Category Archives: S


Magazines & Presses


Alice Notley and Douglas Oliver
New York

Nos. 1­–5 (Sept. 1990–Sept.1991), and nos. 6–8 published as The Scarlet Cabinet: A Compendium of Books by Alice Notley & Douglas Oliver (Mar. 1992).

Scarlet, no. 1. Sept. 1990.

Published out of Alice Notley and Douglas Oliver’s apartment at 101 St. Mark’s Place in New York City in five issues from 1990 to 1991, Scarlet defiantly embraced a mixture of experimentation, politics, and obsolescence. As they state in the inaugural issue’s editorial, “Editorials in this kind of newspaper being out of fashion, that’s the first point. We don’t much like the fashion in poetry/literary magazines which aims for wimpish purity of text: too boring.” Driven by the call to “be guided by right spirit,” a tacit reference to the political party “Spirit” founded by Will Penniless and friends in Oliver’s Penniless PoliticsScarlet’s “emphasis will be upon that spirit in a work which unites vision to concern—whether political, social, personal, or fantastical.”

Publishing writers associated with the afterlives of the New American Poetry, especially New Cambridge and New York School poets, as well as younger writers influenced by these lineages, Scarlet includes work by Anselm Hollo, Amiri Baraka, Barbara Guest, Pierre Joris, Denise Riley, Susie Timmons, Elio Schneeman, Eileen Myles, and many others, as well as artwork by Joe Brainard, Rudy Burckhardt, Yvonne Jacquette, and George Schneeman. Notable contributions include the earliest publication of excerpts from Notley’s The Descent of Alette, then identified as “An Untitled Long Poem”; a regular “Dream Gossip” column; a fiery set of editorials; Steve Abbott’s “A house on fire” article about the ongoing AIDS crisis; and Notley’s essays “Women & Poetry” and “What Can Be Learned From Dreams?”

The column-based “newspaper” format of Scarlet, similar to both The Poetry Project Newsletter and Kathleen Fraser’s HOW(ever), creates a non-linear, generative reading experience, as works in different genres and of different lengths extend over multiple pages in a variety of columns, side-bars, and sections, producing a visual-textual arrangement that sparks convergences of voices and ideas. For example, in Scarlet no. 2, a conversation between Leslie Scalapino and Philip Whalen extends over four pages alongside a section from The Descent of Alette, a convergence that places Whalen’s humorously disparaging description of Charles Olson’s “Projective Verse,” what he calls “that God-awful essay that everyone just loves to death,” alongside a section of Notley’s feminist epic that up-ends Olson’s masculine-civic founding of a new poetics of the syllable and the line.

In a 1997 autobiographical essay, Oliver remarks on the origins and work of Scarlet:

Alice had been working on several poem sequences, including her now-celebrated The Descent of Alette. I had a Robert Louis Stevenson pastiche ready—Sophia Scarlett, a feminist version of a novel Stevenson had projected before his death. And we had begun a newspaper-style poetry magazine, Scarlet. It was Gulf War time, so we had plenty to editorialize—and agonize—about; Alice ran a ‘Dream Gossip’ column, which printed everyone’s scandalous dreams; Anselm Hollo had a regular filler feature of aperçus called Hollograms; and we were called one of the brightest new small poetry reviews for a while. We serialized The Descent of Alette and Penniless Politics and our final issue was a fat book, called, to continue our scarlet thematics, The Scarlet Cabinet.

Published in March 1992 as three-issues-in-one, The Scarlet Cabinet: A Compendium of Books by Alice Notley & Douglas Oliver contains three works by Oliver—Penniless Politics, Sophia Scarlett, and Nava Sūtra—and four works by Notley—The Descent of Alette, Beginning With A Stain, Twelve Poems Without Mask, and Homer’s Art. Framed as an act of resistance against conservative aesthetics and a homogenous publishing industry, the aim of work in The Scarlet Cabinet was to, as Notley writes, “pay attention to the real spiritual needs of both her neighbors (not her poetic peers) & the future.” As Oliver writes in his introduction:

Why not, we thought, publish a book rather like a chance collection of Medieval manuscripts bound into one volume, a book which thumbs its nose at all this? We only care about the spirit of what we write anyway: we don’t care about the business-suited poetic world, or the NEA – any of that. So why not have some fun?

— Nick Sturm, Atlanta, May 2021

Scarlet, no. 2. Fall 1990.

Scarlet, no. 3. Winter 1991.

Scarlet, no. 4. Spring 1991.

Scarlet, no. 5. Sept. 1991.

The Scarlet Cabinet: A Compendium of Books by Alice Notley & Douglas Oliver. Scarlet Editions, 1992.


Magazines & Presses

Suction: The Magazine of the Actualist Movement

Darrell Gray and Henry Pritchett (1), Darrell Gray (2, 3)
Iowa City

Vol. 1, nos. 1–3 (May 1969–1973).

Subtitle “The Magazine of the Actualist Movement” was added with no. 3.

Suction, vol. 1, no.1 (May 1969).

Despite its rural situation, the Iowa Writers Workshop was a powerhouse in American letters. From Flannery O’Connor to Raymond Carver, many fine fiction writers have attended, and in poetry over eighteen alumni have won the Pulitzer Prize. One particular nexus was seen in the years 1968–73 when Ted Berrigan and Anselm Hollo taught poetry there (Berrigan only briefly) while Harry Duncan ran the Cummington Press from 1956 to 1972, numbering Kim Merker and Allan Kornblum among his students. Carroll Coleman of the Prairie Press was also an active presence on campus (and publisher of a famous spoof book of poetry, Oh Millersville! by Fern Gravel). In the early 1970s there was an explosion of mimeo magazines around the Iowa writers, including Allan Kornblum’s Toothpaste, George Mattingly’s Search for Tomorrow and Dave Morice’s Gum. Darrell Gray (who called himself a “sociopathic realist”) was an active participant in writing and publishing as well as Poets’ Theater, the casual group of players who staged his plays, some of whom (Bob Ernst, David Schein, John O’Keefe) would move to Berkeley from the Iowa Theater Lab and establish the Blake Street Hawkeyes. Darrell Gray is usually referred to as the “Godfather of Actualism,” a spoof literary movement he invented. “We hope to make everything a source of entertainment,” he wrote.

In May 1969 he published the first issue of Suction at 75 cents, with the note, “subscriptions $2 for 4 issues.” The cover is letterpress, probably by Kornblum. The TOC lists seventeen poets, including Ted Berrigan, Anselm Hollo, who also contributes Gunnar Harding translations (Harding, a Swede, was attending Iowa at the time), John Godfrey, Lewis MacAdams, James Tate, Tom Clark, John Clarke, George Mattingly, Aram Saroyan, Dick Gallup, Ray DiPalma, Merrill Gilfillan, and translations of Reverdy and Apollinaire by Jane Delyn. The charming contributors’ notes include “Aram Saroyan: his arm is warm,” “Jane Delyn is feminine, marvelous, and tough.”

