Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mercury, in ZYX

Mercury, the Dime was recently reviewed in the literary magazine ZYX. The editor is Arnold Skemer, who (I assume) also wrote the review. I’m actually not sure of the issue number – I’m guessing 40, but if anyone can confirm or correct this, please post a comment. I’ve only seen a tear-sheet/photocopy of the page, not the whole mag.

I hope Mr. Skemer will not object to my reproducing the review here:

MERCURY, THE DIME, Michael S. Begnal, Six Gallery Press, P.O. Box 90145, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, 2005, perfect-bound, 46 pp. 0-9746033-7-6, $6.99. Were it not for having previously read MOBILE by Michel Butor, I don’t think I would have made a point of this, but MERCURY resembles it with its sense of placement in “these United States.” There is movement across the map of signal locations that suggest some abstruse, contemplative quality, the underside of cities and towns, the varieties of descriptive experience: “...the Boyd Hotel,/ empty,/ its outside finish of plaster/ worn off/ ...the paint of its big mural.../ chipped and faded,/ its rates unreadable.” The faded landscape of the perpetually changing nightfall, the undramatic country that is unchanging. These early poems reveal the young poet in development. This ur-Begnal is suggestive of an interesting future which some of us have already encountered.

ZYX, 58-09 205th Street, Bayside, NY, 11364.

ZYX does not have a website, apparently, but issue 10 is online. An opinion piece by Arnold Skemer is also online. Reviews of recent issues of the magazine can be found at New Hope International Review.

(As an aside, the above photo is of the real Hotel Boyd, San Francisco, which, I have just discovered, has recently been renovated! When I wrote about it, in 1993 I think, it was in a fairly run-down yet still bizarrely intriguing state, seen from windows of a passing bus...) (The photo is by Mark Ellinger, from his excellent site.)

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