The Pannus Index – Review

The Pannus Index

#2 $5 (158 King St., Northampton, MA 01060)
by William Ham

In this day and age, when the independent press is so often given over to sociopathic opinion, childish ranting and overlong music reviews by unemployable writers (gulp), Northampton, MA’s Pannus Index is a glorious anomaly – an honest-to-peat lit’ry magazine in the style of The Paris Reviewer a low-budget Granta. This is their “Decadence and Satire Issue,” a real surprise as I thought most people in 413 use the first word as an adjective describing chocolate cake and thought the second referred to some kind of rubber company. (Just another example of the ignorant prejudice engendered by the government’s telesegregation of the states.) How wrong I was. The Index is subtle, daring, and sophisticated, in the tradition of “little magazines,” an American archetype in danger of being lost forever. As implied, the pieces in this issue either revel in the nastiness of humanity or straddle the fence, thumbing their noses at it. The “Decadence” half contains such seemingly self-explanatory titles as “Humanity – What A Bore,” “The Poet Lucifer Rejects Humility,” and “Think, Pig!” To say that any of these pieces are overwrought and heavy with intellectual cant is less a criticism than an acknowledgement of intent. The “Satire” half includes some sharp bits by Daniel Curzon (“The Tasteful Transvestite Goes to the Vatican”), Mark Axelrod (a hilarious account of a seven-card stud game attended by the great literary minds of the century), and a certain Jon Sarre. In the middle lies an interview with poet Errol Miller and a prose piece by some guy named Sal Dali. They’ve had trouble getting grants to support this endeavor, so subsidize it yourself with your patronage and help keep one of the last oases of the literary underground moist.

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