Strange Romance #1 is a full colour zine that is a bit smaller than A5 size full of stories, poetry, and art all along the theme of strange romance.
Strange Romance opens with a poem called ‘Love and Demons’ about a strange love under the full moon, setting a tone that plays into the title completely. What follows are stories, poems, and art – some equally as strange as ‘Love and Demons’ and some moreso. From odd creatures to love beyond the grave, Strange Romance hits the spot for creations out of the norm.
Tourist is my favourite of the collection – a short story about loving each other despite mistakes made. I predicted some of the elements but was pleasantly surprised to find it ended a bit differently than I expected.
I love the look of this zine so much. The cover art is fantastic (and horrifying), and it’s made to look like a well-worn trade paperback. I keep touching the ‘cracks’ and ‘rips’ in the art. This is carried inside with yellowed and stained (looking) paper. This is broken up in the middle with a couple of art pieces printed on glossy white paper, but I just smiled at that because I’ve read more than a few old books with crisp glossy paper pages in the middle to feature photos.
My cover photo pic doesn’t do it justice.
My editor side picked up a couple things here in there, but the combined package of the looks and the content kept me reading right along.
I’m happy to see that this is #1, implying that there will be more in the Strange Romance series. I think if you like the odd, the strange, and/or the slightly weird in writing as well as art then you will enjoy this zine.
Newspaper Blackout Poetry
Newspaper Blackout Poetry is an A5 black and white zine about what blackout poetry is and how it works.
If you’re not familiar, blackout poetry is the process of using pieces of text that already exist and blacking out everything except chosen key words, turning that piece of text into something new.
Newspaper Blackout Poetry opens with a bit of history about blackout poetry and how it’s actually an older process than you probably think. From there, we dive into various examples.
Blackout poetry is probably the poetic space I feel most comfortable in, so I was fairly sure I was going to enjoy this zine anyway. However, this zine went above expectations.
The first few examples are of ‘traditional’ blackout poetry with lines of text blacked out. The blackout didn’t quite completely obscure the text beneath. While that may have been an annoyance in others’ eyes, it made it all the more interesting for me. I liked comparing how I would have done it to how it was done for the zine.
The last two examples are very interesting. They take blackout poetry and turn it into visual as well as literary art. They add on lines, dashes, and small sketches to create something that’s pleasing to look at as a whole as well as at the smaller details.
The second half of the zine is made up of a ‘now it’s your turn’ section with pieces of text ripe for turning into blackout poetry. I always feel a little weird about zines that encourage you to write and otherwise change them, but that doesn’t make me love the idea any less.
My one nitpick is a lack of contact details, but you do at least have Wolfram’s name on the back to go on.
All up, I think this is a fun zine and it would be a great start for anyone wanting to dive in.
The Brokedown Pamphlet: war some of the time
Mark Renney & Christine Renney
The Brokedown Pamphlet is an A5 colour zine collection of writing, drawings, and other images.
Well, pickles, zine friends. I’m not sure how to get started with this zine. I’ve been paging back and forth, lingering on the images and words, but is it flying over my head?
The written pieces in this zine are like poetry to me in that they use interesting language and create strong images in my mind. I can think about them for ages… but ultimately, I’ll always wonder if I understood what the person who wrote the pieces really meant. One piece actually is a poem, but it is no more or less mysterious.
The images are a curious collection of drawings and photos. They leave me feeling like the writing – somewhat intense, but do I really understand what I’m looking at?
The artistry of this zine extends to its physical aspects as well with a nice cardstock cover and slightly textured paper for the interior. I’m coming to really appreciate lightly textured paper. Running my hands over it while I’m reading a zine helps calm and focus my otherwise somewhat scattered mind.
In the end, I’m not entirely sure what to make of this zine. It’s definitely a curious one, but the world is better for things that make us think.
Lost Projects 3 is a black and white ½ fold zine about lost projects and plans that ‘scream at you across time and space’. (I just love that image, by the way. Mine would be less screaming and more passive aggressive commentary on current projects, though.)
