Seattle: PageBoy VI Preview/Party

It might seem a long distance from the erudite, braided fragments of Simone Sachs’ essay “BAGS,” with its references to Helen of Troy, Simone de Beauvoir and Keats, to the rowdy narrator of Annie Chou’s short story “I Love Me Some Film Festival” (“The festival’s going on now and there’s nothing I like better than squeezing my fat ass into those little chairs and getting all buttery at the movies”), but the strength of PageBoy’s editorial cohesion is that pieces as disparate as these two, supplemented by poems from Jeff Encke, Fred Sasaki, Rachel Kessler, Greg Bem and Nadine Maestas, feel part of a larger dialogue.

At times, the cohesion among pieces is conspicuous: three early works in the journal (Sachs’ essay, Encke’s poem “I Live Out of Habit” and Sasaki’s poem “Paris”), while formally unique, bear a connection to France and French culture. But more important are the subtle threads among the pieces, such as the yearning of Sachs’ lyric essay (“I would like a man to find me beautiful, la jolie femme, and for us to have sex, la petite mort, and for me to die from this world I have created, just a little bit”) blending into the want of Encke’s poem (“I wanted to live in balloons / brush against submarine species”).

The issue, PageBoy’s sixth, also features the patterned portraits and landscapes of Seattle artist Alfredo Arreguín, and his interview provides the figurative and literal spine of the issue. In a wide ranging discussion, Arreguín discusses his tricks for sneaking into theaters in his birthplace of Morelia, Michoacan, the reason he declined an invitation from a former First Lady, acting as a model for Raymond Carver’s short fiction, and the (artistic) nutrition to be found in public markets. Along the way, he offers a number of valuable statements about the artistic process: “Writers get to write and to go around this beautiful river or path and all of the sudden come to this spectacular place,” and “If you become very technical with painting, it destroys the ability of the painting to allow people to see it and travel wherever they want.”

Arreguín’s art provides another thematic link throughout the issue. Many of the poems included have a strong sense of doubling and repetition, as in Bem’s poem “Goodnight My Uncool Fantasy”:

The chance of additional white pills

is high.

The chance of place a pill on my tongue

is high.

Or Greg Bachar’s short prose piece, “Looking for Anti-Honey”: “He rose to leave but returned with a rose.”

Or the use of anaphora in Nadine Maesta’s poem “The Very Insistence of Hello”:

the very assurance of one’s hello

the very essence of one’s hello

the very nature and or incandescence of one’s hello

the very hello of one’s hello…

To celebrate the release of this issue, editor Thomas Walton is throwing a release party, Saturday, Oct. 26 at Blindfold Gallery ,1718 E. Olive Way. He promises wine, readings by Nadine Maestas, Rachel Kessler and Doug Nufer, comedy by Bettina McKelvey, and Funyuns.

 

Bill Carty