First, I like the name of this journal. It says something. This is a brand that can’t be matched. The Mad Hatter, of course, is an allusion to the character in Alice In Wonderland by that name.
What I like about this online journal is that they fuse different media into one package. I usually surf the Net with my laptop’s sound on mute because I don’t like landing on a website and having someone else’s favorite music blaring at me. Even if I like the kind of music that is playing, I just want to hear it unless I click a button that says “play.” Mad Hatters’ Review is the first website I’ve ever visited that has made autoplay easy on the ears. You’ll definitely want to un-mute your speakers when you land on this journal’s website.
Issue #9 is currently live, but you can also look through the archives of the previous eight issues. It is an online journal after all. Being an online journal, there is no subscription fee; it’s all free. That’s nice because, while I believe that artists and creators should receive something for their work I also know that with all the journals out there no one can subscribe to them all without breaking the pocketbook. Economics aside, however, the journal is a fresh gust of multimedia wind.
No. 9 is broken up into the following sections:
- Creative Nonfiction
- Wit & Whimsy
- Audio Features
- Audio Text Collages
- Featured Film
- Book Reviews
- Foreign Feature
- Comics, ‘Toons, & Parodies
That’s a lot of offerings, and let me say that it is not a let down in the least. While I didn’t find every selection something that I could sink my literary teeth into, I did at least find it to be literary. The journal’s tagline, “Edgy and Enlightened Literature, Art and Music in the Age of Dementia,” was right on.
If you click on any of the poetry selections in No. 9 you’ll be immediately transported to a visual landing page – that’s precisely what I’d call it. It’s a landing page for that particular poet’s work and you’ll see a visual image that is often created by someone other than the poet. Each poet’s landing page has links to several poems. Click on a poem’s link and you’ll be taken to the page where that poem is printed and an audio file will automatically play with some background music so that you can read the poem to a backdrop of music. Don’t want the music? Just click the pause or stop button and it goes away.
The same is true of the fiction and creative nonfiction categories, a visual landing page followed by your selections of prose accompanied by visual art and music. The fiction is all flash fiction, no long stories to read, page after page. They’re all fit for consumption in a single reading. Even the creative nonfiction. But it’s all accompanied by visual art and music, each medium created by a separate artist.
I’m not sure what a “whatnot” is, but I’m pretty sure you want to experience it. This is prose of some sort, though some of them border on illuminations, after the order of Verlaine or Rimbaud. Still, visual art and music to go with your reading and beverage of choice (bring your own).
The Wit & Whimsy section is humor, literary humor. Not Monty Python. But more like a carnival (the music) and Reader’s Digest with some high brow social verities. The Audio Features are just what they sound like – no text, just audio. You land on the page and an autoplay audio recording begins. Pure enjoyment.
The Audio Text Collage and Featured Film are the only two features that I found which required some action before you got to enjoy what was being offered (other than the galleries, which are presented as slide shows). I presume this is because of the nature of the media used for those productions. Done in QuickTime, the user has to press play before you can see, or hear them. I found them both to be quite interesting. The featured film, though it is prose, is what I think of when I think of a video poem, as opposed to a poetry video, which would merely be someone reading a poem on video. A video poem would be a poem voiced over interpretive moving images, which the featured film is, except that it is an excerpt from a prose work. Nicely done, though.
The Audio Text Collage is an audio recording with a visual. Another prose production, the audio recording is set to a visual of an old television, reminds me of the old RCA black & whites in the 70s, with the VHF and UHF turn dials. If you are 25 years old or younger you might not remember these. The screen is full of snow and the production, again, is a nice production titled “Jesus Epidemic.”
In all, Mad Hatters’ Review No. 9 is an excellent composition. The creators use the Millennial Poetics 10th column to great effect.
The publisher of Mad Hatters’ Review is Carol Novack. She was interviewed by Belinda Subraman on the latter’s Gypsy Art Show, a poetry and indie music podcast that I enjoy listening to. You can hear Belinda interview Carol by downloading the World Class Poetry Toolbar, and you can also access Mad Hatters’ Review from the toolbar as well as other online poetry journals and magazines. Look out, the future of poetics is about to get better. We’re on the edge of a breakthrough.