Category Archives: D

Dark Ages Clasp the Daisy Root

Magazines & Presses

Dark Ages Clasp the Daisy Root

Benjamin Friedlander and Andrew Schelling
Berkeley, and Boulder, Colorado

Nos. 1–8/9 (1989–93).

Dark Ages Clasp the Daisy Root 6 (2nd series, no. 1) (June 1991).

The title comes from Finnegans Wake though we drew it from Edith Sitwell. Up all night knowing we wanted a “flower” name we consulted the I Ching to find something from her anthology of flower phrases. We had signed off on the final issue of Jimmy & Lucy’s House of “K” telling its readers that we would probably found another journal, but needed to “rethink the labor intensive, almost paleolithic technology” we’d used up to 1989.

The flower title was a respectful homage to compost. We had written to friends saying, “out of the mulching of Jimmy & Lucy’s etc., etc.,” and received a dismissive note from a Marxist language poet telling us how that type of agrarian metaphor was obsolete, etc., etc., in the post-industrial landscape. Joyce’s phrase seemed apt, growing sunflower-sutra-like out of a seedbed from Edith Sitwell, and meant to charm the most dogmatic Marxist.

Dark Ages Clasp the Daisy Root 7 (2nd series, no. 2) (April 1992).

At first we moved from paleolithic technology to mimeo mag of the sixties production: typed 8½ x 11-inch pages. Writers sent their ready-to-photocopy poems. We only had to add page numbers, run it all through a photocopy machine, and insert staples. Personal computers emerged about issue 6 (June 1991). Now we could compile a single document, print it out, and run it through Xerox. We also readjusted the focus, away from language poetry of the Bay Area and toward a more international view and deeper sense of time. We included translations from the start. In 1989 Schelling moved to Colorado, so most issues were coedited, not in an apartment together and typed up over all-night coffee, but 1,200 miles apart. Always we ran a poem on the rear cover. The first issues had end-poems by Larry Eigner, Alice Notley, an anonymous Middle English lyric translated by Norma Cole, Hebrew translation by Peter Cole. Inside were Hannah Weiner, Susan Howe, Rachel Tzvia Back, Nathaniel Mackey, Joanne Kyger, Lorca, Pasolini, fifth-century BCE Sanskrit, Red Grooms and Anne Waldman, Paul Celan, Charles Baudelaire, and Ingebor Bachman. Comparing the contributors with Jimmy & Lucy’s shows instantly that the core of the magazine remained a few East Bay poets we knew closely, but the interests had shifted to myth, history, languages, peyote ceremonies, and the archaic.

Dark Ages Clasp the Daisy Root 8/9 (2nd series, nos. 3/4) (June 1993). Cover art by Anne Waldman and Andrew Schelling.

The final issue 8/9 held only translations. We drew some from faculty and students at Naropa, where I was now teaching. Anselm Hollo entered the mix with “Some Greeks,” back at the salty beginnings of Occidental poetry.

— Andrew Schelling, Boulder, Colorado, January 2017


Tables of content and scans of the complete run of Dark Ages Clasp the Daisy Root are available on Benjamin Friedlander’s website.


magazines & Presses


Eileen Myles
New York

Nos. 1–2 (1977–79).

The issues are unnumbered; no. 1 has nuns in dodgem cars on the cover, no. 2 a woman holding a can.

dodgems [1] (1977).


I’ve never liked mimeo. Sure, it’s fast and it’s cheap but it doesn’t look like a book. If you can do it yourself, why bother? Why not just xerox your favorite new poems from time to time and hand ’em to your friends? Or better still, why not stylishly fold your latest into your back pocket and show it to the several people who matter? How many people’s taste do you trust? I mean, who actually understands poetry? I publish my poems in mimeo magazines. I like to see them breathe beyond my own typewriter though I’m much happier when they’re typeset….

Dodgems [2], 1979.

dodgems [2], 1979.

Somebody once described mimeo publication as “punk publishing” and that made it work for me for awhile. But not really. When someone asks me if I’ve got a book I say Yeah…but it’s just mimeo. That usually means you can’t get it, it’s not available, or else Sure, but I don’t like it anymore. Was the ’60s the Golden Age of Mimeo? That makes me think it’s a dated idea. Mimeo. But I think it’s too late for all that. The best poems should be well packaged, I’m not even thinking about big-house books (oh, sure), it’s not even like comparing cable to prime-time teevee, it’s like comparing—there’s no comparison—view-master to movies—no comparison. I just mean mimeo vs. a book-book. A nice shiny book-book. Doesn’t money make money? Won’t people take your poems more seriously in a great typeface with a far-out cover, expensive, in color. Wouldn’t this here ratty publication be more “influential” (influential on what—Genius critic Denis Donoghue says poetry now occupies a “marginal” place. Like the funniest lines in Mad magazine?) if it was typeset? Wouldn’t I be more excited about writing for it? You go to the New York Small Press Book Fair and see endless publications, books & magazines in full glossy grandeur, nice commercial high-production values.

