I like words carefully strung together to create a new thought. I like beautiful photographs. Harlean Carpenter (who is a fiction) has, with a little technical help from me, created a magazine that exploits the synergy between the two.
Even as I helped assemble the magazine, I avoided reading the poetry. I wanted my first impression to be when my head was in a poetic place, that elusive region where metaphor is reality. Turns out in my current day-to-day life that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. At last, a couple of days ago, I quit waiting to stumble into that place and just picked up the damn magazine and cleared my head.
And it was good.
I knew already that there were some amazing photographs. I’m happy to report that there are some good words as well. I have to be honest, there were some poems that left me flat, but come on, it’s poetry. Given something like 30 poems, there’s no way I’m going to agree with Harlean on all of them. But, dang. There’s some good shit here. If you read it, you will agree, although you might choose different poems.
And then there’s the photographic work. Dang. I’ve got a long way to go.
Looking at the final product, a few lessons emerge.
Lesson one: There are typesetting errors in one of the poems. One of my favorites, in fact. My “I don’t want to read until the time is right” attitude robbed the publication of a crucial proofreading step. Just know that I love bundt cakes but I don’t know why. (Note: if we order more of the first issue, we will fix the error. If you’re of an ‘I knew them when” frame of mind, you want to get in on the first printing.)
Lesson two: Putting your magazine on maximally heavy paper affects the way the middle pages are trimmed. They’re cropped closer to make the magazine pages line up when it’s closed. On a side note, heavy paper feels great.
Lesson three: When two poem/photo combos share a spread, pairing up similar pages leads to ambiguity.
Lesson four: Trust yourself more than you trust the Canadian Post. This is the biggest lesson of all. Don’t put out what you think people want, stand true to your vision and put out something you love. I can hold up a (surprisingly heavy) object that I helped make real. I flip through the pages and I’m both inspired and humbled. This is a singular vision, the kind of thing the corporate fashion monkeys dream of creating.
Lesson five: Don’t trust the Canadian Post.