diaspora of acquaintances"
     He writes with a gauzy surrealism, dropping back from time to time to reality so that he doesn't lose the reader. His use of words and emotion is simply masterful. Bravo.
       I found Maggie Lee's poem, an examination of her childhood and identity, fairly uninteresting until she cracks the whip in the very last lines. This retroactively illuminates the rest of the poem. The Wind Arrives and Then the Wind Departs by DJ Berndt is an airy floating thing as the name suggests. The first image by Miles Dunigan is a lush cross hatched swamp scene. I would love to see this image (and the others as well) printed as posters, this is the kind of stuff I'd gladly put up on my walls. Noah Cicero's piece is next. Vulgar, hilarious, spiraling at the end into an introspective melancholy his piece is head and shoulders above the others. I love Noah Cicero. You love Noah Cicero.
     Mark Thomas Stevenson has a 32-bit triangle/metatriangle image, colorful and repetitive. Mike Bushnell's Just Elsewhere Explosions is a series of poems connected (I thought) by their tone and attitude which is urban, and alternates between distraction and paranoia. It's a nice poem which I am sure would be made even more striking when read live by him. Michael J. Seidlinger effectively brings out your creepy inner desires in an excerpt from My Pet Serial Killer. Certainly got me excited to see the finished product. Detached, Attached, Acceptance by Sarah San is a tough read with its raw depiction of urban alienation. There is little chance for redemption here and I applaud her for portraying this mode with utter disdain for sentimentalization.
      The tension, building yet again is now relieved this time by what could be a sketch for a macro by Chelsea Martin, the text a goofy statement which could be either cute if said with sincerity or scathing as sarcasm. Andrew James Weatherhead offers Thanks You Notes which seems to be limited glimpses of a similar but strange world, each small part building oddly or contradicting the previous. Willie Fizgerald's Methods of Inquiry places a supernatural static object in the midst of a quiet lake town and lets the machine run. There are uneasy comic moments and a slow decline into apathy. He does an accurate job growing the crystal of humanity with its quiet mundanity but from a warped center.
     I've just heard about the spectre known as peterbd literally three days ago. I found it humorous how the isolated misanthropy of the character in this story contrasts with the gregarious positivity of peterbd's online persona. I began imagining this piece as autobiography: that peterbd is really fucked up and cruel in the real world while heaping generous praise on the internet. Jameson Fitzpatrick's Yes is all marine, sloshing and fluid. Norman Feliks' small story of a couple rekindling their marriage threatens to wallow in emotional unbalance, a glittering success story. Don't be fooled, he equalizes everything in the end.
    Melissa Broder in her poem Unity eschews all lyricism and meter for a mad collection of dark things: Lynch, Zombies, and the Northwest (holler). A hint of Ashbury's disjointed work here. Teaspoon by Elvia Wilk had one line which held me for an extra beat:
"most feelings are drips glued back 
to a painting by museum attendants"

        A little of Eliot's Prufrock here: I'm not sure what the line means it seems to hold a sort of intense importance, a great lesson we could all take to heart. Mike Bushnell has a datafucked image next where the interlacings of wild code could form a greater image. This is a distillation of the 3 am internet paranoia: there could be a message here, or it could all be in your head. Following is Jameson Fitzpatrick's second offering, Reasons to be Slutty, an amoral look at potential reasons one may put out. I found myself curious if this piece was created or found. There is not solid indication and knowing the source could add mountains of extra implications. Then again keeping the source unknown places the work in a cool superposition of denotation (if I may be so bold and pretentious) which does...something. Andrew James Weatherhead's second poem is a quick letter to an adversary with initial alliteration.
       Ken Baumann finishes off the written section with Five Billion People Must Die a sparsely written anarcho-primitivist's wet dream, though beautiful and quite moving with its abundance of negative space. The final page is a visual piece titled The Blessing by Miles Dunigan which provides a very nice image which lasts after the magazine has been closed.
      Like the last issue there is a slew of different types of pieces here and I can guarantee that you will find something you will find interesting, perhaps something you will love. There is little holding each piece to the next, to the last, but honestly I slightly prefer this free range over artificial themes or other constraints which can provide a less consistent read. KTBAFC does an excellent job of sifting the broad reaches of the new tide of literature into one channel and allowing the different voices their own say within a respectable and appealing package while staying away from extraneous modes and materials.

For more info on the magazine, writers or to order:


1 comment:

  1. Hey,

    I'm an editor over at KTBAFC. Thanks for the review! Your reading of it is great.

    One note: we don't paste the same stuff from the print magazine as we do on the website. I don't think we have posted something in both forums ever. Just a note for anyone reading....Buy the issue!

    Thanks again.