You say Wow, don’t these books look pretty! Pick one up & sniff the nice new cover—but don’t look inside—pure dreck…. But I like these shiny books: they look commercial, real, they look American. If only the stupid publishers and the brilliant poets could get together. Mimeo skirts all that so the publisher is the poet’s best friend or even the poet and that’s that. Your family won’t believe it’s a book but so what. They also are unable to read your poems. So I have only set my hand once to mimeo publishing but it was an act of revenge in my heart—we did an anthology of poems ourselves in response to another slicker inferior one. Mimeo was effective in this case—fast & cheap. It wasn’t like killing someone, it was like throwing a beer in their face.

— Eileen MylesThe Poetry Project Newsletter (March 1982)

[Neither issue of dodgems was produced via the mimeo machine.]

“The nuns came first in 1977 and the woman holding a can was 1979. The third issue would have been great with Mae West holding the torch instead of the statue of liberty but I decided to go on a drunken voyage with my girlfriend instead and kill the magazine. A sorrow. I’m always wanting to bring dodgems back and maybe I will.”

Eileen Myles, 2013


magazines & Presses


Larry Goodell
Placitas, New Mexico

Nos. 1–14 (1964–66).

Duende 4 (April 1964). The Roadrunner Poem by Kenneth Irby. Cover by Signe Nelson (Stuart).

Duende 4

In the southwestern desert highlands of Placitas, New Mexico, flourished one of the most down-to-earth, and yet still lunar, of the mimeographed magazines of the 1960s, Larry Goodell’s Duende. Each of its fourteen issues published the work of just one poet (a separate anthology, entitled Oriental Blue Streak, was published in spring 1968 in Placitas without the Duende imprint). Among the individual titles were Ronald Bayes’s History of the Turtle (Book 1) as number 1, Kenneth Irby’s The Roadrunner Poem (number 4), Margaret Randall’s Some Small Sounds from the Bass Fiddle (number 5), Larry Eigner’s Murder Talk (number 6), Robert Kelly’s Lectiones (number 7), and Kenneth Irby’s Movements/Sequences (number 8). The final issue was devoted to Goodell’s own Cycles.

Detroit Artists Workshop Benefit: Seven Poets, Santa Fe-Albuquerque. Captain Mimeo and the Pepsi Shooter Press Book no. 1. [Duende Press], March 11, 1967.

Detroit Artists Workshop Benefit, Seven Poets, Santa Fe-Albuquerque. Captain Mimeo and the Pepsi Shooter Press Book no. 1. [Duende Press] (March 11, 1967). Cover by Joyce Finstein.

The press also published a series of half a dozen broadside poems. The press was named after the poetic view developed by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, whose “Theory and Function of the Duende” was widely influential among American poets of the ’60s and ’70s: “All through Andalusia, from the rock of Jaén to the shell of Cádiz, people constantly speak of the duende, and recognize it with unfailing instinct when it appears. The wonderful flamenco singer El Lebrijano, creator of the Debla, said: ‘When I sing with duende nobody can equal me.’ The old gipsy dancer La Malena exclaimed once on hearing Brailowsky play Bach: ‘Olé! This has duende,’ yet she was bored by Gluck, Brahms, and Darius Milhaud. And Manuel Torres, a man with more culture in his veins than anybody I have known, when listening to Falla playing his own ‘Nocturno del Generalife,’ made this splendid pronouncement: ‘All that has dark sounds has duende.’ And there is no greater truth.”

Duende 5 (September 1964). Margaret Randall's Some Small Sounds from the Bass Fiddle.

Duende 5 (September 1964). Some Small Sounds from the Bass Fiddle by Margaret Randall. Cover collage by Bobbie Creeley.

The fourteen issues of Duende were

Bayes, Ronald. History of the Turtle (Book 1). 1964. Duende 1. Cover collage by Bobbie Creeley.

Bayes, Ronald. History of the Turtle (Book 4). 1966. Duende 10. Cover by Signe Nelson (Stuart).

Dodd, William. Se Marier. 1965. Duende 9. Cover by William Taggart.

Eigner, Larry. Murder Talk; The Reception: (Suggestions for a Play); Five Poems; Bed Never Self Made. 1965. Duende 6. Cover photograph by Paul Saunders.

