Friday, December 25, 2009


One of my absolute favorite magazines is AREA SNEAKS, and it's only in it's second issue! It reminds me of the early days of THE PARIS REVIEW, back when it was actually worth reading. My hope is that the editors keep the momentum of their enthusiasm for making the best possible magazine, containing the most extraordinary art and literature being made today.

It's a daunting task -- I can only assume -- putting something this amazing together. I'm someone who will usually ONLY read the poetry in a magazine, but because of the first issue I'm already SOLD on the fact that the editors have meticulously designed and arranged the contents to work as a whole. It's THE ONLY magazine that I read in order, front to back, to get a taste of how and why things were put into place.

The interview between Claire de Dobay Rifelj and Analia Saban is full of surprising moments. Saban at one point says, "In almost every piece I make I play with that element. I guess I'm so obsessed with it that I don't even think about it anymore. Early on I used to look at images through a microscope connected to a video camera. I would look at a drop of ink falling on a piece of paper. You see all the tiny fibers. This drop of ink tints the whole area and the fibers absorb the ink rapidly and intensively. That interaction is fantastic to watch. And to think that a big drawing or painting -- like Guernica -- is made up of so much of that, it's fascinating. This interaction happens in nature all the time, but somehow when it comes to art, when there is a human intention of building and creating, I get sentimental about it."

Ara Shirinyan has a bizarre and captivating piece titled "SPEECH GENRES 3: RISE OF THEORY," travels Shirinyan takes us on from 1907 to 1998. Jen Hofer and Hillary Mushkin have a beautiful visual poem, challenging us in both the visual as well as the language on what we see, what we choose to see, and not see.

I could talk about the entire issue of the magazine. But other highlights include the excerpt from Will Alexander's extraordinary book of poetry, THE SRI LANKAN LOXODROME. Here's a sample:

I cannot see myself
as he who exists
who carries ranges in his fingers
which erupts upon second seeing
into a dismal & unfructifying grace

perhaps a synapse
a bribery
a fall into the whispers stunned with the anti-

Philadelphia poet Nick Moudry works with artist Kerry Tribe on SIX SIGNIFICANT DREAMSCAPES, based on (as the footnote in the back of the magazine tells us), "...Tribe's film installation 'H.M.' based on the true story of an anonymous, memory-impaired man. In 1953, when he was 27, Patient H.M. underwent experimental brain surgery intended to alleviate his epilepsy." Here's a sample of Nick's contribution:


I dreamed of
A lake and a
Boat. If you dive deep enough you
Can come up inside a cave. I am
Always wondering how
The air inside a cave is freshened. Don't go
Too far, the
Boat might get
Washed away. You could
Get trapped and not swim back.

Also in the issue is one of my favorite living writers Aaron Kunin, as well as work by other poets, writers and artists.

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