Little magazines and literary periodicals research guide: Special Collections and Rare Books

Cover of volume 4 of the SFU English Department's little magazine, Iron

Looking for archival materials and primary sources related to 20th + 21st-century little magazines and literary periodicals? Start your research here!


Special Collections and Rare Books (SCRB) has a significant collection of little magazines. “Little magazines” is a term used to describe minority literary and artistic periodicals, which published experimental and avant-garde writings produced by relatively unknown authors. The focus of these little magazines were generally more cultural than commercial, and thus, the writers and artists were afforded more freedom in deciding what to publish. The little magazine movement offered writers a chance to innovate, and take charge of all aspects of publishing their own artistic material. Writers became involved in editorial selection, design, and distribution of their books and little magazines.

Some of the most notable little magazines in British Columbia (B.C.) include: Contemporary Verse, pm magazine, Raven (UBC), Prism (UBC), Tish, blewointment, Sum, Talon, Imago, Limbo, Open Letter, Iron (SFU), West Coast Review (SFU), The Malahat Review (UVic), Pacific Nation (SFU), Elfin Plot, Air, Blackfish, Canadian Fiction Magazine, Event (Douglas College), Karaki (UVic), The Capilano Review (CapU), Three Cents Pulp, Titmouse Review, Room of One's Own, NMFG, periodics, and Writing.

SCRB stewards the archival materials and volumes of many little magazines. Each entry below provides a brief description of the materials, links to archival finding aids, Library Catalogue records, SFU Digitized Collections, or links to resources outside of SFU Library. For more materials related specifically to publishing and small press, see our Publishing and Small Press Research Guide.

Why are some materials "unprocessed"?

The work that archivists do in preparing materials for research use is called “processing.” This involves:

  • identifying and describing materials
  • making the materials discoverable by creating finding aids (like these pages), database records, and other tools
  • rehousing materials in archival-standard enclosures (like acid- and lignin-free boxes and file folders)

Because we want our users to know we have relevant holdings to their research, we list and selectively provide access to our unprocessed collections.

Interested in exploring an unprocessed collection? Contact us as early as possible so we can discuss details.

Archival collections

Artichoke Magazine (Paula Gustafson fonds)

Extent: 1.25 m of textual records and other material
Archival finding aid: MsC-67

Artichoke magazine was co-founded by Paula Gustafson, Mary-Beth Laviolette and David Garneau. Artichoke, an award-winning magazine, primarily introduces Canadian visual art and artists; its readers were from Canada and around the world. Gustafson was a life-long craft advocate and activist and has introduced the new concept that crafts ought to be categorized as fine art. Three special editions of Artichoke magazine highlight contemporary Canadian Craft.

The fonds consists of records primarily reflecting Gustafson’s career as a successful artist and editor, spanning approximately from 1978 to 2006. Textual records in the fonds primarily consist of Artichoke business records, correspondence with Hilary Stewart, financial records and other miscellaneous records.

Blackfish Press collection

Extent: [ca. 1 box]
Archival finding aid: MsC-171 [unprocessed]

Blackfish was a periodical founded in 1970 at Simon Fraser University by students Brian Brett and Alan Safarik. This unprocessed collection contains Blackfish Press ephemera, a poster, as well as signed and inscribed publications from the Press.

Coyote's Journal fonds

Extent: 1.5 m of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsA-31

The Northwest Review was a cultural, political, and literary journal published at the University of Oregon. In 1962 and 1963, the editor was Edward Van Aelstyn. The publication was suspended in 1963 but in 1964, Van Aelstyn and others began publication of a new little magazine, Coyote's Journal, and established Coyote Books.

The fonds consists of correspondence, manuscripts and typescripts of Coyote Books, Coyote's Journal, and the earlier Northwest Review, along with galley proofs, layout sheets, reports, and other material. Correspondence, much of it to editor Edward Van Aelstyn, includes letters from Robert Creeley, Ed Dorn, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Jonathan Williams, Ron Loewinsohn, Clayton Eshleman and Philip Whalen.

Dandelion Magazine fonds

Extent: [ca. 1.3 m of textual records ; 1 audio cassette]
Archival finding aid: MsC-137 [unprocessed]

The first issue of Dandelion appeared in 1975, and in 1979 Dandelion Magazine Society was incorporated to oversee the magazine’s publication. The magazine published innovative prose, poetry, and visual arts from writers and artists of local, national, and international renown until 2011. It was based in Calgary, Alberta.

