The peculiar parish spans the globe, and is reflected in the works of free-thinkers everywhere. The following are reviews of books and pamphlets published by people who share our dream of a better world.
The contact information listed for these publishers was current at the time of review. We advise that you reach out with a brief email or letter before ordering, to confirm price and availability. "The usual" means the publisher may be open to trades and other equivalent exchanges.
Re-Minders ns. 1–9
by Rani Goel
Rani Goel Art & Design, 2013–2016
Many summers ago, as a recent graduate from journalism school in a small Midwestern town, I made two very important discoveries that would alter the course of my life. The first was Paul Williams’ bestselling paperback Das Energi, a mystical call-to-arms that cut through the cynical chorus of inner voices telling me I would never amount to much as a writer. Its message remained potent despite the text being some two decades old at that time. Through bite-sized observations, few of them longer than half a page, Williams sketched out a way of looking at the self, the universe, and the possibility of an autonomous relationship between them that was infinitely appealing to a reader just getting started with this business of adulthood. My second life-changing discovery that summer was the triple espresso, which helped, each sip a splash of kerosene on the divine spark within me. Together, the book and caffeine induced an unstoppable urge to take on the world, self-doubt be damned, and the rest is history—California, here I come.
Fast forward to today, twenty more years on, with a stack of Rani Goel’s superlative Re-Minders zines in front of me, and I see much of the same spirit and intent that I found in Das Energi, or perhaps Ram Dass’ Be Here Now, although reworked for a world with an increased capacity for weighing each of us down.
The beauty in Re-Minders lies in its presentation of grand ideas through an economic set of symbols. Emblematic snakes, eyes, and geometric shapes, borrowed from visual systems of alchemy and anatomy, are configured in different combinations, repeated and reinforced in a slow-drip presentation of mysticism that, for me at least, no longer requires much coffee to grok. Goel’s handwritten aphorisms, drawings, and collages serve to open our eyes to the ways we engender separation in our lives, be it through materialism, discrimination, self-hate, or a tunnel vision that denies the value of other people’s dreams. Routines of continual vigilance and forgiveness can lead to a self-acceptance which transcends the negative messages of this world. Oneness achieved, the individual may begin to make her distinctive marks on the macrocosm—be it through art or simply through conscious relationship with others—until the resultant separation calls for the cycle to begin afresh.
Goel is channeling a universal message as she creates each issue of Re-Minders, but it’s apparent that this work is also deeply personal to her. Whenever her writing shifts from second-person to first, she reveals parts of her own orphic conversion. We are privileged to watch her story unfold in real time, issue after issue. And of course we can take up this great work ourselves, moving on a path toward healthy senses of unity and individuality in a world that defaults to neither. Highly recommended. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler's Green 3)
Redwood Black Dog
by Amber von Nagel
Bay Area poet von Nagel turns the tables on her depression and anxiety over the course of two short prose pieces in this handsome zine. The first, “Black Dog,” details her history with depression, which she likens not to a canine companion but to a bag of bricks, one which weighs her down, constantly reminding her of her shortcomings, and is immune to any external efforts to slough it off. “Redwood” recounts, in crystal clear imagery, a day trip to Jack London State Historic Park with her own flesh-and-bone dog. As the two of them bask in the elements, von Nagel feels the temporary lifting of her burden and a primordial kinship with the forest. All this is accomplished without asking for pity or judgment, merely understanding.
Although she has already established a literary career for herself in other media, von Nagel makes her zine debut with Redwood Black Dog, which she says is also her first bit of writing about depression. Her pamphlet is perfect as a standalone, and would make an excellent first volume of a series, should she choose to continue. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler's Green 3)
Digest xerography pamphlet, 20 pp
amber.vonnagel AT gmail DOT com
Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group
by Ian F. Svenonius
Akashic Books, 2012
Post-punk authority Svenonius applies magical theory to the complexities of a career in rock ’n’ roll in this pocket guide. Unable to secure interviews with living icons of the industry, assumed to be tight-lipped so as to retain their professional secrets, the author goes one further by conversing with the spirits of living and dead musicians via a séance. Mary Wells, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, and others materialize and illuminate rock ’n’ roll’s surprising links to gang life, death cults, and American shame over seceding from Britain. Svenonius’ sardonic techniques—using astrology to people the band, leveraging the squalor of the rehearsal space to attain artistic transcendence, maintaining an offstage image bordering on the shamanistic—ring amusing and true. The code is clearly cracked. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler's Green 3)
16mo offset paperback, 256 pp
Akashic Books, Post Office Box 1456, New York, NY 10009
The Ascendant v. 1
edited by Austin Coppock, Jennifer Zahrt, and Nicholas Civitello
The Association for Young Astrologers, 2014
Abundant in powerful imagery and deep wisdom, the ancient practice of astrology appeals to people of all ages and temperaments. Perhaps for these same reasons, it is also easily reduced to facile interpretation, particularly by young or inexperienced seekers. The Ascendant attempts to bridge the divides of age and accessibility, laying the groundwork for a new generation of astrologers. As it so happens, one article which stood out in my reading was written by Gary David Lorentzen, a contributor with a more seasoned outlook. His recollection—following the first Queer Astrology Conference (held in San Francisco in 2013) — of similar, more hushed conversations he was part of in the early 1980s, demonstrates how far culture has come in recent decades. I also enjoyed Andrea L. Gehrz’s “Astrological Remediation” (titled after her 2012 book of the same name), which outlines a method consulting astrologers can use to help clients leaven starry fate with their own free will. As the magazine of an association for, rather than necessarily of, young astrologers, The Ascendant’s strength in the years to come may be found in more such intergenerational dialogue. Strong production values and a carefully curated collection of illustrations (many of them from the 2014 Tacoma group show, Constellation) add visual appeal to a journal already ripe with possibility. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler's Green 3)
Letter color offset paperback, 76 pp.
