Stacy Russo

Several of my zines are poetry zines. I also have two perzines: one is about my dream of opening a bakery/bookstore and the other is about all the things I love in my life (the latter was created in response to a culture that focuses solely on romantic love instead of the broader definition of love we can have). I also have a Love Activism pamphlet about daily, radical kindness.

City:Santa Ana
  • Poetry/Literary
  • Political/Social
  • Feminist/Riot Grrrl
  • Perzine

Logo/Graphic
  • Please upload up 2-5 additional images.
  • Please upload up 2-5 additional images.
  • Please upload up 2-5 additional images.

What are your current zines about?

I have a Love Activism zine about a daily, radical activism of kindness. I also have a zine about my dream of opening a bakery and bookstore. I have several poetry zines, too. One of my poetry zines, Waiting, is a feminist, autobiographical poem.

What methods do you use to make your zine?

  • Photocopying
  • Other

What type of binding do you use for your zine(s)?

  • Stapled
  • Hand-stitched

When did you start making zines ... and why?

I started making zines in the 1980s as part of the punk rock scene. My friend Jae had a zine titled Anti-Establishment and several of us collaborated with him. We received mail from all of the world. It just seemed like a very organic thing to do as a method of self-expression and as a way to make a political statement. In the later 80s and early 90s, I made a few poetry zines. I didn't make zines throughout most of my 20s and 30s. So, after a break of over 20 years, I started making zines again in my early 40s. I was surprised to discover there was a whole community and large events related to zines. Soon I'll be 50 years old making zines. 🙂

How do you create your zine content?

With the poetry zines, I tend to wait until I have a good number of poems to select from and then I'll just put a zine together. Others that are more memoir or activism related I first write out, sometimes in my journal, and then type up the content in a booklet format. A few of my zines have hand-painted covers or interiors, so that is part of the process with them.

Why do you think independent publishing is important?

It is incredibly important, because it allows everyone to have a voice, to create, and to put something out into the world. You don't need to wait for a publisher or some authority, such as a corporate sponsor, to tell you your work is worthy of publication. Zines allow you to completely bypass the whole corporate structure. You have absolute creative freedom. I can see the need for publishers in some cases, but it depends on what you are creating. I know that more people have read my poems through my zines than my poems that were published elsewhere. With zines there is no middleman - it is you, the creator/artist, and the people discovering your work in direct communication.

What does the future of zines and independent publishing look like to you?

I hope there will continue to be a thriving community of zine-creators that is safe and welcoming. I believe there will always be a need for direct self-expression.

What was your first zine called? What was it about?

Anti-Establishment, a zine created by my friend Jae, was a 1980s zine that several of us collaborated on, especially my friend Renie and I. It was a punk rock political zine. We wrote articles on feminism, war, human rights, and animal rights. Sometimes I believe we had band interviews. We were all kids at the time in our teenage years. It's really something to think back to those times. Those were the ultraconservative Reagan years, but for different reasons it seems worse now.

What is your favorite part of making zines?

The final moment when the zine is created is my favorite part. It is always exciting to see the final work and be able to share it with others.

What is your biggest challenge in making zines?

I suppose the courage it takes to put something out there, especially when you feel a strong connection to what you created, is the most challenging. People are overwhelmingly supportive, but when you put something out in the world you may also experience personal attacks, especially if you are creating something of a political nature. I believe many writers and artists types are introverts, so the public aspect of the sharing definitely takes courage.