Category Archives: California

Evergreen Review

magazines & Presses

Evergreen Review

Barney Rosset, with Donald Allen for nos. 1–6
New York

Nos. 1–97, 98 (1957–73, 84).

Evergreen Review 2 (1957).

In 1957, with the backing of Grove Press, Barney Rosset and Donald Allen began editing Evergreen Review, whose early issues reveal “preoccupations with European philosophical and political debates, an enthusiasm for relatively accessible forms of American and European mainstream literary experimentalism and a compulsion to challenge censorship by publishing old and new ‘great outlaw masterpieces.’” The first issue included work by Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, and Henri Michaux, as well as an article on Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The second issue, the famous “San Francisco Scene” issue, featured Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, and others.

Evergreen Review 8 (vol. 2, no. 8) (Spring 1959). Cover drawing by Chris Jenkyns.

Evergreen Review 8 (vol. 2, no. 8) (Spring 1959). Cover drawing by Chris Jenkyns.

Evergreen Review was typically published in print runs exceeding 100,000 copies and thus was able to deliver the “underground” to a large audience. To many, particularly those waiting in the wings in small-town (and even not-so-small-town) America, Evergreen Review broadcast the first stirrings of the counterculture that would flourish within a few short years. Donald Allen left Evergreen after the sixth issue, and one can chart the magazine’s gradual decline from that point. Although the magazine continued into the 1970s,* the editorial movement was toward soft-focus nude photo-essays and pornographic stories, albeit printed alongside the staples, among them, Beckett.

*After an 11-year hiatus, issue no. 98 was released in 1984.

Evergreen Review 6 (1958).

Evergreen Review 6 (1958).

Evergreen Review 13 (vol. 4, no. 13) (May–June1960). “Provedied by” Roger Shattuck and Simon Watson Taylor.

Evergreen Review 13 (vol. 4, no. 13) (May–June 1960). “Provedied by” Roger Shattuck and Simon Watson Taylor.

Grove Press

magazines & Presses

Grove Press

Barney Rosset
New York


Donald M. Allen, ed., The New American Poetry 1945–1960 (1960).


Grove Press, named for Grove Street in Greenwich Village, started as a small reprint house in 1948. By 1951, when Barney Rosset became a partner (and then owner), the firm had published only three paperbacks: a book of poetry by seventeenth-century mystical writer Richard Crashaw, Melville’s The Confidence Man, and The Selected Writings of the Ingenious Mrs. Aphra Behn; the first book brought to Grove by Rosset was Henry James’s The Golden Bowl. Very much influenced by New Directions, Faber & Faber, and Chatto & Windus, Rosset soon introduced the writings of Beckett, Genet, Robbe-Grillet, Gide, and Ionesco to an American audience. Rosset believed in “combat publishing,” and his ongoing challenge to mainstream American sensibilities has landed him in court many, many times. He fought and won battles for D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer (for which he went to court in sixty separate state and local prosecutions, six state supreme court rulings, and a US Supreme Court hearing).

Douglas Wolf, Fade Out (1959).

Douglas Woolf, Fade Out (1959).

For many, Grove Press really defined the character of the international literary underground. Donald Allen, the first editor at Grove (other than Rosset), edited the anthology The New American Poetry 1945–1960, the importance and influence of which cannot be overestimated—San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain, Beat, the New York School, are all here brought together and center stage. This book might well be considered the “flash point” for the renaissance in literary writing and small press publishing that would flourish within a few short years of its publication. Along with its stable of European writers, Grove also published such Americans as Ted Berrigan (The Sonnets went through two printings totaling 6,000 copies), Paul Blackburn, William S. Burroughs, Hubert Selby, Jr., Richard Brautigan, Robert Duncan, and Charles Olson, among many others.

Irving Rosenthal. Sheeper (1967).

Irving Rosenthal, Sheeper (1967).

Grove Press books include

Allen, Donald M., ed. The New American Poetry 1945–1960. 1960.

Berrigan, Ted. The Sonnets. 1967.

Blackburn, Paul. The Cities. 1967.

Brautigan, Richard. A Confederate General from Big Sur. 1964. Cover from a painting by Larry Rivers.

Burroughs, William S. Naked Lunch. 1959.

Burroughs, William S. Nova Express. 1964.

Burroughs, William S. The Soft Machine. 1966. Cover reproduction of a drawing by the author.

Burroughs, William S. The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead. 1971.

Duncan, Robert. The Opening of the Field. 1960. Title page designed by Jess.

The Evergreen Review Reader 1957–1967. 1968. Edited by Barney Rosset.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. 1966.

Ginsberg, Allen. Journals: Early Fifties, Early Sixties. 1977. Edited by Gordon Ball.

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Helen in Egypt. 1961.

Jones, LeRoi. The Dead Lecturer. 1964. Cover photograph of the author by Leroy McLucas.

Jones, LeRoi. The System of Dante’s Hell. 1965.

Kandel, Lenore. Word Alchemy. 1967.

Kerouac, Jack. Mexico City Blues. 1959. Cover by Roy Kuhlman.

Kerouac, Jack. Satori in Paris. 1966.

Koch, Kenneth. The Pleasures of Peace, and Other Poems. 1969.

Kupferberg, Tuli. 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft. 1967.

Kupferberg, Tuli. 1001 Ways to Live Without Working. 1967.

Kupferberg, Tuli. 1001 Ways to Make Love. 1969.

Machiz, Herbert, ed. Artists’ Theatre: Four Plays. 1960.

McClure, Michael. The New Book/A Book of Torture. 1961.

Miller, Henry. Tropic of Cancer. 1961.

Miller, Henry. Tropic of Capricorn. 1961.

Odier, Daniel. The Job: Interviews with William Burroughs. 1974. Revised and enlarged edition.

O’Hara, Frank. Meditations in an Emergency. 1957.

Olson, Charles. The Distances: Poems. 1960.

Olson, Charles. Human Universe and Other Essays. 1967.

Rechy, John. City of Night. 1963. Cover photograph by Richard Seaver.

Reynolds, Frank. Freewheelin Frank, Secretary of the Angels, as told to Michael McClure. 1967.

Rosenthal, Irving. Sheeper. 1967.

Sanders, Ed. Shards of God. 1970.

Selby, Hubert, Jr. Last Exit to Brooklyn. 1964.

Tyler, Parker. Underground Film: A Critical History. 1969.

Woolf, Douglas. Fade Out. 1959.

City Lights

magazines & Presses

City Lights

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
San Francisco

Nos. 1–4 (1963–78).

City Lights Journal 2 (1964).

The very image of the counterculture, the City Lights Bookstore opened its doors on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood in 1953. At first, under the name of the Pocket Bookshop, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin sold only paperbacks and magazines; the name was changed in 1955 when the famous Pocket Poets Series began with Ferlinghetti’s own Pictures of the Gone World. The series and the bookshop flourish to this day. In 1956, a few months after the famous Six Gallery reading, Ferlinghetti published Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, causing a firestorm of controversy when he was arrested and tried for the sale of obscene material in 1957. Ferlinghetti was acquitted, and the powerful little book of poems has since sold over a million copies. The poem itself was a watershed work for the New American Poetry, and is still contemporary in its angry protest.

City Lights book. Charles Plymell, Last of the Moccasins (1971).

Charles Plymell, The Last of the Moccasins (1971).

Ferlinghetti started the City Lights Journal in 1963, basing it on such older and distinguished European literary journals as Botteghe Oscure and Transition and on the yearly American anthologies from New Directions. The entire Beat pantheon, including Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, Ed Sanders, Gary Snyder, and Neal Cassady, contributed to the first issue. The Journal did not stay on schedule, however; it numbered only four issues, the last of which was not published until fifteen years after the first. But the Journal was notable for the catholicity of its taste, combining writing from around the world. Under the City Lights imprint, Ferlinghetti has published a truly international selection of avant-garde literature, including works in translation by García Lorca, Rimbaud, Picasso, Prévert, Neruda, and others, as well as original work by almost all the Beat, Black Mountain, and San Francisco Renaissance writers. Ferlinghetti today is an incarnation of his own hero, Charlie Chaplin, a symbol of integrity, of a life lived for art. Chaplin’s famous film provided Ferlinghetti with the name for his equally famous and truly exemplary bookstore.

City Lights book. Denise Levertov, Here and Now (1957). Pocket Poets Series, No. 6).

Denise Levertov, Here and Now (1957). Pocket Poets Series, No. 6.

City Lights book. Nicanor Parra, Anti-Poems (1960). Pocket Poets Series, No. 12.

Nicanor Parra, Anti-Poems (1960). Pocket Poets Series, No. 12.

City Lights books include

Beatitude Anthology. 1960.

Corso, Gregory. Gasoline. 1958. Pocket Poets Series, No. 8. Introduction by Allen Ginsberg.

Di Prima, Diane. Revolutionary Letters. 1971. Pocket Poets Series, No. 27. Cover design by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Duncan, Robert. Selected Poems. 1959. Pocket Poets Series, No. 10.

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. Pictures of the Gone World. 1955. Pocket Poets Series, No. 1.

Ginsberg, Allen. Howl and Other Poems. 1956. Pocket Poets Series, No. 4.

Ginsberg, Allen. Kaddish and Other Poems 1958–1960. 1961. Pocket Poets Series, No. 14.

Kerouac, Jack. Book of Dreams. 1961. Cover photograph of the author by Robert Frank.

Kerouac, Jack. Scattered Poems. 1971. Pocket Poets Series, No. 28. Cover photograph of the author by William S. Burroughs.

Lamantia, Philip. Selected Poems 1943–1966. 1967. Pocket Poets Series, No. 20.

Levertov, Denise. Here and Now. 1957. Pocket Poets Series, No. 6.

Mailer, Norman. The White Negro. 1957. Cover negative of photograph by Harry Redl.

McClure, Michael. Ghost Tantras. 1964. Cover by Wallace Berman.

McClure, Michael. Meat Science Essays. 1963.

O’Hara, Frank. Lunch Poems. 1964. Pocket Poets Series, No. 19.

Parra, Nicanor. Anti-Poems. 1960. Pocket Poets Series, No. 12.

Pickard, Tom. Guttersnipe. 1971. Cover photograph of the author by Elsa Dorfman.