Suction, vol. 1, no. 2 (1971). Photograph by Francis Hamit.

Issue 2 (1971) sees the price raised to $1, or $3 for 4 issues. The cover is a photo of an umbrella stuck in a hay bale by Francis Hamit. Mr. Gestetner’s 1881 invention is used for all but the first page: a reproduction of Gary Snyder’s calligraphy in “The Way is not a Way.” To the above roster is added Clark Coolidge, Dave Morice, Jack Marshall, Ramon Fernandez translated by Darrell Gray, Gerard Malanga, Ted Greenwald, Lewis Warsh, and Oger Mou, translated from the Icelandic by Anselm Hollo. It is my belief that Oger Mou was invented by Anselm and that Ramon Fernandez was invented by Darrell. There was a French poet named Ramon Fernandez but the dates and titles (“Where did the Carbon Sleep that it Awoke so Black?”) given here suggest Darrell was riffing off Lorca and other poets. This is a characteristic of his work: sometimes he would come up with a brilliant line, unaware that he had read it in Merwin or another poet, a consequence of his being rarely sober.

Suction: The Magazine of the Actualist Movement, vol. 1, no. 3 (1973). Cover drawing by Steve Shrader.

The third and final issue of Suction appeared in 1973 and is now subtitled “The Magazine of the Actualist Movement,” with an epigraph from W. C. Williams: “Actuality is never frustrated because it is always complete.” The cover is a high-contrast drawing of four nude women by Steve Shrader. In addition to the above we hear from Alice Notley, Steve Toth, Andrei Codrescu, Tom Veitch, Tomaž Šalamun translated from the Yugoslavian by the author and Anselm Hollo, César Vallejo translated by James Stephens, Octavio Paz, and more Ramon Fernandez translated by Darrell Gray. The last three pages are devoted to Joyce Holland, a concrete minimalist poet, who also featured in Gum. This is not the place to discuss Darrell’s sexuality but he enjoyed the female persona so much he hired an actress to appear and perform as his alter ego Joyce Holland, editor of Matchbook, a tiny conceptual magazine the size of a matchbook containing one-word poems.

Starting in Iowa City and continuing for many years in Berkeley—after many of the “Actualists” had actually moved to the Bay Area—the Actualist Convention was a day or weekend-long series of performances: readings, slide shows, films, music, and performances of actual plays. Morty Sklar is writing a book about the Actualist movement.

— Alastair Johnston, Berkeley, April 2017

Stony Brook

Magazines & Presses

Stony Brook

George Quasha
Stony Brook, New York

Nos. 1/2–3/4 (1968–69).

Stony Brook 1/2 (Fall 1968).

I began Stony Brook, “a journal of poetry, poetics and translation,” in 1968 at Stony Brook University (SUNY), where, since 1966, I’d been teaching full time in the English Department while doing graduate work at NYU. I was inspired both by the poetry energy of downtown New York and the great variety of international poets who came through Stony Brook. A special opportunity to launch the journal arose at the June 1968 Stony Brook international poetry festival, organized by faculty poets Jim Harrison and Louis Simpson, who invited some twelve foreign poets—including Francis Ponge, Zbigniew Herbert, Czesław Miłosz, Eugène Guillevic, Nicanor Parra, and Kofi Awoonor—and some seventy American poets to listen to those twelve, but not themselves give readings—including Robert Duncan, Jackson Mac Low, Allen Ginsberg, Clayton Eshleman, Jerome Rothenberg, Anselm Hollo, Denise Levertov, Gary Snyder, Ed Sanders, Joel Oppenheimer, Milton Kessler, Bill Corbett, Charles Simic, George Hitchcock, and James Tate. Roger Guedalla, a British friend of several years and a graduate student, served as managing/contributing editor for all issues, and J. D. Reed, a graduate student, and Eliot Weinberger, an undergraduate student, were contributing editors to the first issue (Eliot’s uncle became our printer and a board member).

Often referred to as Stony Brook Magazine, though not officially its name, it comprised two large double issues, 1/2 (1968, 258 pages, 6 x 9¼”) and 3/4 (1969, 400 pages, 7 x 9¼”), with a third double issue, 5/6 (same format as 3/4), fully edited and typeset but never printed (for lack of funds). The journal’s editorial concept was to connect the different poetry ecologies then active, along with their conflicting poetics. I had a Blakean, “without contraries no progression” view, related to my own intricate and often conflicting loyalties, and I wanted to juxtapose poets who rarely appeared in the same publication, as an “ideogram” of contemporary practice. I hoped the resulting “Mental Warfare” would produce an interesting poetics discourse. The two-year life of the journal was not enough to test the critical hypothesis very thoroughly, but certain tensions were activated. Stony Brook 3/4 opened with a full b/w facsimile of William Blake’s America a Prophecy (not easily available in 1969).

Stony Brook 3/4 (1969).

Stony Brook did assemble an array of unique texts and associations, as reflected by the diverse list of contributing editors: Lawrence Alloway (visual arts), David Antin (linguistics), Kofi Awoonor (African), Leopoldo Castedo (visual arts), Jorge Carrera Andrade (Latin American), Robert Duncan (poetry), Mathias Goeritz (concrete poetry), Michael Hamburger (German), Hugh Kenner (poetics), Daniel Mauroc (French), Enrique Ojeda (Spanish/Latin American), Nicanor Parra (Spanish/Latin American), M. L. Rosenthal (poetry), Jerome Rothenberg (ethnopoetics), Leif Sjöberg (Scandinavian), Charles Simic (Eastern European), Louis Simpson (poetry), Jack Thompson (poetics), and Wai-Lim Yip (Chinese).

Some sixty participants in the first double issue and over a hundred in the second, including poets, writers, artists, translators, critics, scholars, anthropologists, etc., contributed over six hundred pages of poetry, prose, translation (bilingual), visual art, reviews, and commentary from a dozen or so cultures. Notable texts included:

— The first publication since the war of new Cantos of Ezra Pound (made possible by James Laughlin’s personal support for the journal).

— A revival of the Objectivist Anthology poets (George Oppen, Lorine Niedecker, Carl Rakosi, and Charles Reznikoff, with commentary by Ezra Pound, Robert Creeley, and Kenneth Cox) in new work and documents.