$25, or $15 for A. Y. A. members.
A Collection of Curious Drawings and Writings, otherwise known as Winged Wonders and Whatnots
by Jani Gillette
Gillette is a dancer as well as a visual artist, and her abstract, rainbow-hued drawings of eleven otherworldly beings — the Whatnots, she calls them—bring a lyrical motion to the pages of this delightful book. Reminiscent of the spirited thought-forms of the Theosophists, Gillette’s characters embody elemental qualities of both the natural world and the subtle realms of intellect and emotion. One by one the Whatnots take their turn in the limelight, each figure cupped by lines of free-verse poetry. By the end of the book they all dance together, inviting the reader to join in the revels. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
Landscape 4to offset paperback, 50 pp.
Through the Woods
by Nina Eve Zeininger
Neon Sprinkles Studio, 2015
This handsewn pamphlet prints twenty-five images from Zeininger’s photo series “Into the Woods.” Close-up pictures of roots and branches give way to longer-range vistas of clearings and hillsides, reminiscent of the quiet grandeur a forest ramble can evoke, and helping us to remember and appreciate, as Zeininger says, “the adventures and discovery that can happen in the in-between, on the way from one place to another.” (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
A Pagan Anti-Capitalist Primer
by Alley Valkyrie and Rhyd Wildermuth
Gods & Radicals, 2015
This booklet succinctly describes various problems with capitalism and why we should care. Although the authors occasionally appeal to pagan-specific concerns, this introductory critique is clear and cogent, and may interest anyone who questions how our civilization extracts, produces, and distributes resources. It does slip at times into rhetoric, especially around the appeals to co-religionists. It would be interesting to see these angles argued a bit more thoroughly, making the case that capitalism is incompatible with reverence for nature, rather than just asserting it. Perhaps in a second edition? (Andrew Reichart, Fiddler’s Green 3)
8vo inkjet pamphlet, 40 pp.
$6 (U. S. only); free download available
publisher AT godsandradicals DOT org
The Fourth Pyramid
by Jesse Bransford
Galveston Artist Residency, 2013
As an artist and magician, Bransford draws upon mystical and sorcerous traditions from around the world, reproducing geometric forms which embody mankind’s most profound concepts. This concise guide to fifty-four images, created as part of his residency in Galveston, serves as both an exhibit catalog and a passport to the numinous. Such symbols have always been used to invite in the knowing and keep the uninitiated at arm’s length, and the draftsmanlike order Bransford brings to line and curve hides an inner work ferrying him ever closer to the starting point of all things. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
12mo offset paperpack book, 72 pp.
Galveston Artist Residency, 2521 Ships Mechanic Row, Galveston, Texas 77550
info AT galvestonartistresidency DOT org
Ernest n. 3
edited by Jo Keeling et al
Uncharted Press Ltd, 2015
This smart British biannual champions “slow adventure,” which in the parlance of Ernest means exploration of rich geographic and cultural landscapes—mainly those of western Europe—off the beaten tourist track. Ernest n. 3 is the “eccentric invention” issue, and so among the twenty-some features and departments are a tour of Tresco Abbey Garden in the Scilly Isles, a history of the foliage-draped wild men of the world’s ancient cultures, the story behind Fair Isle sweaters, and profiles of modern-day artisans upholding traditional craft. Matte paper, muted photography, and a tight editorial focus give this journal a warm closeness suffused with imagination and intrigue. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
8vo color offset paperback, 160 pp.
by Cindy Crabb
Doris Press, 2015
Crabb is a veteran of the riot-grrrl era of zinedom, one of the cultural manifestations of third-wave feminism. In this collection of introspective interviews, she shifts focus in a search for a more complete picture of what it means to be a man in America, despite class or race. The transcripts of her conversations with seven cis and transgendered men reveal raw truths as each subject traces connections between people and events from the past and the realities of the person they find themselves being today. The most enjoyable moments in the interviews come when new lightbulbs of understanding click on, either for the interview participants or the reader. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
8vo digest offset pamphlet, 32 pp.
