Review: Cokefishing in Alpha Beat Soup, July 2009

Various Authors
Poetry
2 pages
11” x 17” broadside
Alpha Beat Press
c/o Dave & Ana Christy
Sellersville, Pennsylvania
$1 each, $10 year
Review originally published on 7/2/09


Cokefishing is a monthly broadside, or in self-description: “a Beat / Post-Beat independent poetry Beatsheet dedicated to the small press and the way it used to be.” It is old-school cut ’n’ paste as submitted, poems, letters, prose, and pictures; and it has the feel of the early nineties zines, before the Internet revolutionized (although not everyone will agree on this word) the way the small press worked. The broadside, although sometimes sloppy from the cut ’n’ paste, feels good to read, makes me feel like the small press is still alive and kicking and not some corporate whore, as its current state sometimes suggests.

Cokefishing is full of names the small press knows: T. Kilgore Splake, R. Emolo, The Poet Spiel, H D Moe, Normal, even my name in this particular issue, if I am to say the small press knows my name. The flaw of cut ’n’ paste, of course, is that you take the product as it comes, which means typos, misspellings, commas in random places, all preserved on paper from the authors’ negligence or poor judgment, but not a flaw of the one laying out the broadside, per se. As an editor, that gets to me every time, and while I understand it’s the nature of the beast, I do wish writers would take more care with their work.

The standout poem of this issue is the controversial “in these final moments” by The Poet Spiel, a poem reflecting final thoughts of a passenger or multiple passengers aboard a September 11th flight doomed for the fate we know so well by now. Some snippets:

[ … ] i wish for
thirty violins to lift me up and out
of here [ … ]
for all of my life i wish
for greater bulk in my shoulders
for our united lunge forward
[ … ]

One copy, one buck. Can’t beat that.