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spacer.gif   Is This The Dawning Of The Age Of . . . Muzzle?
Posted by : cj on Sunday, October 17, 2010 - 07:46 PM
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Chicago Poetry News: Click On Headlines .
I admit there are very few online zines that I read every month in their entirety. Itís not that they arenít worthy of my attention; itís just that I publish my own online thing and I just donít have an hour or two a day to keep up with the plethora of other online publications that are available. As a matter of fact, so much of my lifeís energy is invested in the online poetry world, that when I want to relax, the last thing I want to do is sit at a computer and read poetry. I much prefer to watch a film and not think about poetry for a few hours. But along came Muzzle and now Iím hooked. Iím sure I will be reading every issue from now on, religiously.

Muzzle is simply a good read, but for me it also brings on a sense of nostalgia, because it reminds me so much of what I was doing fifteen to twenty years ago when I was devoted to the print publication, the Letter eX Poetry Newsmagazine. Iím certain this is not Muzzleís intention, because the editors, staff members, featured poets and guest reviewers probably have never even heard of Letter eX, or if they have it is only in legend since they were probably just finishing up grade school at the height of Letter eXís Chicago reign. But the straight forward, often cynical flavor of the reviews in Issue 2 of Muzzle reminds me of the daring venture of a handful of Chicago poets during what is often referred to as the ďgolden ageĒ of the Chicago poetry scene (1990 thru 1995), when words that were written in Letter eX often shook up the entire scene and could make or break a poet if that poet allowed them to. Donít get me wrong, Muzzle is not a carbon copy of Letter eX. For one thing, Letter eX didnít publish poetry at all; it only reviewed poetry books and performances while reporting news, and yes, even gossip, about the poetry scene. Also, Muzzle is intentionally focusing on the performance poetry scene, effectively taking the foot of any person who claims performance poetry can't stand up on the page and firmly putting said foot in said personís mouth, where as Letter eX ruthlessly showed no allegiance to any sect of the poetry scene, often harshly criticizing the slam and even members of its own staff. Muzzle exists in three sections: the ďPoetryĒ section (no doubt the strongest of the sections and the reason Muzzle really exists), a nicely done ďArtĒ section, and the soon to be notorious ďReviews and InterviewsĒ section. It is undeniably the unique product of itís eleven staff members' cooperation, led by Editor in Chief Stevie Edwards (photo).

Nevertheless, when I read through Muzzle, especially the reviews section, I get this intoxicating sense of dťjŗ vu. I feel a little giddy as the positive, though risky and even vulnerable energy behind this new online zine brings back a flood of memories. Letter eX was important and it certainly had its day. Iím convinced Muzzle will have itís own history of significance to come. Perhaps Muzzle's day is dawning.

Here is a link to Issue #2. Check it out and see what you think.

--CJ Laity






 
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