DIN Poetry Magazine
DIN is a blend of poetry and apocalyptic, 70s, lo-fi graphic design. A friend of mine, who despairs to see illustrations of any sort sullying the page of a literary magazine, remarked of DIN, ‘It’s poetry presented as pop’. This was not intended as a compliment though I did, in part, take it as one. ‘Poetry is for poets’ is a familiar, if rather unfortunate, phrase. I hope that DIN’s design will mean that those who wouldn’t normally find a literary magazine in their hands might just do so.
But why in this day and age a printed poetry magazine? Why not online? It’s a valid point, all the more so for any magazine claiming to break from tradition. Online content continues to dominate, sales of magazines in general are on the decline, while those of literary magazines have always been notoriously low in the first place. All very true, but it seems to ignore the inherent aesthetic strength that the printed page has. For the written word, as well as for the still image, the magazine is a violently more arresting format than the computer screen.
This is not nostalgia or traditionalism. The magazine is a strong format and it has virtues newer technologies don’t. I won’t dismiss its limitations, they are broad and numerous, it is a restrictive format. Nor will I dismiss the strengths of newer technologies. As poetry has become ever more cross-discipline it has moved beyond the printed page in increasingly ingenious ways – from audio installation to sculpture or to phonetic computer programmes. But, looking to the past, ingenuity is as equally often born out of limitation and restriction. Let us hope that continues to be the case with the magazine format also.
With these concerns and the first issue of DIN in mind, our biggest regret is that we didn’t push this format hard enough, that the presentation is a bit pop, that the design works at its best when it’s less accessible. DIN 2 must be better.
Robin Jones, DIN Editor