Rothenberg, Jerome, ed. and trans. Nine Young German Poets. 1959. Pocket Poets Series, No. 11.

Waldman, Anne. Fast Speaking Woman. 1975. Cover photograph of the author by Sheyla Baykal.

Watts, Allen. Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen. 1959.

Weishaus, Joel, ed. On the Mesa: An Anthology of Bolinas Writing. 1971. Cover photograph by Steven Lazar.

Williams, William Carlos. Kora in Hell. 1957. Pocket Poets Series, No. 7.


For further information about City Lights, the reader is referred to: Ralph T. Cook, City Lights Books: A Descriptive Bibliography (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1992).

Journal for the Protection of All Beings

magazines & Presses

Journal for the Protection of All Beings: A Visionary and Revolutionary Review

Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and David Meltzer
San Francisco

Nos. 1–4 (1961–78).

Journal for the Protection of All Beings: A Visionary and Revolutionary Review 3 (1969). Cover drawing by Eugene Hawkins Legend.


Similar in spirit and philosophy to Ark II/Moby 1, the Journal for the Protection of All Beings was one of the first radical ecology journals. The brainchild of Michael McClure and David Meltzer, it melded the anarchist thought of the 1950s (The Ark) with the pacifism evidenced in the very early journal The Illiterati, published in the late 1940s by Kermit Sheets and Kemper Nomland at the camp for conscientious objectors in Waldport, Oregon. The newest element in the mix was work from the San Francisco Renaissance poets. The first issue led off with Thomas Merton’s “Chant to be used in procession around a site with furnaces” and included work by all three editors as well as an interview with Allen Ginsberg by Gregory Corso, an interview with Ginsberg and Corso by William S. Burroughs, and Gary Snyder’s “Buddhist Anarchism.” This issue also reprinted two famous documents, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Declaration of Rights” and the famous statement by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians.

Journal for the Protection of All beings: A Visionary and Revolutionary Review 1 (1961).

Journal for the Protection of All beings: A Visionary and Revolutionary Review 1 (1961).

New Directions

Magazines & Presses

New Directions

James Laughlin
New York


David Antin, talking at the boundaries (1976).


“No Jaz, it’s hopeless. You’re never going to make a writer.” “Jaz” was James Laughlin IV, a bored college freshman who had taken 1934–35 off to study with Ezra Pound at the poet’s “Ezuversity.” Pound counseled Laughlin, “Go back to Haavud to finish up your studies. If you’re a good boy your parents will give you some money and you can bring out books. I’ll write to my friends and get them to provide you with manuscripts.” Pound was right about the money, although Laughlin didn’t wait for the manuscripts to roll in. In 1936, with help from his father and his aunt, he founded New Directions. His first title, New Directions in Prose and Poetry 1936, featured a poem, short story, and essay by William Carlos Williams, whom Laughlin had first published as an editor of the Harvard Advocate. Williams’s White Mule followed in 1937. Pound’s Guide to Kulchur was published in 1938. It would be easy to dismiss Laughlin as a gentleman publisher (Pound invariably did, when frustrated by delays or mistakes), but consider this: New Directions has kept Williams and Pound in print for eighty years. And they are just two poets on a list that includes David Antin, Apollinaire, Baudelaire, Edwin Brock, Ernesto Cardenal, Hayden Carruth, Cid Corman, Gregory Corso, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Richard Eberhart, Russell Edson, William Everson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, García Lorca, Goethe, H.D., Robinson Jeffers, Bob Kaufman, Irving Layton, Denise Levertov, Michael McClure, Eugenio Montale, Pablo Neruda, Charles Olson, George Oppen, Wilfred Owen, Nicanor Parra, Boris Pasternak, Kenneth Patchen, Octavio Paz, Raymond Queneau, John Crowe Ransom, Raja Rao, Pierre Reverdy, Kenneth Rexroth, Rilke, Rimbaud, Selden Rodman, Jerome Rothenberg, Delmore Schwartz, Stevie Smith, Gary Snyder, Nathaniel Thomas, and Yvor Winters—not to mention Buddha.

— Aaron Fischer, Fort Lee, New Jersey, October 1997

Jean Francois Bory. Once Again (1968).Translated by Lee Hildreth.

Jean-François Bory, Once Again (1968), translated by Lee Hildreth.


Kenneth Patchen, Poemscapes / A Letter to God (1958).

New Directions books include

Antin, David. talking at the boundaries. 1976.

Bory, Jean-François, ed. Once Again. 1968. Translated by Lee Hildreth.

Corman, Cid. Livingdying. 1970. Cover by Shiryu Morita.

Corman, Cid. Sun Rock Man. 1970.

Corso, Gregory. Elegiac Feelings American. 1970. Cover photograph of the author by Ettore Sottass, Jr.

Corso, Gregory. The Happy Birthday of Death. 1960.

Corso, Gregory. Long Live Man. 1962.

Duncan, Robert. Bending the Bow. 1968. Book and dust jacket designed by Graham Mackintosh. Cover photograph of the author by Nata Piaskowski.

Duncan, Robert. The Opening of the Field. 1973.

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. A Coney Island of the Mind. 1958.

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. Her. 1960.

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. The Secret Meaning of Things. 1968.

Kaufman, Bob. Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness. 1965.

Kerouac, Jack. Excerpt from Visions of Cody. 1959.

Levertov, Denise. The Cold Spring & Other Poems. 1968.

Levertov, Denise. The Collected Earlier Poems. 1979.

Levertov, Denise. Footprints. 1972. Cover photograph by Liebe Coolidge.

Levertov, Denise. The Freeing of the Dust. 1975. Cover photograph of work by Antoni Tàpies.

Levertov, Denise. Life in the Forest. 1978. Cover photograph by Harry Callahan.

Levertov, Denise. O Taste and See. 1964. Cover photograph by Roloff Beny.

Levertov, Denise. The Poet in the World. 1973. Cover photograph of the author’s desk by Suzy Gordon.

Levertov, Denise. The Sorrow Dance. 1966. Cover photograph by Roloff Beny.

Levertov, Denise. With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads. 1959.

McClure, Michael. September Blackberries. 1974.

Olson, Charles. Selected Writings. 1966. Edited and with an introduction by Robert Creeley.

Oppen, George. The Collected Poems of George Oppen. 1975.

Oppen, George. The Materials. 1962.

Oppen, George. Of Being Numerous. 1968.

Oppen, George. This in Which. 1965.

Patchen, Kenneth. Because It Is: Poems and Drawings. 1960.

Patchen, Kenneth. But Even So. 1968.

Patchen, Kenneth. Hallelujah Anyway. 1966.

Patchen, Kenneth. In Quest of Candlelighters. 1972.

Patchen, Kenneth. Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer. 1958. Cover photograph of the author by Ray Johnson.

Patchen, Kenneth. Poemscapes / A Letter to God. 1958.

Patchen, Kenneth. Red Wine & Yellow Hair. 1949.

Patchen, Kenneth. Selected Poems. 1957. Cover photograph of the author by Harry Redl. Cover design by David Ford.

Patchen, Kenneth. Sleepers Awake. 1969. Published originally by Padell Books, 1946.

Randall, Margaret. Part of the Solution: Portrait of a Revolutionary. 1973.

Rexroth, Kenneth. The Collected Longer Poems. 1968.

Rexroth, Kenneth. The Collected Shorter Poems. 1966.

Rexroth, Kenneth. Natural Numbers: New and Selected Poems. 1963.

Rexroth, Kenneth, trans. One Hundred Poems from the Chinese. 1965.

Reznikoff, Charles. By the Waters of Manhattan: Selected Verse. 1962. Introduction by C. P. Snow.

Rothenberg, Jerome. Poland/1931. 1974.

Rothenberg, Jerome. Pre-Faces & Other Writings. 1981.

Corinth Books

magazines & Presses

Corinth Books

Ted and Eli Wilentz; later Ted and Joan Wilentz
New York


David Ossman, The Sullen Art (1963).

One of New York’s literary landmarks was the Eighth Street Book Shop, which began in 1947 when brothers Ted and Eli Wilentz bought an old Womraths “bookstore” (really a lending library and card shop) and transformed it into a thriving center of literary activity. In addition to selling books, the Wilentzes began a small publishing concern in 1959. As Ted remembers: “Both of us were interested in publishing, so we jumped in. For a while we thought we might make Corinth into a full-fledged business, but that fantasy dwindled as time went on…. These new writers, then, began appearing sometime in the early fifties. They would come in the shop, often to leave their books….

Ted Joans, The Hipsters (1961). Text and collages by the author.

Ted Joans, The Hipsters (1961). Text and collages by the author.

There were many now-important writers whom I had the pleasure of working with and getting to know. LeRoi Jones, for instance, who today prefers to be known as Imamu Amiri Baraka. I met Roi when Hettie Jones, his first wife, worked as my secretary for a time…. I still recall the time when Ginsberg came to me and asked if I would lend him some money to bring Philip Whalen and Mike McClure to New York City for a reading…. Jonathan Williams, at some point, used to pack books for us at the shop. We did four books with Jonathan, and published them under the Jargon/Corinth imprint.” A remarkable number of important writers of the period were published by Corinth, including, in cooperation with Jargon, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, and Louis Zukofsky. Corinth also copublished books with LeRoi Jones’s Totem Press, including Frank O’Hara’s Second Avenue (1960), Gary Snyder’s Myths and Texts (1960), Ginsberg’s Empty Mirror (1961), and Kerouac’s The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (1961). For a number of years the press was active in publishing the work of promising young African American poets, including Tom Weatherly, Al Young, Clarence Major, and Jay Wright. Some of the second-generation New York Schoolers were also published by the Wilentzes, including Anne Waldman and Ted Berrigan.

Ted Berrigan, Many Happy Returns (1969). Cover by Joe Brainard.

Ted Berrigan, Many Happy Returns (1969). Cover by Joe Brainard.

Jay Wright, The Homcoming Singer (1971).

Jay Wright, The Homecoming Singer (1971).

Corinth books include

Berrigan, Ted. Many Happy Returns. 1969. Cover by Joe Brainard.

Di Prima, Diane. Dinners and Nightmares. 1961.

Ginsberg, Allen. Empty Mirror. 1970. Introduction by William Carlos Williams. Cover collage from photographs by Ann Charters and Elsa Dorfman. Revised edition.