— New poetry by Charles Olson (from Maximus), Muriel Rukeyser, John Wieners, Gary Snyder, James Laughlin, Joanne Kyger, Robert Creeley, Helen Adam, Clayton Eshleman, Jackson Mac Low, David Antin, Jerome Rothenberg, Armand Schwerner, Denise Levertov, Diane Wakoski, David Bromige, Eleanor Antin, Tom Pickard, George Stanley, Jim Harrison, Charles Bukowski, Geoffrey O’Brien, Charles Simic, George Bowering, Michael Hamburger, James Tate, Ifeanyi Menkiti, A. R. Ammons, M. L. Rosenthal, Tim Reynolds, Louis Simpson, Stuart Montgomery, Harold Dicker, George Quasha, Robert Vas Dias, Harold Dull, Willis Barnstone, Raphael Rudnik, and Howard McCord, among others.

— Wai-Lim Yip’s analytical presentation of ancient and modern Chinese poetry, with new translations along with Chinese originals.

— The first presentation of ethnopoetics (I invited Rothenberg to create a new word for the field and become the first editor, which evolved later into Alcheringa journal) by way of substantial excerpts from his forthcoming anthologies, Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania (1968) and Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americas (1972).

— Robert Duncan contributed sections of The H. D. Book for the first time in a widely circulated literary journal, as well as a rather contentious piece, “A Critical Difference of View,” on reviews by Hayden Carruth and Adrienne Rich, disagreeing with their take, respectively, on Williams and Zukofsky.

— David Antin’s innovatively disruptive, linguistics-based attack on metrical notions in verse, “Notes for an Ultimate Prosody,” with its opening headline, “The contribution of meter to the sound structure of poetry has been trivial,” comprising Part One, but Part Two never appeared anywhere. (This had been a paper for a poetics theory graduate seminar at NYU under M. L. Rosenthal which we both attended, and I persuaded Antin to publish it—though he was hesitant—because it is a unique and challenging analysis of a major issue; apparently never reprinted.)

— Hugh Kenner, in addition to supplying a section of The Pound Era then in progress, gave a supportive response to Antin’s piece. William S. Wilson (writer, art and poetry critic/scholar) challenged Antin’s piece in his “Focus, Meter and Operations in Poetry” and defined an “operational” poetics with emphasis on concrete poetry. This exchange was the main instance of a generated poetics discussion we had hoped for.

— Translations from Francis Ponge, Robert Pinget, Robert Desnos, René Daumal, Eugène Guillevic, Yvan Goll, Daniel Mauroc, Nicanor Parra, Octavio Paz, Jorge Carrera Andrade, Gunnar Ekelöf, Czesław Miłosz, Vasco Popa, Tadeusz Różewicz, Momčilo Nastasijević, Antun Šoljan, Ivan V. Lalić, Branko Miljković, Aleksander Wat, Evgeny Vinokurov, and Miklós Radnóti, among others.

— Translators include Denise Levertov, Galway Kinnell, Muriel Rukeyser, Jerome Rothenberg, Richard Johnny John, Charles Simic, H. R. Hays, Robert Duncan, Raymond Federman, Richard Lourie, George Quasha, Edward Field, Stephen Dolgar, Stephen Berg, S. J. Marks, Victor Contoski, David P. McAllester, and Leif Sjöberg.

— Documents: Ezra Pound’s “How I began” (1913), Preface to Oppen’s Discrete Series (1934), and “René Crevel” (1939); W. C. Williams, letters to Denise Levertov, Yvan Goll, and William S. Wilson; George Oppen, “On Armand Schwerner”; Edward Dahlberg, Preface to The Flea of Sodom; Robert Creeley, “Basil Bunting: An Appreciation”; Serge Gavronsky, “Interview with Francis Ponge”; Denise Levertov, “Working and Dreaming”; Dell Hymes, “A Study of Some North Pacific Poems”; Louis Simpson, “The Anti-Theorist”; George Bowering, “On the Road: and the Indians at the end”; David P. McAllester, “The Tenth Horse Song: Translation, Comments, Text & Notes”; Richard Grossinger, “Oecological Sections Nos. 24 & 29.”

As a mechanism of underwriting Stony Brook I founded the Stony Brook Poetics Foundation as a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization, hoping the university might eventually agree to support it, which never happened. When after five years my life took me away from Stony Brook, there was no possibility of continuing or publishing the third volume, which contained important work like Paul Blackburn’s Provençal translations (bilingual). Though the magazine could not be sustained, it nevertheless laid the groundwork for an anthology I was coediting at the time with Ronald Gross (subeditors Emmett Williams, John Robert Colombo, and Walter Lowenfels), Open Poetry: Four Anthologies of Expanded Poems (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973), and subsequently (with Susan Quasha), An Active Anthology (Fremont, MI: Sumac Press: 1974). It also initiated my collaboration with Jerome Rothenberg, which, in a couple of years, would lead to America a Prophecy: A New Reading of American Poetry from Pre-Colombian Times to the Present (New York: Random House, 1973).

— George Quasha, Barrytown, New York, April 2017


Magazines & Presses


Timothy Rubald
Moorpark, California

Sole issue.

[No number] (1972).



(note: this word may be removed at your discretion, Tim)

An introduction should retreat with a dipping stride like Thomas Mann’s Magician as quickly as possible. I make it a promise.

A new poetry magazine ought to contain something new. Silver (as in apples of the moon, with Cynthia bending oblingingly [sic] so we can stroke her breasts) offers new texture, new sensations, and new teasings of the Veil. David Gitin’s poem (a poem without Wordsworthian arms to shake and shake us into numb prose sense) “No News” is a good example. It simply fuses us to its world with unprepossessing strength:

Angela Davis
in a building designed
by Frank Lloyd Wright

Or mounts and rides us into many corners, as in another Gitin poem:

the museum, the zoo—
we bind
the familiar
we succeed

There are burrs of unmistakable and irresistable [sic] humor. Page sculpture for ears as well as eyes:

[as John Perreault’s] “please fold”

and venom for the earth-beaters. Ron Schreiber speaking from “letter” where he is “stuck in the slime of a dying planet”:

…  Jerusalem ain’t tomorrow
Blake says     it’s step over that dead body     now.

Silver is for below the neck and anatomically elsewhere. It is quite distant from poetry whose experience suggests light knifing from hooded lids or luminous glazes of semen arranging themselves into maps of London.

Here are incisive and delicate poems by (almost to a name) people I had never read before. They are (almost to a name) people I wanted to read again immediately.

— Norman C. Mallory, Silver (1972)

Sundial and SUN

Magazines & Presses

Sundial and SUN

Bill Zavatsky
New York

Editors of Sundial: Lawrence Susskind (vol. 1, nos. 1–3); William B. Bonvillian (vol. 2, nos. 1, 2); Richard Sulken (vol. 2, no. 3–vol. 3, no. 1).

, vol. 1, no. 1–vol. 3, no. 1 (Spring 1966–Spring/Summer 1969).
SUN, vol. 3, no. 2/3– vol. 5, no. 1 (Summer 1971–1983).

