03 March 2014

Literary Journal Launch: 'The Pass In Review' No. 1

Review: "The Pass In Review" Journal, Issue No. 1

In keeping with the newly launched literary journal's name—it's a pun on a command used in military drill and ceremony—The Pass In Review is a quick-step parade with plenty of flash, brass, ruffles and flourishes. While the content is not restricted to soldierly themes, the premiere issue features the poetry, fiction, photography, and artwork of more than 20 military veterans.

One of them, admittedly, is the writer of the Red Bull Rising blog. The issue includes, among other examples of his light military-themed verse, what may be the only poem ever written on the subject of working in a Tactical Operations Center ("TOC"). There is also one about making an on-line purchase of body armor. And one about life on a Forward Operating Base ("FOB") that is infused with Norse mythology.

Even without this potential bias, however, we would be excited by the prospects presented by this new collection of veterans' voices.

The issue is available electronically for $8.99 purchase via the Amazon Kindle Store. (Currently on discounted to $4.99!) For those who prefer ink-on-paper, the 82-page Pass in Review is also available as an 8x10-inch print-on-demand hardcopy via Amazon (around $18—currently discounted to $15) or via CreateSpace ($20). If you buy a print edition through Amazon, you get the option of purchasing the Kindle version for $1 more.

An annual Pass In Review anthology may also be in the works.

With their first effort, the journal's editors and designers have set their standards high. Check out this statement of purpose that's sure to stir both a writer's pen and blood:
The Pass In Review is a quarterly magazine for the arts that is focused on giving a strong, clear voice to the military veteran. This is a place for veterans of all backgrounds and nationalities to share their artistic visions and join the likes of Erich Maria Remarque, Joseph Heller, J.R.R. Tolkien, Kurt Vonnegut, Wilfred Owen, Otto Dix, John Phillip Sousa and Tim O'Brien before them.

It is a difficult endeavor to separate oneself from the cause he or she fights for. Those artists, those warrior poets, whose perceptions are forged through the fires of war are compelled to illustrate the funny, honorable, disgusting, beautiful and cowardly aspects of the human condition. Through their art, they are able to denounce the machinations of the press, the lies of politicians, and the ideal of the glorious soldier to expose the truth to share with future generations.
In an editor's note in the premiere issue, editor Alex Zapata thanks the hundreds of veterans who submitted their work, and anticipates more such successes:

"After a couple of months of prep work, we opened our inboxes to submissions and the result was incredible," he writes. "Stories, poems, paintings and photographs streamed in by veterans from all services. After going through all of the submissions, I realized how completely and utterly wrong I was. All that time, I had been complaining about there being no artists like the ones I listed before. The truth is, they are out there. They just haven’t been discovered yet. We at The Pass In Review hope to change that."

In issue No. 1, front-and-center of Zapata's artistic assault is the work of photographer Chase Steely, an active-duty U.S. Army soldier currently serving with 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team (S.B.C.T.), 25th Infantry "Tropic Lightning" Division (2-25th SBCT), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Steely was deployed to Eastern Afghanistan as an infantryman. After peers and leaders responded favorably to his photographic habits, however, he picked up additional and informal duty as a shooter of a different sort.

In addition to The Pass In Review cover photo, the issue presents 20 of Steely's images and an eight-page Q&A interview. In that exchange, Steely explains:
Even my Sergeant Major, who didn’t even know who I was ... I just became "the picture guy." I mean, I got in trouble a couple of times for stuff I posted [online] and they told me I had to take some stuff down but they were pretty supportive. Most of the time I was an RTO [Radio Telephone Operator], so that gave me the opportunity to be there and not have to worry about pulling security as much and just get to take photos. 
Even when I became an AG [Assistant Gunner] later on, they would pull me off that duty and just tell me "Hey, walk around and take pictures."
Despite the fact that he mostly used a small point-and-shoot camera, his eye for composition, color, and pattern delivers a fine-art treatment of the Afghan environment. Through Steely's viewfinder, you will encounter a day-to-day Afghanistan that seems almost magical.

Currently awaiting medical procedures related to injuries sustained while in Aghanistan, Steely has another year or two on his enlistment. In the meantime, he has self-published a 60-page photo book via Blurb, available in either print  or e-book formats.

Short stories in The Pass In Review's inaugural issue include:
  • "Illusion" by Micah Reel
  • "Dinner With the Anarchists" by T. Mazzara
  • "A Sign of Things To Come" by Keith Ryan Kappel
  • "Stream R" by Gerald Nutini
  • "The Boatman" by Brad Drake
Poems include:
  • "Bullet Proof Me," "Café Sessrúmnir," "Combat Patch," and "Quiet as TOC-rats" by Randy Brown
  • "The Cotton-threaded Manacles of Legal Tender will Leave Ligature Marks on our Children’s Wrists" by Phillip Smith
  • "Bird Flu" by Anthony L. Haskins
  • "Walking Point" by Brett Perry
  • "Fireflies" by John M. Koelsch
  • "A Ball A Bat and A Beer" by Michael Fredson
Visual artworks—including photography, sculpture, and painting—include:
  • "Can’t Patch a Wounded Soul with a Bandaid" and "Tiffany" by Edward Santos
  • "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" by William Medina
  • "Albatross" by Claude Freaner
  • "All I Am" by Kimberly Deliz
  • "Tesla's Dream" and "Angel's Nest" by Apolinar Peralta
  • "Apples Cubed" by Hugo Gonzalez
The submissions window for the second issue of The Pass In Review opened Feb. 1, and continues until April 1. The theme of the next issue is "Humor in the Military." Editors seek previously unpublished fiction, poetry, visual art, and music. Submissions are made through the journal's website. Click here for more guidelines.


Disclaimer: As indicated earlier in this post, the writer of the Red Bull Rising blog has work appearing in the poetry section of The Pass In Review's issue No. 1.

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