Matchbook Magazine: One-Word Poems

By Morice, David | Word Ways, August 2012 | Go to article overview

Matchbook Magazine: One-Word Poems


Morice, David, Word Ways


Word Ways readers would be interested in knowing about Matchbook Magazine and the words created by its readers, who were part of the poetry scene instead of the wordplay scene.

This is an anthology of all the material that appeared in Matchbook Magazine, the littlest little mag to ever light up the poetry world. Each issue published nine one-word poems on one-inch square pieces of paper stapled in a matchbook. Matchbook flourished from 1972-1973, the first two years of the Actualist Poetry Movement in Iowa City. Joyce Holland, the legendary editor of the magazine, disappeared from Iowa City under mysterious circumstances many years ago. I am fortunate to have a complete collection of her Matchbooks.

Each issue was produced by typing the cover page, the preliminary pages, and the poetry pages on a single mimeograph stencil. The stencil was run through one of the late stone age mimeo machines at the Iowa Memorial Union. The print run was 100 copies for the first issue. The cost of mimeographing the run was about 80 cents, which was less than a penny an issue. The cover price was 5 cents per issue. The pages were stapled inside matchbooks donated by local business.

Matchbook Magazine Anthology is a collection of all of the one-word poems that appeared between Matchbook Magazine's covers for its complete print-run of fourteen issues. Contributors included poet Allen Ginsberg, comedian Pat Paulsen, and others. These issues would've remained in a box like baseball cards except that the avant-garde writer Richard Kostelanetz asked whether there was an anthology of Matchbook's contents available. I replied that I had a full set of the mags and could probably do an anthology in one evening--and that is exactly what I did.

Joyce Holland was a writer, editor, and performer. I remember her dynamic readings of poems of all sorts, for Joyce was not just a minimalist poet. She explored many of the possibilities of experimental verse, from verbal to visual to vocal. She created her own poetry, and poetry created its own her. She was an actress of charm and magic: She knew how to write the unwriteable and read the unreadable. She made language melt in her mouth and in her hands.

A
  MATCHBOOK NO. A
astrophobia              Darrell Gray cration                  Liz Zima
embooshed                Cinda Wormley feltit                   George
Mattingly grap                     Bruce Andrews & Michael Lally
john                     John Sjoberg markle                   Allan
Kornblum twords                   ira steingroot unvelope
Steve Toth
B
 MATCHBOOK NO. B
de-lighted               Morty Sklar echolology               Neil Ruddy
fornicile                Joe Ziegler fornification            Charles
Osenbaugh GASOLINE                 Andrei Codrescu pobble
Ron Silliman Riga                     Sotere Torregian scumbosis
Pat Dooley (found in Hoot Gibson) zombie                   Sheila
Heldenbrand
C
 MATCHBOOK NO. C
fungers                  Dave Morice goo                      Barbara
Baracks moink                    Maria Gitin puppylust
Pat Casteel shirty Peter             Schjeldahl
_____________ four onewords _____________
alien smoke bust deportee                 Anselm Hollo
D
 MATCHBOOK NO. D
cumt                     Tom Veitch electrelocution          Scott
Wright flitch                   Chuck Miller grapenuts                Al
Buck
meeeeeeeeeeeee         Duane Ackerson pooka                  David Gitin
screws                 Judson Crews toepads                Barbara
Gaston underwhere             Carol DeLugach
E / H
 MATCHBOOK NO. E / H                  (double issue)
NO. … 

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