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zine review:

I Hate This Part of Texas/Keep Loving, Keep Fighting

In this 50-page meditation on place and grief, John Gerken and Hope Amico chronicle day-to-day calamity in their hometown of New Orleans. The great strength of I.H.T.P.O.T./K.L.K.F. #7 is its specificity, which is especially indispensable for those readers who may associate Hurricane Katrina more with satellite images than individual loss.

One of the devastating through-lines of #7 is the death in early 2007 of the authors’ friend Helen Hill, who was shot during the robbery of her house. Even before Katrina, violent crime was hardly uncommon, and this incident brutally illustrates the compounded tragedy that has become the norm. Both authors administer anaphora. Amico, for instance, filling a bitter passage with a series of “when” questions (“When do we get to move on? When do we stop memorializing empty houses…?”). In a different context, the device might wear thin, but here it seems to reflect a compulsive clinging to language, as though Amico and Gerken are taking solace in cadence.

Certain pages are missing, duplicated, or out of order, but this does not overshadow the storytelling, and, at times, even seems appropriate. What emerges most clearly is an obstinate, joyful attachment to the city. At one point, feeling melodramatic and somewhat envious of those who have left, Gerken declares “Fuck New York! I’m here! I’ll be here until this place kills me or until it becomes completely unlivable!” In moments like these, the zine provides a compelling self-portrait of the stubbornness that undergirds living in New Orleans. (Daniel Marrone)

zine, Hope Amico and John Gerken, issue #7, $2.50, P.O. Box 791639, New Orleans, LA, 70179, USA

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