SEIN UND WERDEN magazine
Single Issue: £3.00 + p and p; Year Subscription: £14.00
By Michael Murray
Just out, February 2008, is the new edition of Sein Und Werden magazine. Meaning ‘Being and Becoming’; this venture into new territory has been underway for some time.
Originally an online cornucopia of strangeness, metamorphic writing and imagery started by Rachel Kendall, this has turned into a real and fully fledged venture. But the magazine is only one dimension of their existence.
They deal in multiverses.
Sein Und Werden’s appearances in print have aspects of inventiveness, playfulness, serious intent. All are A5 size with regular layout; the print can create strange atmospherics through use of fonts. Issue Volume 2,/1 Rejectamenta, appeared as separate sheets of A5 contained within a white paper bag, sealed with publisher details etc, printed and hand written.
Take also, the Clowns/Dead issue, where half of the magazine on one theme takes us so far into the magazine, and then the alternate theme printed upside down will take us in from the back of the magazine. It is a beast of two fronts.
They also deal in isms: Expressionism, Existentialism, Surrealism; so much so that another offshoot of the Sein Und Werden matrix is a publishing venture: ISMs Press.
They are certainly not the sort to let a joke slip by.
And this brings in another aspect of the venture: humour. Yes, they have humour aplenty! How many times have we sat through righteous literaryness, righteous self-important literaryness …. Here is writing to play with, writing that plays, and writing that is not afraid to be ridiculously improbable, or inventive. That so old fashioned name comes back to haunt us. It has been dumped out in the back yard a long time: Imagination. Not the “what are you on?”, not the “I must get drunk more often!” but Imagination, the inventive and the risk-taking, the successful and the wholly playful.
It is worth taking time out to explore the many layers and levels, the links and the blogs, of Sein Und Werden.
Each magazine is themed; sometimes double-themed, as in the previous issue, Volume 2, Number 2, Autumn 2007. This was the mammoth ‘Send in The Clowns/Bring Out Your Dead’ issue. And for all those scared witless by clowns, all those with dead still yet to be buried.
The current issue is themed on fairytales, and titled What The Vulture Ate For Tea and other atrocities. You will not find material here for a sound night’s sleep. What can be more open to salaciousness than the innocent tale? But then, how innocent were they? The monstrous world of faery has always been dark. The world of faery is still detectable in our own time by the shiver under the skin.
Theming issues throws up interesting possibilities. Do we, therefore, hunt out material that coincides with the theme, or do we write specifically on the theme? Both, of course, and more. The happy accidents of the coincidental material can be exciting; the obviously written on theme can be devilish
You will find in issues of Sein Und Werden magazine echoes of William Burroughs, of, I think I’m right, the Russell Hoban of Riddley Walker, and most definitely of Douglas Adams. Not derivative, note, but picking up, tuning into the most incisive voices of American writing, and the joyous exuberance of English, American/English. And also there are many more tones and ‘notes’ I have not picked up on. You will find the excellent Juliet Cook; you will find fiction, poetry, images and pictorals. Online you will find much, much more.
Where else in magazine-land can we come across such a fertile blend?
The main factor in this venture is Rachel Kendall. It is her sensibility and meticulousness that has helped create the venture that is Sein Und Werden. She has gathered around her like-minded creatives: Spyros Heniados whose photographic images are a major feature; John Brewer, photographer, who has ably stepped into Spyros’ shoes handling Print Layout etc.
The cover art is always excellent, witness the startling “Eye am I” by Sherry Musick on the Clowns/Dead issue, coupled with the wonderful “Ghost” by John Brewer. The current issue Vulture, has an outstanding cover by Pete Garner.