Doris Press, Post Office Box 29, Athens, Ohio 45701
The Wonderful House We Live In, and Our Place in the World
by Joshua James Amberson and Alexis Wolf
This cozy perzine collaboration is published jointly as Amberson’s Basic Paper Airplane n. 8 and Wolf’s Ilse Content n. 13. The two writers (who eschew their last names in this publication) trade gentle stories of friendships, inner discoveries, and the complicated pleasures of creating art, alone or with others. The illustrations are clipped from a handful of mid-century children’s books, and the body type is set in charming Olympia Script, lending a personable punkiness to the whole affair. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
8vo xer pamphlet with color xer cover, 32 pp.
Antiquated Future, Post Office Box 42081, Portland, Oreg. 97242
Sabat n. 1
edited by Elisabeth Krohn
Popular witchcraft of the late 20th century merged earthy spirituality, social justice issues, style, and commerce for an entire generation of young women and men. Communion with like-minded souls was difficult in those days, a fragile network of bookshops, postal correspondents, and mail-order connecting homegrown witches struggling to find identity and guidance. The ties of communication have grown stronger in our now hyper-connected age, and the smartphone is the latest magical object to find its place in the witch’s tool set. An adolescent witch who grew to become a young woman with an editorial career in the fashion industry, Krohn brings her professional experience and discernment to the production of this timely new series. Sabat’s first issue explores the youngest of witchcraft’s triple-faced archetype, the maiden, with mother and crone issues to follow. Brimming with glamour and printed on several stocks of matte-finish paper, the journal brings undeniable form to the teen-inspired witchcraft of today, much of it documented chiefly on Instagram. Some twenty years from now it will be a valuable time capsule for the next generation of witches as they carry out yet another expression of this paradoxical faith, simultaneously ancient and newly emerging. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
A4 offset perfectbound, 168 pp with tip-ins.
Sabat Magazine, Penthouse, Guilford Court, 51 Guilford Street, London WC1 N1ES, United Kingdom
The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook
by Kim Krans
The Wild Unknown, 2012
In this hand-lettered manual, pen-and-ink artist Krans steps readers through the use and imagery of her incredibly popular Wild Unknown tarot deck. Her cards employ several appealing innovations, among them the inclusion of wilderness and animal imagery instead of scenes of human life, and the replacement of the royal procession of page, knight, queen, and king with the more familiar daughter, son, mother, and father. In an opening essay, Krans discusses the clarity and assuredness she receives from the act of drawing, wishing these same gifts for anyone who uses her tarot. After synopses of major and minor arcana, the suits, and a few spreads, the book leads us through the deck, each card’s image juxtaposed against a page of interpretive thoughts. The Wild Unknown Tarot encourages a subtle balance of trust between personal intuition and the whims of fate, and the resulting feeling it brings about is at once empowering and humbling. Krans has handwritten the entirety of the text in her book, lending it the authority of an older sister, one who walks the path just a few strides ahead. In the early tarot adventures of my teenage years, my well-thumbed companion was Nancy Shavick’s The Tarot Reader. The Wild Unknown has taken up this mantle for many people in a new generation. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
12mo offset paperback book, 108 pp.
The God Zero n. 0
by Joseph Uccello
Viatorium Press, 2015
This immersive meditation on fluidity and form continues Uccello’s fascination with the concept of zero, explored a few years earlier in his book Occlith (Viatorium / Three Hands Press, 2013). “The God Zero” refers to the Mayan entity responsible for, among other things, the continual change present in the natural world. The “Uncertain Arts” are those of divination, mankind’s never-ending search for patterns within the world’s structured chaos. Uccello documents his far-reaching travels in Asia and elsewhere through photographs of trees, stones, and temples, this “gorgonian enterprise,” as he calls it, fixing moments in time. The images are later manipulated to bring out dense textures before being worked into the pages of this sumptuous magazine. A few photographs from Carlos Melgoza and Demian Johnston complement Uccello’s images, as do asemic writings from William Kiesel. Essays, stories, poems, and myths from Western and Chinese authors are interleaved among the images, offering, in the flow of creation, islands of empathy with fellow mortals hoping to describe the overwhelming dance of order and discord. Uccello used hand-stitching to reinforce the spines on a few copies of The God Zero, offering them for sale at last year’s Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle. Be in touch with him if you are interested in one of these instead of the standard edition. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 3)
Letter offset perfectbound pamphlet, 104 pp.
Ker-bloom! ns. 108–111
These zines are recent numbers from Karen Switzer’s long-running autobiographical series. This run of issues was published between May and December 2014, printed in hand-set type on speckled paper and bound in a rainbow of colored cardstock (and staples). In them Switzer tells the story of moving back to Berkeley, toddler son at her side, following seven years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prompted by her parents’ declining health back in the Bay Area, Switzer’s return reawakens longstanding connections and she finds herself reflecting on both loss and renewal. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Half-digest letterpress pamphlets, 12pp. each
Ker-bloom!, 2480 Fifth Street, Berkeley, Calif. 94710
deepinkletterpress AT gmail DOT com
The Cauldron n.154
edited by Michael Howard
Issued quarterly since 1976, The Cauldron features essays, news, reviews, and resources concerning witchcraft, Paganism, magic, and folklore. The items are written by a host of contributors, and present material on topics as varied as archeological discoveries, art history, magical practices, earth mysteries, historical characters, UFOs, and religion, all in a sympathetic, unsensationalistic manner. The recently renamed Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall earns a few mentions. Feature articles aside, the listings, advertisements, and reviews will light paths for readers hoping to explore similar publications. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
A4 xer pamphlet, 52pp.
Publication of The Cauldron ceased in 2015 with the passing of Michael Howard.
Secret Origins of the Crass Symbol
by David King
& Pens Press in association with MOsT Books, 2013
Dave King is the British artist who in 1977 designed the iconic logo used first on Penny Rimbaud’s manifesto, Christ’s Reality Asylum, and which was soon after picked up by Crass, the anarcho-punk band and collective of which Rimbaud was a member. By combining authoritative symbols of the cross, serpents, and the circle-slash “no” sign, King’s logo was at once potent, mysterious, and ripe for appropriation by fans and rivals, who stenciled it on everything from denim jackets to the walls of banks. Bootleg versions would even show up occasionally in works by commercial designers and fashion houses, leading to bemused head-scratching by those familiar with the logo and its spirit of D.I.Y. Not content to let others have all the fun, King has succumbed to the power of his own creation and in this booklet breaks down the logo’s draftsmanship to show readers how it can be used to spawn an entire vocabulary of symbols, many of which could further Crass’ messages of peace, protest, and responsibility to self and planet. Designed to match the dimensions of a seven-inch record, Secret Origins… could handily be filed with one’s collection of Crass singles. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Wide 12mo offset perfectbound pamphlet, 32pp.
& Pens Press, Post Office Box 39925, Los Angeles, Calif. 90039
No Means Yes, Right? n.1
edited by Gracie Currier-Tait and Mandy Barriga
Written in response to the continual street harassment experienced by women and other femme-identifying humans, this anthology zine presents first-person accounts, poetry, and visual art from people who refuse to stand by passively. Male readers will gain insight into how certain behaviors may unintentionally contribute to other people’s annoyance, distress, and disgust. The hand-lettered and illustrated “Self-Defense Toolbox” article discusses various methods for subduing physical attackers, from pepper spray and Tasers to large blunt objects, keychain strike-enhancers, and knives. It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where this sort of zine is necessary, but No Means Yes... gives us starting points for improving it. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Digest xer pamphlet, 24pp.
The Rambling Urchin ns. 83 – 92
by Alan Brignull
The Hedgehog Press, March 2014–March 2015
Each card in this consistently delightful series is impeccably printed and loaded with gentle wit. The sequence I received recently included poetry, ruminations on writing and the mail, a special flag in recognition of Scotland’s unsuccessful bid for secession, a couple bits of local history, and a list of the various villains one might run afoul of in Jacobean London, including bawdy-baskets, glymmerers, swigmen, roagues, and (the apparently distinct) wild roagues. Brignull keeps up correspondence with a number of postal artists, and in letters I’ve received he often includes printed ephemera from his invented micro-nation of Adanaland (named after the Adana tabletop presses). Do write him. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
A6 letterpress broadsides
Alan Brignull, The Hedgehog Press, 33 Heath Road, Wivenhoe, Essex C07 9PU, England
Hello: A Greeting from Nowhere
undated, circa 2013
Written in the unraveling days of the Occupy movement, this poetic and heady meditation on the failure of reform calls for every would-be revolutionary to first undergo profound inner change. The message of Hello argues that even among members of the resistance, thought patterns and methods of organizing are still modeled on those of the dominant culture, and so by design lead to isolation and solitude, even when we gather in a crowd of friends and compatriots. The author gives the example of our everyday use of the word “hello” to show how far we’ve strayed from true connection with others: With the invention of the telephone, the common greetings “good day” and “good evening” were discarded in favor of the more uncertain word “hello,” spoken as “a kind of question-call one might cast into the woods, or…in the direction of a noise in one’s home.” Living in an era supposedly defined by constant communication, the author feels more alone than ever, yet in hopelessness finds an opportunity for transformation and rebirth. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Short 16mo xer perfectbound pamphlet, 56pp.