Guest, Barbara. The Blue Stairs. 1968. Cover by Helen Frankenthaler.

Joans, Ted. The Hipsters. 1961.

Jones, LeRoi, ed. The Modems: An Anthology of New Writing in America. 1963. Introduction by LeRoi Jones.

Major, Clarence. Symptoms & Madness. 1971. Cover by Joan Wilentz.

Schjeldahl, Peter. White Country. 1968.

Waldman, Anne. Giant Night. 1970. Cover by Joe Brainard.

Warsh, Lewis. Dreaming as One: Poems. 1971. Cover by Joe Brainard.

Weatherly, Tom. Maumau American Cantos. 1970.

Wilentz, Eli, ed. The Beat Scene. 1960. Photographs by Fred McDarrah.

Wright, Jay. The Homecoming Singer. 1971.


For a more complete list of Corinth and Totem/Corinth books, the reader is referred to the list by Ted Wilentz and Bill Zavatsky, appended to their article “Behind the Writer, Ahead of the Reader: A Short History of Corinth Books,” which appeared in Tri-Quarterly 43 (1978) and is reprinted in Elliott Anderson and Mary Kinzie’s The Little Magazine in America: A Modern Documentary History (Yonkers, NY: Pushcart Press, 1978).

Totem Press

magazines & Presses

Totem Press

LeRoi Jones [Imamu Amiri Baraka]
New York


Charles Olson, Projective Verse (1959). Cover by Matsumi Kanemitsu.

Totem Press. Charles Olson

On the same small offset press, and as an arm of his magazine Yugen, LeRoi Jones’s Totem Press imprint published thirteen pamphlets, beginning with Diane di Prima’s This Kind of Bird Flies Backward in 1958. The press also published work by Ron Loewinsohn (Watermelons, 1959), Michael McClure (For Artaud, 1959), and Jack Kerouac (The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, 1961), as well as Charles Olson’s influential and much-admired Projective Verse in 1959 and Paul Blackburn’s Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit in 1960.

LeRoi Jones et. al. Jan 1 1959: Fidel Castro. Totem, 1959.

However, the most important (at least to Jones himself) of the Totem Books was the little six-page pamphlet he edited in 1959 as the second book of the press. Entitled Jan 1st 1959: Fidel Castro, it included poems by Joel Oppenheimer, Max Finstein, Gilbert Sorrentino, Ron Loewinsohn, and Jack Kerouac in addition to Jones’s own “A Poem Some People Will Have to Understand.” Jones’s arguments with his friends (then mostly white) over the relationship of poetry to politics caused him to reevaluate his own position on nonviolence and political action, which eventually led him to break with most of his white colleagues and friends. In late 1960, Jones entered into a relationship with Eli Wilentz of Corinth Books to copublish and distribute Totem Press titles.

Totem Press books include

Blackburn, Paul. Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit. 1960. Blueplate no. 3.

Di Prima, Diane. This Kind of Bird Flies Backward. 1958. Introduction by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Finstein, Max. Savonarola’s Tune. 1959. Foreword by Gilbert Sorrentino. Published by Laurence Hellenberg and distributed by Totem Press.

Jones, LeRoi, ed. Jan 1st 1959: Fidel Castro. 1959. Blueplate no. 1. Includes poems by Joel Oppenheimer, Max Finstein, LeRoi Jones, Gilbert Sorrentino, Ron Loewinsohn, and Jack Kerouac.

Loewinsohn, Ron. Watermelons. 1959. Introduction by William Carlos Williams.

McClure, Michael. For Artaud. 1959. Blueplate no. 2.

Olson, Charles. Projective Verse. 1959. Cover by Matsumi Kanemitsu.

Totem Press books in association with Corinth Books include

Dorn, Edward. Hands Up! 1964. Cover by William White.

Four Young Lady Poets. 1962. Includes poems by Carol Bergé, Barbara Moraff, Rochelle Owens, Diane Wakoski.

Ginsberg, Allen. Empty Mirror. 1961. Introduction by William Carlos Williams. Cover by Jesse Sorrentino.

Continue reading

Jones, LeRoi. Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note. 1961. Cover drawing by Basil King.

Kerouac, Jack. The Scripture of the Golden Eternity. 1960. Cover drawing of Kerouac by Robert LaVigne.

O’Hara, Frank. Second Avenue. 1960. Cover by Larry Rivers.

Oppenheimer, Joel. The Love Bit and Other Poems. 1962. Cover by Dan Rice.

Snyder, Gary. Myths and Texts. 1960. Cover and drawings by Will Peterson.

Sorrentino, Gilbert. Black and White. 1964.

Whalen, Philip. Like I Say. 1960.

Poets Press

magazines & Presses

Poets Press

Diane di Prima
New York


Alan Marlowe, John’s Book (1969). Introduction by Robert Creeley.


One of the most influential people in Diane di Prima’s life was her grandfather, Domenico Mallozi, a writer for the anarchist newspaper Il Martello (The Hammer) on New York City’s Lower East Side. His granddaughter followed in his footsteps, both as a writer and as an activist and internationalist, during the 1960s cofounding the New York Poets Theatre (which from 1961 to 1965 produced one-act plays by poets, with sets and decorations by a variety of artists), coediting The Floating Bear with LeRoi Jones [Imamu Amiri Baraka], and serving as a contributing editor to both Yugen and Kulchur.

David Henderson, Felix of the Silent Forest (1967). Introduction by LeRoi Jones.

David Henderson, Felix of the Silent Forest (1967). Introduction by LeRoi Jones.

From her apartment at 54 East Fourth Street in New York, and later from Kerhonkson in upstate New York, she ran the Poets Press. About its beginnings, she is characteristically to the point: “I bought a Davidson 241 and put it in a storefront…I went to ‘printing school’ for a week and learned how to run the machine (I was the only woman in the class), and I got on with it.” Poets Press published nearly thirty books, including many of di Prima’s own, as well as the first books of Audre Lorde, Jay Wright, and David Henderson, and works by Herbert Huncke and Michael McClure. Di Prima lived in Timothy Leary’s psychedelic community in Millbrook, New York, for six months in 1966–67 and published Leary’s Psychedelic Prayers in 1966. John Ashbery’s Three Madrigals was published in holograph reproduction in 1968. Di Prima moved in 1968 to the West Coast, where she continues her active involvement in poetry, publishing, and antiwar and ecological projects. She has taught in the Poetics Program at the New College of San Francisco and founded the San Francisco Institute of Magical and Healing Arts.

Diane di Prima, L.A. Odyssey (1969). Cover by George Herms.

Diane di Prima, L.A. Odyssey (1969). Cover by George Herms. 


Growing up in the fifties, you had to figure it out for yourself—which she did, and stayed open—as a woman, uninterested in any possibility of static investment or solution. Her search for a human center is among the most moving I have witnessed—and she took her friends with her, though often it would have been simpler indeed to have gone alone. God bless her toughness and the deep gentleness of her hand!”
Robert Creeley, “Foreword for Diane” in Diane di Prima’s Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems (San Francisco: City Lights, 1990)

Poets Press books include

Ashbery, John. Three Madrigals. 1968.

Creeley, Robert. Mazatlan: Sea. 1969. Printed at the Cranium Press.

Creeley, Robert. 5 Numbers. 1968. Cover design, rubberstamp print by William Katz.

Di Prima, Diane. Earthsong: Poems 1957–1959. 1968. Cover drawings by George Herms.

Di Prima, Diane. Hotel Albert Poems. 1968.

Di Prima, Diane. L.A. Odyssey. 1969. Cover by George Herms.

Di Prima, Diane. The New Handbook of Heaven. N.d., (reprint of Auerhahn Press edition of 1963).

Di Prima, Diane. New Mexico Poem. 1968. (There is a question as to whether this is a Poets Press book.)

Di Prima, Diane, trans. Seven Love Poems from the Middle Latin. 1965.

Di Prima, Diane, ed. War Poems. 1968. Cover by John Braden.

Doyle, Kirby. Sapphobones. 1966.

Duncan, Robert. Play Time Pseudo Stein. 1969. Cover by the author.

Henderson, David. Felix of the Silent Forest. 1967. Introduction by LeRoi Jones. Cover by Bret Rohmer.

Huncke, Herbert. Huncke’s Journal. 1965. Drawings by Erin Matson.

Leary, Timothy. Psychedelic Prayers after the Tao Te Ching. 1966.

Lorde, Audre. The First Cities. 1968. Introduction by Diane di Prima.

Marlowe, Alan. A Handbook of Survival into the New Age. 1964. Broadside.

Marlowe, Alan. John’s Book. 1969. Introduction by Robert Creeley.

Marlowe, Alan. To a Growing Community (to Allen Ginsberg). 1968. Broadside.

Matson, Clive. Mainline to the Heart. 1966. Introduction by John Wieners. Drawings by Erin Matson.

McClure, Michael. Little Odes, Jan.–March 1961. 1968.

Spellman, A. B. The Beautiful Days. 1965. Introduction by Frank O’Hara. Cover by Ross Perez. Drawings by William White.

Wright, Jay. Death as History. 1967.


magazines & Presses


Marc Schleifer, Lita Hornick, and others
New York

Nos. 1–20 (Spring 1960–Winter 1965).

Kulchur 1 (Spring 1960).


Throughout its twenty issues, Kulchur maintained the character of a magazine of high seriousness and wide-ranging interest and investigation, in this resembling the compendious Guide to Kulchur by Ezra Pound. Kulchur included commentary or criticism (rather than poetry or fiction) by most of the writers of the avant-garde, and in a variety of areas, including literature, film, theater, books, politics, and music.

Kulchur 4 (1961). Photograph of William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac in Paris, ca. 1955.

Gilbert Sorrentino, who edited Kulchur 4 and was associated with the magazine as a contributing editor for two years, remarks on its impact: “Kulchur evolved a review style that, for better or worse, has persisted in little-magazine writing to this day. It was personal, colloquial, wry, mocking, and precisely vulgar when vulgarity seemed called for…nothing was ever explained, the writing was elliptical, casual, and obsessively conversational. We had wanted a flashing, brilliant magazine that had nothing to do with the academic world and we had got one.” Among the high points of the twenty issues were Charles Olson on “Proprioception,” and Julian Beck of the Living Theatre on “The Life of the Theatre,” in issue 1. Subsequent issues featured Jerome Rothenberg and Robert Creeley on deep image poetry, Paul Blackburn’s article on The Black Mountain Review, Ed Dorn on Olson’s Maximus poems (reprinted from his Migrant pamphlet), Edwin Denby on Balanchine, Clayton Eshleman’s translations of Peruvian poet César Vallejo, and a good number of Ted Berrigan’s Sonnets. Covers were contributed by a variety of artists, including Franz Kline, Robert Indiana, and Joe Brainard.

