Trans⋅Plant issue 2
Litzine/Artzine, Sal Diem and Cam Thorpe, 24 pgs, email@example.com, 7$ or 10$ with postage
On the cover, is the antlered, tuque-wearing, foliage-bearded man licking his lips in a sensual way? Or is this the drooping tongue of a fresh kill? After reading, I still can’t decide. Trans⋅Plant is in fact a bit of a question mark throughout, at least for this reader.
Poems, a story chapter, illustrations, photographs, a short essay/critique on gay culture – all elegantly put together by some attentive people, to be sure. I had a bit of a hard time finding the thread that linked it together.
I hate to go in on zine writers who clearly have good intentions, work hard, and take their project seriously…but… The “Arid tales of Francois Saveuna (Chapter 1)” had the quality of a rambling pioneer tale (in which it’s hard for nearly any writer not to come off as a colonial cheerleader jerk) without the redeeming qualities of a discernable plot, interesting characters, or complex interactions with the history of settlement or the genre itself.
If indeed there is a thread moving through these contributions, it very well could be a fascination with the natural world or rural living. I confess that I may be a harsher critic than some when it comes to writing on those themes, especially when the lack of explicit acknowledgment of authorial identity defaults to whiteness. As a white critic, this is obviously my own assumption, but the way it plays out in this publication reads to me as a familiar, and unfortunate.
Is it unfair to read something in a different spirit than it was written? There is value in some of the work here, but it would be dishonest of me to write about Trans⋅Plant without actually confronting what strikes me as its most overarching, if unacknowledged theme. (Stéphane Doucet)