SUN supersedes Sundial with its Summer 1971 issue (vol. 3, no. 2/3) and continues its numbering sequence.

Five issues of Roy Rogers were published as giveaway spinoffs of Sundial between May 1967 and ca. May or June 1968. Two larger and unnumbered issues were later published in 1970 and 1974.

SUN, vol. 3, no. 2/3 (Summer 1971).

SUN—the magazine and the press (never “Sun Press” or “Sun Books” or “Sun magazine”)—emerged from the collapse of Sundial, a literary magazine started at Columbia University by undergraduate Lawrence Susskind in 1966. (The sundial at the center of 116th Street, which runs through the campus, offered its name as a hub of activity.)

Sundial, vol. 2, no. 1 (Winter 1968).

Sundial was funded by the Protestant Episcopal Office in Earl Hall, and featured dynamic graphic design and an eclectic approach that opened its pages not only to Columbia students but to anybody connected to the school. When the Rev. William Starr officiated at the marriage of two protestors occupying one of the university buildings in the spring of 1968, the Episcopal Diocese pulled the money for the magazine and other programs. I had come up through the ranks, from staff member to poetry editor to editor—but suddenly found myself without funds to bring out an issue.

Eventually I scraped up some money, changed the name of the magazine to SUN, and put out several more issues. After getting out numbers that each totaled 250 pages plus, I found myself perplexed when people asked me, “Hey, this is great! When’s the next issue coming out?” In 1972, while still doing the magazine, I began to think out loud about book publishing, bringing out Phillip Lopate’s collection of poems called The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open as a trial horse.

SUN, vol. 4, no. 1 (Spring 1974). Cover by Rudy Burckhardt.

My tastes ran to the New York School, but there was a lot to admire (and publish) all around. In 1975 I brought out four titles, including Lauds by Harvey Shapiro, my own Theories of Rain and Other Poems, and Trevor Winkfield’s translation of How I Wrote Certain of My Books by Raymond Roussel—and the press took wing. We did thirty-five books in all, sometimes in hardcover and with dust jackets—mostly books of poems, but here and there a novel, a book of nonfiction, and some translations: Max Jacob’s Dice Cup edited and translated by Michael Brownstein, Ron Padgett, John Ashbery, and Zack Rogow, and me; the aforementioned Roussel, in two editions; Jules Supervielle translated by George Bogin; Malcolm de Chazal translated by Irving Weiss; Francis Ponge translated by Serge Gavronsky; and Gorän Sonnevi translated by Robert Bly.

The SUN list included Phillip Lopate, Ron Padgett, Bill Knott, Marc Kaminsky, Greg Kuzma, Jaimy Gordon, Michael O’Brien, Marjorie Welish, Maureen Owen, Serge Gavronsky, Paul Auster, James Schuyler, Tony Towle, George Economou, Carolanne Ely, Robert Hershon, Barry Yourgrau, Andrei Codrescu, Peter Schjeldahl, Alan Feldman, and Paul Violi.

SUN, vol. 5, no. 1 (Winter 1983). Cover by Glen Baxter.

When in 1985 illness made it impossible for my wife Phyllis to continue working on SUN, I realized that I couldn’t support us on freelance poets-in-the-schools jobs. I found publishers for the several books that were in the works, began to empty the warehouse of backstock, returned manuscripts, and exhaled deeply as I closed up the shop. (I taught high school for the next twenty-four years.) The business side of publishing never thrilled me. Though the press and the magazine were generously supported by grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, when getting and spending and paperwork got me down I used to lament, “I started life as a poet and I’m ending it as an accountant.” Nevertheless I am very happy that I published so many wonderful books that I wanted to read.

— Bill Zavatsky, New York, March 2017

Sundial/SUN, 1966–83

Complete checklist with all contributors available as a PDF.

Roy Rogers, 1966–74

A spinoff of Sundial, Roy Rogers was first produced as a giveaway stapled-and-mimeographed publication to accommodate the fact that a number of writers on the Sundial staff were writing so prolifically. Five issues of the “giveway” were done between late 1966 (?) and 1967.

After I took control of Sundial and restamped the magazine with the name of SUN, I produced two much larger issues of Roy Rogers, described below.

Roy Rogers [1] (1970). An “All Roy Rogers” issue, in which all material pertains to the cowboy hero. Mimeographed/stapled, 44 pp.

Roy Rogers [2] (Winter1974). A “One Line Poems” issue, in which all contributions are of that genre. Offset/stapled, with a wraparound four-color cover designed by Hannah Wilke, 117 pp.

Roy Rogers, vol. 1, no. 1 (May 1967). A giveaway.

SUN Books, 1972–85 (complete)

Auster, Paul. The Invention of Solitude. 1982. 174 pp.

Codrescu, Andrei. Selected Poems 1970–1980. 1983. 139 pp.

de Chazal, Malcolm. Sens-Plastique. 1979. Edited and translated from the French with an introduction by Irving Weiss. 163 pp.

Economou, George. Ameriki: Book One, and Selected Earlier Poems. 1977. 102 pp.

Ely, Carolanne. Love Wounds & Multiple Fractures. 1975. 36 pp.

Feldman, Alan. The Happy Genius. 1978. 75 pp.

Gavronsky, Serge. The German Friend. 1984. 164 pp.

Gordon, Jaimy. The Bend, The Lip, The Kid: Reallife Stories. 1978. 66 pp.

Heller, Michael. Knowledge. 1979. 88 pp.

Hershon, Robert. How to Ride on the Woodlawn Express. 1985. 59 pp.

Jacob, Max. The Dice Cup: Selected Prose Poems. 1979. Edited and with an introduction by Michael Brownstein, with translations from the French by the editor, John Ashbery, David Ball, Ron Padgett, Zack Rogow, and Bill Zavatsky. 122 pp.

Kaminsky, Marc. A Table with People. 1982. 117 pp.

Knott, Bill. Selected and Collected Poems. 1977. 121 pp.

Kuzma, Greg. Of China and of Greece. 1984. 108 pp.

Lopate, Phillip. The Daily Round: New Poems. 1976. 90 pp.

Lopate, Phillip. The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open. 1972. 61 pp.

Lopate, Phillip. The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open. 1976. 61 pp. Redesigned and reprinted from 1972 edition.

O’Brien, Michael. Blue Springs: Poems. 1976. 90 pp.

O’Brien, Michael. Conversations at the West End 1966–1974. 1979. 176 pp.

Owen, Maureen. Zombie Notes. 1985. 64 pp.

Padgett, Ron. Toujours l’amour: Poems. 1976. 104 pp.

Padgett, Ron. Triangles in the Afternoon. 1979. 46 pp.