The artistic community of the early 1960s was reflected in the instability of Kulchur‘s contentious editorial history: there were at least four single editors, including Marc Schleifer for three issues and Sorrentino and Jerome Rothenberg for one each; an editorial board consisting of Sorrentino, LeRoi Jones, Frank O’Hara, Bill Berkson, and Joseph LeSueur for several issues; followed by the single editorship of Lita Hornick, who was also the publisher and the financier for most of the magazine’s feisty life.

One of the most vibrant issues of Kulchur, no. 4, was guest-edited by Gilbert Sorrentino at Lita Hornick’s request. As Sorrentino recounted in “Neon, Kulchur, etc.,” TriQuarterly (Fall 1978):

“I asked Zukofsky (whom I badly wanted to begin to use the magazine for an outlet), Duncan, Ron Loewinsohn, and [Hubert] Selby for contributions, and they all responded. Zukofsky gave me ‘Modern Times,’ a beautiful essay on Charlie Chaplin, written in 1936 and never before published; Duncan sent his matchless ‘Ideas of the Meaning of Form’; Loewinsohn sent ‘A Credo Sandwich,’ a piece on poetics that complemented Duncan’s; and Selby, writing as ‘Harry Black,’ submitted ‘Happiness House,’ a bitter assault on New York State mental institutions. [LeRoi] Jones, as an editor, gave me a chapter from his as yet unpublished book, Blues People, and I asked Edward Dorn if I might reprint his ‘What I See in the Maximus Poems,’ originally published in Gael Turnbull’s Migrant. Paul Goodman sent a comment on the material that had appeared in number 3. An oddly curious Freudian study of L. Frank Baum, and in particular the Oz books, came in unsolicited from Osmond Beckwith, of whom I have never again heard, and seemed to me exactly right for the issue. The reviews were by [Fielding] Dawson, Jones, Cid Corman (on Zukofsky), [Joel] Oppenheimer (on Dorn), and Walter Lowenfels, who sent a review of Tropic of Cancer, written in Paris on the appearance of Miller’s novel in 1934 and previously unpublished. Marian Zazeela, Marc Schleifer’s wife, gave me a snapshot of Kerouac and Burroughs taken in Paris about 1955, and that became the cover; the title page identifies it as a photograph of Inspector Maigret and Sam Spade.”

Ted Berrigan and Ron Padgett, Bean Spasms (1967). Cover and drawings by Joe Brainard.

Ted Berrigan and Ron Padgett, Bean Spasms (1967). Cover and drawings by Joe Brainard.

Kulchur Press books include

Adam, Helen. Stone Cold Gothic. 1984. Paintings by Auste Adam.

Adam, Helen. Turn to Me, and Other Poems. 1977.

Antin, David. Talking. 1972. Cover by the author.

Berrigan, Ted, and Ron Padgett. Bean Spasms. 1967. Cover and drawings by Joe Brainard.

Brainard, Joe. Selected Writings. 1971. Cover and endpapers by Ron Padgett.

Ceravolo, Joe. Millennium Dust. 1982. Cover by Monica Da Vinci.

Clark, Tom. At Malibu. 1975. Cover by the author. Cover photograph of the author by Angelica Clark.

Elmslie, Kenward. Album. 1969. Cover and drawings by Joe Brainard.

Elmslie, Kenward, and Joe Brainard. Sung Sex. 1989.

Fagin, Larry. Rhymes of a Jerk. 1974. Cover by Ed Ruscha.

Ferrari, Mary. The Isle of the Little God. 1981. Covers by Jennifer Bartlett.

Giomo, John. Balling Buddha. 1970. Cover by Les Levine.

Giorno, John, and Richard Bosman. Grasping at Emptiness. 1985. Cover and drawings by Richard Bosman.

Greenwald, Ted. The Licorice Chronicles. 1979. Cover by James Starrett.

Hartman, Yuki. Ping. 1984. Cover and drawings by Susan Greene.

Hornick, Lita. Night Flight. 1982. Cover painting by Susan Hall. Back cover by Jennifer Bartlett.

Hornick, Lita. Nine Martinis. 1987.

Howe, Susan. The Defenestration of Prague. 1983. Cover from a drawing by Inigo Jones. Design by Susan B. Laufer.

Jones, Hettie, ed. Poems Now. 1966.

Katz, Alex, and Kenneth Koch. Interlocking Lives. 1970. Cover by Alex Katz.

Kostelanetz, Richard. I Articulations. 1974.

Lavin, Stuart. Let Myself Shine. 1979. Cover by Bruce Chandler.

MacAdams, Lewis. Live at the Church. 1977. Cover photograph of the author by Gerard Malanga.

Malanga, Gerard. Screen Tests: A Diary. 1967. Cover and illustrations by Andy Warhol.

Mayer, Bernadette. Poetry. 1976. Cover by Rosemary Mayer.

North, Charles. Leap Year: Poems 1968–1978. 1978. Cover and drawings by Paula North.

Notley, Alice. Waltzing Matilda. 1981. Cover by George Schneeman.

Owen, Maureen. Hearts in Space. 1980. Cover and drawings by Joe Giordano.

Owens, Rochelle. I Am the Babe of Joseph Stalin’s Daughter. 1972. Cover and drawings by the author.

Perreault, John. Luck. 1969.

Plymell, Charles. The Trashing of America. 1975. Cover by Les Levine.

Pommy-Vega, Janine. The Bard Owl. 1980. Cover and drawings by Martin Carey.

Ratcliff, Carter. Fever Coast. 1973.

Torregian, Sotère. The Age of Gold. 1976. Cover and pictures by the author.

Towle, Tony. New and Selected Poems. 1983. Cover painting by Jean Holabird.

Violi, Paul. Baltic Circles. 1973. Cover painting of the author by Paula North.

Waldman, Anne. No Hassles. 1971. Cover by Brigid Polk and art by Joe Brainard, Donna Dennis, and George Schneeman.

Waldman, Anne, and Susan Hall. Invention. 1985. Drawings by Susan Hall.

Warsh, Lewis. Blue Heaven. 1978. Cover by George Schneeman.

Poems Collected at Les Deux Mégots/Poets at Le Metro

magazines & Presses

Poems Collected at Les Deux Mégots/Poets at Le Metro

Dan Saxon
New York

Nos. 1–20 (December 1962–January 1965).

Poets at Le Metro 19 (December 1964).


During the 1950s, East Tenth Street between Third and Fourth Avenues housed a number of art galleries exhibiting the most advanced art in America on a street that until then had been occupied by pawnshops, pool rooms, and sheet metal shops. During that decade, the area became a primary stomping ground for the young Abstract Expressionist painters and their attendant theorists/promoters, Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg. Here, also, poet Frank O’Hara served as an important link between artists and poets in the East Village. Art openings became mandatory for “networking,” and several of the galleries along Tenth Street also offered poetry readings and jazz. The Tenth Street Coffee House, owned by Micky Ruskin, was the scene from 1960 until 1962 of the first poetry readings in the area (organized by Chester Anderson, Howard Ant, and Ree Dragonette, and including Carol Bergé, Jackson Mac Low, and Diane Wakoski among the readers). Ruskin then moved his cafe and the readings to a larger basement storefront at 64 East Seventh Street, christened Les Deux Mégots Coffee House. The Monday and Wednesday night readings organized there by poet Paul Blackburn were transferred a year later, in February 1963, to Cafe Le Metro, owned by Moe and Cindy Margules (Ruskin went on to open Max’s Kansas City, a famous nightspot frequented by Andy Warhol and other stars of the downtown art and music scenes in the 1960s).

Poets at Le Metro 8 (April 1964).

Poets at Le Metro 8 (April 1964).

At both Les Deux Mégots and Cafe Le Metro, poet Dan Saxon distributed Ditto masters to the readers, who would write directly on the stencils, and used a Ditto machine to produce a magazine that that he circulated for free. Among those who spoke or sang in the coffeehouses were Julian Beck of the Living Theatre, Ted Berrigan, Paul Blackburn, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Diane di Prima, Bob Dylan, Frank O’Hara, Gerard Malanga, LeRoi Jones, Denise Levertov, Charles Reznikoff, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Wieners, and Gregory Corso, most of whom also appeared in the pioneering mimeos produced by Saxon. In February 1964, Cafe Le Metro became the battleground for one of the most important First Amendment fights in New York City’s literary history. A city license inspector appeared at a reading by Jackson Mac Low and issued a summons, citing the New York Coffee House Law of 1962, which outlawed unlicensed “entertainment.” Enforcement of this law in such cases would have put the small neighborhood coffeehouses that did not serve liquor out of business, because cabaret licenses were expensive, and were accompanied by more stringent fire department codes and other regulations. The poetry community, led by Allen Ginsberg, Paul Blackburn, and Ted Berrigan, fought for and won the right to read poetry without a cabaret permit.

[Information adapted from Bill Morgan’s The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac’s City (San Francisco: City Lights, 1997).]


Magazines & Presses


jack green
New York

Nos. 1–15 (1957–65).

newspaper 12 [1962].


newspaper was part conceptual art, part political tract, and part zine. Between 1957 and 1965, fifteen issues were written, edited, and distributed by “jack green,” reportedly the son of novelist Helen Grace Carlisle. A Princeton dropout, student of gambling systems and the theories of Wilhelm Reich, actuary of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and then a freelance proofreader, “green” used his underground tabloid for cultural commentary and deliciously satirical (yet superbly well-documented) assaults against institutionalized publishing and book reviewing in America. jack green was quite vocal (some might even say fanatical) in his appreciation of William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, taking out a full-page ad in the Village Voice in 1962 to extol the virtues of a book he considered to be “as much the novel of our generation as Ulysses was of its.” His master critique was “Fire the Bastards!,” which originally appeared in newspaper 12–14, wherein he dissected the overwhelmingly negative criticism dished out to The Recognitions. Fire the Bastards! was reprinted by Dalkey Archive Press in 1992.

newspaper 8 (ca 1959).

newspaper 8 [1959].


magazines & Presses


John Wieners
Boston and San Francisco

Nos. 1–3 (1957–62).

