Moonshade Magazine gives its readers an odd mixture of quality and, well…. Let me say this: The aesthetics and fonts satisfy the eye, most of the photography and artwork is intriguing, but the vast majority of the poetry is pretty poor.
Let’s start with the positive, shall we? I like the zine’s background. The font employed to create the magazine’s title on the homepage is fantastic and cooly vampiric. Aesthetically, the zine is not run of the mill. The artwork and photography thrills the eye. The art director, Jessica Guimond, does a good job, not only in selection, but in composition. I like the way she ulitizes both light and dark in her Art Gallery photos. I envy anyone who can see the ordinary and make it extraordinary with the camera.
Some photo selections trouble me a tad, however. John Santerineross’s work looks like it belongs in a Nine Inch Nails video. I’m not sure how to feel about that. Perhaps it’s the cow skull in the background that made me think of Nine Inch Nails. Georgia O’Keefe used cow skulls in her work a great deal, and that’s probably the connection he wants to project.
While the vast majority of the artwork strikes me as thoughful and provocative, much of the poetry is ponderous. I will not name what poems in particular earned my dislike, but they are examples of poetic “Emperor’s New Clothes,” words strung together that sound good and mean very little. Like a poet once told a graduate student: “Keep your warm, bleeding leg off of my desk.” There were a lot of warm, bleeding legs in the poetry section of this zine, some of it from people who you think would know better. One more bit of criticism: poetry does not need to be double-spaced.
I hope that the editors will be able to populate their zine with better poetry than the batch they have right now. Afterall, it is an artistically pleasing magazine. Perhaps sometime in the future they can use art in tandem with poetry. From what I’ve seen so far, though, that might be a bad idea. The art might color the poetry, or visa versa. The organization they have right now is best, separate and unequal. If only the poetry could catch up with the art.