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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

'Bathtub Gin' has national influence

Local literary magazine read around country

An avenue of creativity mixed with pizzazz, spunk and panache.\nA "bootlegger of ideas, untaxed and unregulated." \nSomething enchantingly mysterious that allows readers to delve into the minds of poets, writers of prose and the like.\nThis is Bathtub Gin.\nA Pathwise Press publication since 1999, Bathtub Gin is a literary arts magazine that originated in 1997 and has its headquarters stationed in Bloomington. The biannual publication's goal is to, "pour Gin down the throats of every billionaire, child, mongrel, self-styled artist, cursed individual and jolly fool in the world."\nThe most current edition, Bathtub Gin No. 10, features works by Todd Moore, Marge Mueller, Patrice Lehocky, Tony Brewer, G. Tod Slone, Dan Grossman, John Clark, Harland Ristau and many more. Contributions include entries of poetry, prose and creative art and photography. \n"From the very beginning, I had specific goals for Gin," said Christopher Harter, editor of the nationally recognized magazine. "It was to be eclectic in what it featured and a vehicle for work that didn't find a home in overly academic college journals." \nHarter's idea to start his own magazine began to brew while he was a student at Ball State University. Though he had been interested in writing poetry since he was a teenager, it wasn't until he surrounded himself with a group of "like-minded" individuals with whom he frequently attended local poetry readings that he came up with the idea for Bathtub Gin. The magazine didn't materialize at this time, but upon finishing graduate school at IU, he decided it was about time to get things started.\n"It has become one of a small group of really good [literary] mags that straddle the line between the academic and the street," Harter said. "I can happily report some success stories for the magazine ... it has been stolen from stores, found on Greyhound buses in Kansas, been touted by the late San Francisco poet Jack Micheline, traveled as far as India and [was] denounced by a Christian minister. What else can one ask for?" he joked.\nBathtub Gin has published works from writers and artists from all across the U.S. and some from several foreign countries. Harter said he tries to include local contributors in each issue ranging from long-time residents to IU students.\n"It's a way of providing great poetry and such to the readership of Bloomington while introducing its writers (and) artists to a larger audience."\nThough contributors don't receive monetary pay from Bathtub Gin, they do receive a complementary copy of the magazine and discounts on extra copies. The money the magazine makes from buyers luckily pays for future publications.\nContributing writer Tony Brewer is among those who submit their work free-of-charge.\n"Bathtub Ginlong-time fixture in the Bloomington literary scene … [it's] also well known in circles nationwide," said Tony Brewer, a published writer featured in Gin No. 10. "Chris has done an excellent job. I hadn't submitted anything anywhere for a while … but he and I have crossed paths at a few readings and open mics recently, so I submitted [something] and he liked it."\nBrewer's poetry entry in the magazine's latest edition is entitled, "Cody, Wyoming," which rhythmically portrays a boy's experience at a Bicentennial celebration.\n"Lately I've been trying to use "I" less and allow my images to do all the talking. As for content, I try to stay away from moralizing and projecting and just stick to what I know -- me and my experience. Besides, my poetry derives at least 50 percent of its value from its form so I keep my messages simple, and that's kind of what my message is anyway," Brewer said. \nJenny Kander has also contributed to past editions of Bathtub Gin and thinks that the magazine is a wonderful outlet for writers in the area. A Bloomington resident, Kander has produced a number of radio poetry programs on WFHB and WFIU radio stations. \n"I think it's great ... Bathtub Gin is a voice for Bloomington poets that can be heard, or in this case read."\nKander became a Gin contributor when she featured Harter on a number of her WHFB radio programs. \n"I love it. It's my life," she said. "One can't not write if one's a poet."\nHarter says one of Gin's best qualities is its openness.\n"I am happy to publish work from beginning writers," he said. "In fact, I've published work from high school students and others who have not had any work published before ... A lot of people don't realize that there is more to contemporary writing than the latest Stephen King or John Grisham," Harter said. "I've developed some outstanding friendships and been able to publish some outstanding writers … it's out there, people just need to search for it … there are a lot of presses and magazines out there for writers and readers willing to go beyond simple formulas."\nThose interested in buying a copy of the nationally acclaimed literary magazine can buy the latest edition, Bathtub Gin #10, for $5 at locations including Howard's Bookstore and TD's, CD's & LP's -- both found on Kirkwood Avenue. Past editions of the magazine are $3.50 and a year's subscription of two issues costs $8. Further ordering information can be found online at http://home.bluemarble.net/~charter/btgin.htm. \nThose interested in submitting entries to be considered for publication in future editions of Bathtub Gin can also find information on the publication's Web site.

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