The unprocessed fonds consists of files related to the publication of Dandelion Magazine, including invoices, cheque requisitions, bank statements, board bylaws, corporate registration information, subscriptions, advertising campaigns, minutes, promotional materials, grants, and correspondence. It also consists of copies of Dandelion and Blue Buffalo magazines, and chapbooks published by the Dandelion Magazine Society.

endnote fonds

Extent: 2 cm of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-71

endnote was a literary magazine based in Calgary, Alberta and edited by Derek Beaulieu, Russ Rickey, and Tom Muir. Six issues were published between 2000 and 2003. The fonds includes email correspondence and corrected proof copies of issues #3/4, 5, 6.

filling Station fonds

Extent: 73 cm of textual records and other material
Archival finding aid: MsC-73

The filling Station Publications Society formed in 1993 in Calgary, Alberta, for the purpose of publishing a literary arts magazine for the city of Calgary. Founding members include Tom Muir, Rob Brander, Brad Harris, Russ Ricky, Nicole Ethier, Theresa Smalec, Doug Steedman, Stephanie Rogers, Annette Perry, and Laura Authier. The first issue of filling Station appeared in 1994 under a mandate to promote innovative and original Canadian poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. filling Station magazine circulated 500 copies per issue circa 1995 under Managing Editor Blaine Kyllo. Derek Beaulieu was Co-Managing Editor of filling Station magazine from 1998–2001, Managing Editor and Poetry Editor from 2004–2008, and served on the board of directors of the filling Station Publications Society from 2003–2008.

The fonds consists of records documenting the establishment of the filling Station Publications Society in Calgary, Alberta, in 1993, and its ongoing business editing and publishing filling Station magazine,individual chapbooks and hosting literary events.

(f.)Lip fonds

Extent: 87.5 cm of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-213

(f.)Lip was founded in 1986 and was a quarterly publication of innovative feminist writing, including creative work, essays and reviews. It was co-edited by Sandy (Frances) Duncan, Angela Hryniuk, Erica Hendry and Betsy Warland. The newsletter was run out of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The fonds consists of textual records, including submitted manuscripts, paste-ups, editorial notes, subscriptions, correspondence, and other records related to the periodical (f.)Lip. The fonds has been arranged into the following two series: Editorial files, and Administrative and business files.

Io fonds

Extent: 6 m of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsA-32

Io was an American literary journal which published major new works of poetry and prose in the 1960s and 1970s. The fonds consists of manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs of Io (1-24) and the affiliated publishing house, North Atlantic Books. Correspondence with editors Richard Grossinger and Lindy Hough include that from Clayton Eshleman, Theodore Enslin, Robert Kelly, and David Wilk. Fonds also includes some financial records.

Iron fonds

Extent: 13.5 cm of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-20

Iron was a literary magazine founded in 1966 by a number of students associated with the Simon Fraser University English Department, many of them studying under the poet Robin Blaser. Principals included Brian Fawcett, Brett Enemark, Neap Hoover, Alden Gouden and Sharon Thesen. Fourteen issues were published between 1966 and 1972 plus another six published in a second series that ended in 1978. The fonds consists of correspondence, typescripts, submissions, subscription and business records, and other material.

Line and West Coast Line fonds

Extent: 9.4 m of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-27

Line was a literary periodical with an emphasis on modern innovative poetry. It was founded in 1983 by Dr. Roy Miki of Simon Fraser University English Department. Originally a journal of the [SFU Library Special Collections] Contemporary Literature Collection , it included both scholarly and creative work. Fourteen issues were published between 1983-1989. In 1990 the magazine merged with West Coast Review, another SFU English literary periodical, and became West Coast Line, the editorship continuing under Dr. Miki until 1999, when he was succeeded by Miriam Nichols, and later Glen Lowry and Jeff Derksen.

The fonds consists of correspondence, manuscripts, proofs; business and subscription records, and other material.

Open Letter fonds

Extent: 1.2 m of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-9

Open Letter is a Canadian literary periodical, and was founded in Victoria, B.C. in 1965 by Frank Davey, with the editorial assistance of fellow poets George Bowering, Fred Wah and David Dawson. Among its contributing editors since 1971 have been the visual arts critic John Bentley Mays and poets Victor Coleman, bpNichol, and Stan Persky. Its stated editorial goal has been to provide a space in which writers, visual artists, and literary scholars from various regions and communities within Canada could articulate and discuss with one another theories of art production, criticism, and the cultural role of literature.