Measure 2 (1958).


The three simple, almost starkly working-class issues of Measure followed glorious and overlooked “underground” poet John Wieners from Black Mountain College home to Boston, across country to San Francisco (issue 2), and back to Boston again. In his years in San Francisco, from 1958 to 1960, Wieners attended (sometimes serving as host at his Scott Street apartment) the legendary Sunday afternoon poetry workshops of the charismatic poets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer (editor of J). Also present at the workshops were poets George Stanley (editor of Open Space), Harold Dull, Robin Blaser (The Pacific Nation), and many others (including visitors such as Stephen Spender, teaching at Berkeley in 1959). These workshops were an outgrowth of the 1957 series sponsored by the Poetry Center at San Francisco State and held in a public room at the San Francisco Public Library. Measure 3, published in Boston, included West Coast poets Helen Adam, Madeline Gleason, Robert Duncan, Philip Lamantia, and Jack Spicer, as well as Charles Olson, Larry Eigner, and James Schuyler from the East Coast. Except for Adam and Gleason, all had also appeared in the first Boston issue.

Measure 3 (Summer 1962)

Measure 3 (Summer 1962)

The Floating Bear

Magazines & Presses

The Floating Bear

Diane di Prima and LeRoi Jones [Imamu Amiri Baraka]; later Diane di Prima
New York; later San Francisco

Nos. 1–37 (1961–69), and no. 38, The Intrepid-Bear Issue (1971).

The Floating Bear, a newsletter 12 ([August] 1961).


Named for Winnie-the-Pooh’s boat made of a honey pot (“Sometimes it’s a Boat, and sometimes it’s more of an Accident”), The Floating Bear, started in February 1961, was a mimeographed “newsletter” distributed by mailing list whose mission was the speedy dissemination of new literary work. Under the editorship of Diane di Prima and LeRoi Jones (guest editors included Billy Linich [a.k.a. Billy Name], Alan Marlowe, Kirby Doyle, John Wieners, and Bill Berkson), twenty-five issues came out in the magazine’s first two years. Contributing writers included Charles Olson, Robin Blaser, Robert Creeley, Philip Whalen, Paul Blackburn, and Ed Dorn, while Ray Johnson and Wallace Berman were among the many visual artists whose work was presented. This tremendous output was due at least in part to Jones’s experience as editor at Yugen and Totem Press and to his voracious working habits. Di Prima recalls, “LeRoi could work at an incredible rate. He could read two manuscripts at a time, one with each eye. He would spread things out on the table while he was eating supper, and reject them all—listening to the news and a jazz record he was going to review, all at the same time.”

The Floating Bear 28 [December] 1963. Cover by Alfred Leslie.

The Floating Bear, a newsletter 28 ([December] 1963). Cover by Alfred Leslie.

Occasionally a group would convene to put out the Bear. “In the winter of 1961–62, we held gatherings at my East Fourth Street pad every other Sunday. There was a regular marathon ball thing going on there for a few issues. Whole bunches of people would come over to help: painters, musicians, a whole lot of outside help. The typing on those particular issues was done by James Waring, who’s a choreographer and painter. Cecil Taylor ran the mimeograph machine, and Fred Herko and I collated, and we all addressed envelopes.” One of the recipients of Bear 9 was Harold Carrington, a poet who was in prison in New Jersey. The censor read his mail and objected to the contents of the issue, which included Jones’s The System of Dante’s Hell and William S. Burroughs’s Routine. Jones and di Prima were subsequently arrested on obscenity charges on October 18, 1961. Di Prima remembers, “I heard a knock on my door early in the morning which I didn’t answer because I never open my door early in the morning in New York City. In the morning in New York City is only trouble. It’s the landlords, it’s Con Edison, it’s the police, it’s your neighbors wanting to know why you made so much noise last night, it’s something awful, and before noon I never open my door.” There was a grand jury hearing, but after Jones’s two-day testimony, they failed to return an indictment. Jones resigned from The Floating Bear in 1963 after issue 25. Di Prima moved briefly to California in 1962 and the magazine came out irregularly over the next several years, culminating in a very large issue in 1971 guest-edited by Allen De Loach in Buffalo. It was called The Intrepid-Bear Issue: Intrepid 20/Floating Bear 38.

Floating Bear 37 [March–July] 1969. Cover by Wallace Berman.

The Floating Bear, a newsletter 37 ([March–July] 1969). Cover by Wallace Berman.


Magazines & Presses


LeRoi Jones [Imamu Amiri Baraka] and
Hettie Cohen (assistant editor for nos. 6–8)

New York

Nos. 1–8 (1958–62).

Covers by Norman Bluhm (7), Fielding Dawson (4), Basil King (1, 5, 6, 8), Peter Schwarzburg (3), and Tomi Ungerer (back cover, 2).

Yugen 1 (1958). Cover by Basil King.


In the 1950s and ’60s, LeRoi Jones was as deeply involved as an editor and publisher as he was as a poet and playwright. His publishing ventures included The Floating Bear, Kulchur, Yugen, and Totem. Subtitled “a new consciousness in arts and letters,” Yugen ran for eight issues from 1958 to 1962 and published an ever-widening group of writers, starting in issue 1 with such Beat writers as Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Gregory Corso. By issue 3, Yugen was publishing writers associated with Black Mountain College and the New York School, including Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Joel Oppenheimer, Fielding Dawson, Barbara Guest, and Frank O’Hara. Jones also paid considerable attention to a range of Eastern, Native American, and other minority cultures. The final issues included correspondence and essays exploring the theoretical side of alternative and experimental literatures; as contributor Gilbert Sorrentino noted, “the new writers had been appearing in magazines for about a decade, and it was time for the establishment of a critical position.” Yugen’s willingness to engage in debates over theory prefigures a growing concern within the avant-garde to define a poetic principle and thus establishes Yugen as one of the most important precursors of the New American Poetry. Yugen always looked interesting, too, with covers illustrated by such artists as Basil King and Norman Bluhm.


Yugen 3 (1958). Cover by Peter Schwarzburg.

Yugen 3 (1958). Cover by Peter Schwarzburg.

Oyez Press

magazines & Presses

Oyez Press

Robert Hawley


William Everson, Earth Poetry (1980).


Robert Hawley, founder of Oyez Press, was, in the last days of Black Mountain College, a student of John Wieners, Robert Duncan, and Charles Olson. Along with many of his fellow students, Hawley, originally from Wisconsin, landed in San Francisco, where he worked as a book scout and later with the Holmes Book Company for nearly twenty years. The Oyez Press was conceived in a series of conversations with Stevens Van Strum of Cody’s Books at the Jabberwock Coffee House on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. The first Oyez publications were ten broadside poems, one each by Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Michael McClure, Denise Levertov, David Meltzer, Josephine Miles, Charles Olson, Brother Antoninus (William Everson), Gary Snyder, and William Bronk, designed and printed across the bay by David Haselwood at the Auerhahn Press.

The first Oyez book was poet David Meltzer’s The Process, printed by Graham Mackintosh, who also printed many of the early Black Sparrow books. Both Meltzer and Mackintosh were great influences on the growth of Oyez, which published multiple works by Olson, Duncan, Sister Mary Norbert Korte, Mary Fabilli, and William Everson, as well as books by Thomas Parkinson and Josephine Miles, professors at the nearby University of California (Parkinson was an early defender of the Beats). Among the last books published by the press was a facsimile reprint of a unique copy of Jack Spicer’s ironically titled Collected Poems (1968) from the library of Josephine Miles. The press also published many items anonymously, including a free Checklist of the Separate Publications of Poets of the First Berkeley Poetry Conference of 1965. This conference, a two-week-long extravaganza of readings, seminars, and workshops, was planned to increase the visibility of the New American Poetry and to introduce new poets to each other. It was in some ways a continuation of a similar conference in Vancouver two years earlier, described in Carol Bergé’s The Vancouver Report, published by Ed Sanders in 1964.

* According to Robert Hawley: “From 1964 through 1986 we published about 130 items. Then in 1992 we issued Samuel Charters’ wonderful A Country Year, and in 1996 a keepsake featuring two poems of Tomas Tranströmer, a friend and world-class poet.”  — R. deBretfield Hawley, “Oyez: A Comment,” in Dave Bohn’s Oyez: The Authorized Checklist (Berkeley, n.p., 1997).

Ann Charters. Olson / Melville: A Study in Affinity (1968).

Ann Charters, Olson/Melville: A Study in Affinity (1968).

David Meltzer. The Blackest Rose. Oyez Press Broadsides (first series, 1–10), 1964–1965. Complete set of broadsides, comprising Oyez Press’ first publications, on

Oyez Press books include

Charters, Ann. Olson/Melville: A Study in Affinity. 1968.

Duncan, Robert. Medea at Kolchis. 1965. Cover drawing by the author.

Duncan, Robert. Passages 22–27 of the War. 1966.

Duncan, Robert. The Years as Catches: First Poems 1939–1946. 1966.

Eigner, Larry. Selected Poems. 1972. Edited by Samuel Charters and Andrea Wyatt.

[Everson, William] Brother Antoninus. The City Does Not Die. 1969.

Everson, William. Earth Poetry: Selected Essays and Interviews 1950–1977. 1980. Edited by Lee Bartlett.

Everson, William. In the Fictive Wish. 1967.

Everson, William. Single Source: The Early Poems of William Everson. 1966. Introduction by Robert Duncan.

Fabilli, Mary. The Animal Kingdom: Poems 1964–1974. 1975.

Fabilli, Mary. Aurora Bligh & Early Poems. 1968.

Fabilli, Mary. The Old Ones: Poems. 1966. Linoleum blocks by the author.

Garcia, Luis. Beans. 1976.

Ginsberg, Allen. Kral Majales. 1965. Broadside. Illustrated by Robert LaVigne.

Gitin, David. Legwork. 1977.

Korn, Richard. The Judgment of the Condor. 1978.

Korte, Mary Norbert. Beginning of Lines: Response to Albion Moonlight. 1968. Cover photograph by Betty Berenson.

