Tom Hartman Zine-O-Rama


reviewed by Tom Hartman

Published in Issue No. 47 ~ April, 2001

For the first issue of his new zine Daniel Sendecki has created some striking visuals. Unfortunately, the paintings, color photos and Flash art that embellish fail to compensate for what is ultimately a skimpy, uneven collection of poems.

There’s some pretension, too: as in Sendecki’s own “The Word Electric” (also available in a Flash version):

When I sleep, then I see clearly
arachnid oceanliners
dropping, into the hollow waves of
darkness – straight and taut –
without trace – in silence –
long thin cables across oceans.

The best current selection is E.A. Lynch’s “plaid,” a poem that depends as much on visual effect – its stanzas mimic the pattern implicit in the title – as it does on its words in achieving its affect. While there are some wooden passages, there are some lovely lines as well:

September girls walk home from school. Up
the toboggan trail.  In the woods,
everything is real.  Jack-in-the-pulpit, skunk
cabbage, birch.  These things are real, the
earth thick.  In a few years, you will come
here to smoke cigarettes.  It will snow, you
will be cold. also is plagued by a few usability issues. The zine’s architecture forces readers to flip through the entire issue, as one would the pages of a book, rather than allowing us to click directly to a featured poet’s or artist’s work. By repeatedly selecting the “next” button we’re led, ultimately, to an alternate main page/table of contents. While the look and feel is similar to that of the first index page, the navigation is markedly different. Are the menu choices the same? Is this an earlier version of To find out, we have to use the back button; the “home” link in the left nav only refreshes the new alternate TOC.

In all fairness, there’s hardly enough content to judge too harshly. Because the whole project seems to have evolved from Sendecki’s homepage, as the name and the inclusion of sendecki’s own poems suggests, it’s tough to say how this zine will evolve (if at all) in the future.

For now, Sendecki gets an A for style, but content-wise, this glass is fairly empty.

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Tom Hartman has been a regular contributor to Pif since 1999. He lives in Philadelphia.