This is a zine by Leena Norms, who (among other things) gives very good book recommendations & life advice on YouTube. I’d never read a zine before, but I love me some good poetry and the concept seemed very exciting, so I gave this one a go. I loved it!
The zine holds enough poems to be a small book of poetry, but this medium makes it feel far more intimate. Rather than travelling through a publishing house, a printer, a distribution center and a book store this zine was sent to me directly from its author. Leena Norms shared videos on Instagram of the stacks of zines in her house and gave updates on the painstaking work of putting each zine in an envelope, addressing it and walking it to the post office, which made the project feel personal. (And a bit surreal, not gonna lie. As if this was Willy Wonka TV.)
The zine is very effective in bringing across the messy, exciting, sad feelings of your twenties (I think— I do have another four years of them to go); from nostalgia for childhood friends and defining your identity to thinking about activism and discovering your political views. The poems are full of alliterations that make them roll off your tongue or make you pause at the right words. Apart from that, they vary in style. Some are short, some are long, some use end rhyme, some use broken up sentences. Rather like our twenties, I’d say, where we experiment to find out what fits us (she says, sounding 80 years old).
I can relate to most of the poems very well, which is a wonderful experience. You may remember my review of Carol Ann Duffy’s The Bees and how disappointed I was that most of her poems were out of my reach. Leena’s poems do quite the opposite: I understand the references, I remember the news items (such as the burning of the Notre-Dame) and empathise with her feelings. The poems really speak to me.
The zine features artwork by Emma Hayden, which really adds an extra dimension to it as a work of art in itself. It’s also clear that thought went into the typography and the paper it was printed on. The zine even arrived in compostable packaging, which is the kind of attention to detail I appreciate!
As I’m writing this there are still some copies available. You can find doom rolled in glitter on Etsy for approx. 6 euros.
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