From the Stacks: April 13, 2007


| April 2007


Utne Reader's library is abuzz with a steady flow of 1,500 magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box bookstores, newsstands, or even online. So we share the highlights (and occasional lowlights) of what's landing in our library each week in 'From the Stacks.' Check in every Friday for the latest edition.

Since the very early days of the war in Iraq, detractors have invoked the memory of the Vietnam War to convey a heightened sense of momentous danger. A new magazine, The Deadly Writer's Patrol, adds to this discussion and others by providing 'a forum for writings that originate from the Vietnam experience.' The magazine, published by the Madison, Wisconsin-based group of the same name, is comprised of veterans and non-veterans who began exploring creative writing techniques nine years ago at the city's Vet Center. In the current issue (#3), several pieces are written in the voice of American soldiers in Vietnam; others are more unexpected, like the remembrance by Vietnamese-born Phan Nhiên Hao of his father, a soldier killed in the war. There's also a diary-like exposition by a US soldier serving in Iraq, as well as poetry and fiction. -- Danielle Maestretti

What happens when you pair an artist with a director, a poet with a painter, and a writer with a photographer? The spring issue of Bomb, that's what. Based out of Brooklyn, the 26-year-old nonprofit magazine features oodles of artist-on-artist interviews with a sprinkling of fiction and poetry. The latest issue (#99) is available in four different covers, each a slightly different watercolor created by artist Ellen Berkenblit. Fellow painter Amy Stillman offers explication inside with a piece on Berkenblit's work, detailing such heady notions as Freudian slips and the concept of 'knowing.' Overall, Bomb is a great read for culture snobs, highbrow museum types, and those who simply like learning about new art and creative literature. -- Mary O'Regan

'[T]he past used to be in the past but now it is in the aspen grove,' says the opening poem from the Winter/Spring issue of Fence. This biannual nonprofit literary journal from New York City has seen many ups and down, mostly due to financial struggles. But for the past nine years, it has managed to put out little-known yet important creative works of poetry and fiction. The pieces might seem intimidating at first, especially the current issue's choppy verses about astronomy, poetry in 'mistranslation,' and an 8-page story about an unemployed houseguest who locks himself in a room. But the creative potential behind the burgeoning writers makes Fence exciting. -- Mary O'Regan

One can't help but smile and feel optimistic when reading the youthful insights of Skipping Stones, a multicultural children's magazine. Published bimonthly during the school year, the magazine serves as a forum for cooperative creativity, connecting young readers to people, places, and stories from around the world. There are lessons to be learned, issues like global warming to consider, and children's poetry to celebrate. In the March/April issue Heidi Heimlich writes about her autistic brother and finding beauty in the differences between people. Elsewhere, a teacher from Cameroon recalls his familial duties in 'Becoming A Man,' a challenging rite of passage in a society of deep traditions and gender roles. -- Natalie Hudson

The Canadian magazine Herizons illustrates that global feminism is alive and well, though not without continuing struggles and the occasional internal conflict. The quarterly nonprofit publication seeks to inform the feminist community of the latest news and campaign issues dealing with equality, reproductive rights, and child care. The Spring edition features singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco in an inspiring cover story about 'hope for the American Left.' The issue also rallies to the cause of child care workers, who Danielle Harder explains are integral to the educational development of children, yet are not paid accordingly. Universal child care, Harder writes, is seen by many daycare advocates as the best solution to securing better wages and working conditions for these underappreciated educators. -- Natalie Hudson