Korte, Mary Norbert. Lines Bending. 1978.

Korte, Mary Norbert. Mammals of Delight. 1978.

Lamantia, Philip. Touch of the Marvelous. 1966. Printed at the Auerhahn Press.

Levertov, Denise. Summer Poems 1969. 1970.

Meltzer, David. Blue Rags. 1974.

Meltzer, David. The Dark Continent. 1967. Cover by Peter LeBlanc.

Meltzer, David. Two Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook. 1977.

Miles, Josephine. Fields of Learning. 1968.

Olson, Charles. The Special View of History. 1970. Edited and with an introduction by Ann Charters.

Parkinson, Thomas. Thanatos: Earth Poems. 1965. Illustrated by Ariel Parkinson.

Spicer, Jack. Collected Poems 1945–1946. 1981. Published in association with White Rabbit Press.

Torregian, Sotère. The Wounded Mattress. 1970. Introduction by Philip Lamantia.

Vinograd, Julia. Berkeley Street Cannibals: New and Selected Work 1969–1976. 1976.

Welch, Lew. On Out. 1965. Frontispiece photograph of the author by Jim Hatch.

Wyatt, Andrea. A Bibliography of Works by Larry Eigner 1937–1969. 1970.

Wyatt, Andrea. Three Rooms. 1970.

Checklists of Separate Publications of Poets at the First Berkeley Poetry Conference (1965). Compiled for Cod's Books by Oyez editors.

Checklists of Separate Publications of Poets at the First Berkeley Poetry Conference (1965). Compiled for Cody’s Books by Oyez editors.

The Four Seasons Foundation

magazines & Presses

The Four Seasons Foundation

Donald Allen
San Francisco and Bolinas, California


Richard Brautigan, In Watermelon Sugar (1968). Writing 21.


The Four Seasons Foundation was the publishing project of poet and anthologist Donald Allen, who began the concern in 1964 to publish the authors who had been included in his epoch-defining anthology The New American Poetry (1960). At first, Allen intended to publish a little magazine to be entitled variously The Four Seasons Quarterly or The New Review, but the material he had collected for the magazine was instead published in the second and third of the Four Seasons publications, Prose 1 (there was never another number) and 12 Poets and 1 Painter, which were published in 1964 as Writing 2 and Writing 3. Prose 1 contained work by Edward Dorn, Michael Rumaker, and Warren Tallman as well as various reviews of fiction and belles lettres, including LeRoi Jones’s Blues People. The poets in 12 Poets and 1 Painter were Jones, Joanne Kyger, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Max Finstein, and Bruce Boyd. The painter is Jess Collins. Writing 1, published at the same time, consists appropriately of Charles Olson’s A Bibliography on America for Ed Dorn. Six other Olson titles were also published by Four Seasons, along with three Creeley titles, four titles by Gary Snyder, two by Philip Whalen, three by Richard Brautigan (The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, 1968; In Watermelon Sugar, 1968; and Trout Fishing in America, 1967), two by Michael McClure (Love Lion Book, 1966; and The Sermons of Jean Harlow and the Curses of Billy the Kid, 1968), and two by Philip Lamantia (The Blood of the Air, 1970; and Touch of the Marvelous, 1974).

Robert Creeley, A Quick Graph: Collected Notes & Essays ( 1970). Edited by Donald Allen (Writing 22.)

Robert Creeley, A Quick Graph: Collected Notes & Essays (1970), edited by Donald Allen (Writing 22).

Four Seasons Foundation books include

Blaser, Robin. Cups. 1968. Writing 17.

Brautigan, Richard. Trout Fishing in America. 1967. Writing 14.

Creeley, Robert. A Quick Graph: Collected Notes & Essays. 1970. Writing 22. Edited by Donald Allen.

Dorn, Edward. Interviews. 1980. Edited by Donald Allen. Writing 38.

Hadley, Drummond. The Webbing. 1967. Writing 15.

Kyger, Joanne. The Tapestry and the Web. 1965. Writing 5.

Lamantia, Philip. The Blood of the Air. 1970. Writing 25. Cover photograph of the author by Stanley Reade.

Loewinsohn, Ron. Against the Silences to Come. 1965. Writing 4.

McClure, Michael. Love Lion Book. 1966. Writing 11.

Olson, Charles. A Bibliography on America for Ed Dorn. 1964. Writing 1.

Olson, Charles. In Cold Hell, in Thicket. 1967. Writing 12.

Olson, Charles. Stocking Cap: A Story. 1966. Writing 13.

Prose 1. With contributions by Edward Dorn, Michael Rumaker, and Warren Tallman. 1964. Writing 2.

Snyder, Gary. Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. 1965. Writing 7.

Snyder, Gary. Six Sections from Mountains and Rivers Without End. 1965. Writing 9.

12 Poets and 1 Painter. 1964. Writing 3.

Upton, Charles. Time Raid. 1969. Writing 19.

Whalen, Philip. Heavy Breathing: Poems 1967–1980. 1983. Writing 42.

Whalen, Philip. The Kindness of Strangers: Poems 1969–1974. 1976. Writing 33.

Whalen, Philip. Off the Wall: Interviews with Philip Whalen. 1978. Writing 37. Edited by Donald Allen.

Whalen, Philip. Severance Pay: Poems 1967–1969. 1970. Writing 24. Cover drawing by the author.

The Pacific Nation

magazines & Presses

The Pacific Nation

Robin Blaser
Vancouver, Canada

Nos. 1–2 (June 1967–1969).

The Pacific Nation 1 (June 1967). Cover by Fran Herndon.


The youngest poet of the immediate Spicer circle, Robin Blaser gained his own experience of mimeography as an assistant in 1955 for the Pound Newsletter produced by the English Department at the University of California at Berkeley. Blaser was devoted to his friend and mentor Jack Spicer and edited his collected books, appending a long, well-argued essay on Spicer’s work. Blaser shares Spicer’s concern for the structure of language: “syntax is arrangement, it’s all the word means, the way the sentence is arranged. Generally speaking it is subject, verb & object (the way the sentence moves), a sentence is a way of feeling/thinking both (not just thinking which is in your head) but the materialisation of it. Language is the instrument and you are the musician. We all are. It’s wonderful to listen to language in the street.” After his first two books were published by Open Space, Blaser left Berkeley to teach at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver (or more correctly Burnaby), British Columbia, where he started The Pacific Nation. The first issue included poems and an essay (semi-autobiographical and theoretical) by Blaser, one poem by Jack Spicer, a Blaser translation of a letter of Artaud’s on Nerval, Michael McClure’s The Moon Is the Number 18, an early John Button drawing, and the first printing of the first five chapters of Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America.

Pacific Nation 2 (1969).

The Pacific Nation 2 (1969). Cover by Michael Morris.

Black Sparrow Press

magazines & Presses

Black Sparrow Press

John Martin
Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Santa Rosa

Nos. 1–72 (October 1972–September 1978).

Each issue devoted to the work of a single author.

Sparrow 1 (October 1972).

Perhaps the most familiar of all the literary small presses, Black Sparrow began life with the money John Martin got from selling (for $50,000) his collection of modern literature, which he had purchased over a period of fifteen years (primarily through trading the collection of more classical books he had inherited from his father). The first six publications of the press were broadsides (five of them by Charles Bukowski, who was published by the press until its closure in 2002). The first book was Ron Loewinsohn’s L’Autre.

Kenneth Koch, When the Sun Tries to Go On (1969). Cover by Larry Rivers.

Kenneth Koch, When the Sun Tries to Go On (1969). Cover by Larry Rivers.

In an essay included in Brad Morrow and Seamus Cooney’s Bibliography of the Publications of the Black Sparrow Press (1981), poet Robert Kelly assesses the press that printed so much of his own work: “How much of these past two decades is represented in the Black Sparrow checklist? How much of it is still in print? What are the high points? Antin’s Meditations, Palmer’s first book, Dorn’s first Gunslinger, The Collected Spicer, Blackburn’s Journals, Grossinger’s Solar Journal, these stand out for me. The dynamic plurality of our poetry, so aptly and widely reflected by Black Sparrow (publisher of those uncousins Bukowski and Ashbery, Wakoski and Creeley), may go under any day—control freaks are afoot in the land…. What has been truest of our time is the variety of means, the variety of textures, the variety of texts leading all the Sacred Ways. These may retract. The liberty of the spirit, always polemic but never doctrinaire, lives a life ever in jeopardy—as it must. The press takes risks, surely; but the biggest risk is the sheer accumulation of alternatives it has struggled to keep before the audience. There are Black Sparrow poets—but they are not a stable, not a uniform cadre of uniform product, often they share no other contact but that press.”

Jess [Collins], Christian Morgenstern’s Gallowsongs (1970). Illustrations and versions by Jess.

Jess [Collins], Christian Morgenstern’s Gallowsongs (1970). Illustrations and versions by Jess.

Black Sparrow books include

Antin, David. Code of Flag Behavior. 1968.

Dawson, Fielding. Krazy Kat, The Unveiling and Other Stories. 1969. Cover collage by the author.

Dorn, Edward. Gunslinger. Book I. 1968.

Dorn, Edward. Gunslinger. Book II. 1969.

Duncan, Robert. Epilogos. 1967.

Duncan, Robert. Tribunals, Passages 31—35. 1970.

Enslin, Theodore. The Median Flow: Poems 1943–1973. 1975.

Eshleman, Clayton. Indiana. 1969. Cover by Robert Indiana.

Grossinger, Richard. Solar Journal (Oecological Sections). 1970.

Kelly, Robert. Finding the Measure. 1968. Linoleum cut by the printer Graham Mackintosh.

Koch, Kenneth. When the Sun Tries to Go On. 1969. Cover by Larry Rivers.

Kyger, Joanne. Places to Go. 1970. Illustrations by Jack Boyce.

Loewinsohn, Ron. L’Autre. 1967.

Loewinsohn, Ron. Lying Together, Turning the Head & Shifting the Weight, The Produce District & Other Places, Moving: A Spring Poem. 1967.

Mac Low, Jackson. 22 Light Poems. 1968.

Malanga, Gerard. The Last Benedetta Poems. 1969. Cover photograph by the author.

McClure, Michael. Little Odes & The Raptors. 1969.

