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‘Boston Review’ is the poetic purge of a travelling artist

Boston Review

Zine, JM Francheteau, 14 pgs, @franchetoast

This Boston Review is definitely not the quarterly literary and political journal that has been published since 1975. It is a poetic, dejected, infatuated letter by JM Francheteau (of the zine Night Shift and many other titles), written to the city herself after what sounds like a bummer stop on a reading tour.

In a quarter-size zine with text blocks cut and pasted onto images of the author and company in and around Boston, Francheteau lays it out. His words are frustrated, but funny, and unpretentious as far as poetry goes. He frames Boston as a “half-listening bartender.” Having come expectantly for the poetry reading, Francheteau explains what he’s witnessed: clean streets, newsletters with racist editorials, and a $75 parking ticket, but little by way of reciprocation from the fair Cradle of Liberty. Perhaps it’s Francheteau’s late arrival to the reading, or that hardly anyone was there, or that the parking ticket capped off all the disappointment, but I’m reminded of my own most memorable touring bust. It was a portentous van breakdown in Marion, Indiana, sending the band and I home, tails betwixt legs, tour cancelled, and deep wounds to tend. It is not easy for the travelling artist to drag themselves into a town, offer their soul, and have the city and circumstance pay no heed. But that’s essentially the gig we sign up for. Francheteau’s poetic purge of unrequited loose ends is something far more productive than I was able to conjure from my experience.

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