Welcome! Bienvenue! Willkommen! Bienvenido!
It's a small world after all!
But if you're looking for fancy bells and whistles, you've come to the wrong place. And if you're looking for stories and poems that you'd enjoy reading in the Oak Room of the Algonquin, you will certainly be surprised to find instead echoes of the Chelsea Hotel and its boho ghosts flying around your head as you enjoy the Whirligigzine's rough and tumble, yet literate offerings. So, minimize all your other open windows, get a cup of coffee/snifter of brandy/a few tall boys and enter the fictional world offered by some of the most unusual talents to be found in today's lit world.
Over at that corner table we have Mr. Mamatas and Mr. Somers who've both been here before, when the Whirligigzine was much younger and didn't fly its zinedom flag in its title. One of them looks like he'd kidnap your wife and take her to Mexico for the weekend, while the other looks like he wants to shoot a stream of seltzer down your pants. The hard part is deciding who looks like whom. Interesting, these two, who helped build the reputation of the original Whirligig, both deal with the odd ways we age in their stories "April 29th" and "When The Man Comes Around".
That quartet playing poker at the big center table includes Karl Koweski, Mikael Covey, Kevin Dole 2 and August Bjorn. Bjorn's a high roller from out of town who needs a big score and he'll get it as soon as his picaresque novel The Prodigal hits the shelves. (If T. Coraghessan Boyle sat in on a few hands he'd be in danger of losing his shirt to Bjorn.) Koweski is the favorite to take the big pots though, storming fearlessly through losing hands and bluffing until he wins. Good thing he keeps all the real violence away from his game and in his story "Blood and Greasepaint at the Tombstone Bar and Grille". Newcomer Dole 2, who the others call The Kid, has more than a few tricks -- they're not up his sleeve -- and more than a few shocks in his humorously macabre tale "Weeds Is Weeds, Dead Is Dead". And Covey, giving nothing away, plays it close to the vest though he doesn't shy away from asking the the tough questions like "Who's in charge here?" as he does in his story "At Sea".
But don't think we're going to go soft with our poetry. Let me point out that the Whirligigzine's poetry editor, Rob Plath was once tutored by Allen Ginsberg. Of this association Rob says, "If you've ever read my writing you would definitely notice that I carry on his tradition of candor." Candor indeed. I'd say keep your eye on anyone who soaked in the aura of the man responsible for Howl and Reality Sandwiches.
Rob's own visionary, yet gritty and down-to-earth poetry will be very influential on the worldwide poetry scene as it is disseminated here at the Whirligigzine and elsewhere, both online and in the real world. And it is his vision that also allows him to spot some of the best poetry around and make it part of the Whirligigzine.
"I see poets writing about anything and everything," says Rob. "I see a looser, uninhibited poetry than ever before. I see the most freedom there has even been in poetry -- right now. The poems I've selected show no boundaries, have mega guts, are unaplogetically uncensored, and are raw, like 22 ounce ribeyes in the butcher's window. But there are also those that are delicate, joyful or optimistic, sprung from different impulses, but with the same result -- great poems. Some of them, in a real artistic highwire act, are even a mix of the two impulses. All of them pay careful attention to craft, but never allow mere craftmanship to overshadow the element of emotional release, a trap fallen into by too many academic poets, forced to create within their artistic cubicles. The poems I've gathered for the Whirligigzine represent modern poety at full throttle."
Flying around in this thing we are a ragtag bunch, some who we have ridden with before, some new to the beast. The previous version of me, Frank Marcopolos did a good job of feeding the 'Gig some fine meaty meals, while somehow still keeping the animal hungry for more. It was hard to up the ante when what appeared in the early Whirligigs engendered comments like Stephanie Holmes in the zinester's bible, Xerography Debt: "I can only strain to imagine what these writers' lives are like and what their day jobs are."
But it's still a tough crowd we have here and really, I wouldn't have it any other way.
J.D. Finch, Editor