Franklyn, A. Frederic. Virgules and Déjà Vu. 1964. Duende 2. Cover collage by Bobbie Creeley.

Franks, David. Touch. 1966. Duende 13. Edited by Larry Goodell & William Harris. Cover by Joseph White.

Goodell, Larry. Cycles. 1966. Duende 14. Edited by William Harris.

Harris, William. Poems 1965. 1966. Duende 12. Edited by Larry Goodell and William Harris. Cover by John Czerkowicz.

Irby, Kenneth. Movements/Sequences. 1965. Duende 8. Cover by Joseph Stuart.

Irby, Kenneth. The Roadrunner Poem. 1964. Duende 4. Cover by Signe Nelson (Stuart).

Kelly, Robert. Lectiones. 1965. Duende 7. Collages, including cover, by Bobbie Creeley.

Randall, Margaret. Some Small Sounds from the Bass Fiddle. 1964. Duende 5. Cover collage by Bobbie Creeley.

Ward, Fred. Poems. 1966. Duende 11. Edited by Larry Goodell and William Harris.

Watson, Richard. Cockcrossing. 1964. Duende 3. Cover by Signe Nelson (Stuart).

Divers Press

magazines & Presses

Divers Press

Robert Creeley
Banalbufar, Mallorca


Paul Blackburn, The Dissolving Fabric (1955).


Raising pigeons and chickens on a farm in Littleton, New Hampshire, Robert Creeley heard, through “a fluke of airwaves,” poet Cid Corman’s weekly radio program from Boston, “This Is Poetry.” Inspired, Creeley read on the program during a weekend in 1950 when he was showing chickens at the Boston poultry show. And so began a network of literary friendships that inspired a generation of poets (“A knows B, B knows C, and there begins to be increasing focus. And I think that we were curiously lucky that that focus was not literally a question of whether we were all living together or not.”). Galvanized, Creeley tried unsuccessfully to start his own little magazine, but ended up giving Cid Corman at Origin much of the material he had collected, including work by Denise Levertov, Paul Blackburn, and Charles Olson, to whom the first issue of Origin was devoted.

Charles Olson, Mayan Letters (1953 [i.e., 1954].

Charles Olson, Mayan Letters (1953 [1954]).

Against this background it is not surprising that Creeley, called “The Figure of Outward” by Olson, whom he met through Corman, would himself venture forth as a publisher in 1953 with Martin Seymour-Smith’s All Devils Fading. In addition to two volumes by Paul Blackburn and one each by Larry Eigner and Robert Duncan, in 1954 Creeley issued a volume of poems by Canadian poet Irving Layton and Japanese poet Katué Kitasono’s self-translated poems, Black Rain. The last volume he published, in 1955, was American novelist Douglas Woolf’s “painful rite of passage,” The Hypocritic Days. Creeley published his own The Kind of Act of in 1953 and A Snarling Garland of Xmas Verses and The Gold Diggers, both in 1954. In 1982, Creeley wistfully remembered the serious, edgy nature of the press: “I don’t recall that the Divers Press paid anybody anything—it was my first wife’s modest income that kept any of it going—and so our choices had to be limited to writers as existentially defined as ourselves.”

“What I felt was the purpose of the press has much to do with my initial sense of [The Black Mountain Review] also. For me, and the other writers who came to be involved, it was a place defined by our own activity and accomplished altogether by ourselves—a place wherein we might make evident what we, as writers, had found to be significant, both for ourselves and for that world—no doubt often vague to us indeed—we hoped our writing might enter… there had to be both a press and a magazine absolutely specific to one’s own commitments and possibilities. Nothing short of that was good enough.”

— Robert Creeley, Introduction to the AMS Press reprint (1969) of The Black Mountain Review

Divers Press books include

Blackburn, Paul. The Dissolving Fabric. 1955.

Creeley, Robert. The Gold Diggers. 1954.

Creeley, Robert. The Kind of Act of. 1953.

Creeley, Robert. Printing Is Cheap in Mallorca. 1953.

Creeley, Robert. A Snarling Garland of Xmas Verses. 1954.

Duncan, Robert. Caesar’s Gate: Poems 1949–1950. 1955. Cover collage by Jess (Collins).

Eigner, Larry. From the Sustaining Air. 1953.

Kitasono, Katsué. Black Rain: Poems & Drawings. 1954

Layton, Irving. The Blue Propeller. 1955

Layton, Irving. In the Midst of My Fever. 1954.

Olson, Charles. Mayan Letters. 1953 [1954].

Robert Duncan, Caesar’s Gate: Poems 1949–1950 (1955). Collages by Jess Collins.

Robert Duncan, Caesar’s Gate: Poems 1949–1950 (1955). Collages by Jess.