Meltzer, David. Luna. 1970. Cover by Wallace Berman.

Meltzer, David. Round the Poem Box: Rustic & Domestic Home Movies for Stan & Jane Brakhage. 1969. Cover by David Meltzer.

Meltzer, David. Six. 1976. Drawings by the author.

Morgenstern, Christian. Gallowsongs. 1970. Translated by Jess Collins.

Palmer, Michael. Blake’s Newton. 1972.

Palmer, Michael. The Circular Gates. 1974.

Reznikoff, Charles. By the Well of the Living & Seeing: New & Selected Poems 1918–1973. 1974. Edited, and with an introduction, by Seamus Cooney.

Wakoski, Diane. The Magellanic Clouds. 1970.

Yau, John. Radiant Silhouette: New and Selected Work 1974–1988. 1989.


For further information on Black Sparrow Press, including a bibliography of its publications, the reader is referred to: Bradford Morrow and Seamus Cooney, A Bibliography of the Black Sparrow Press, 1966–1978 (Santa Barbara, CA: Black Sparrow, 1981).



magazines & Presses


John Kelly, Bob Kaufman, William J. Margolis, John Richardson, Bernie Uronowitz, and others
San Francisco

Nos. 1–34 (May 1959–March 1987).

Publication suspended 1961–69.

Beatitude 2 (1959).

Beatitude, perhaps the quintessential “Beat” publication, was originally published in mimeograph at the Bread and Wine Mission on Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s very hip North Beach. The Bread and Wine Mission was the creation of a Congregationalist minister, incongruously called “Father,” Pierre Delattre, on a mission of social action among the Italian Catholics of North Beach. Beatitude was originally planned as a weekly newsletter, “designed to extol beauty and promote the beatific life among the various mendicants, neo-existentialists, christs, poets, painters, musicians and other inhabitants and observers of North Beach,” as Bob Kaufman (quoted by Lawrence Ferlinghetti) put it in the Beatitude Anthology (1960).

The first issue, the brainchild of Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman, and John Kelly, was published in May of 1959; thereafter, Beatitude was never anything like weekly, but it was vital. The magazine was a very local North Beach Beat phenomenon; although it did have a longer reach in its later years, it still retained the look and spirit of the San Francisco coffeehouse literary scene. The magazine included work by its legendary founders, and by Jack Kerouac and Michael McClure as well, but its flare and power are perhaps better represented by the haunting work of the jazz poet ruth weiss, a frequent contributor, or by the spectacularly outrageous Lenore Kandel, whose “First They Slaughtered the Angels” nearly jumps off the pages of the Beatitude Anthology.

Bill Margolis, Eileen Kaufman, and Bob Kaufman printing the first issue of Beatitude at the Bread and Wine Mission, San Francisco, April 1959. Photograph by Fortunato Clementi (from Beatitude 17).

Bill Margolis, Eileen Kaufman, and Bob Kaufman printing the first issue of Beatitude at the Bread and Wine Mission, San Francisco, April 1959. Photograph by Fortunato Clementi (from Beatitude 17).

Beatitude Anthology (San Francisco: City Lights, 1960). Cover photograph by Fortunato Clementi (from the cover of Beatitude 13).

Beatitude Anthology (San Francisco: City Lights, 1960). Cover photograph by Fortunato Clementi (from the cover of Beatitude 13).

Auerhahn Press

magazine & Presses

Auerhahn Press

David Haselwood
San Francisco


Philip Lamantia, Narcotica (1959). Cover photographs by Wallace Berman.


In the unpublished “A Guide to Sources for a History of the New American Poetry,” Eloyde Tovey writes:

While he was stationed with the Army in Germany during the 1950s, David Haselwood conceived the idea of becoming a publisher. At the time he was corresponding with Michael McClure in San Francisco—who needed a publisher for his Hymns to St. Geryon. When Haselwood, a native of Wichita, Kansas, was released from the Army ca. 1958, he came to live in San Francisco’s North Beach and joined the Beats. He became familiar with all the poets and the new poetry being created at that time—some of it live, some in manuscript form—and saw that a small press would be a kind of surrogate wish fulfillment.

Charles Olson. Human Universe and Other Essays (1965). Edited by Donald Allen. Photograph of the author by Kennth Irby. Cover by Robert LaVigne.

Charles Olson, Human Universe and Other Essays (1965), edited by Donald Allen. Photograph of the author by Kenneth Irby. Cover by Robert LaVigne.

He too had dreamed of becoming a poet. The first book under the Auerhahn Press imprint was John Wieners’s The Hotel Wentley Poems in 1958. An unfortunate experience with a commercial printing firm led Haselwood to decide to study the rudiments of printing and book design. Then, he figured, he could personally print all future titles bearing his imprint. The printers had expurgated Wieners’s text by removing certain “dirty” words and leaving the spaces blank. Haselwood’s first real printing job was Philip Lamantia’s Ekstasis (1959). He discovered what a difficult task printing really is, or what it means to “express” the poet’s intent. But he wanted it known that his was the first press on the West Coast seeking to print the works of younger poets—and in cooperation with them. Nothing was ever that simple…. David Haselwood first published the Beat writers: William S. Burroughs, Lew Welch, Philip Whalen, Philip Lamantia, and Michael McClure. He also published books by William Everson, Charles Olson, Jack Spicer, Ronald Johnson, and Andrew Hoyem. Some of Haselwood’s later titles were considered outrageously overpriced when they were first offered for sale at $10 each.

Prospectus for Charles Olson's Human Universe and Other Essays.

Prospectus for Charles Olson’s Human Universe and Other Essays (1965).

Auerhahn Press books include

Lamantia, Philip. Destroyed Works. 1962. Cover reproduction of a no-longer-extant collage by Bruce Conner.

Lamantia, Philip. Ekstasis. 1959. Cover design by Robert LaVigne.

Lamantia, Philip. Narcotica. 1959. Cover photographs by Wallace Berman.

McClure, Michael. Hymns to St. Geryon. 1959. Cover emblem by the author.

Olson, Charles. Human Universe and Other Essays. 1965. Edited by Donald Allen. Cover by Robert LaVigne. Photograph of the author by Kenneth Irby.

Spicer, Jack. The Heads of the Town up to the Aether. 1962. Lithographs by Fran Herndon.

Van Buskirk, Alden. Lami. 1965. Collected from his writings by David Rattray, with an introductory note by Allen Ginsberg.

Whalen, Philip. Memoirs of an Interglacial Age. 1960. Cover by Robert LaVigne.

Whalen, Philip. Self-portrait from Another Direction. 1959. Broadside.

Wieners, John. The Hotel Wentley Poems. 1958. Cover photograph by Jerry Burchard. Drawing by Robert LaVigne.


See Jed Birmingham’s “Auerhahn Press Archive” at Reality Studio.

For further information on Auerhahn Press, including a complete bibliography of its publications, the reader is referred to: Alastair M. Johnston, A Bibliography of the Auerhahn Press & Its Successor Dave Haselwood Books (Berkeley, CA: Poltroon Press, 1976).


Magazines & Presses


Wallace Berman
Los Angeles and San Francisco (principally)

Nos. 1–9 (1955–62).

Semina 1 [1955]. Cover by Wallace Berman.


Visual artist Wallace Berman published and distributed nine issues of the assemblage magazine Semina between 1955 and 1964. Its circulation never exceeded a few hundred copies. You could not buy Semina; it was sent to you. Consequently, some claim it as the precursor to “mail art.” The poet Robert Duncan has said, “Semina was a cult magazine. It meant to reveal the possibility of the emergence of a new way of feeling. Cult means the cultivation of something…. Wallace Berman gathered writers and artists he knew that gave him a sense of his own personal identity, and of taking hold of the beginnings of his art.” In the words of writer Rebecca Solnit, “the magazine depicts the emerging subculture’s aesthetics, and its values.” Semina printed the work of two of Berman’s heroes, Hermann Hesse and Jean Cocteau, as well as W. B. Yeats, Paul Éluard, Charles Baudelaire, and Paul Valéry, alongside William S. Burroughs, Michael McClure, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Lamantia, David Meltzer, e. i. alexander, Bob Kaufman, and Berman himself, writing under the pseudonym Pantale Xantos. Berman’s first exhibition, at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1957, resulted in his arrest for exhibiting “lewd and lascivious pornographic art.” He was found guilty and fined by the same judge who found Henry Miller guilty on similar charges. The motto of Semina 2, later the same year, was “ART IS LOVE IS GOD.” Wallace Berman was killed in an automobile accident near his home in Topanga Canyon in 1976 on his fiftieth birthday.

Semina 4 (1959).

Semina 4 (1959). Cover by Wallace Berman.

Semina 2 (1957).

Semina 2 [1957].

White Rabbit Press

magazines & Presses

White Rabbit Press

Joe Dunn and Graham Mackintosh
San Francisco and Oakland


Jack Spicer, After Lorca (1957). Cover by Jess (Collins).


The first book of the White Rabbit Press was Boston poet Steve Jonas’s Love, the Poem, the Sea & Other Pieces Examined, published in 1957 with a cover by San Francisco artist Jess Collins. It was followed closely by poet Jack Spicer’s breakthrough book After Lorca in the same year (“Things fit together. We knew that—it is the principle of magic.”). The press was owned by Joe Dunn, who started it to print the work of the group who surrounded Spicer at The Place in North Beach, a bar owned by Leo Krikorian, an alumnus of Black Mountain College. Dunn, who worked for Greyhound Bus Lines in San Francisco, took a secretarial course at Spicer’s insistence and learned to operate a multilith machine. He produced the first ten or eleven titles of the press at work, squeezing out time here and there.

Richard Brautigan, The Galilee Hitch-hiker( 1958). Illustrated by Kenn Davis.

Richard Brautigan, The Galilee Hitch-hiker (1958). Illustrated by Kenn Davis.