hellofriend AT riseup DOT net
Ned Ludd & Queen Mab: Machine-Breaking, Romanticism, and the Several Commons of 1811–12
by Peter Linebaugh
PM Press Retort Pamphlet Series, 2012
Linebaugh traces the history of two mythical figures who in early 19th-century England inspired worker rebellions against the “dark Satanic Mills” described by William Blake. General Ned Ludd was the name of the imagined leader of the very real fight against the specialization of labor, its stultifying effects on culture, and its concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. The Romantics got a dose of realism from the title character of Percy Shelley’s Queen Mab, a fae sovereign introduced by Linebaugh as “associated with the tiny, entomological world of leaves and soil before the earth had become a homogeneous rent-making machine.” Globalization of trade was met with similar calls to arms wherever capital was wrought from the land to supply distant armies and industrialists, and examples are given of uprisings in the Americas, North Africa, Java, and elsewhere. Two centuries hence the machines have grown monstrous, and their effects further-reaching, but Ludd and Mab live on whenever direct action or imaginative upheaval are used to reestablish the bonds between people and the earth. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Digest offset pamphlet, 52pp.
PM Press, Post Office Box 23912, Oakland, Calif. 94623
The Feasts of Tre-mang
by Eli Brown
Situated to the west of São Tomé and Príncipe and valued as a naval outpost by a series of European powers over the span of three centuries, the tiny island of Tre-mang is all but forgotten today. In this cookbook / cultural history, storytelling gourmand Eli Brown (author of the high-seas culinary adventure novel Cinnamon and Gunpowder) whets the world’s appetite for this lost nation’s tales and tastes. Whimsical but deliciously intriguing, The Feasts of Tre-mang draws on the recently rediscovered journals of Theodora Peterson, daughter of noted anthropologist-pugilist Rodney Peterson. Despite her own adventurous spirit, Theodora was compelled by her father to learn traditional Tre-manner cooking. Her recipes and accompanying notes on dishes such as Istan (celeriac rice latkes), Hemmer-Spru (fennel kumquat salad with sage pralines), and Neffri Tup-Tup (pear juice marinated goat kebabs) bring to light the deep complexities of her adopted country’s gastronomy. Accounts of festive New Year’s Day chair-burnings and Mark Twain’s commentary on the revels of the Bosque Osque, or “bear hunt harvest” are interspersed with more serious accounts of the inventive rebellions hatched by the natives against their colonialist occupiers. The island’s rich history came to an abrupt end on July 31, 1914, when the volcanic Mt. Kerklai erupted to devastating effect. That this happened concurrent with the initial paroxysms of the First World War could have meant Tre-mang was destined for perpetual obscurity. However, thanks to Brown’s exhaustive research and interpretation of artifacts, recipes, photographs, and enough folklore to choke an army of invading Spaniards, the indomitable Tre-mang once again rises from the ashes. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Letter offset perfectbound book, 124pp.
Order through your local bookshop or online at bn.com.
Please Plant This Book
by Richard Brautigan
The Brautigan Book Club, 2012
This self-published collection of poetry was first issued in 1968 in a letterpressed run of 6,000 copies. The small folio containing packets of seeds native to Northern California—four vegetables, four flowers—was handed out for free at the First Day of Spring Celebration in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Each seed packet was printed with a poem relating to the plant it would grow into if buried in the earth, and express permission was granted to reprint the collection as long as future editions were given away as well. Brautigan and friends filled the initial print run with a total of sixteen pounds of seeds, and the Daly City merchant they bought them from is reported to have said, “You must have a lot of ground to cover.” Aside from a reprint two years later by students in Buffalo, N. Y., Please Plant This Book lay dormant for nearly four-and-a-half decades. The 2012 edition of 200 was produced by members of the Brautigan Book Club and printed by Matty Snow for the Dinefwr Literary Festival, with remaining copies distributed in the years since. It faithfully recreates the folio, packets, and poems, complete with seeds, along with a list of sources for more of each seed once you’ve planted your copy. Although the Brautigan Book Club edition is now out-of-print, there is plenty of information about it (as well as the original) online. The nature of Please Plant This Book being what it is, it’s only a matter of time before another group of enlightened gardeners grows a new crop of this nourishing perennial. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Short A5 letterpress and silkscreen folio with A4 broadside and eight seed-packet inserts.
Penumbrae: An Occult Fiction Anthology
edited by Richard Gavin, Patricia Cram, and Daniel A. Schulke
Three Hands Press, 2015
Writing has always been a means of silent communication at a distance and, once the author has passed from this world, bestows upon them a modicum of immortality. Could this make the reader a clairvoyant, or a necromancer? This is the question posed by the collection of thirteen tales in Three Hands Press’ first occult fiction anthology, which attempts to channel power and spirit in the manner of incantations, psalms, and koans, but in the familiar form of the short story. Included are contributions by the trio of editors, seven authors yet living, and three—Andrew Chumbley, Hanns Heinz Ewers, and Kenneth Grant—who have passed beyond the veil. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
8vo offset casebound book, 192pp.
