Punk has generated a considerable amount of poetry and prose. Punk has its own underground press in the form of punk zines, which feature news, gossip, cultural criticism, and interviews. Some zines take the form of perzines. Important punk zines include Maximum RocknRoll, Punk Planet, No Cure, Cometbus, Flipside, and Search & Destroy. Several novels, biographies, autobiographies, and comic books have been written about punk. Love and Rockets is a comic with a plot involving the Los Angeles punk scene.
Just as fanzines, often called zines, played an important role in spreading information about different scenes in the punk era (e.g. British fanzines like Mark Perrys Sniffin Glue and Shane MacGowans Bondage), zines also played an important role in the hardcore scene. In the pre-Internet era, zines enabled readers to learn about bands, clubs, and record labels. Zines typically included reviews of shows and records, interviews with bands, letters, and ads for records and labels. Zines were DIY products, "proudly amateur, usually handmade, and always independent" and in the "90s, zines were the primary way to stay up on punk and hardcore." They acted as the "blogs, comment sections, and social networks of their day."
In the American Midwest, the zine Touch and Go described the Midwest hardcore scene from 1979 to 1983. We Got Power described the LA scene from 1981 to 1984, and it included show reviews and band interviews with groups including D.O.A., the Misfits, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and the Circle Jerks. My Rules was a photo zine that included photos of hardcore shows from across the US. In Effect, which began in 1988, described the New York City scene.
Examples of punk poets include: Richard Hell, Jim Carroll, Patti Smith, John Cooper Clarke, Seething Wells, Raegan Butcher, and Attila the Stockbroker. The Medway Poets performance group included punk musician Billy Childish and had an influence on Tracey Emin. Jim Carroll's autobiographical works are among the first known examples of punk literature. The punk subculture has inspired the cyberpunk and steampunk literature genres, and has even contributed (by way of Iggy Pop) to classical scholarship.
Punk arrived slowly in South Africa during the 1970s when waves of British tradesman welcomed by the then-apartheid government brought cultural influences like the popular British music magazine NME. NME was sold in South Africa six weeks after publication. South African punk developed separately in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town and relied on live performances in townships and streets as the multi-racial composition of bands and fan bases challenged the legal and social conventions of the apartheid regime.
Political participation is foundational to punk subculture in South Africa. During the apartheid regime, punk was second only to rock in its importance to multi-racial interactions in South Africa. Because of this involvement in the punk scene was in itself a political statement. Police harassment was common and the government often forced censorship of explicitly political lyrics. Johannesburg based band National Wake was routinely censored and even banned for songs like "International News," which challenged the South African government's refusal to acknowledge the racial and political conflict in the country. National Wake guitarist Ivan Kadey attributes the punk scene's ability to persevere despite the legal challenges of multi-racial mixing to the punk subculture DIY ethic and anti-establishment attitude.
In post-apartheid South Africa, punk has attracted a greater number of white middle-class males. Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance movement has complicated the position of white South Africans in contemporary society. Punk provides young white men the opportunity to explore and express their minority identity. Cape Town band Hog Hoggidy Hog sings of the strange status of white Africans:
It's my home it's where I'll stay and where I belong,
I didn't choose to be here I was born I might seem out of place
but everything I hold dear is under the African sun.
Post-apartheid punk subculture continues to be active in South African politics, organizing a 2000 festival called Punks Against Racism at Thrashers Statepark in Pretoria. Rather than the sense of despondency and fatalism that characterized 1970s British punk subculture, the politically engaged South African scene is more positive about the future of South Africa.