book review
March 15, 2004

 

Kiosk art
by Brandon Whitehead

University publications tend to be suppressed by the incredible coolness of their big name, big dollar sports programs (or subsequently pimp out the place looking for more students to help pay for said sports programs...), but there are those few that most nobly aspire to become that strange and experimental chimeric beast known as a “student literature magazine.”



For KU’s 29th edition of its lit-mag Kiosk, designers Bryan Lisbona, Meghan McClain, Jill Nickleski and Lindsey Riechers (led with apt skill by their editor-in-chief Jessica Chapman) have used the four seasons as a loose guideline and visually created an interesting concept that does readily draw the eye. But by having four different contents pages that seem to be intentionally hidden in the middle, specific pieces can be a little hard to find...and since there are no page numbers, they also seem a little redundant.

The content is split by splicing the short fiction and poetry in with various mixed-media art and photography. While the writing itself seldom goes beyond the standard dream journals entry's and freshman poetry about new love in the dorms (love is the easily the single most boring subject used into contemporary poetry, folks), it's the complexity of the layout that makes this compilation both fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

Artistically, there's a little something for everyone here — a grab-bag of photography, graphic arts illustrations and even little doodlings are scattered thickly throughout the bits of text and, occasionally under it, which looks cool but unfortunately makes some parts hard to read. Of note are the works of Amber Heggestead, Tad Carpenter and Courtney Sweeney although once again, the lack of page numbers can make specific pieces hard to attribute or even locate sometimes.

The fiction pieces are a mixed bag, ranging from the truly compelling "Previous Tenant" by Sara Jordan and the cleverly metaphorical tale "Mitch and Fish" by Emily Edna Hall. Both pieces stand far above the others, which are less than interesting. Sandwiched in between all this is possibly the most truly journalistic piece, a non-fiction account by Jordan Tinsley of a poetry class for convicts at the Douglas County Jail titled “The Caged Bird Sings.” Tinsley shows a skill for balancing this piece, neither glorifying or condemning the program, but instead centering on the tiny breakthroughs that measure hope from behind bars.

For the first time, Kiosk comes with a CD recording of some of Lawrence's various musical groups and "Beat" poetry (now officially the most incorrectly over-used term in poetry today), highlighted by "Strawberry" by Anefera and poet Adrienne Bank's psychedelic reading of "The Nun of Silos.”

Sweet Sassy Molassy (watching a little too much Ray Romano, are we?) puts down a tasty little song called "Girls on the Wall,” and Josh McGuire (a k a. "The Pleasure Maker", which sounds like some kind of mechanical dildo...) adds a dimension with his funky recording of "Space and Time.”

Unfortunately, with only fourteen tracks the audio element of Kiosk pretty much leaves the listener wanting a lot more. Hopefully, the next edition will give more, along with some photos of the artists.



              
              
                 

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