Three Hands Press, 1151 Sycamore Avenue, Box 131, Hercules, Calif. 94547
God of My Father
by Frederick Moe
Reminiscent of a memorial program and featuring an image of Pamela Colman Smith’s The Hermit on the cover, God of My Father offers up a brief but intimate history of Moe’s spiritual life. Raised by parents whose religious practices included song, camping, and fellowship with a number of traditional and mystical Christian congregations, Moe was set on the seeker’s path at a young age. Decades later he walks it still, and in these pages comes to some conclusions while acknowledging there is always more to discover about his relationship with the divine. This theme emerges in Moe’s other publications—my copy of God of My Father came with a beautifully letterpressed print of a heartfelt open letter to his own soul, its message at once universal and deeply personal. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 2)
Digest xer pamphlet, 8pp.
Frederick Moe, 36 West Main Street, Warner, N. H. 03278
by Anthony Alvarado
Floating World Comics / Press Gang, 2012
Perigree Trade, 2015
Beginning as a column on the website for the now-defunct alternative culture magazine Arthur, this set of concise how-to essays is a perfect primer for anyone ready to invite more magic into their everyday life. From classic trials of meditation, fasting, and vision quests to updated twists on cultural practices including counting coup and divination using books or birds, Alvarado’s collection promises enough variety to shake up anyone’s reality. A constellation of esoteric luminaries assisted in the creation of the 2012 Floating World edition—Lord Whimsy designing the cover, Aaron Gach penning the introduction, production by the indispensable Eberhardt Press, and a different artist (curated by Floating World’s Jason Leivian) illustrating each of the book’s thirty-two essays. Recently, Alvarado announced a revised and expanded edition, to be published in April 2015 by Perigree Trade (an imprint of Penguin). Anyone who has bought Jeff Hoke’s Museum of Lost Wonder and gained something from trying its exercises will find much gold within these pages. This book contains so many jumping-off points for the magically minded person. Get it. Put it in your glovebox or backpack. Wear it out. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Floating World Comics / Press Gang edition: 12mo offset paperback with silver-foil stamped cover, 176pp.
Perigree Trade edition: 12mo offset paperback, 288pp.
Artists & Activists n.6: The Center for Tactical Magic
by Aaron Gach
Printed Matter, 2009
Published as a collaboration between the New York City artist’s book shop Printed Matter and The Center for Tactical Magic, this pamphlet presents instructions for carrying out six magical workings which lead to personal empowerment in the face of politically oppressive institutions including corporations, the police, politicians, and even food marketers. This is practical magic anyone can perform, and the relevance to modern ills and social shifts I’ve seen in this and other projects from the C.T.M. gives me great hope that more people will begin integrating age-old occult truths into everyday life. Beautifully printed in silver ink on black paper. According to Gach, readers “can obtain their own copy by bribing the Center for Tactical Magic with ten U.S. bills of their preferred denominations (twenties are appreciated, but ones will suffice), or a suitable trade of material goods, magical services, or activist hijinks. Unfortunately, the Center is rather de-centered and there is not a postal address for receiving correspondence at this time.” (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Half-digest offset pamphlet with insert sticker-spell, 16pp.
invoke AT TacticalMagic DOT org
The Cunningham Amendment v. 15, n. 1
edited by Peter Good
R. Supward Press, 4 September 2014
Year after year, editor (and clinical mirthologist) Peter Good and his merry band of Anarcrisps (defined simply as “nice anarchists”) bring light, hope, and humor to a world run down by needless authority. “The T.C.A.” (as the series redundantly refers to itself) champions the cause of personal responsibility, and each of its bite-sized articles is designed to be an encouraging poke in the ribs at the expense of the State, the Church, monolithic corporations, and any other organizations which exist to deny people their birthright of free thought, feeling, and action. On a personal note, I like that Dr. Good doesn’t dispense completely with magic and supernaturalism in his articles. Anarchism can get a bit too rational for my taste at times, and if the entire point of the philosophy is to shape a mad world to our desires in a thoughtful and caring way, then there’s obviously room for a saucerful of sorcery. That the whole of The Cunningham Amendment is printed in madcap colors and chock full of dingbats and whimsical characters is downright delightful. A philosophical toffee-box sampler meant to explode your reality in the most progressive, loving way. Highest recommendation. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Landscape 8vo letterpress and offset tapebound pamphlet with tip-ins, 34pp.