Among the books he produced were Denise Levertov’s 5 Poems, with a cover by Jess Collins, Richard Brautigan’s The Galilee Hitch-hiker, Helen Adam’s The Queen o’ Crow Castle, George Stanley’s The Love Root, Charles Olson’s O’Ryan 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and Ebbe Borregaard’s The Wapitis, with a cover drawn by Robert Duncan. These pieces were all uniformly lithographed from typescripts or even manuscripts provided by the authors, and each book was sized 8½ by 6½ inches. In many ways they are perfect examples of the printing of poetry. After Joe Dunn’s relationship with methamphetamines ended in tragedy, the presswork at White Rabbit was taken over in 1962 by a close friend of Spicer’s, Graham Mackintosh, dubbed “the ruffian printer” by the elegant San Francisco pressman Robert Grabhorn. As a graduate student at Berkeley in 1961, Mackintosh had worked closely with Spicer on the Linguistic Atlas of the Pacific Coast. His first experience in printing was Spicer’s Lament for the Makers, for which he also provided the collage cover. Mackintosh, who was Robert Duncan’s favorite printer, went on to print books for Oyez and to design and print, along with Saul Marks of the Plantin Press, the first few books of the Black Sparrow Press.

It must be made clear at the start that these poems are not translations. In even the most literal of them Mr. Spicer seems to derive pleasure in inserting or substituting one or two words which completely change the mood and often the meaning of the poem as I had written it. More often he takes one of my poems and adjoins to half of it another half of his own, giving rather the effect of an unwilling centaur. (Modesty forbids me to speculate which end of the animal is mine.) Finally there are an almost equal number of poems that I did not write at all (one supposes that they must be his) executed in a somewhat fanciful imitation of my early style. The reader is given no indication which of the poems belong to which category, and I have further complicated the problem (with malice aforethought I must admit) by sending Mr. Spicer several poems written after my death which he has also translated and included here. Even the most faithful student of my work will be hard put to decide what is and what is not García Lorca as, indeed, he would if he were to look into my present resting place. The analogy is impolite, but I fear the impoliteness is deserved.”

— From the Introduction to Jack Spicer’s After Lorca by “Federico García Lorca,” outside Granada, October 1957.

White Rabbit Press books include

Adam, Helen. The Queen o’ Crow Castle. 1958. Drawings by Jess (Collins).

Alexander, James. The Jack Rabbit Poem. 1966. Drawings by Paul Alexander. Published with Open Space.

Borregaard, Ebbe. The Wapitis. 1958. Cover drawing by Robert Duncan.

Brautigan, Richard. The Galilee Hitch-hiker. 1958. Illustrated by Kenn Davis.

Brautigan, Richard. Please Plant This Book. 1968. Printed by Graham Mackintosh.

Dorbin, Sanford. The Ruby Woods. 1971. Illustrated by Chuck Miller.

Dull, Harold. Bird Poems. 1958. Illustrated by Nugent.

Duncan, Robert. As Testimony: The Poem and the Scene. 1964.

Duncan, Robert. The Cat and the Blackbird. 1967. Cover by Jess (Collins).

Duncan, Robert. Faust Foutu. 1958. Decorations by the author.

Dunn, Joe. The Better Dream House. 1968. Cover and illustrations by Jess (Collins).

Garcia, Luis. The Mechanic. 1970. Cover drawing by Walter Dusenberry.

Liddy, James. A Munster Song of Love & War. 1971.

Olson, Charles. O’Ryan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 1965. Cover by Jess (Collins).

Olson, Charles. O’Ryan 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. 1958. Cover by Jess (Collins).

Persky, Stan. Lives of the French Symbolist Poets. 1966.

Spicer, Jack. After Lorca. 1957. Introduction by “Federico García Lorca.” Cover by Jess (Collins).

Spicer, Jack. Book of Magazine Verse. 1966.

Spicer, Jack. A Book of Music. 1969. Cover illustration by Graham Mackintosh.

Spicer, Jack. Collected Poems 1943–1946. 1981. Published with Oyez.

Spicer, Jack. The Holy Grail. 1964.

Spicer, Jack. Lament for the Makers. 1962. Cover collage by Graham Mackintosh.

Spicer, Jack. Language. 1965.

Spicer, Jack. A Redwood Forest Is Not Invisible at Night. 1965. Broadside.

Wieners, John. Reading in Bed. 1970. Broadside.


For further information on White Rabbit Press, the reader is referred to: Alastair M. Johnston, A Bibliography of the White Rabbit Press (Berkeley, CA: Poltroon Press, 1985).

Open Space

Magazines & Presses

Open Space

Stan Persky
San Francisco

Nos. 0–12 (January 1964–December 1964);

No. 1, January 1964, preceded by an undated issue called no. 0; no. 2, February 1964, preceded by an issue called Open Space Valentine; no. 4, April 1964, followed by an issue called Open Space Taurus Issue 4.

Open Space 1 (January 1964). Cover drawing of George Stanley by Bill Brodecky.


Open Space was published during 1964 for fifteen issues (number 0 or the “Prospectus” was published in the same month as the first issue, and two separate number 2’s and 4’s were published). The unofficial organ of the group of poets centered around Jack Spicer at Gino and Carlo’s Bar on Green Street and The Place on Grant Avenue, both in San Francisco’s bohemian North Beach, it was the production of Stan Persky, recently relocated from Los Angeles, who printed only fifty copies of each issue on a “multilith machine.” It was really intended for those whose poems appeared in its pages, such as Helen Adam, Robin Blaser, Ebbe Borregaard, Richard Duerden, Harold Dull, Larry Fagin (who later produced his own Adventures in Poetry in New York), Jess Collins, Jack Spicer, and George Stanley, all locals from North Beach or Berkeley.

Open Space 4 (1964). The Taurus Issue.

Open Space Taurus Issue 4 (1964).

The covers of Open Space featured imaginative and unusual artwork by Jess Collins, Graham Mackintosh, Fran Herndon, and others. The magazine was quite spicy and a little gossipy—for instance, labeling the famed 1955 reading at the Six Gallery as “creamed cottage cheese.” Persky, somewhat standoffish from the others in the scene, lampooned any number of them, including Donald Allen and Madeline Gleason (she of the pre-punk red hair and attachment to the Virgin Mary, who had in the 1940s begun poetry readings everywhere in San Francisco, while composing poetry as she messengered securities throughout the financial district). Gleason, along with Helen Adam and James Broughton, formed one of the poetic coteries of San Francisco in the 1950s and ’60s, often at odds with the others, such as those centered around Spicer in North Beach or Robert Duncan in Berkeley, and all of whom were fairly irritated by Kenneth Rexroth and his “Beat Renaissance.” One editorial salvo irrupting from Persky began: “Open Space isn’t Group-Soup, bar set or queer coterie.” Nevertheless, Open Space was still a curious mixture of humor and high literary seriousness, publishing correspondence between Spicer and Lawrence Ferlinghetti on publishing ethics, or Charles Olson’s “Against Wisdom as Such,” alongside a hoax or an appropriation or a baseball issue.

Open Space 11 (1964). Cover photo of the editor by Margot Prattlesome Dross.

Open Space 11 (1964). Cover photo of the editor by Margot Prattlesome Dross.

Open Space books include

Alexander, James. Eturnature. 1965.

Alexander, James. The Jack Rabbit Poem. 1966. Drawings by Paul Alexander. Published with White Rabbit Press.

Blaser, Robin. The Moth Poem. 1964.

Duerden, Richard. The Fork. 1965.

Duncan, Robert. The Sweetness and Greatness of Dante’s Divine Comedy. 1965. Cover drawing by the author.

Miles, Josephine. Saving the Bay. 1967.

Nerval, Gérard de. Les Chimères. 1965. Translated by Robin Blaser.


magazines & Presses


Jack Spicer, Fran Herndon art editor
San Francisco

Nos., 1–8 (1959–61).

Nos. 6 and 7 (An Apparition of the Late J) edited (and with cover art) by George Stanley, from San Francisco and New York City respectively. No. 8 (1961) edited by Harold Dull from Rome. Covers by Russell FitzGerald (3), Fran Herndon (1, 2, 4, 5), and George Stanley (6, 7).

J 3 (n.d.). Cover by Russell FitzGerald.


In many ways the most beautiful of all the mimeo magazines, J had an eight-issue run. The first five issues were edited from North Beach bars by Jack Spicer with Fran Herndon as art editor. Spicer, who embodied the spirit of poetry in the Bay Area, collected pieces for his magazine from a box marked “J” in The Place, a bar at 1546 Grant Avenue in San Francisco. A refugee from Los Angeles with two degrees from Berkeley, he had been a student of Josephine Miles there in the mid-1940s. They became close friends, and Spicer participated in the Friday afternoon poetry readings in Wheeler Hall during the late 1940s as well as the readings organized with Rockefeller money at San Francisco State by Ruth Witt-Diamant at the new Poetry Center at San Francisco State.

Into the cauldron of poetic politics surrounding Miles, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others, Spicer introduced his freest of spirits, sometimes more Caliban than Ariel. Spicer lived for words (even making his living as a research assistant on a lexicographical project at Berkeley). He could be found most evenings in one of the North Beach bars or coffeehouses leading the discussion on poetry, poetics, myth, linguistics, and other mysteries. Like Blake and Yeats (with the help of Mrs. Yeats), Spicer attempted to clear his mind and open himself to “dictation” from other sources, which he devotedly pursued. Spicer also believed wholeheartedly in the necessity of human beings’ helping each other through communication, which he confronted in the editorship of J, a little newsletter of the poetic spirit. Donald Allen acted as J’s distributor in New York (“New York Contributions are not forbidden. But quotaed”), selling copies for Spicer to the Wilentz brothers of the Eighth Street Book Shop. In an early letter to Spicer, Allen eagerly wondered “what your editorial policy may be. Seduction by print.”


“His parents were professional bridge players from Southern California.”

Josephine Miles on Jack Spicer, from an unpublished manuscript in the collection of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley


Below: Joanne Kyger’s copies of J, stapled as issued. Nos. 1–4, 6–8 collected in office-style binder. No. 5, not part of the binder.

J 7 (1960?) (An Apparition of the Late J). Edited and cover art by George Stanley.

An Apparition of the Late J [1960?] [J 7]. Edited and with cover art by George Stanley.

J, no. 1.

J, no. 1. From Joanne Kyger’s collection, in binder of her creation.

Jack Spicer listening to a baseball game on the radio at the beach at Plum Island, Newbury, Massachusetts, ca. 1958. Photograph by Kent Bowker.

Jack Spicer listening to a baseball game on the radio at the beach at Plum Island, Newbury, Massachusetts, ca. 1958. Photograph by Kent Bowker.