Diffference Engine

D.E. An irregular journal dedicated to writers of an experimental nature,focusing on visual poetry, word/image hybrids, but not limited to.

difference engine cover

Cover of first Diffference Engine zine. Picture by Josh Kil.


What inspired you to create it, and when did you start working on it?
Before this, I had been working on some poetry that had a 'visual' emphasis, y'know, where the appearance of the 'poem' was just as relevant as the content. Then I stole a book from the local coffee shop called the avant-garde tradition in literature and found that there were writers/poets/artists dating all the way back to the 40's that had been doing similar experiments, all of which were so spectacular, that they just naturally remains far from the mainstream. The book became a fountainhead of new inspiration for me as I began to research all of these writers, etc., and found myself right in the same boat as far as ideas and aesthetics go. But I found that, as myself, no one else knew of such a thing as 'visual poetry' (however ambiguous the term may be), and I decided to start making small little books of my own stuff and giving them to whoever gave a damn. Then I began discovering other little small press publications from around the country, with a similar attitude towards literature. They were all simple, unpretentious, fine little zine style publications, put out by (in my opinion) some of the best living writers around. Basically, I just wanted to do my part, realizing the political bullshit involved with big publishing companies. I wanted to make another forum for writers who haven't found their opportunities with the big leaguers (most of my contributors refuse to consider such nonsense)... I began the idea in mid '97.

What would you like to accomplish overall with this project?
Nothing accomplished but personal satisfaction. Hopefully a slightly wider audience for the authors/artists included.

Where exactly did you get the name DIFFFERENCE ENGINE?
A difference engine was an adding machine built by a scientist/mathematician/old crank named Charles Babbage in the 1800's. It was an ancient computing device used to produce mathematical, astronomical and navigational tables. I included the extra 'F' after a man claimed to have a publication under the same name, and asked me if I would change the name lest his readers confuse my 'lesser' magazine with his more 'prestigious' one.

How many contributors do you have & where do they come from?
Between 10 and 15. I could've had more but I was particularly selective about the initial issue.

Visual poetry by Christopher Meyers

'Night' by Scott Meyers.


How did you get your contributors?
Some I know, some I solicited and some submitted after viewing the website.

How long do you expect your magazine to be out ?
As long as I'm out.

How often do you print it? Monthly or quarterly?
It's irregular, maybe three times a year.


Interview by Dyhanne Padilla and Heather Bowden.