Sein und Werden, vol 2, no. 1, "Rejectamenta", ISMs Press, 2007. Pp. 56. £3.00.

Reviewed by Sarah Ann Watts

This print edition welcomes you with the statement, 'this is the flea-bitten rag with your name stitched on'. 'Come closer to see the offal, the slivers of rotting meat, the hooves and eyeballs, the decaying flowers and cracked skulls, the broken dolls and festering wounds.' At this stage the haloed part of me is trying to recall a pressing engagement elsewhere—while her sister with horns is wondering how the freak show is going to live up to the billing.

So does this collection of the 'best of the worst' deliver?

What strikes a new reader is the variety and richness on offer. There are 20 writers, artists and poets featured, short stories, poems, novel excerpts and artwork all brought together in a dynamic collection. It is the raw energy, variety and intensity in the writing that kept me turning the pages.

In '‘Urban Planning: Case Study Number Two’, Tim Horvath takes us on a strange journey through 'deserts lush with indifference' to Delagotha, City of Senses. In Excerpts from the novel, ‘Infirmative Actions’ by Fabian Delecto you can't tell where one excerpt ends and the others begin—the writer is drunk on words, multiple layers of meaning that shimmer to reveal the depths beneath,

'She reeled herself in like a line she was saving for later on the off-chance she would have to go fish. "Well, well, she said. Aren't you an open book?"'

Other highlights included Michael Loughrey's story ‘Bedrock’, a surreal fable featuring la Sirene, the Fish Wrestler, Sartre, the Cirque des Sybarites and a bizarre last supper. This tale repays more than one reading.

Among the poems, ‘Things I have put in my mouth’ by Corinne Holmburg, tells a series of tales through sensation, the minutiae of life with a sad and chilling conclusion.

‘Window’ by Mark Howard Jones begins, 'There he is again, the twin I'm not one half of'. It is a mirror tale when we are left uncertain as to who is on the outside looking in or on the inside looking out—a separation between lovers or a separation of self?

There is also the disturbing ‘Dog Days’ by Robert Levin and another disquieting tale, ‘Minna Had Red Hair’ by Jodie Daber, that gets under the skin and leaves an uncertain taste in the mouth.

The Rejectamenta issue of Sein und Werden regales the curious reader with the 'rich and strange' There are many other works worthy of mention – such as the ‘Cakeways’ poems by Juliet Cook and titles that sink hooks into imagination like the poem, ‘Lipstick Automatic’ by Matina L Stamatakis and the story, ‘Snowglobe Detritus’ by Bendi Barrett.

It promises a challenging and stimulating read beyond the comfort zone. There are elements that baffle and bemuse, others that act like an itch you can't scratch. I will certainly be looking out for future issues.

Purchase Sein und Werden online.

Home Current Back Issues Guidelines Contact About Fiction Artists Non-fiction Support Links Reviews News