The Cunningham Amendment, Room 6, Tangleford House, The Street, Bawdeswell, Norfolk NR20 4RT, England
The Zine Explorer’s Notebook n.5
by Doug Harrison
This relatively recent addition to the papernet is part perzine, part anarchist chronicle, and part review mag, the whole of it fitting together quite well and reminiscent of The Free Press Death Ship, a favorite series of mine from a decade ago. With the folding of Zine World in early 2013, Z.E.N. is now one of the few remaining review series, and it does the job with a friendly voice and clean design produced using pre-computer technology. If you are of an ethical anarchist mindset and want to keep up with who’s publishing what, this is one to read. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Letter xer and screenprinted side-stapled pamphlet, 20pp.
The Zine Explorer’s Notebook, Post Office Box 5291, Richmond, Va. 23220
by Rik Garrett
Fulgur Esoterica, 2014
Juxtaposing magical sigils with wet plate colloidal photographs of young forest witches, Earth Magic is doubly sexually charged. Garrett’s images are made with haste, but the resulting immediacy imbues them not with a furtive voyeurism so much as with the mystery and strength possessed by his subjects. These are pictures of unknowable rituals frozen in time and carried out by otherworldly earthlings, and the viewer immediately senses two truths: one, that these women don’t give a damn that you’re watching them, and two, that you’re lucky they don’t, because they are much more powerful than you. With a perceptive introduction by the witches’ urban counterpart Pam Grossman. Originally issued in two editions including a solander-boxed deluxe, which is now sold out and fetching high sums on the secondhand market. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Standard edition 4to offset casebound book, 72pp.
£35 (Outside U.S.)
Fulgur Esoterica, BCM Fulgur, London, WC1N 3XX, England
$69.95 (U.S. buyers)
J.D. Holmes, Post Office Box 2370, Sequim, Wash. 98382
Communicating Vessels n. 26
by Anthony Walent
This issue, subtitled “An Ode to the Festival of Life,” is full of the elements that always bring a smile to my face when I receive a new issue of Communicating Vessels—medieval woodcut illustrations, historical essays on freedom, a lengthy letters column with replies from Walent, his own musings on both big philosophical questions and moments of quiet wonder, and reviews of books and pamphlets on topics as varied as empire, gardening, reproductive freedom, anarchism, and the subtle politics of printers’ watermarks. Even though Walent is rightfully disgusted by much of modern life, his response is to produce a thing of beauty. This is anarchism for people who believe in the strength of the human spirit. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
8vo offset pamphlet, 48pp.
The usual (checks payable to Anthony Walent)
Communicating Vessels, Post Office Box 2048, Tucson, Ariz. 85702
The Match!, n.113
by Fred Woodworth
Brimming with news and commentary on the struggle between individuals and institutions, each issue of The Match! chronicles the latter’s steady gains. The military, government agencies, the healthcare industry, and the police are just a few of the groups reported on by Woodworth, and he often ties in personal anecdotes of his run-ins and extrapolates the further consequences of today’s abuses of power. The Match! is unapologetically pessimistic, but is attractively laid out and unfailingly consistent. Recommended, even if you’re unable to handle much in the way of disturbing news. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
8vo offset and letterpress pamphlet, 72pp.
The usual (no checks)
The Match!, Post Office Box 3012, Tucson, Ariz. 85702
by Austin Coppock
Three Hands Press, 2014
This handsomely produced book explores the history and practical use of the decans, thirty-six divisions of the sky that have served as muses, helpers, and oracles to astrologers and magicians since the dawn of recorded time. Like the twelve Zodiac signs and the characters and scenes depicted on Tarot cards, the decans have their own personalities and stories to tell. Following an introduction providing historical context, Coppock uses allegory and dramatic language to detail the significance of each of the decans in relation to the Sun, Moon, and planets, rounding out the work with tables of correspondence and appendices of interest to alchemists and magicians. With emblematic illustrations for all the decans by Bob Eames. In addition to the hardcover edition reviewed here, this book is issued in trade paperback, slipcased deluxe hardcover, and slipcased golden leather. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
8vo offset casebound book with dustjacket, 320pp.
Three Hands Press, 1511 Sycamore Avenue, Box 131, Hercules, Calif. 94547
by Cindy Crabb
Doris Press, 2013
Through helpful articles and personal anecdotes, Crabb explains how it’s possible to use life experiences—be they uplifting or traumatic—to make the world a better place. These writings view activism, romance, friendship, and solitude almost as modes of being, and whether she’s starting a study group, interviewing survivors of abuse, helping a friend relocate a swarm of bees, or reading a book, Crabb listens to her inner voice to remind herself to remain compassionately curious about the people around her. Had I found Doris in the ’90s (the series began in 1991) I would have called it a feminist zine, but reading it today I see that it is simply about being human. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Legal digest xer pamphlet, 32pp.
