Blind date

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Blind Date, from California, was a poetry zine that had two separate lives.

Blind Date Magazine was an 8.5 x 11” literary magazine that printed poetry, short fiction, journal excerpts, and featured an interview with a poet in each issue. The new version of Blind Date was in newsletter format, featuring critical and satirical works. Both were edited by novelist and poet Owen Hill.

Blind Date Magazine emerged from a workshop taught by Tom Clark at UC Berkeley Extension in 1986. The mimeo publications of the 1960’s and 1970’s were the guiding example, and when able, BDM printed new work by many of the same poets: Clark, Jim Carroll, Bill Berkson, Eileen Myles. At the same time, many contributors could be traced to the New College of California poetics program, both instructors and students: Clark again, Gloria Frym, David Meltzer, Adam Cornford, and others. A few poets saw their work appear publicly here first, before going on to more visible careers. Jules Mann, now director of the poetry society in London, Kevin Opstedal, editor of GAS Magazine, and Oakland artist Maria Porges all debuted in Blind Date Magazine.

After six issues, New Blind Date was born as a limited edition newsletter, akin to The Floating Bear, sent out to selected readers. Readership and ‘subscriptions’ expanded with each issue, but peaked at around 150 in a given run. New Blind Date was a no holds-barred treatment of the contemporary poetry scene, featuring reviews, gossip, satirical fictional interviews, and the occasional poem or story. Alice Notley, Andrew Schelling, Jonathan Lethem, Fielding Dawson and FA Nettelbeck all appeared in its pages.

Physically, Blind Date Magazine and the new Blind Date were products of the availability of personal computers, local copy shops, and the emergence of email as a means of communication. Covers were either ‘made-to-order,’ or reproduced drawings and collages by the same poets who appeared within. The Blind Date archives are housed in the Beinecke Library at Yale.

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