The handmade literary journal Filter dictates the terms by which it is read: First, the pretty paint-by-numbers cover is carefully lifted, revealing a canvas box—like a box of fancy wedding invitations—filled with dozens of individual booklets. Each hand-bound booklet is stitched together with thread that's pink or blue or magenta; each contains a letter-pressed poem or poems or story, with a few art posters mixed in.
The amount of work that must've gone into creating 300 of these is staggering, and so Filter demands to be handled with care. Binding each contribution individually ensures that every poem and every story is plucked from the box and considered, from poet Becca Yenser's five lines on slaughtering a chicken to Sean Ennis' 19-page story about the evolution of a childhood friendship. Or my favorite piece, Elissa Washuta's "Preliminary Bibliography", which charts the author's autobiography through the books she's read, from I Was a Teenage Fairy to The Great Gatsby to The Okinawa Diet Plan.
Filter is a Seattle-based journal, but Portlander Emily Kendal Frey is one of the poetry editors; the Sunday, July 24, release party will feature readings from a handful of the Portland poets included in the collection. ALISON HALLETT