Perzine, Fish­spit, Is­sue 65, 1304 175th Pl. NE, Belle­vue, WA, 98008, USA, free (but send money for postage)

Broken Pencil - - Zine Reviews -

“Ev­ery time I hear a Cat Stevens song I think of that year I laid in Jessie’s bed guz­zling vodka and spin­ning her records.”

Well that’s is one hell of a way to start a zine. Our au­thor, go­ing un­der the moniker Fish­spit (no re­la­tion to the Mon­treal zine, Fish Piss), has been pub­lish­ing Wise­blood zine since 1984 and has since pro­duced more is­sues than zine le­gend Aaron Comet­bus — no small feat. Mix­ing weary hu­mour with hard liv­ing, these Bukowskian tales are coloured by both men­tal ill­ness and ad­dic­tion. The prose is not styl­ized but the im­agery is vivid and oc­ca­sion­ally melan­choly as Fish­spit es­chews lit­er­ary de­vices in favour of a more con­ver­sa­tional tone. Some­times com­pelling, other times dis­turb­ing, Wise­blood doesn’t sweat its blem­ishes, but rather, wears them with pride.

Wise­blood con­fronts its reader with a para­dox: the au­thor comes off as some­what of a marginal­ized out­sider, ad­mit­ting to strug­gles with ad­dic­tion and men­tal ill­ness, but at the same time he oc­ca­sion­ally uses prob­lem­atic lan­guage about oth­ers. At the cen­ter of it all is a sense of vul­ner­a­bil­ity. One story takes place at an an­i­mal rights demon­stra­tion where Fish­spit be­friends an Is­raeliamer­i­can who helps smooth over a tense sit­u­a­tion with a cop. He de­scribes his en­su­ing friend­ship with this man, con­fesses to what he de­scribes as his strug­gle with An­tisemitism, and de­scribes how his new friend helps him with his de­pres­sion. There are a lot of star­tling, un­ex­pected mo­ments like that which emerge from the wreck­age per­fectly formed. I have mixed feel­ings, but I can’t not ad­mit my fas­ci­na­tion with this au­then­tic­ity of this work. (Chris Landry)

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