Feels: The Lovesick Issue
Compilation zine, Hannah Browne & Sarah Vardy, issue 2, 56 pgs, Feels Zine, feelszine.wordpress.com, $18
Approaching such a nebulous subject as “feels” seems a risky endeavour for any creative magazine — especially one willing to accept submissions in such diverse media as poetry, prose, photography, drawing, calligraphy, collage, etc. A collection is only as good as its contributors, after all, and thankfully Hannah Browne and Sarah Vardy are able to nudge a hazy prompt into solid, sometimes powerful, directions.
Feels’ second issue traces out its contributors’ combined experience with lovesickness. It is, then, a well-executed creative study on the subject matter, short enough to avoid growing repetitive, and long enough to tackle the subject matter from unexpected angles, keeping the material fresh. Highlights include “A Blank Slate,” a short story by Altaira Northe, which begins on the model of a typical sick-lit novel, before unexpectedly flipping to reveal the gaps in that narrative, and an extra-romantic form of lovesickness which shines within the pages of a zine mostly concerned with romance.
Hannah Browne’s design work really stands out here; with a pink-white colour-scheme, a cardstock jacket, and a handful of high-quality photographs rendered in full-colour, the magazine is a treat to flip through. Little nitpicks include the aphorism “I am not what I am” printed below a stylish photograph of Zach McKendrick being attributed to Shakespeare ( should it not be Shakespeare’s Iago?) and the self-conscious specification of “craft” beer in more than one submission (should it surprise us that the lovesick poets among us are also self-appointed craft beer connoisseurs?). But these are petty gripes, well made up for with by the production quality and attention to detail that Brown and Vardy have put into this issue. (Joel W. Vaughan)