Ponge, Francis. The Sun Placed in the Abyss and Other Texts. 1977. Translated from the French with an essay and interview with Ponge by Serge Gavronsky. 101 pp.

Roussel, Raymond. How I Wrote Certain of My Books. 1975. Translated from the French with notes and a bibliography by Trevor Winkfield. 42 pp.

Continue reading

Roussel, Raymond. How I Wrote Certain of My Books. 1977. Translated from the French with notes and a bibliography by Trevor Winkfield. Includes two essays on Roussel by John Ashbery and a translation of Canto III of Roussel’s poem “New Impressions of Africa” by Kenneth Koch. 71 pp.

Schjeldahl, Peter. Since 1964: New and Selected Poems. 1978. 116 pp.

Schuyler, James. Freely Espousing. 1979. 92 pp.

Shapiro, Harvey. Lauds: Poems. 1975. 49 pp.

Shapiro, Harvey. Lauds & Nightsounds. 1978. 97 pp.

Sonnevi, Göran. The Economy Spinning Faster and Faster: Poems. 1982. Chosen and translated from the Swedish with an introduction by Robert Bly. Includes Swedish texts. 45 pp.

Supervielle, Jules. Selected Poems and Reflections on the Art of Poetry. 1985. Translated from the French with a preface by George Bogin. Includes French texts of poems. 172 pp.

Towle, Tony. “Autobiography” and Other Poems. 1977. Copublished with Coach House South. 68 pp.

Violi, Paul. Harmatan. 1977. 65 pp.

Violi, Paul. Splurge. 1982. 81 pp.

Welish, Marjorie. Handwritten. 1979. 60 pp.

Yourgrau, Barry. A Man Jumps Out of an Airplane. 1984. 99 pp.

Zavatsky, Bill. Theories of Rain and Other Poems. 1975. 91 pp.

The San Francisco Earthquake

The San Francisco Earthquake

Gail Dusenbery and Jan Herman (1, 2); Claude Pélieu (Grey Editor, 2); Claude Pélieu and Jan Herman (3); Jan Herman (4); and Jan Herman and Norman O. Mustill (5)
San Francisco

Vol. 1, nos. 1–5 (Fall 1967–1969).

The San Francisco Earthquake, vol. 1, no. 1 (Fall 1967). Cover collage by Norman O. Mustill.

We should have named it Earthquake, plain and simple. But we were in love with San Francisco, with the city as it was then in the mid-1960s. It’s not for nothing that the first issue, published in the fall of 1967, began with a swooning LSD-flavored prose poem, “First Evening in San Francisco.” The poet was a New Yorker, though: Jim Brodey. The second poem, “I’m Hunger,” was by Debi Ray. He lived in India. The third piece was an anarchist manifesto, “Intro to Provo,” by Roel van Duyn. He was Dutch. Experimental texts by William S. Burroughs were the heart and soul of the magazine through the entire run of five issues. Burroughs lived in London.

The San Francisco Earthquake, vol. 1, no. 2 (Winter 1968–69). Cover collage by Norman Mustill.

My chief collaborators were a German living in Heidelberg, Carl Weissner; a Frenchman who had recently moved to San Francisco, Claude Pélieu; an American expat who arrived with Claude after living for decades in Paris, Mary Beach; and a Canadian from Montreal who lived in Marin County: Norman O. Mustill. My other close associates were Nanos Valaoritis, who fled from Athens when the Greek military junta took over—he was living in Oakland—and Liam O’Gallagher, the one native Californian in the whole mishpucha, who lived in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

So it really would have been more accurate to call the magazine just plain Earthquake. But my original coeditor, Gail Dusenbery, a poet living in Berkeley, who chose the name for the magazine, decided that a photo of the city engulfed in flames during the 1906 earthquake belonged in that first issue. It was captioned “SAN FRANCISCO A BLAZING FURNACE.” Which more or less explains how the magazine got its full moniker.

A  close-up of one of the three unbound folded sheets, each 22½ x 30 inches, in the San Francisco Earthquake 5 (1969), the “VDRSVP issue.”

Admittedly, we published the usual suspects of the Bay Area lit scene (Ferlinghetti, Robert Duncan, Michael McClure, Charles Plymell); the not-so-usual (Stephen Schneck, Bob Kaufman, Herbert Huncke, Janine Pommy Vega, Bill Bathurst, Doug Palmer, Clemens Starck); but many more from elsewhere (Alan Ansen, Frank O’Hara, Dick Higgins, Richard Kostelanetz, Allen Ginsberg, Carl Solomon, Sinclair Beiles, Douglas Blazek, Ed Sanders, Ken Weaver, Dennis Jasudowicz, Tom Veitch, Ron Padgett, Alain Jouffroy, Ken Friedman, John Furnival, Ed Ruscha, Georges Bataille, Jean-Pierre Duprey, Christo, Jeff Nuttall, Harold Norse, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Jean-François Bory, Jochen Gerz, Wolf Vostell).

The roster of Beat, post-Beat, Fluxus, and otherwise-inclined contributors may have had something to do with the magazine’s wide recognition at the time. But it’s more likely the result of being included in the City Lights catalogue, which made the magazine available nationally and internationally. (I was Ferlinghetti’s assistant at the time.) Ironically, the best issue, the one that broke the most ground—the fifth and final issue, which consisted of three VDRSVP newsprint broadsheets folded within wraparound covers—never appeared in the catalogue. The broadsheets got the widest circulation, however, because they were reprinted by the New Orleans underground paper NOLA Express as literary inserts.

— Jan Herman, New York, March 2017

The San Francisco Earthquake, vol. 1, no. 3 (Spring 1968). Cover by Roy Lichtenstein.

The San Francisco Earthquake, vol. 1, no. 4 (Summer/Fall 1968). Cover by Roy Lichtenstein.

The San Francisco Earthquake 5 (1969).

VDRSVP #3 contained in the San Francisco Earthquake 5 (1969).



Magazines & Presses


Alan Bernheimer
New York

Sole issue (May 1971).

Sunshine, sole issue (May 1971). Cover by Merrill Gilfillan.


In the spring of 1971, after a post-graduate year hanging around the Poetry Project and working part-time at East Side Books on St. Mark’s Place (the best location for mimeo and other small press publications, although the Phoenix and Eighth Street bookshops in the West Village and the Gotham Book Mart uptown had admirable troves), I was invited to edit a one-shot magazine at the Project.

I chose the name Sunshine and appropriated the lovely italic Sunshine Biscuits Co. (baker of Hydrox cookies and Vienna Fingers) logo with the help of tracing paper. The economical, hands-on, analog technology for text reproduction was, of course, mimeograph, with photocopiers still exotic and expensive. I cut stencils and ran them off on the Project’s workhorse mimeo machine under the watchful eye of Larry Fagin.

