|The “Philias and Fetishes” edition of Sein und Werden (winter, 2008) is, in a word, a hoot. There are—as one might expect from any body of work dealing with kink—a fair share of dark moments. And those moments are rendered appropriately abysmal not only by the season, but also (as was my case in an Amtrack train heading south from NYC to Washington, D. C.) by the immediate weather (rainy) and by the presence of fellow travelers (dark, self-absorbed, thinking about, reading or writing, no doubt, their own likes, loves and obsessions) who clearly preferred to keep to the shadows.
What did I like about “Philias and Fetishes” and what do I like about Sein und Werden in general? Think of a football stadium filled with thousands of loud, garish, ball-busting types—then think the opposite. Better yet, imagine all of those thousands bound and gagged and left to dine on each other’s spoils in the kind of oubliette for which the London Tower gets a knowing nod.
What’s the content? To borrow from the Submissions Guidelines of Juliet Cook (editor of Blood Pudding Press and one of the contributors to this issue with two poems, “Older Woman Fantasy” and “Purple Speculum”): “poems; dreams; diary entries; short reviews; flash fiction; hybrids; collaborations; (and) sordid surprises.” There’s also a Q&A session by Roberta Lawson titled “The Temple and the Fortress.” It’s like no Q&A you’ve ever read before—and might not ever want to read again—but “in the night, their kiss is a handcuff” was quite possibly the most memorable evocation of either philias or fetishes in the entire compendium.
What did I miss from this paper edition that I was able to satisfy only once I could get back online? The contributors’ bios. I would’ve liked to get a sense of each writer at the same time I was reading his or her contribution. The fact is, almost everyone represented in these pages is a well-published writer or poet.
Sein und Werden (and this issue in particular) may be more jet stream than mainstream, but come on up where the ether’s still breathable—and grab a gasp. Dizzy it might leave you; ditsy it won’t.
Brooklyn, New York, USA