Zine, Elizabeth Robinson (editor), 60 pgs, above/ground press, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, ON K1H 7M9
Short on words and high on concept, Guest 11 is a delicate collection of prose, poems and short stories. Each edition of this journal from above/ground press features a different guest editor. When Elizabeth Robinson took the wheel, she invited nine contributors, all of them recent contacts from her life and work.
Not unlike lovely silly stuff like the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the first four Led Zeppelin numbers, it’s a good collection in terms of variety. Interestingly, Robinson wrote the fore- ward for this collection in early, early March 2020 — mere days before the COVID-19 pandemic truly began to ravage the planet. Thus, the zine already feels like a final artifact of a time that is never coming back. Given that Robinson chose poets and pals with whom she had recently communicated to be the contributors, it’s both recent and distant, and there’s a sadness, a kind of warp to the experience of reading it. This might not have been planned. But this is straight poetry here, and its grace is that it isn’t trying to do too much, nor be overly smart or pulpy or of the moment.
This is a passion project to be sure, and given the breadth and scope that these works offer, there’s probably something for everyone here.