Zine Review: Eldritch Yourself

Eldritch Yourself
Meeni Levi

Eldritch Yourself is an A5 full colour zine of art and poems.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, poetry often flied right over my head. I’m afraid this zine is not an exception to that. But, for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts:

Despite the poetry being a little beyond my grasp, I did like Meeni’s use of ‘imagery’ words and phrases. Mirrors and falling into rabbit holes, for instance, are easy (for me) to imagine and gave me something to play with in my mind.

‘Eldritch’ means ‘weird and sinister or ghostly,’ which put an interesting spin onto the poetry and the zine itself. I can’t help but feel like the entirety of the zine is meant to make you feel uneasy (in a good, horror movie viewing kind of way). There’s the combination of bright colours and darker images conjured by the words. The cover art is a splatter with what could be argued is a ‘scribbling out’ using ink.

Even the use of the word ‘eldritch’ seemingly as a verb rather than an adjective throws things a little. (Or does that only inspire weird feelings in editor types?)

Thinking about all of that, it’s quite clear to me that this zine is as much a collection of art and poetry as it is a piece of art in and of itself.

Aesthetically, this zine is great with plenty of colours and thick enough paper so there isn’t bleed through or shadowing distracting from what’s on the next page. It’s a combination of mediums from handwriting on torn up pieces of paper for the table of contents to things written in what is either lipstick or rough crayon.

The binding is great with green thread woven in and out of the spine.

I liked looking through this zine and liked the strong image words, but I think, as a whole, it may have been a little lost on me. If you are poetry and/or art inclined, I think you’ll enjoy checking it out.


Zine Review: Ang Pangalawang Pagtatapat The Second Confessions

Ang Pangalawang Pagtatapat The Second Confessions
Siomai Charlene / notyourleo

Ang Pangalawang Pagtatapat The Second Confessions is a black and white A5 perzine about the creation of the first ‘Confesstions’, writing, finding your voice, and more.

Confessions wasn’t meant to have a sequel. Nor was it supposed to turn into a semi-perzine.

With a beginning like that, I’m immediately intrigued.

While reading this zine, I found myself comparing it a lot to water. First in the way that Charlene writes about the first Confessions in that it seemed to dictate its own path despite Charlene’s intentions.

From there, the writing flows easily around bends and over rocks from one topic to another. I started out being interested in the thoughts and feelings of a fellow zinemaker, to learning what life is like for Charlene as a Filipino in Canada, and on to feeling inspired when the topic shifted to their thoughts and feelings on the state of politics in the Philippines.

In carrying along with the water metaphor – there are times when you see a shiny gem and want to stop to examine it further, but you are still carried along anyway. I didn’t feel like I was missing out, but I did want to write a letter and ask about things like that time Charlene got suspended in school for starting an underground newspaper.

What started as writing about zines and self-expression wanders through many topics with ease, ending on a manifesto-like call to action for Filipinos. Beautiful.

Ang Pangalawang Pagtatapat The Second Confessions is an interesting, unique read that I think everyone from perzine enthusiasts to political zinesters to Filipino zinesers could enjoy.

Zine Review: Lost Projects 3

Lost Projects 3
Editor: Amy Louise Bogen
IG: @lostprojectszine

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.

Zine Review: Small Potatoes #2

Small Potatoes 2
IG: @k.huolohan

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.

Zine Review: Brainscan 33 DIY Witchery: An Exploration of Secular Witchcraft

Brainscan 33 DIY Witchery: An Exploration of Secular Witchcraft
Alex Wrekk

There are infinite ways to witch…

Brainscan 33 is a black (sometimes brown) and white zine that combines info zine and perzine in explorations of secular witchcraft.

I usually mention the aesthetics of zines further into a review, but I really have to start with it this time. Brainscan 33 is the only zine that I have spent just as much time petting and flipping through as I did reading it. From the acorns charm held on by lavender string used to sew the binding to the few different kinds of papers inside, you may find yourself facing the longest commentary on look and feel that you’ve ever written…

I am new to witchcraft but have a keen interest in learning more about it. It’s with that feeling that I approached reading this zine – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Alex starts with a fantastic introduction that states in no uncertain terms that this zine does no exist to convince you, sway you, or otherwise establish a ‘right’ way to witch. While such a strong ‘take it or leave it’ kind of opening can be a little chancy with readers, I think it’s fantastic. It establishes Alex’s desire to share a viewpoint and a story. It’s an invitation rather than a command.

From the introduction, we go into definitions – something I loved and something I’m glad Alex went into first. They served the double purpose of not only making it clear the viewpoint Alex is writing from but also giving you (if you want) a place to start figuring out your own definitions for where you stand.

Brainscan 33 is packed with information – perhaps even more than its 64 pages implies. Alex writes about history, about definitions, and about both the good as well as the not so great. There are clarifications of similarities and differences in witchcraft, religion, Wiccan, and more.

There’s even a ‘Witching Tips’ in the centre of the zine. Very well placed, if you ask me, because one point directly answered a question that had literally just come to my mind moments before I started reading the answer. If that’s not good pacing, I don’t know what is.

Where the information found in this zine certainly drew me in and kept me reading, it’s Alex’s personal ‘witch-jectory’ story that really made me feel a lot of things. I found it easy to identify with life stages like the moment you realise that you can “just do the thing” without permission or a mentor or anyone else. Or how there are times when you need to reclaim a physical space.

I think it’s pretty clear at this point that I have really enjoyed this zine and will be coming back to it in the future. I could keep going on about it, but I think it’s important to leave at least something to be discovered. Haha.

Zine Review: A Guide to Self-Care

A Guide to Self-Care
Latibule Art
Latibule Art

A Guide to Self-Care is a full-colour A7-sized mini-zine of self-care activities.

Self-care can come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes it means just doing something. In this little mini-zine, you will find ideas for solitary adventures that can easily be adapted to groups if you’d like.

I like the adaptability of the activities in that way. For the most part, they are as ‘in’ or as ‘out and about’ as you’d like them to be (within the parameters of the activity itself).

This is a lovely little zine for your pocket or wallet to give you ideas on days when thinking of something to do is difficult.

Zine Review: To The End of Time: A Photography Manifesto

To The End of Time: A Photography Manifesto
Graham Lally

To The End of Time is an A7-sized black and white mini-zine featuring small photos and writing about photography.

There is something that can be utterly stunning about black and white photography – even when it’s A7 and printed on cream paper. When it works, it just works, and – for the most part – it works in this zine.

Each page has a single photo, and each photo is accompanied by small blurbs. I found the writing intriguing. Graham opens with an almost aggressive stance on photography and then follows with writing about his fascination with it. It swings back to a disdain for digital photography and then moving in another direction again.

While I don’t know for sure it’s his feeling or intention, I thought the writing spoke to a love/hate relationship with photography without actually saying it.

To The End of Time is a solid little zine. Not only is it printed on thicker (nice, cream) paper, the pages are glued so it doesn’t unfold. It’s nice to hold and flip through.

I think this a poetic tribute to photography and is a mini-zine that anyone who enjoys photography would like.