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28 June 2010

Versal #8

It's been too long since we gave a shout out to Versal, and since they were kind enough to float us a copy of the new issue, all the way from Amsterdam, we figure today is the day.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Versal, like Amsterdam, is one of humankind's greater achievements, an inspiring mix of intelligence, social consciousness, thoughtful design, free bicycles, and buckets of legal drugs.

And as Amsterdam is home to Van Gogh, Versal is home to visual art as well as poetry and prose. Pictured below are Lucas Stoessel's mixed media Pebeta (100 x 100 cm, 2009), at left, and a detail from Bruce Humphries' ceramic installation, Through the Keyhole (15 x 6 x 4 in, 2009).

Versal is more than its texts, more than its content altogether. It feels less like a journal and more like a tribute to the work of its writers and artists. Smart and stunning design makes Versal the sort of journal whose contributors, when they receive their gratis copies, just freakin weep--yes, for they feel, beyond the usual excitement, that much rarer feeling: appreciation.

Given that TSky has been publishing work online for almost eight years now, it probably goes without saying that we're a fan of the medium, but the reason we publish a paper journal, too, as well as books, is because--aside from their being, well, um, independent of electricity--there ain't no substitute, as Grandma Tarp used to say, for holding a Versal in your hand. And you don't want to argue with Grandma--especially as she spent much of her so-called golden years in great pain, without access to free medical care and legal weed, unlike old folks in Amsterdam. She also used to say: Paper's got vibe, boy. Got soul. Your computer, all it's got is batteries.

Versal has vibe to spare. A matte-finish, heavy, textured, cardstockish cover binds what we're guessing is #80 (?) paper, off-white, with a lovely grain. Sustainably-sourced and partially recycled paper at that. Mmmmmm.

Among a million brilliant ideas in her editor's note, Megan M. Garr speaks of "technological colonization" and confesses, "as both editor and poet, I am implicated and appalled." To which we, having enjoyed very little sleep last night, say only, Tell it, sister, and add, We hear you. We appall ourselves on a regular basis.

Though, too, that old chestnut about "moderation in all things" seems applicable. We think Garr has little reason to worry, given Versal's commendable blend of internet savvy and and oldschool collectibility.

Versal #8 features new work from TSky Peeps Selah Saterstrom and Brandon Shimoda, TSky contributors Norman Lock and Dan Thomas-Glass, and a host of other greats: Carlos Barbarito, Simmons B. Buntin, John Carroll, Chung Ho-seung, Stacy Elaine Dacheux, Neil de la Flor, Michael Genovese, June Glasson, Siân B. Griffiths, Sabrina Harri, Kim Holleman, Colleen Hollister, Bruce Humphries, Laurie Junkins, Lotte Klaver, Deanna Lee, Karen An-hwei Lee, Evi Lemberger, Paul Lisson, Sarah-Jane Lynagh, Kuzhali Manickavel, Kevin McLellan, Amy McNamara, June Melby, Laura Mullen, Elizabeth O'Brien, Daniele Pantano, Carlos Pardo, Alex Piperno, Amy Purifoy Piazza, Carol Radsprecher, Jadon Rempel, Kerri Rosenstein, Maureen Seaton, Gregory Sherl, Brenda Sieczkowski, Kristine Snodgrass, Audri Sousa, Bianca Stewart, Lucas Stoessel, Stacey Swann, Bouke Verwijs, Siobhán Webb, Samuel Day Wharton, Mia You, and Elizabeth Zuba.

Versal is edited by Megan M. Garr (chief + poetry), with Sarah Ream (managing), Robert Glick (fiction), and Mirabai Lacazette (art), along with a fleet of others. Check them out, here: