From the Stacks: April 28, 2006

Utne receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals,
weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and
it’s a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles
high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire
lively daily chatter, but they can’t all fit into our bimonthly
magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of ‘From
the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of
the independent and alternative media.

From rural Iowa, editor/publisher/printer Timothy
Fay sent the most recent two issues of his annual journal
Wapsipinicon Almanac (#11 and #12), both a pleasure to
hold and to behold. Looking straight out of the ’60s, utterly
unpretentious in tone, the Almanac wends its way unhurriedly from
folksy editorial notes through essays by Iowans visiting Chiapas
and living in New England and Saudi Arabia, historical articles on
such topics as ‘Jews in 19th century Iowa,’ Iowa-related book
reviews, and articles about drinking water, chemtrails, Iowa
wineries, and the Wapsipinicon River itself. You don’t need to be a
native of the Hawkeye State to enjoy the journal’s simple design,
so compelling that I even felt inclined to linger over spot art and
ads for the likes of corn-burning stoves, a regional puppet
theater, and traditional wooden caskets made by Trappist monks. For
more information: 19948 Shooting Star Rd., Anamosa, IA 52205; (319)
462-4623. — Chris Dodge

A hand-size zine dedicated to promoting and exhibiting mail art
exchange made its way from the land down under to Utne‘s
library this week. The two stapled-together booklets, titled
Gratis, contain drawings, photos, and invitations for mail
artists to send pieces to their contemporaries in Belgium, France,
Brazil, and Australia. Current projects include ‘Wipe,’ which asks
for ’40 sheets of printed toilet tissue,’ and a call for jokers
taken from card decks. A sticker with the word ‘URGENT’ in red
letters, a super-sized seven of diamonds, and a colorfully stamped
postcard also are included, providing ample material to concoct
your own creation for shipping back overseas. — Kristen

From the interior of a yurt — a domed tent that
traditionally housed Asian nomads — Dan Frank Kuehn updated his
previously self-published book,
Mongolian Cloud
Publications released the re-write
this month, with the
subtitle ‘How to Make a Yurt and Live Comfortably’ added to the
cover. Inside are 140 pages of detailed instructions and diagrams
mapping the path to constructing your own inexpensive home, along
with a short photo scrapbook illustrating three decades of Kuehn’s
yurts around northern New Mexico to browse through between sawing
rafters and sewing smoke hole covers. — Kristen

Art’ can catch you by surprise with its unorthodox representations
of artists’ inner worlds. Such is the case with
Raw Vision, a
quarterly with offices in New York, Paris, and the UK. The
high-quality magazine ferrets out art from the most unlikely of
places while consciously avoiding the conceptual, theory-driven art
culture of today. The Spring 2006 issue features a spread on art by
women who had been confined in German psychiatric asylums in the
early 20th century. The featured pieces, and the accompanying text,
demonstrate how art helped individuals create a rich inner world as
a stay against the brutal circumstances around them. — Nick

Out of Vancouver,
strives to publish the ‘best in contemporary
writing and translation from Canada and around the world.’ The
Spring 2006 ‘Homelands Issue’ seems to do just that. Gathered
loosely around the idea of home — missing it, returning to it,
leaving it for good — the pieces form a diversity of voices that
mirrors the many meanings home can have for all of us. — Nick

In an interview
in the May/June issue of
the official magazine of the
Sierra Club, superstar
ethologist Jane Goodall explains that chimps aren’t the only
animals on the planet that are in trouble: People need help too. A
large part of Goodall’s work has shifted from primatology to
fighting AIDS and advocating family planning. As she points out,
‘Worldwide there are more human children born everyday than the
total number of great apes left in the wild.’ The issue also covers
the current ecological crossroads of Puerto Rico, where relentless
development threatens the island’s natural beauty and safety. —
Bennett Gordon

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