Death of Culture: by Shannon Colebank, 14 pgs. By Keith

Apr 02, 2007

Is it a zine? It is a book? No, it’s a fourteen-page, spiral bound, full-sized chapbook of poetry! Copyright 2001! For four dollars postage paid! As someone whose own zine began more than ten years ago as an attempt at bridging the gap between punk and poetry, I realized that very, very few people are even remotely good at it, myself included. And that most people, punks and poets alike, don’t want that gap bridged. People like Dan O’Mahony and Wendy O-Matik have done a decent job bringing punk topics and ideals into some good, emotional, thoughtful, void-of-cheese poems, but they’re the only ones that immediately come to mind. I don’t think Colebank has the same intentions; I think he just wrote these poems, took ‘em down to Kinkos and paid an exorbitant amount to have this thing printed up. Frankly, I’ve been burnt out of the small press poetry scene since 1999 or so, and as an editor, have had to read more than my share of stuff like this. As an example of what Colebank is doing here, the last stanza of “Summary” does just that, summarizes and encapsulates the guy’s entire oeuvre in one swoop: “Feeding maggots sticky goo/ Of what is left of you/ Common suckers slurping slime/ Addicted to the corporate tit/ You might as well be eating shit/ Recycling Democracy/ Until there’s nothing left/ Goodbye.” It’s obvious, full of piss poor metaphor and imagery, rhymes, and reads like either the lyrics to every high school kid’s first punk band or, well, bad poetry. In my opinion, it’s overpriced, poorly executed and written, and Colebank would probably be better off, if he’s really serious about writing, by submitting his stuff to well-respected literary and poetry magazines and trying to learn from what those editors will have to say to him. –Keith Rosson ($4 ppd. from Whizzbanger Productions, PO Box 55981, Portland, OR 97228)