Doris Press, Post Office Box 29, Athens, Ohio 45701
Bulletbelt / Real Punx Don’t Talk to Cops
by Robert I’mhuman
This zine is interesting in its format, having two front covers and no back cover. Its two titles are also the names of songs by the editor’s band, Decide Today, and the lyrics for each are printed inside the covers, effectively making the zine the literary equivalent of a flippable seven-inch record with one song on each side. Essays on the songs’ themes fill the pages and give readers a sense of what it means to apply concepts of punk, D.I.Y., and anarchy to everyday life rather than simply using them as set dressing. The overarching message is one of taking responsibility for yourself without the help of outside authority. Even if punk rock isn’t your cup of tea, there’s much you can learn from these stories of clear-headed action. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Digest xer pamphlet, 24pp.
The Day the Country Died
by Ian Glasper
PM Press, 2014
Inspired by the more altruistic and political aspects of mid-1970s punk rock, and spurred by the dramatic changes underway in Thatcherite Britain, the bands which came to be grouped under the anarcho-punk banner called for peaceful revolution using aggressive imagery and brutal sound. Author Ian Glasper tracked down and spoke with scores of the era’s surviving musicians, who relate this multifaceted history in their own words. Crass, Poison Girls, Flux of Pink Indians, Conflict, Subhumans, and dozens of other bands are each given their own chapter, complete with discographies and resources for anyone who would like to continue the campaign for a better world, now some thirty years on. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
8vo offset perfectbound book, 496pp.
PM Press, Post Office Box 23912, Oakland, Calif. 94623
Green Coated Poet and “Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?”
by Cardinal Cox
Starburker Publications, 2014 and 2015
The poetry of Cardinal Cox has always been closely tied to the idea of place. Some of my earliest encounters with it were his experiments in psychogeography in the manner of Iain Sinclair. As I’ve collected his pamphlets (these are his fiftieth and fifty-first), I’ve gained a deepening appreciation for Cox’s reverence for the roots of his homeland’s stories. With these two booklets, he takes us on spatial journeys but also conveys us back through time. Green Coated Poet commemorates the 150th anniversary of the death of poet John Clare—a native of Cox’s Peterborough—who wrote of the tragic demise of the English countryside in the wake of the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions. This pamphlet’s thirteen poems reinterpret moments from Clare’s life including his rambles through English cities and towns. Cox’s more recent publication “Does Magna Carta…” takes its title from dialogue in an episode of the mid-century BBC sitcom Hancock’s Half Hour, and recounts moments in the bloody history of the English charter, mainly from the point of view of people who fought. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
A5 xer pamphlet, 16pp. + A4 broadside advert
Cardinal Cox, 58 Pennington, Orton Goldhay, Peterborough PE2 5RB, United Kingdom
CardinalCox1 AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk
by Red Velvet and Severity Chaste
Subtitled “Reimagining Spinsterhood for the 21st Century: Harlots & Homebodies,” Catherinette takes its name from the term used traditionally to describe the woeful French women who had reached their twenty-fifth birthday but were still unmarried by the Feast of Saint Catherine, on 25 November. Although this distinction is hardly relevant any longer, editors Chaste and Velvet assert that there is still a cultural stigma to choosing a life undefined by one’s romantic relationship to others. Through humor, blunt examination of their own desires and capacities, and accounts of their successes and stumbles along the way, the women offer up this brief handbook for anyone who would like to live life on their own terms while having lots of intriguing fun. Recommended. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Digest xer pamphlet, 20pp.
CatherinetteZine AT gmail DOT com
Node Pajomo n. 17 / Pukka Joint Massif n. 21
edited by P.J.M.
Publisher P.J.M. often comes off more like a good-natured wrestler than an editor in his letters and written asides, as he battles the tides of mail art, zines, and CDs he receives to review, not to mention his grapplings with his conscience over how best to use the internet to document an art scene that has been largely usurped by it. Now his publication itself seems to have the upper hand, with P.J.M. noting in this issue’s opening editorial: “We never intended this to become exclusively a review zine, yet here we are. We have been amused and disgusted by the ability of a publication to take on a life of its own and we fear we may have to kill it lest it grow any stronger. We don’t want to say this is the last issue, but don’t be too surprised if it is.” Node Pajomo and the eponymous Pukka Joint Massif were once separate, the former containing calls-for-entry for mail-art projects and the latter crammed with reviews of finished works. P.J.M. combined the two a few years back and the resulting publication, at least when viewed from my outside perspective, was greater than the sum of its parts. Should this series fold it will be missed, but I have every faith that whatever comes next from P.J.M. will be brilliant as well. P.J.M. offers a free edition of the zine which lists only the names and addresses of that issue’s featured publishers, but no reviews. (Clint Marsh, Fiddler’s Green 1)
Digest xer pamphlet w/ tip-ins, 28pp. + mail-art banknote, xerographied and one-of-a-kind collaged inserts from P.J.M.’s correspondents, and a CD of audio art on the theme of “Indecipherable.”
$3 U. S. A. / $5 elsewhere / the usual
Pukka Joint Massif, Post Office Box 2632, Bellingham, Wash. 98227