The fonds consists of manuscripts and typescripts, galley and paste-ups, correspondence to editors (in particular, Frank Davey), unpublished and rejected manuscripts and printed copies of issues of Open Letter. Correspondence and manuscripts include contributions from George Bowering, bp Nichol, Daphne Marlatt, Margaret Atwood, Gerry Gilbert, Dave McFadden, Fred Wah, Warren Tallman, Victor Coleman and others.

NMFG fonds

Extent: [ca. 40.5 cm  of textual records]
Archival finding aid: MsC-15 [unprocessed]

NMFG (No Money From the Government) was a literary periodical that ran 24 issues between February 1976 and September 1978. Poet Brian Fawcett edited the magazine under the pseudonym Gordon Lockhead. As the name suggests, the magazine operated without Canada Council or other governmental arts funding. The unprocessed fonds consists of correspondence, manuscripts, a mailing list and other material.

Pacific Nation fonds

Extent: 7 cm of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-6

Pacific Nation was a little magazine edited by the poets Robin Blaser and Stan Persky in Vancouver, B.C. Only two issues were published in 1967 and 1969. The fonds consists of manuscripts, layout sheets, notes and miscellaneous records relating to the printing of Pacific Nation.

Resuscitator fonds

Extent: 9 cm of textual records and other material
Archival finding aid: MsE-4

Resuscitator was an English literary magazine that published seven issues between 1961 and 1966. The fonds consists of manuscripts by contributors to nos. 1-7 of the Resuscitator magazine, with accompanying correspondence. It includes approximately 320 items holographs, typescripts, photographs, lino block, etc.

Room of One’s Own fonds

Extent: 4.26 m of textual records and other material
Archival finding aid: MsC-61

Room of One’s Own is a quarterly literary journal produced by and for women. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the journal was founded in 1975 by Gayla Reid, Gil van Varsveld, Laura Lippert, and Laurie Bagley who called themselves the Growing Room Collective. Room of One’s Own is published by the West Coast Feminist Literary Magazine Publishing Society, through which the entirely volunteer collective continues to publish short fiction,creative fiction, poetry, book reviews, interviews, and artwork. In 2007, the journal was renamed Room in an attempt to re-brand the publication to indicate a more editorial tone and conversational nature.

The fonds consist of items related to the process of selecting, accepting, and editing manuscripts for journal publications dating from 1993 to 2006.

Sum fonds

Extent: 26 cm of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-81

Sum was a poetry little magazine published Buffalo, N.Y. and Albuquerque, N.M. Seven issues were published 1963-1965. B.C. poet Fred Wah was a co-editor. The fonds consists of correspondence and creative work (mainly poetry) submitted to the magazine to be considered for publication.

Talonbooks fonds

Extent: 119 m of textual records and other material
Archival finding aid: MsC-8

Talonbooks is the leading publisher of drama in Canada and has been publishing works by influential Canadian authors for over four decades. Its repertoire features authors of international stature, writing in the literary genres of poetry, fiction and drama, as well as non-fiction books in the fields of ethnography, environmental and social issues, cultural studies, and literary criticism. Notably, the company began as a little magazine called Talon in 1963. Talon later joined with a small local press called Very Stone House and published its first poetry books in 1967. The association with Very Stone House ended a year later, and the Talonbooks imprint started appearing by itself. In 1969, Talonbooks published its first drama title, Colours in the Dark by James Reaney and its editorial focus began shifting gradually more toward drama until it became the company's area of specialization.

The fonds consists of issues of the little magazine, Talon, production records, correspondence, manuscripts and typescripts, proofs and galleys, promotional material, reference files, and business records, including financial statements, transaction records, royalty statements, and inventory records.

Writing Magazine (Jeff Derksen fonds)

Extent: 4.12 m of textual records
Archival finding aid: MsC-105

Writing magazine records are part of Jeff Derksen fonds. Jeff Derksen is a founding member of Vancouver’s writer-run centre, the Kootenay School of Writing, and worked as an editor of Writing magazine. The fonds consists of records relating to the publication of Writing Magazine, issues 23-28, edited by Jeff Derksen and Nancy Shaw.