The thing to understand about Lost Project that I didn’t until I read it is that this is not only a collection of pieces from people writing about lost projects; this zine is also a place for lost projects to live.
It’s like a haven for art, poetry, writing and more to live. Even a dead app got a mention. The whole idea of this is really beautiful to me – a space that values what may have been rejected or abandoned elsewhere.
As such, Lost Projects is a treasure trove of bits and pieces; you’re not sure what you’re going to get – and you won’t get the same thing twice. More often than not, you won’t even get an introduction, but that only lends itself to feeling like you’ve found a box of forgotten treasures in someone’s attic.
I’ll resist the urge to write more similes, but I think the urge itself just goes to show how much I enjoyed the whole concept of Lost Projects.
While I hesitate to name a favourite as such, I have to say that the very last piece that pondered what could be done with the time lost to hair removal really got me thinking.
Lost Projects 3 is an interesting collection of bits and pieces and a zine that I think many would enjoy reading as well as participating in future issues.
Have I mentioned lately that I love layered meanings in zine titles?
Small Potatoes Issue 2 is a black and white A6-sized perzine continuation from Small Potatoes Issue 1. Inside, Keira shares thoughts on zines and writing, turning 28, fiction, poetry, death, and more. (And a couple random drawings as well.)
As with Small Potatoes 1, I liked all the variety in this zine. With most pieces being one to two pages, I bopped right along, taking it all in and enjoying the illustrations to go with each piece. I enjoy long pieces as well, of course, but I appreciate being able to pick up/put down a zine as needed. (In reality, I sat down and read this straight through. It’s the thought that counts.)
It’s lovely to ‘be there’ with a zinester as they write about their own little discoveries about how therapeutic and important writing can be. In the first one, I was so happy to discover that Keira was coming back to zines after a break. In this, when Keira rights that they are ‘glad to be writing the second one’, I’m here cheering and happy to be reading the second one.
I did have a bit of a giggle at Keira’s – albeit fleeting – though about turning 28 and wondering if they were too old to make zines. I certainly hope not! Haha.
In the aesthetics department, I immediately had the impression that this zine had more cut and paste going on than the first one – to the point that I grabbed the first issue to compare. As it turns out, it’s not so much more cut and paste as it includes more handdrawn bits and pieces from Keira. I love it. Not only does it add even more personality to the mix, I see it as a step forward in confidence that Keira’s ready and willing to share more of themself with the audience.
(I could be off. I never did finish that psychology degree.)
I feel like I’m cheating on my zine love for not saying the piece about the importance of zines was my favourite, but The Chip Problem… Oh, my gosh. Two little pages of short story, but I think it’s fantastic. Everything turned on a single sentence. Absolutely fantastic.
It’s still a little different to find poetry and fiction alongside the more “traditional” perzine parts, but I think it’s a good thing to shake things up and keep shaking them up. I’m actually understanding the poetry, too, which is a big plus for me.
I think Small Potatoes 2 is a great follow up to the first one, and the series is a great place to start if you want to read some perzines before diving in yourself.
Sticks and Stones is a black and white zine of poetry and nature sketches.
I was a little bit nervous when I opened up this zine. As I’ve mentioned plenty of times, poetry isn’t my strong suit, and no one likes not ‘getting it’. However, this combination of words and sketches really caught me and had me flipping back and forth between the pages.
I even found a favourite few lines:
bramble clings, defends and bleeds
to benefit of
I read those lines, quite beautiful to my mind, and they helped me to relax. The poetry became less about worrying over whether I understood the poet’s meaning but what meaning I took out of it.
In the literal sense it’s a zine that is on the quicker read side of the spectrum. However, I found myself spending more time with it than the initial read through.
There’s a lovely balance struck with this zine that I find difficult to put into words. The aesthetic of black and white sketches in combination with the typewritten words as well as the actual meaning of the words… Even the rock or grey sky colour of the cover works into it.
Recommending a poetry zine is like recommending a dessert – sure, I know what I like, but I’d need to know what you like to have any chance of coming close to a good match. However, if you like poetry – especially free verse style – then check out Sticks and Stones.