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Kinkos Goes To College: University of Iowa Acquires Zine Collection

zines research

Last month, I met up with a local dealer to sell some Canadian first editions, along with most of my small press chapbooks: cheaply photocopied, limited edition poetry collections by Toronto writers I knew a quarter century ago.

It's pretty strange, seeing slender little publications I paid a dollar or two for in the 1990s now listed for far more.

In the age of Tumblr, does anyone still hang out at Kinkos at 3 a.m. with a pocket full of dimes, running off "zines" -- those homemade poetry chapbooks, comics and music mags decorated with crude collages and "ransom note" headlines?

Or are they now -- literally -- museum pieces?

I really felt my age when I heard that the University of Iowa purchased the "Joshua Glenn Zine Collection," hundreds of ephemeral micropress offerings from the so-called "Zine Revolution" (1984 and 1993.)

Of course, zines date back much farther than that, as many were reminded after the recent death of Paul Williams, who started the music mag Crawdaddy in 1966, when he was seventeen.

But old hippie crap is one thing.

When did Gen-X stuff -- my stuff -- become Antiques Roadshow fodder?

(About the same time our music turned "retro," I suppose...)