I just submitted these reviews to Zine World, to which I haven't contributed for awhile. Lest they be too old to publish, I'm also posting them here.
5 Speed: Klyd Watkins, proprietor of the poetry Web site the Time Garden, has lived near Radnor Lake and Nashville for many years. His poetry, compared by Stephen Thomas to the work of A.R. Ammons and Charles Potts, touches on two primary themes in this collection of 24 poems: the fleeting glimpses of truth witnessed in the natural environs of Radnor Lake and the passing of time shared by people. I appreciate Watkins's inclusion of references to comments from his Web site in his work, particularly the pieces "Poam" and "I Asked for It." To quote "Chelsea's Softball Game at Whitfield Park -- 6/16/01," "As surely as civilization is neurally transmitted in little packets, there's no place right now I'd rather be." A poet to return to. The Temple Bookstore, 40 S. Colville, P.O. Box 1773, Walla Walla, WA 99362; Web [$5 56S :27]
Batteries Not Included Vol. 8 #9 (September 2006): Other than the slightly more political EIDOS, there are few sex zines as smart and intriguing as Batteries Not Included. In this issue, editor Richard Freeman jams more content in its teensy-typefaced pages than an average issue of Adult Video News. Richard Pacheco remembers his long career while watching a talk show featuring aging starlets he worked with; Cindi Loftus interviews porntrepreneur Kelly Madison; Freeman collects a number of news items about breast ironing, abuse in Liberia, and DontDateHimGirl.com; Kate Keene reviews a new (at the time) Jonathan Morgan movie; and Jean Roberta reviews a book by Jalaja Bonheim. There's a lot here. Bring your own batteries. 513 N. Central Ave., Fairborn, OH 45324; email [$3 12M :25]
First Class #26 (February 2006): Like most small-press litzines, First Class is a mixed bag. There's no unifying theme, and it's difficult to get a sense of what editor Christopher M. is going for in terms of tone and content. But there are highlights worth mentioning. Ed Galing's poem "Day Care" sheds some light on the internal monologues possible to an Alzheimer's patient. Richard Harvell's short story "Headhunter" is an intriguing consideration of the costs of fighting crime. And spiel's story "Soda Crackers," while not fully satisfying, makes for a good companion read to Galing's piece. Lastly, I was impressed by Larry Rapant's poem "A Matter of Faith," although I was disappointed by how quickly it ended -- and how. I'm not sure First Class is a need to read, but it has potential. Keep up the good work! Four-Sep Publications, P.O. Box 86, Friendship, IN 47021; Web; email [$6 56S :43]
The F-Word (Spring 2006): I don't always like feminist zines -- too strident, too exclusive, too stereotypical -- but I absolutely adore the F-Word. It's smart, wide-ranging, and very well written. Melody seems to be in New York City now, but when this issue went to press she was going to move to California and intern at Bitch magazine. The layout is slightly haphazard -- what's up with all the house ads? -- but the writing is lively. There's a profile of sex education activist Shelby Knox; interviews with poet Alix Olson, comedian Margaret Cho, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, musician Pamela Means, and journalist Maria Raha; and other articles worth reading. Gwendolyn Beetham's piece on "gender mainstreaming" in global politics is especially interesting. Melody Berger, Web; email [$3 52M :36]
The Mystery & Adventure Book Series Review #39 (Summer 2006): Even if you're not interested in children's series books, this zine is a wonderful read for anyone interested in self-publishing and the small press. Fred Woodworth has been publishing this for more than 25 years, and over time, he's really honed his skills as an editor and printer. This issue includes features about trying to track down the person who inspired a character in John Blaine's "100 Fathoms Under," the series book artist E.H. Kuhlhoff, the history of justified text, Norvin Pallas's Ted Wilford Books, and the burial of a time capsule containing 25 zines. The letter column shows there's an active community of other series book readers, and their discussions are in depth and insightful. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this wonderful zine. It's a piece of art. Fred Woodworth, P.O. Box 3012, Tucson, AZ 85702 [Free 52M :58]