Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

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A labour of love, you might think—or madness—or obsessive determination. Whatever it was, something was driving the young Glen, and driving him hard. By 1965 (still working for Gibson’s) he started a new Scottish poetry magazine. It was called Akros. It was published three times a year for the next 18 years. “I was idealistic, innocent,” he says now. “I didn’t know about the competitive literary world.” Well, he would learn.

These days technology makes it possible for almost anyone to produce passable copy. It wasn’t always so. When Glen, his wife Margaret and their young son moved to Preston in Lancashire, the Adana went too. Once again, Glen was type-setting in the living-room. The print work was moved upstairs.

The reason for the move was Glen’s new job as college lecturer. From virtually nothing, he was helping to establish a BA course in graphic design, while running a not inconsiderable publishing enterprise from home. Not until 1967, did he allow any commercial printing of his publications. And even then, it wasn’t easy. Although the sheets of Akros now arrived fully printed, Glen and his wife had to “gather them”. Margaret then sewed them—by hand—into the covers. When their second baby arrived, her pram served the secondary purpose of transporting magazines for despatch to the Post Office.

Not until issue 18 of Akros was the whole process was given over to a commercial printer. By this time, Glen was printing not only lost or rare texts of Hugh MacDiarmid (which is where he started), his own poetry (pseudonymously) and the magazine, but also pamphlet first-collections of new Scottish poets.  (Alastair Mackie and Giles Gordon were Akros poets Nos 1 & 2 in 1966.)