Category Archives: B

The Boston Eagle

Magazines & Presses

The Boston Eagle

William Corbett, Lee Harwood, and
Lewis Warsh

Nos. 1–3 (April 1973–November 1974).

The Boston Eagle [1] (April 1973). Cover photograph by Judith Walker.

Perhaps because the “mimeo revolution” did not fit Boston’s image of itself—sheets of paper stapled between covers! how flimsy!—the Hub produced but one mimeo magazine, The Boston Eagle. If there was another I never saw it. Lewis Warsh, a veteran of the Lower East Side mimeo scene, moved to Cambridge in 1973 and resumed his friendship with the English poet Lee Harwood, in Boston for a year. One bitterly cold February night they walked Boston’s Freedom Trail. They phoned hoping to find nourishment and warmth in our South End home where, after Beverly fed them, we began the friendship that led to the Boston Eagle. The first issue would be a foursome with John Wieners, whose work we revered, taking the fourth chair. I think I contacted John, but it may have been Lewis. He agreed to join us but when we assembled the contents of the issue we ran into a problem. None of us had access to an A. B. Dick machine. John’s friend, the poet, editor of Fag Rag, historian, and anarchist Charlie Shively, solved this. He had one in his Back Bay apartment not far from Fenway Park. I remember a German Shepherd, not all that friendly, and Charlie’s large library on metal industrial shelves. I see Lewis, his hair kept out of his eyes by a knotted blue bandana, bent to the task of cranking the pages off the machine. He exhorted us, “Totally no mistakes! Totally no mistakes!” We took these pages to 9 Columbus Square, collating the magazine in our kitchen. We aimed for three hundred copies, but I can’t remember if we achieved this or not. I do remember that, to mail the issue, a manila envelope—bought in bulk for pennies apiece—and a six-cent stamp was all we needed. We published three issues, adding Bill Berkson and Bernadette Mayer and, I think, Clark Coolidge, but having not had any issues for years I can’t be certain.

Back cover of The Boston Eagle [1] (April 1973). Photograph of John Wieners, Lee Harwood, Lewis Warsh, and William Corbett by Judith Walker.

The Eagle is alive today because of the back cover photo on the first issue. We four drove to Walden Pond with Lee’s wife, the photographer Judith “Jud” Walker. We posed on the shore of the pond. Our clothing and the leafless trees suggest late March or early April. A copy of that photograph is on the wall of our Brooklyn home, and a few years ago Kevin Ring ran a feature on it in his magazine, Beat Scene. The black-and-white photo does not do justice to John Wieners’s gold lamé jacket.

Footnote: Until a year and a half ago I did have a copy of the first issue. After Lee Harwood died in the summer of 2015, Beverly and I heard from his son Rafe, now living and working in Manhattan. We invited him for lunch and, thinking he ought to have a copy of the magazine that involved both his parents, I gave my copy to him.

— William Corbett, Brooklyn, January 2017

The Boston Eagle 2 (February 1974). Cover by Joe Brainard.

Big Table

magazines & Presses

Big Table

Irving Rosenthal, Paul Carroll

Nos. 1–5 (Spring 1959–1960).

Irving Rosenthal and Paul Carroll (no. 1), Paul Carroll (nos. 2–5)

Big Table 1 (Spring 1959)

Big Table was launched in spring 1959 following the suppression of the Winter 1958 issue of The Chicago Review. An exposé in the Chicago Daily News revealed editors Irving Rosenthal’s and Paul Carroll’s plans to publish work by William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and other Beat writers, and the administration quashed the magazine. Rosenthal and Carroll, along with other Chicago Review editors, resigned and with the suppressed material started Big Table. The first issue was edited by Rosenthal and Carroll, though Carroll had to withdraw his name in order to avoid being fired by Loyola University where he was employed. This issue contained work by Jack Kerouac (who named the magazine in a telegram: “CALL IT BIG TABLE”), Edward Dahlberg, and Burroughs (a section from Naked Lunch), and was summarily impounded by the US Post Office. The lawsuit was unsuccessful and Big Table continued through 1960 and five issues. Rosenthal left the magazine after the first issue and Carroll stayed on as editor for the duration, publishing such writers and artists as Paul Bowles, Antonin Artaud, Leon Golub, John Logan, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Robert Fulton, Harry Callahan, Douglas Woolf, Aaron Siskind, Paul Blackburn, Franz Kline, Diane di Prima, and Gregory Corso.

Aram Saroyan, Words & Photographs (1970). The cover photograph of the author and his father was taken by Archie Minasian.

Aram Saroyan, Words & Photographs (1970). The cover photograph of the author and his father was taken by Archie Minasian.

Big Table began publishing books in 1968 and continued through 1971, bringing out The Big Table Series of Younger Poets which included Bill Knott, Kathleen Norris, Dennis Schmitz, and Andrei Codrescu. Aside from poetry and fiction Big Table also published Claes Oldenburg’s Proposals for Monuments and Buildings 1965–69 and No One Was Killed: Documentation and Meditation: Convention Week, Chicago, August 1968, by novelist John Schultz who was covering the Democratic Convention for The Evergreen Review. The imprint was resurrected around 1991 and published three books by editor and poet Paul Carroll before his death in 1996.