Books and other published material

Special Collections and Rare Books is also home to a number of monographs, journals, periodicals and magazines that focus on modern literature that are part of the Contemporary Literature Collection (CLC). The following subject heading links will lead you to resources in Special Collections. Try your own search, or expand to include all of the library’s collections.


This section provides researchers with examples of the literary journals and periodicals that Special Collections and Rare Books have in its holdings. Some of the holdings contain the whole run of the journals and some only selected issues. Some of the holdings contain only a single issue.

To see a complete list of journals in SCRB holdings please contact or try catalogue search using subject headings.

Literary magazine from the University of Calgary, founded in 1988.

Experimental little magazine with a specific focus on concrete and visual poetry, founded in 1963 by bill bissett and a small group of Vancouver poets known as the "downtown poets".

The British Columbian Monthly
Little magazine founded by Bob Amussen and Gerry Gilbert in 1972; a Vancouver cultural review and magazine of local writing.

The Capilano Review
Literary magazine founded by Pierre Coupey in 1972; The Capilano Review is known for its unique contribution to the development of West Coast Poetics and ongoing commitment to supporting innovative writing and art.

Coyote's Journal
Literary, cultural, and political periodical published at the University of Oregon in 1962; it was originally known as the Northwest Review, and the publication was suspended in 1963. In 1964, it began publication of a new little magazine "Coyote's Journal" and established Coyote Books.

Literary and visual arts magazine founded by Joan Clark, Edna Alford, Dale Fehr, and Velma foster in 1975, in Calgary, Alberta; focused on innovative prose, poetry, and visual arts from writers and artists of local, national, and international renown until 2011.

The Echo
Little magazine founded by Hank Johnson in 1975; a short-lived magazine of West Coast poetry and prose.

Academic literary magazine founded by David Evanier in 1972 at Douglas College in New Westminster, British Columbia.

filling Station
Literary arts magazine founded by in 1993 by the filling Station Publications Society, in Calgary, Alberta; focuses on innovative and original Canadian poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

Literary newsletter of feminist innovative writing, founded in 1987 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Little magazine founded by bpNichol and David Aylward in 1965 in Toronto, Ontario; focused on West Coast concrete poetry and prose.

Little magazine founded by bpNichol, David uu, Rob Smith in 1967 in Toronto, Ontario; the magazine focused on avant-garde and concrete poetry, and was distributed by mailing list for free

Little magazine founded by George Bowering in 1964; the magazine was a vehicle for the long poem, or poem series

Little magazine founded by Simon Fraser University students, including poet Brian Fawcett, in 1966.

Little magazine founded by David uu in 1971, and co-published in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Kingston, Ontario; focused on experimental, arcane, surrealist concrete poetry and typewriter art.

Little magazine created by Brian Fawcett in 1976, under his pseudonym, Gordon Lockhead; a personal literary and political magazine distributed by mailing list of poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews.

Open Letter
Little magazine created by Frank Davey in 1965 at Royal Roads College in Victoria, British Columbia.

Student literary magazine founded by Anne Cook and Hugh K.M. MacDonald in 1963 through Junior Achievement of British Columbia; later it developed into a magazine dedicated to emerging British Columbia poets and co-published several poetry chapbooks. After its final issue in 1968, editor David Robinson founded the new imprint and small press: Talonbooks.

Literary magazine founded by student-poets at the University of British Columbia in 1961. The publication was edited by a number of Vancouver poets until 1969. The newsletter's poetics were built on those of writers associated with North Carolina's Black Mountain College experiment.

West Coast Line
Literary periodical founded in 1983 by Roy Miki in the Simon Fraser University English Department; emphasis on modern innovative poetry and included both scholarly and creative work. In 1990 the magazine merged with West Coast Review, another SFU English literary periodical, and became West Coast Line.

Literary periodical founded in 1980 by Fred Wah, David McFadden, and Julian Ross at the Kootenay School of Writing in Nelson, British Columbia; an focused on challenging, experimental writing.

Other useful links: Beyond SCRB

SFU Library research guides

Need other resources beyond Special Collections and Rare Books, including current resources on this topic? SFU's subject specialist librarians create research and subject guides to recommend the best resources for your discipline, and the best search strategies, whether you are looking for books or searching specialised databases. Related subject guides include:

Reference works + websites

Other resources outside of Special Collections that are useful in researching little magazines include: