Editor's Note --
Some real links
provided by the Mr. Wasserman
and Perihelion to help you
build a web site:
Cool Archive Web Graphics
Promoting your site
Free Webpages at Geocities
Free Webpages at AngelFire
Free Webpages at Fortune City
Free bbs, counters, and chat rooms
Web Monkey Wired Magazine's HTML lessons
Volume One, Issue Two
This Little Poem Went to Market ...
by Pamelyn Casto
Volume One, Issue One
The Fine Art of Finding
an On Line Workshop
by Pamelyn Casto
Pam's comprehensive list of
How to Start Your Own Zine|
___(or How I Sacrificed My Social Life
___ for You Ungrateful Bastards)
by Jamie Wasserman
Your mother thinks you're a genius. Your father thinks poetry is "cute".
He's more than happy to tape a poem on his office door (as long as it's
about lions eating other lions) but when it comes to his kid writing
it, well then, best not to tell the neighbors (unless they know of a
good therapist.) You've got an English degree, or you would have gotten
an English degree but a tragic love affair got in the way of school.
This love affair could have been with
a) a woman
b) a man
c) a woman and a man or
d) a substance whose name you cannot pronounce.
You've won three competitions sponsored by the National Library of
Poetry, watched Dead Poet's Society 12 times, and mailed Rod McKuen taunting letters reminding him that once again
he has been
denied that elusive Pullitzer. You're a
Poet (that's a capital 'P') and it's time to unleash your talent on an
The natural first step of getting exposure for your poetry is to send
your work out to glossy magazines whose names end in 'Review' or begin
with 'Journal of'. Wait four months for the acceptance letters and book
offers to pour in. Move out. Tell your parents you're on your way (note:
take only a six month lease.) Spend your time writing a manuscript that
will change poetry as we know it. Use commas in odd places-they're
highly underrated. Openly criticize e.e. cummings. Sign your name in all
caps. When the rejection letters come in, and they will come in, remind
yourself The Great Gatsby was rejected at three publishing houses before
it was accepted,* that no one would even look at Lolita. Squander the
rest of your money on Mad Dog 20/20 (grape preferably.) This kind of
thing builds character. It's the type of suffering that epics are made
of. Move back home.
You'll have three months to sleep in before your parents insist you look
for a job. Spend your time fantasizing about writing rejection letters.
In your head, they all begin 'Dear pussbagS' and end with 'toilet
paper.' Cut out the heads of models from fashion magazines and glue them
onto the body of the fattest guy in your high school yearbook. Watch
every nature special you can. Realize your place on top of the
food-chain. Eat nothing but red meat. This is how all great editors are
Turn on your computer. Put your ear close to the screen. Closer. Can you
hear the ocean? No? Good. There's still hope. Log on to the internet.
Did you know that 75% of websites are pornographic* ? This fact will
come in handy later. Begin your website.
[Note: due to space limitations, the editors of this zine have removed a
lengthy segment related to servers, HTML, web design, and a rather
extensive list of pornographic url's from Holland. As the author was
undoubtedly under the influence of something when he wrote it, the
editors did not think any of the article's value would be diminished by
You'll need a snazzy name for your zine. Something that indicates
1) you've got a classy site
2) you're better than the other zines
3) there might be nude pictures on the site.
The Hootenanny Review could easily be confused for an exhibition of
southern breasts. The New Yoiker Sucks will certainly gain a lot of sympathy readers. It¹s all in a name. I chose The Melic
Review for mine because
1) of the all-important Review¹ in the title, which lets people know right away they¹re dealing with
2) no one knows what Melic meansit could be sexual, it could be academic.
Take this to heart. Maybe it was Yogi Berra. The
point still stands.
Now it's time to promote your site. Use the newsgroups first. They're a
hotbed of writers, clamoring to get published. Make it clear that you
will take no less than Dylan Thomas type-stuff, that if you can make it
in your zine, you can make it anywhere, and that you don't pay a dime.
This is important to establish early. Some good newsgroups to try
include rec.arts.poems. misc.writing, or rec.arts.stories.sex.camels.
Remember, writers turn up in the damndest of places.
So now you've got the word out and the submissions have poured in. Both
of them. And they're both about ex-girlfriends or unicorns or
ex-girlfriends riding unicorns or ex-unicorns riding girlfriends
(depending on which newsgroups you posted to.) It's time to make friends
(or pseudonyms.) Call up your ex-girlfriend, the one who loathed unicorns and wrote all that
angry poetry about you. Ask to use some of it on your site. Get back
together with her, but only for the inspiration and the free material.
She'll dump you as soon as she realizes how much time you spend on the
computer anyway. Put out your first issue.
The literary world will be abuzz with your creation. For the next issue,
get 4 submissions. Reject all of them. This is the real satisfaction.
Critique often on the poetry forums. Tell them how you would have
written it. Make constant references to your zine. You're not out to
make friends. Curse at people on the road. Lecture teenagers about
running in the mall. Call your grandparents more. You're an editor and
no one else will love you like they do.
By the fourth issue, you've made it. Writers who only go by their
initials will send you stuff. People will ask you to write articles like
this one. Try to appear magnanimous. Talk about the energy you had when
you were young. Send out your stuff again. The mere sight of your name
should inspire enough fear that you will never be rejected again.
Get a job. Neglect the zine. Marry the ex-girlfriend. Have kids. Write
quiet poems about vegetables. This is how all great editors go. Publish
a book. Sleep with it at night. Divorce the wife after she says 'It's
the book or me.' Forget the kids' names. Uproot your vegetable garden
and set-up a cow pen. It's red meat or nothing. Befriend other editors.
Like wild dogs, they travel in packs. Remind yourself, you're an animal.
toothy, heartless, out for blood. Howl at the moon, pee on the
neighbor's fence. Let them know, this is your territory.
Get back on the internet and begin the process over again. Continue
until you're given tenure at a major university or you suffer liver
failure, go into cholesterol overload, or a teenager stabs you to death
with his skull earring. Contrary to popular belief, even editors bleed.
*indicates a made-up fact, necessary to support my argument. Do not try
this at home. I am a trained editor, a consummate professional, and a
Jamie Wasserman is
Co-Founder of the Melic Review
and Editor of Octavo
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