Little Magazines: The Product of a Wasted Life

Once an interviewer asked, “It says in Contemporary Southern Poetry that you are a prolific poet.  What causes you to write so many poems?”  My answer:  “I have suffered.  I was an introvert in the Tampa public school system.”
My torment as an alien in an extroverted school system began my urge to edit a little magazine.  I wanted a tangible revenge on a society whose values I despised.
                                                                                    Duane Locke
                                                                                    Editor University of Tampa Poetry Review

Sounds like Duane was stuffed in a locker or two back in the day when he was working on the yearbook staff.  Not sure if this is the best reason to start a little mag but, sadly, it is a common one.  Duane’s tangible revenge is subjecting readers, such as myself, to his “600 poems in over 400 different little magazines, a number of anthologies, and 12 small press books of poetry.”  That was the count back in 1986, I am sure he is still churning out his Lovesongs as a cure to his boyhood torments.

Until Jason Davis sent me a cover image of Duane’s review, I knew nothing about it, but the mimeo format caught my eye.  It is strange to see a university publication come in the form of a true mimeo production.  Strange enough that I will have to keep a look out for these early mimeographed issues to see what he was doing back then.  To hear, Duane tell it, the magazine did not get much support from the university.  Duane got a paycheck from the University of Tampa, but oh, the cost, the cost.  “I do not want anything around to remind of my servitude and sentence.  I have already started inking out all except ‘Poetry Review.’”  For an introverted guy, Duane is quite vocal in airing his grievances.  The University did not shut him down and some form of his little mag ran in the cultural backwater of the Sunshine State from 1962 til seemingly forever, which makes me think he must not have been publishing anything that interesting.  But what do I know?

Mr. Happy Face himself has appeared in some interesting places.  Blazek printed him in OLE.  He did not stand out in the OLEs I read, but Blazek saw something in him, which is a vote in his favor as far as I am concerned.  Referring to Harter’s index, Duane appeared in Grist, Mimeo, Black Sun, The Wormwood Review, Poets at Le Metro, Ghost Dance, Zahir, Blitz, Moonstones, The Goodly Co., Software, Dream Sheet and Avalanche.  I have not read a single one of these mags.  I find this as proof of the depth and diversity of mimeo publications.  Just when you think you have a grip on the scene, a whole new world opens up. 

Green Isle in the Sea documents some of this world.  I must say that for the most part I could give two shits about the magazines Green Isle featured but the essays are fascinating.  I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit.  Track down a copy pronto.  I have scanned some of Duane’s essay for you to enjoy.  It is too good to miss.  I hope this teaser encourages you to buy Green Isle.  The Bobby McFerrin of the mimeo world is great company on a pleasant Sunday morning.  All sunshine and rainbows.  “At the University of Florida, the leading literary scholars came to see me and begged me not to go to the University of Tampa, saying that I would waste my life at such a place.  At the time, I did not fully understand what the phrase waste your life meant, but now that I have wasted my life by teaching at the University of Tampa, I understand the phrase fully.”  Now I prefer the bouquet of FUCK YOUs from Fuck You , a magazine of the art to the University of Tampa Poetry Review any day of the week, but Duane’s essay in the Green Isle is every bit as sweet smelling in its raising of the stink finger to the University of Tampa.  A classic.  Highly recommended.  I love this guy.  Maybe we can snort some Zoloft together.  “The effects of snorting Zoloft are painful and severe.  If snorted not only does it taste bad, but it also causes severe pain in the nostrils, sinus cavity, ear, and head.”  Good times!!!



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