But I was stuck for cover art, until Merrill Gilfillan lifted the image of yachtsman Sir Thomas Lipton from the eponymous tea packaging, proffering a cuppa but minus facial features except mustache and otis. Merrill added a couple of his trademark gulls and a horizon line to complete the open-air, nautical setting.

The dozen contributors comprised my young poet friends—Rebecca Wright, Michael Waltuch, Alex Smith, Arlene Ladden, Kit Robinson, Bill Zavatsky, Steve Benson, Rodger Kamenetz, Pat Bizzell, Merrill, and Paul Violi. Avant-garde composer Humphrey Evans III contributed a political cartoon.

And then I turned up my nose at the chance to be editorial assistant to Michael Korda at Simon & Schuster or teach poetry to kids at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and instead hitchhiked to San Francisco. But that’s another story.

— Alan Bernheimer, Berkeley, February 2017

Search for Tomorrow

Magazines & Presses

Search for Tomorrow

George Mattingly
Iowa City

Nos. 1–4/5 (1970–72).

Plus Special Number A, Something Swims Out by Darrell Gray. No. 6, a set of 24 4 x 6-inch postcards, was announced but not completed.

Search for Tomorrow 1 (1970). Cover by George Mattingly.

A Short History of Search for Tomorrow, 1969–1973

I moved to Iowa City in autumn 1968, drawn by the university’s Writers Workshop. There I met lifelong friends Darrell Gray, Merrill Gilfillan, and Marc Harding, and later teachers (who also became lifelong friends) Ted Berrigan, Anselm Hollo, and Jack Marshall, among many others in what was an action-packed avant-garde literary, film, art, and music scene centered around the University of Iowa—whose academic authority the scene actively fought. (Irony and head-on contradiction were little barrier in 1968.) Did I forget sex drugs and rock & roll? It barely resembled “Iowa.”

Search for Tomorrow 2 (1971). Cover by George Mattingly.

In 1969, encouraged by photographer and writer Tim Hildebrand, with visual artist Deborah Owen, I started Search for Tomorrow (stealing the name from the hit TV soap opera), determined to leave no boundary uncrossed, no element of the culture too sacred or too banal to be fed to the surrealist engine of poetry and visual art I wanted to create.

The look and feel I sought was neither the staid, visually deprived authority of the academic literary journals nor the minimal mimeo esthetic of the “underground” little magazines. My idea (however naive it might seem in hindsight) was that a wider audience could be reached if the magazine had a richer, juicier surface. I wanted Search for Tomorrow to interest not just the In Crowd, not just those already in love with contemporary literature.

I was also determined that the publication not take itself too seriously. Sometimes this determination drifted off the reservation and risked seeming to not take the work itself seriously enough (that was the danger), but at the time it seemed most important to avoid the academics’ stentorian Voice of Authority.

Search for Tomorrow 3 (1970). Cover by George Mattingly. The cover was printed on four different colored stocks.

Publishing technology evolved quickly in the late sixties. The spread of inexpensive photocopying and falling prices for small-format offset presswork made it possible to reproduce anything that could be photographed. Search for Tomorrow took every advantage of that. Anything that could be pasted up on a flat sheet became camera copy: typescripts, found art cut from magazines and newspapers, cereal box art, line drawings, etchings from old magazines and books, even small objects. It was fun, but also took heat. (Years later when Blue Wind Press published Ted Berrigan’s selected poems, So Going Around Cities, he made me promise to “not put any fucking grandfather clocks on the pages.”)

Over four years I published a mix of midwestern, New York School, and over-the-transom poets, artists, and prose writers, some well known, most not. I became more interested in publishing books. Darrell Gray’s first book of poetry, Something Swims Out, was published as a Search for Tomorrow “special issue.” Then, after a move to Vermont (where I was hired as book designer for Dick Higgins at Something Else Press), the magazine was done.

— George Mattingly, Berkeley, March 2017

Darrell Gray, Something Swims Out (Blue Wind Press, 1972). Issued as Search for Tomorrow Special Number A. Cover by George Mattingly.

Search for Tomorrow 4/5 (Spring 1972). Front cover by Allan Kornblum.

Streets and Roads

Magazines & Presses

Streets and Roads

Kit Robinson
San Francisco

No. 1 (Spring 1974). Sole issue.

Streets and Roads 1 (Spring 1974).

In the spring of 1974 I was twenty-five and living in San Francisco’s Mission District in a studio apartment with a bed that rolled out from the wall. Energized by poetry and friendship, I set out to publish a little magazine I called Streets and Roads. The title was taken from a reading textbook found in the supply room of the elementary school where I was working as a teacher’s aide. Larry Fagin’s Adventures in Poetry was a model for that kind of light-hearted appropriation.

I solicited work from a miscellaneous assortment of mostly new friends, Alan Bernheimer, Barrett Watten, Carla Harryman, Merrill Gilfillan, Andrei Codrescu, Robert Harris, Steve Benson, Dena Harris Harris, Ralph Gutlohn, and Bob Perelman. Of these only a few were then living in San Francisco, and most had yet to meet each other. Overall they had little in common.

I formatted the text on my Olympia manual typewriter and created a cover with snapshots of the neighborhood including shots of my then girlfriend, myself on a fire escape, and familiar locations like New China Restaurant, Altamont Hotel, and the El Capitan and York movie theaters. The magazine was photocopied, stapled, and distributed by hand and by mail. Several copies were placed at City Lights Bookstore.

Streets and Roads 2 (1975). Entire issue devoted to Kit Robinson’s The Dolch Stanzas. This issue was never released, but The Dolch Stanzas was published by This in 1976.

The following year, on my return from a few months in New York, I started work on issues two and three. Issue two was to be my poem sequence The Dolch Stanzas, written using sight word lists at my teacher’s aide job, with a cover graphic taken from a book on music theory. Issue three was The Slime of the Ancient Mariner by Tom Veitch with original cover art and illustrations by comic artist Greg Irons. Unfortunately my efforts to attain funding from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM) were unsuccessful, and the new issues went on the back burner.

Streets and Roads 3 (1975). Entire issue devoted to Tom Veitch’s The Slime of the Ancient Mariner. Cover art and illustrations by Greg Irons. This issue was never released.

Various changes precluded further efforts—a new relationship, an abortive attempt at earning a graduate degree in education, and a night shift at the Oakland Bulk Mail Center. In 1976, Barrett Watten’s This Press published The Dolch Stanzas as a chapbook. The Slime of the Ancient Mariner is as yet unpublished, but a photo of Irons at work on an illustration for the text appears in You Call This Art?: A Greg Irons Retrospective, by Patrick Rosenkranz.

