A zine is a noncommercial, nonprofessional, small-circulation (maga)zine that is made and distributed by the zine makers themselves. Easy access to Xerox machines helped invigorate zine movements in the 1980s, though there is a longer history in print and DIY culture that connects zines to little magazines made by mimeograph as well as pamphlets, newsletters, and broadsides. The simplicity and accessibility of the zine form means anyone can make one with whatever tools they have available. As a poetic form, zines illustrate the portability and sociability of poems. The form demonstrates the relationships that zines create through circulation and reproduction.
The two zine poems included here, “Crude Futures” and “After the Amplify Energy Oil Spill,” explore the fissures in our global oil economy. I made the former in April 2020 after crude oil futures reached a negative price for the first time in history. The pop-up structure of this zine allows the reader to create multiple versions of the poem—each future is slightly different from the last. I made the second zine in October 2021 after a pipeline operated by Amplify Energy spilled thousands of gallons of oil (the final quantity still pending) off the coast of California. This zine, which flips through a series of words linked by two letters, explores the relationship between different forms of life and the systems that shape their ability to live. A reversible zine, getting to the ‘end’ of the poem means entering the beginning of another. Because I wrote these poems while physically shaping their forms—writing and revising based on the constraints of paper, folds, reproducibility—I view the “flat” versions of these zine poems as entirely different poems, re-formed to match the constraints of traditional book publishing.
After the Amplify Energy Oil Spill