13 October 2010

Classic Mags, Pt. 1

Thinking about magazine culture this week, I got a hankering to highlight some favs from yesteryear in an effort to isolate what works (for me) in a poetry magazine. Leland Hickman's Temblor is a bonified classica magazine I still find scattered throughout Bay Area bookstores in the often neglected journal section (if said bookstore even has a journal section! Props to Moe's and Green Apple). For me, Temblor stands as a kind of paradiscal model of what a magazine can be. The large 8 x 11 format means lots of room on the page, and lots of space for longer contributions. Notice how often the word "complete" appears on the cover? 

The design here is super simple and immediately offers up what's inside. The solid color changes with each issue. No nonsense here, for sure (this was certainly a model we were mindful of when designing ON: Contemporary Practice). And holy cow: take a look at Hickman's chops as an editor: Shurin's City of Men, Scalapino's Delay Series, Howe's Heliopathy, Cole's Letters of Discipline. And needless to say, these early issues are critical to scholars of late 20th-century poetry as many poems featured here only appeared here, or at least in dramatically different drafts.

I'm thinking now that it would be super useful to start digitizing the Temblor run, along with, say, ACTS, Maps, etc. Craig Dworkin has already started archiving crucial magazines such as LANGUAGE, THIS, Tottels, etc. at Eclipse. What do you think, Craig? Anyone interested in helping to scan?


  1. hey michael,

    funny, did you see this post i wrote a couple months ago?


    while i appreciate, been having the opposite reaction to Temblor.

  2. Sakkis:

    That's so funny! I remember thinking that I needed to sit down and read your post, but I never did! Temblor was kind of a lifeline for me as a younger poet, especially as I had no idea where to find books by most of the writers included. The complete sections were certainly the first sustained reading I did of many of my favorite poets, so there's totally an element of nostalgia for me as well. But I admit, too, to being totally drawn to the chaste editing of this mag. I'm way down with spartan editing, especially since I mostly like my art on the NOT FUN side of the FUN/NOT FUN/ NOT NOT FUN debate (or at least not always FUN, as I do like my fun! (but usually not in my art!)). Looking at Temblor #4 now, all that beautiful white space around Shurin's prose poems, or all the room for Howe's cut up and collaged stanzas, I'm immediately hooked again! And I totally dig the commitment to a specific community, putting heads in conversation over time; it's important to take this magazine in its context as well, as many of these folks, while kind of "famous" now, were certainly NOT "heads of the town" back then...

  3. I remember Susan saying that this was her favorite place to publish her work because she could essentially move direct from manuscrit to publication with only the slightest adjustments to the 'space of the poem' as they say. Post some more mags!