2021.09.16

zines + things is a small press in Portland which first caught my eye when they published We Have Each Other’s Flowers by Adrienne Novy. They caught my eye because they cited Harry Styles when promoting the book, and I had to know more.

This fall’s poetry release is Dead Bees by Mel Green, and Rebekah offered to send me a copy to review.

I never know how to write about poetry. I never feel like I’m reading poetry properly. In college workshops, I was the one in the circle who corrected your grammar and spelling–always careful to add, “…unless you did that on purpose.” Because poetry is about playing with words, twisting and stretching them away from their original meanings.

It’s the clever bits that catch my attention first:

The first lines in “Holy Juxtaposition” that made me chuckle: “Hi Rain, / Thanks for falling - / this time from the sky and not my eyes”.

The subversion of a hippie nature poem: “If I were a sky / I don’t think you’d talk to me like that.”

But by the time I reached the crushing reminder of the pandemic in “Two Hundred Months of Solitude,” I knew there was something else to write about.

“Everyone knows what happened in 2020,” Green writes in “Mourning on a Tuesday.” We don’t have to talk about it, but it’s there, under the surface of every line, hiding inside every flower, in the bones of Natalie Luz Elorza-Welling’s stark line drawings.

I’m not ready for fiction about the pandemic, but poems–those tiny morsels of words and space–are more palatable. Each one a hit to my psyche, but they don’t linger on the bad. They visit you with a reminder, like bees visiting each flower, taking only what they can carry, careful to ensure they still have enough energy to fly home.

You can pre-order Dead Bees, and you can read the poem, “I skinned my knee and called it art”, right now.

I released a new game! It’s called Canteen, and it’s a solo journalling game wherein you inhabit the life of a kitchen object, passed down from person to person through your useful lifetime. The game system is called Lost & Found, designed by Jack Harrison, who wrote Artefact. Canteen was designed for a game jam using the system, so if it’s something that sounds interesting to you, there are a bunch of other games ready for you to play.

This House is Not a Home has you playing as a haunted house. Beloved is about childhood toys. In Heavy Weighs the Crown, you are the crown.

Now that I’m finished writing my version, I can’t wait to play everyone else’s.

Two more things I’ll be talking about a lot in the next month: Canzine and NaNoWriMo. Canzine is online again this year, and I’ll have both zines and my games in zine form up for sale. It’s October 22-25–unfortunately the same weekend as that month’s farmers market :

Instead of writing a novel this November (because remember, I have a book due!), I’ve invented NaMaZiMo: National Make a Zine Month. You can make one zine or 30, and it still counts! To help you out, I’m hosting a talk on November 1st about how I made 30 zines in 30 days. I’ll be giving up my best tricks for doing daily challenges (Tip #1: keep ‘em short). It’s totally free, and you can register right now! I can’t wait to see you there.