Within a year or two, a number of the authors included in Streets and Roads were living in San Francisco, contributing to magazines such as This and Hills, congregating at the Grand Piano coffeehouse on Haight Street, and writing up a storm. Streets and Roads remains a little-known marker of the start of something big.

In 2015, I revived the Streets and Roads imprint to publish Catalan Passages, a chapbook containing nine poems and fourteen photos from a 2014 visit to Barcelona, printed in an edition of 150 copies and distributed hors commerce.

— Kit Robinson, Berkeley, January 2017


Kit Robinson, Catalan Passages (2015).

Sugar Mountain

Magazines & Presses

Sugar Mountain

Tom Clark and Lewis Warsh
Bolinas, California

Sugar Mountain (August 1970). Cover photograph of Alice Notley by Jayne Nodland. Sole issue.

Tom Clark and I edited the one-shot magazineSugar Mountain in the spring of 1970. We were both living in Bolinas, California, a small coastal village an hour north of San Francisco. Joanne Kyger and John Thorpe were there when I arrived from New York in October 1969; Bill Berkson, Jim Carroll, and Lewis MacAdams were soon to appear. Charlie Vermont, Clark Coolidge, Scott Cohen, and Harris Schiff were living in San Francisco and Berkeley and were frequent visitors; Anne Waldman, Joe Brainard, Alice Notley, and Ted Berrigan came for short periods. Suddenly there was a poetry community (by 1971, Robert Creeley, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Aram Saroyan, David Meltzer, Ebbe Borregaard, Philip Whalen, and Donald Allen were all semi-permanent residents) and Sugar Mountain reflects the beginning of it all.

It was a kind of miracle for so many poets of different stripes (Black Mountain, Beat Generation, New York School, San Francisco Renaissance) to interact and collaborate on a daily level, dissolving the borders between life and poetry, and much of it had to do with the magic of Bolinas, situated on a fragile cliff overlooking the Pacific with the lights of San Francisco blinking in the distance. The beautiful cover photo of the young Alice Notley evokes the feeling of freedom in the air. The title came from a song by Neil Young, with the enigmatic refrain, “You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain.” Bolinas was a place you never wanted to leave, but by the end of the 1970s many of the poets had moved away; On the Mesa, an anthology of Bolinas poets, published by City Lights, appeared in 1971, another glimpse of this short-lived but very lively and intoxicating world.

— Lewis Warsh, New York, January 2017

Swollen Magpie Press

Magazines & Presses

Swollen Magpie Press

Paul Violi, Charles North, and Allen Appel
Putnam Valley, New York

Joseph Ceravolo, Inri (1979). Cover and title by Mona da Vinci.


Paul Violi started Swollen Magpie Press in 1970 as a vehicle to self-publish two of his early poetry chapbooks: She’ll Be Riding Six White Horses and Automatic Transmissions. The press title (with its punning reference to “vanity press”) came from Ezra Pound’s famous lines toward the close of Pisan Canto LXXXI:

Pull down thy vanity
Thou art a beaten dog beneath the hail,
A swollen magpie in a fitful sun

In the following year, Swollen Magpie published Phillip Lopate’s novella In Coyoacan, and from 1970 to 1973 the press put out four issues of a poetry magazine (coedited by Violi and his friend Allen Appel) outrageously titled New York Times, with work by Jim Brodey, Dick Gallup, Ron Padgett, Carter Ratcliff, Peter Schjeldahl, Tony Towle, Bill Zavatsky, myself, and others, and covers by various artists, including Paula North.

Appel left Swollen Magpie in 1973, and the press was dormant until 1976, when I joined forces with Violi as coeditor. Over the next six years, Swollen Magpie published chapbooks by both Violi and me, Tony Towle, Joseph Ceravolo, Mary Ferrari, Yuki Hartman, and Martha LaBare—as well as a Towle/North collaboration, a monograph by Lita Hornick on the artist David Antin, and Broadway: A Poets and Painters Anthology, which I coedited with James Schuyler.

James Schulyer and Charles North, eds., Broadway: A Poets and Painters Anthology (1979). Cover by Paula North.

Broadway (which had a sequel published by Hanging Loose Press a decade later) included poems by fifty-one poets, including John Ashbery, Bruce Andrews, Bill Berkson, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Jim Brodey, Michael Brownstein, Joseph Ceravolo, Douglas Crase, Ray DiPalma, Kenward Elmslie, Larry Fagin, Mary Ferrari, John Godfrey, Ted Greenwald, Barbara Guest, Vincent Katz, Kenneth Koch, John Koethe, Michael Lally, Frank Lima, Bernadette Mayer, Eileen Myles, Pat Nolan, Alice Notley, Maureen Owen, Ron Padgett, Anne Porter, Peter Schjeldahl, Elio Schneeman, David Shapiro, Towle, Violi, Anne Waldman, and Lewis Warsh; and drawings by Mary Abbott, Nell Blaine, Rudy Burckhardt, Robert Dash, Cornelia Foss, Jane Freilicher, Yvonne Jacquette, Alex Katz, Darragh Park, George Schneeman, and Trevor Winkfield. The cover was by Paula North, who also designed the Swollen Magpie logo that appeared on the title page, as well as on the title pages of subsequent chapbooks.

Although Swollen Magpie received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, and the Kulchur Foundation, it mostly operated on a shoestring, and many expenses were routinely handled out-of-pocket. For Broadway, which included graphics as well as text (the cover was limited to one color), the editors secured a handful of private contributions to supplement the usual sources. All publications were produced at the nonprofit Print Center in Brooklyn, directed by the poet Robert Hershon; many of the chapbooks were hand-collated and stapled by the editors; distribution was entirely in-house. From 1976 on, editorial chores were performed at Violi’s house in Putnam Valley, N.Y.

— Charles North, New York City, January 2017

Swollen Magpie Press books (complete)

Ceravolo, Joseph. INRI. 1979.

Ferrari, Mary. The Mockingbird and Other Poems. 1980.

Hartman, Yuki. Red Rice. 1980.

Hornick, Lita. David Antin/Debunker of the “Real.” 1979.

LaBare, Martha. Shooting Star & Other Poems. 1982.

Lopate, Phillip. In Coyoacan. 1971.

North, Charles. Six Buildings. 1977.

Schuyler, James, and Charles North, eds. Broadway: A Poets and Painters Anthology. 1979.

Towle, Tony. Works on Paper. 1978; 2nd printing 1980.

Towle, Tony, and Charles North. Gemini. 1981.

Violi, Paul. Automatic Transmissions. 1970.

Violi, Paul. She’ll Be Riding Six White Horses. 1970.

Violi, Paul. Poems. 1976.

Paul Violi, Automatic Transmissions (1970).

