Thursday, 18 March 2010

Fuselit 15: Tilt

I've not seen this magazine before. Fuselit this time is hand-bound with orange ribbon and has a cover of 'jugshi tsasho' handmade paper from Bhutan, holed like a pinball table. It comes with a mini-CD and a bonus A6 booklet. Let's deal first with the bonus booklet - "Dr Fulminare's Bardgames". It involves game rules (for Dominoes, etc - my favorite is Jenga) translated so that they can be used to produce poems. I tried to assess the rules and the resulting poems together. The Domino rules were too loose (the poems ok) and the Scrabble rules too tight (a miracle that the poems exist at all). The Old Maid rules are just right, though I think the poem might have been stronger. I'm tempted.

Oulipo has various offshoots - Oucuipo (CUIsine), etc - but there seems to be no Oujeupo, which is rather a surprise given the Oulipo interest in chess. I think this booklet is a worthy contribution to the field.

Some of the poets in Fuselit have had books published by Penguin and Simon & Schuster. There's a surprisingly wide range: abba rhyme; shaped; haiku; a dialog; a 19 line poem where each line starts with the word "tilt"; and Nicelle Davis' "Disclaimer ..." which has a bit of everything - successfully so.

Is this the shape of things to come (either round or A6, but always holed)? As e-mags take over, perhaps paper magazines will need to flaunt their materiality in this way.


  1. Fuselit has been driven from the start by a bit of a gaming instinct, since each of the main issues is driven by a single word, the fuse that lights the making instinct -- in this instance the word is 'tilt'.

    So it's always interesting to see where the stimulus takes the poets, and it's also fun (and different) to have a connecting device of that sort. Once I think I would have relished writing that way, though now I can't do it.

    But I love the beauty of this little mag, the fact that it's so painstakingly put together by hand, while remaining somehow endearingly unpretentious. There simply can't be many people anywhere in the world doing anything like this. Even if all the poems inside were AWFUL the receptacle would be a joy forever. Or nearly forever.

  2. Cambridge Univ Lib had an exhibition of "Modern Private Press Books" - "In addition to sumptuous examples of letterpress and visual art, this exhibition includes a triangular book, a volume bound in stone, and a ‘deconstructed’ book reduced to an illegible object." Few illustrations are on the website
    but there's a list of works and a few links.

    Fuselit manages to combine interesting form and content - so do the poems inside. It doesn't feel gimmicky to me either.