Paul Carroll, ed., The Young American Poets (1968). Introduction by James Dickey.

Big Table books include

Carroll, Paul. Chicago Tales. 1991.

Carroll, Paul. Odes. 1969.

Carroll, Paul. Poems and Psalms. 1990.

Carroll, Paul. The Beaver Dam Road Poems. 1994.

Carroll, Paul. The Luke Poems. 1971.

Carroll, Paul. The Poem in its Skin. 1968.

Carroll, Paul, ed. The Young American Poets. 1968.

Codrescu, Andrei. License to Carry a Gun. 1970. Vol. 3 in the Big Table Series.

[Knott, Bill], writing as Saint Geraud. The Naomi Poems: Corpse and Beans. 1968. Vol. 1 in the Big Table Series.

Knott, Bill. Auto-necrophilia: The _____ Poems. 1971. Vol. 2 in the Big Table Series.

Norris, Kathleen. Falling Off. 1971. Vol. 4 in the Big Table Series.

Oldenburg, Claes. Proposals for Monuments and Buildings 1965–69. 1969.

Porchia, Antonio. Voices. 1969. Translated by W.S. Merwin.

Saroyan, Aram. Cloth: An Electric Novel. 1971.

Saroyan, Aram. Words & Photographs. 1970.

Schmitz, Dennis. We Weep for Our Strangeness. 1969.

Schultz, John. No One Was Killed: Documentation and Meditation: Convention Week, Chicago, August 1968. 1969.

Schultz, John. The Tongues of Men. 1969.

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).

Big Sky

Magazine & Presses

Big Sky

Bill Berkson
Bolinas, California

Nos. 1–11/12 (1971–78).

Covers by Gordon Baldwin (10), Norman Bluhm (6), Celia Coolidge (3), Red Grooms (9), Philip Guston (4), Greg Irons (1), and Alex Katz (2).

Big Sky 7 (1974). The World of Leon with a cover by Leon and an introduction by Donald Hall.


Big Sky began in 1971 during a perceptible lull in adventurous poetry publishing. The previous year I had moved to Bolinas, California, from New York where my parting shot had been a single-issue compendium of art and literature called Best & Company. When I arrived, the literary community in Bolinas numbered fewer than a dozen people, mainly poets like Joanne Kyger who had been associated with the Spicer and Duncan circles in San Francisco, plus a couple of prior interlopers from New York, Tom Clark and Lewis Warsh. By 1971, our neighbors included David and Tina Meltzer, Lewis and Phoebe MacAdams, Robert Creeley and Bobbie Louise Hawkins, and, briefly, Philip Whalen. Joe Brainard’s Bolinas Journal was the first Big Sky book, soon followed by The Cargo Cult by John Thorpe.

Big Sky 3 (1972). “The Clark Coolidge Issue.” Cover by Celia Elizabeth Coolidge

Big Sky 3 (1972), “The Clark Coolidge Issue.” Cover by Celia Elizabeth Coolidge.

The name was suggested by Tom Veitch who lived around the lagoon, in Stinson Beach, and who reminded me of the line from a Kinks song, “Big Sky looks down on all the people.” For the magazine, my original concept was a comic-book format, which was impractical for small print runs, so I held to something like comic-book size and worked with friends who had enough offset-printing skills to crank out the pages on an old multilith on overnight binges in assorted redwood sheds. My original editorial stance was to accept whatever arrived from those invited to contribute. After two chaotic issues, I put this policy to rest, devoting the next number solely to Clark Coolidge. With Big Sky 4—bearing its great wraparound Philip Guston cover and especially powerful contributions by Creeley, Ron Padgett, and Bernadette Mayer—I hit my stride as an editor. Six years later, having published twelve issues of the magazine and more than twenty books, I decided I’d done the job.

— Bill Berkson, San Francisco, California, September 1997

Joanne Kyger, All This Every Day (1975). Cover photograph of the author by Frances Pelizzi.

Joanne Kyger, All This Every Day (1975). Cover photograph of the author by Frances Pelizzi.

Big Sky books include

Anderson, David. The Spade in the Sensorium. 1974. Cover by Philip Guston.

Berkson, Bill. Enigma Variations. 1975. Cover and drawings by Philip Guston.

Berkson, Bill. Terrace Fence. 1971.

Berkson, Bill, and Larry Fagin. Two Serious Poems & One Other. 1971.

Berkson, Bill, and Joe LeSueur. Homage to Frank O’Hara. 1988. 3rd revised edition.

Brainard, Joe. Bolinas Journal. 1971.

Brodey, Jim. Blues of the Egyptian Kings. 1975. Cover by Greg Irons.

Carey, Steve. Gentle Subsidy. 1975.

Coolidge, Clark. Moroccan Variations. 1971. Broadside. Printed at the Cranium Press.

Coolidge, Clark. Polaroid. 1975. Published with Adventures in Poetry.

Fagin, Larry. Seven Poems. 1976.

Gallup, Dick. Above the Tree Line. 1976.

Greenwald, Ted. The Life. 1974. Cover by Richard Nonas.

Gustafson, Jim. Tales of Virtue and Transformation. 1974. Cover by Greg Irons.

Kyger, Joanne. All This Every Day. 1975. Cover photograph of the author by Frances Pelizzi.

MacAdams, Lewis. I Have Been Tested and Found Not Insane. 1974.

Mayer, Bernadette. Studying Hunger. 1975. Cover portrait of the author by Ed Bowes. Published with Adventures in Poetry.

Nodey, Alice. Phoebe Light. 1973. Cover by Alex Katz.

Padgett, Ron. Crazy Compositions. 1974. Cover by George Schneeman.

Thorpe, John. The Cargo Cult. 1972.

Veitch, Tom. Death College and Other Poems. 1976. Cover by the author.

Waldman, Anne. Spin Off. 1972.

Watten, Barrett. Opera—Works. 1975.

The Black Mountain Review

magazines & Presses

The Black Mountain Review

Robert Creeley
Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Black Mountain, North Carolina

Nos. 1–7 (Spring 1954–Autumn 1957).

The Black Mountain Review, vol. 1, no. 3 (Fall 1954). Cover by Katsué Kitasono.

The Black Mountain Review

From 1933 to 1956, Black Mountain College flourished as a unique experimental college and community in a remote North Carolina valley. A local resident remembered the college people as “Godless eccentrics who lived in open dormitories and ran around in shorts and blue jeans,” but poet Robert Creeley recalls the openness and self-determination of those at the school, where there was often a one-to-one ratio of students to teachers. Charles Olson, Josef Albers, Eric Bentley, Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Duncan, Fielding Dawson, and Francine du Plessix Gray were only some of those.

The Black Mountain Review, no. 6 (Spring 1956).

The Black Mountain Review 6 (Spring 1956). Cover by Dan Rice.

The Black Mountain Review, printed in Palma de Mallorca where Creeley was producing his Divers Press books, developed from the friendship in daily correspondence between Creeley and Black Mountain Rector Charles Olson, who thought a quality literary journal might help increase enrollment. Editorially, Creeley followed advice given him earlier by Ezra Pound: “He suggested I get at least four others, on whom I could depend unequivocally for material, and to make their work the mainstay of the magazine’s form. But then, he said, let the rest of it, roughly half, be as various and hogwild as possible….” Olson’s poem “On First Looking Out of La Cosa’s Eyes” led off the first issue, which also included Olson’s long essay on Robert Duncan, entitled “Against Wisdom as Such,” and poems by Paul Blackburn, who, along with Louis Zukofsky, Denise Levertov, and Robert Duncan, became the core of the magazine. Distribution was difficult, and effected mainly by Jonathan Williams, who hauled the Review around with his Jargon publications, or by Blackburn, who pushed it on vendors in New York. A dramatic feature of all seven issues of The Black Mountain Review was the inclusion of reproductions of visual work.

Each issue included at least one portfolio (8 pages out of 64 for each of the first four issues, for instance). The second issue included “Mayan Heads” by Charles Olson, which introduced photographs of exquisite Mayan pottery (“because they refresh us”). Other issues reproduced work by Franz Kline and Jess Collins, as well as photographs by Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan. The standard cover for the first four issues was designed by Katsué Kitasono, with Black Mountaineers John Altoon, Dan Rice, and Edward Corbett being responsible for the final three issues (these latter in a smaller and thicker format of over 200 pages each). The seventh and prophetic last issue included work by Allen Ginsberg (“America”), Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Gary Snyder, and a chapter from “William Lee’s” Naked Lunch.

“It is difficult…to appreciate the excitement (in certain very limited circles, of course) produced by the appearance of the Review. Today ‘The Black Mountain Poets’ have far less trouble getting their work published: and their counterparts in unfashion among more recent generations of poets have such a variety of mimeographed (sometimes even glossy) outlets, that it’s hard to recall the lack of reputation and lack of publishing opportunities characteristic of the literary scene during those damp, encased, mid-fifties McCarthyite years. Yes, there had been Origin—and after The Black Mountain Review folded in 1957, there was again to be an outlet for innovation: Gil Sorrentino’s Neon, LeRoi Jones’s Yugen, Ron Padgett’s White Dove Review. But not until the early sixties—coincidentally with the breaking open of so many areas of American life—was there to be a variety, happily almost a tumult, of corresponding energies and outlets.”

Martin Duberman, Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community (New York: Dutton, 1972)

Charles Olson, San Francisco, ca. 1956. Photograph by Harry Redl.

Charles Olson, San Francisco, ca. 1956. Photograph by Harry Redl.