Zines – are informal, booklets of loosely themed photos or text (can be brief poetry) – pretty much hand printed, hand stapled, passed around. Instead of waiting for a publisher to notice your brilliance as a poet, you can print small zines – ideally with your own or a friend’s photos or illustrations to add visual appeal. Minimal office equipment and skills are needed. If you’re reading this on a computer with an attached printer, you’re halfway there already. By nature, zines tend to be less mainstream, more daring, and if you aim to write challenging poetry – this could be a great format to express yourself. Just 5 pages stapled together gives you 10 pages in which to express yourself. This suits zines, which are often about a small or simple theme, something which interests you for a few weeks, say.
And of course, something small and easy to slip in an envelope means they can become handy calling cards, samples of your poetic wares to give away. Or make in bulk and use for handy gifts for thankyou, happy birthday, holiday greetings. If you’re a creator and have a website listed on the zine, you can distribute your zines at will and know that an interested reader can find out more online.
Interested in making some?
Here are some videos to show examples of zines and easy ways to make them.
(I found this video inspiring because it literally shows the process and a collective is involved – lots of people with different styles. In the collective one, it’s an art zine with pictures, but you can also see zines with writing and hear a writer publicly reading at a zine event).
This next video is simply a guy flicking through zines, lets you get an idea of various look and feels, various materials and styles.