Alternating Current Press started in 1993, with cut ’n’ paste newsprint zines and photocopied chapbooks cobbled together by a pre-teen in a sprawled-out chaos on her parents’ living room floor. Some of the early published works are cringeworthily outdated and childish, but some of them are the good, solid pieces that defined the zine era at the turn of the millennium and captured the “outlaw poetry” scenes of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and the Midwest.
This collection is the good, solid stuff that kicked off a small, humble, indie press, preserved and archived for more than the literary scholar or the nostalgically curious—it’s presented here because the work is truly worth revisiting. You’ll see some of the same names over and over again, from the self-proclaimed ol’ bearded bard John Binns to the erotic, sexual, and über-fem-when-it-was-mightily-frowned-upon Laura Joy Lustig—those who were prominent and constantly active in the scene—and you’ll see a couple of one-poet wonders, who have since gone the way of pre-email long-lost and long-moved-away and no-longer-in-college-dorms mailing addresses. This is what survived the archival file fires, what the small press is proud to have captured, and what they’re proud to pass on.
While this anthology comprises several early editions, this is the first time these pieces, previously only found in out-of-print photocopied chapbooks, newsprint zines, and disappeared social-profile blogs, have ever appeared in paperback print and entirely together. The anthology combines photocopied books without ISBNs, spanning from 1997 to 2007, with single straggler pieces from various projects spanning from 1993 to 2013. The included publications, now in paperback for the first time, with their pieces published in the order they were originally published, are: Crackrock #1 (November 1997), Crackrock #2 (August 1998), Real-Life Poet (January 1999), The Literature Collection (July 1999), Punctuation (2002), Broken Livers & Broken Lives (1996–2006), Avenues & Parking Lots (2006), and the Myspace online netzine Medusa (2006–2007). This is now the only place that you can find these fantastic archived publications and pieces, featuring 147 Poems by 34 Authors.
Trigger Warnings: strong language, über-feminism, sexual content, drug abuse, alcoholism, pedophilia, stalking, homelessness, suicide, mental illness, depression, prison, war.
The Violet Ray Series is an archival preservation collection of chapbooks and limited-edition publications from the first twenty years of pre-digital operation at Alternating Current Press. The mission of the series is to preserve, reprint, and digitize the voices of the zine generation at the turn of the new millennium.