Editor-in-Chief Kimberly Ann Southwick kicks off her new mag with a warm welcome to potential contributors:
The irony of our name is supposed to be that the small guy is the big guy to us. We don’t need you to be anyone we’ve ever heard of to consider putting your words out there: we just want you to be good at what you do…we merely prefer that you are multi-talented. We want you to be a musician and a writer; a painter and a poet; run your own brewery when you’re not building sculptures in your garage.
Small does, indeed, describe the journal’s format, which fits in my palm. Busy-at-more-than-one-pursuit may well be true of the journal’s contributors, but it is difficult to determine this from most of their bios. Peter Harren, for example, “started in 1984 and is free sometimes.” Max Goransoon is “an unassuming character of few words [who] lives in Brooklyn.” Jeff Laughlin isn’t in college anymore and enjoys it, he says. Shoni Lamar “would like to have an exceptionally cold corpse, not now, when he’s dead.”
The journal features poetry, short fiction, a personal essay (family memoir), book reviews, and a series of whimsical (though not always lighthearted) pen and ink drawings by Peter Harren. Jeff Laughlin’s poem “List” is characteristic of the style of much of the work in this inaugural issue, direct, unadorned language that means to be digested quickly in one gulp, even as it may be slightly off-center or inventive. The poem begins:
List, you sit anchored by a book of fictions and facing an oscillating fan.
I wonder what you hold in store for my roommate. Groceries? To-dos?
Inane drunken ideas?
No. You are a list of grand accomplishments – mountains climbed,
women wrested, missions accomplished, footprints scattered across the
globe like broken down cars on an interstate.
My favorite piece in Gigantic Sequins is the opening poem, “We Don’t Need Boats We Swim,” a short, accomplished poem by Ben Fama (who is, as is happens, indeed, multi-talented; he co-edits the poetry journal Supermachine, works with Ugly Ducking Presse, and is composing a chapbook.) The poem is deceptively easy, asks me to dig under the surface once I’ve realized my mistake in underestimating its impact, and leaves me wanting another Ben Fama poem. Just one more little sequin.