WORDS UNSPOKEN: Free or trade, 11” x 8 ½”, photocopied, 18 pgs.

Although I deduced it myself (the author is given on the front cover as “Period 6”), a note attached to this explains it as a compilation of responses written in a high school creative writing class. Mostly, it contains short stories and essays explaining adversity the students have had to overcome in their lives, as well as a few poems. The writing is rough-hewn, un-self-conscious, and generally pretty fucking awesome. The content tends towards some pretty serious times—drive-bys, losing family members, young pregnancies and abortions—but there is an incredible array of approaches people take in their writing styles, and the voices stand as well-rounded yet emphatically distinct from one another. Take this opening paragraph, which indicates a strong noirish writer: “One day I got stabbed. During the time that I spent healing, my mom sent me to my dad’s house so I could stay off the streets and get cured. Time was going by and school was already starting back in Watts.” Creative writing classes are funny—theoretically, people are supposed to just listen to their own unique voice and channel it to tell their story, so mediating that through an institution’s program seems counterintuitive, or even like meddling; however, I know a lot of people need a bit of guidance or encouragement to start following that voice, and after finishing this I was extremely thankful that all the writers within have begun to do that. This is a fantastic read. –Dave Brainwreck (5210 Gage Ave. Apt. D, Bell, CA 90201)