The San Francisco Public Library: A Publishing House

Magazines & Presses

The San Francisco Public Library: A Publishing House

Richard Brautigan, Victor Moscoso,
and Jack Thibeau

San Francisco

The San Francisco Public Library: A Publishing House (1968). Sole issue.


It all started with an obituary. Richard Brautigan tore the column from the back pages of the San Francisco Examiner in September of 1968, another piece of found art. He kept it among his personal papers for the remaining sixteen years of his life. The headline read, ‘Mrs. Myrtle Tate, Movie Projectionist.’”

The cover was spontaneously created by poet and actor Jack Thibeau who carefully placed his hirsute belly upon the Vico-Matic copy machine located in the Reference Room of the Main Library at Civic Center. Victor Moscoso, Zap Comix and Family Dog artist, created the back page by placing Valerie Estes’s Siamese cat, Zenobia, on the machine. And Richard Brautigan copied his poem “Mrs. Myrtle Tate, Movie Projectionist” against the background of a newspaper’s movie ads. Edmund Shea photographed the event for posterity.

“Richard had prepared small slips of paper with a typed statement: ‘This is one of seven numbered and signed copies.’ The line below contained a typed number. These were printed on seven of Brautigan’s copies, and he signed them all. In addition, Thibeau and Moscoso each signed an undisclosed number of their own pages. According to librarian David Belch, no more than twenty copies were printed. Richard bound each one together with three staples.”

The statement on the front cover reads: “This magazine was created and Xeroxed at the Main Library in the Civic Center using their ten cent Xerox machine on December 5, 1968 by: Victor Moscoso Jack Thibeau Richard Brautigan.”

Due to the fragile nature of Thermofax, few copies have survived. Some claim that this book is the most rare of Richard Brautigan items.

Description adapted from:

William Hjortsberg, Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan (Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2012), pp. 375–76.

Sun & Moon

magazines & Presses

Sun & Moon

Douglas Messerli
College Park, Maryland, and Los Angeles

Nos. 1–18 (1976–86).

Sun & Moon 1 (Winter 1976).

Sun & Moon magazine ran from 1976 to 1986, publishing eighteen issues, and Sun & Moon Press began in College Park, Maryland, in 1978 with the publication of poet Charles Bernstein’s Shade, with a cover by Susan B. Laufer. The press and magazine soon moved to Los Angeles. It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of Sun & Moon to the community of experimentally minded writers in the United States, West or East Coast. A vibrant and flourishing publishing concern, continuing in the footsteps of New Directions, Sun & Moon effectively established a new avant-garde tradition for the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. The press and the magazine mixed cultures past and present. The books were beautifully and carefully produced and printed in runs of 1,000 to 2,000 copies, which, according to proprietor Messerli, kept the unit costs down. Among the many avant-garde and experimental writers Sun & Moon has published are Henry James, André Breton, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Jackson Mac Low, Barrett Watten, Lyn Hejinian, and Charles Bernstein in the Classics series, Lewis Warsh, Johnny Stanton, Curtis White, and Paul Auster in the New American Fiction series, and Rae Armantrout, Clark Coolidge, and Dennis Phillips in the New American Poetry series.

Charles Bernstein, Shade (1978). Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series no. 1. Cover by Susan B. Laufer.

Charles Bernstein, Shade (1978). Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series no. 1. Cover by Susan B. Laufer.

David Antin, whos listening out there (1979). Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series no. 4. Cover by the author.

David Antin, whos listening out there (1979). Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series no. 4. Cover by the author.

Sun & Moon Press books include

Ahern, Tom. Hecatombs of Lake. 1984. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 21.

Antin, David. whos listening out there. 1979. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 4.

Bernstein, Charles. Content’s Dream: Essays 1975–1984. 1986.

Bernstein, Charles. Shade. 1978. Cover by Susan B. Laufer. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 1.

Brownstein, Michael. Oracle Night. 1982. Cover drawing by the author. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 13.

Cory, Jean-Jacques. Particulars. 1980. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 8.

Darragh, Tina. on the corner   to   off the corner. 1981. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 10.

DiPalma, Ray. Cuiva Sails. 1978. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 2.

Frank, Peter. The Travelogues (1971–1977). 1982. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, No. 12.

Greenwald, Ted. Word of Mouth. 1986.

Hejinian, Lyn. The Cold of Poetry. 1994.

Herbert, F. John. The Collected Poems of Sir Winston Churchill. 1981. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 9.

Inman, P. Platin. 1979. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 5.

Mac Low, Jackson. From Pearl Harbor Day to FDR’s Birthday. 1982. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 14.

Messerli, Douglas. Dinner on the Lawn. 1979; revised edition 1982. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 7.

Messerli, Douglas, ed. Contemporary American Fiction. 1983. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 18.

Sherry, James. In Case. 1981. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 11.

Stehman, John. Space Dictation. 1978. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 3.

Vance, Ronald. I Went to Italy and Ate Chocolate. 1979. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 6.

Warsh, Lewis. A Free Man. 1991.

Warsh, Lewis. Methods of Birth Control. 1983. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 16.

Weinstein, Jeff. Life in San Diego. 1983. Cover and artwork by Ira Joel Haber. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 17.

Wine, James. Longwalks. 1982. Sun & Moon Contemporary Literature Series, no. 14.

Siamese Banana

magazines & Presses

Siamese Banana

Johnny Stanton
New York


The Siamese Banana Rhinelander Newspaper 4 (n.d.).


First it was a NEWSPAPER,

Then it was a PRESS,

Then it was a GANG.

I worked at a neighborhood youth center and one day our fearless director barked at me, “Jumping butterballs, you’re supposed to be a writer, why don’t you start a center newspaper.”

“You betcha,” I meowed. This idea for a newspaper collected a bunch of oddball kids: Fat John, Ginzo, Pokey, Caggie, Lilley, et al. The painter Joe Brainard had suggested the newspaper’s name in another context: The SIAMESE BANANA from Vol. XXVII of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The paper’s motto became: If the Facts Don’t Fit, Change Them. After that it was easy to start up an artsy-literary press. The philosophy was simple: Writers and Artists, you have nothing to lose, so unite in the SB Press. The technology was easy: electronic stencils. Meanwhile, back in the ’hood, wiseguy newspaper kids got infected by literary bugs. But these kids were from the TV dope fiend generation. They wanted to form a gang. “How about a name?” “Exterminator Angels?” “No way!” “Military Gangsters from the Super Id?” “Fuck off, Mr. Stanton.” “Please, you guys, just call me Stanton.” “Okay Stanton, how about the SBG?” “Right on! The SBG. I’m a member.” We tore up and down every house we performed in. Kicked ass and then some. Ahead of our time and underneath it.

— Johnny Stanton, New York City, November 1997

Tom Veitch, Death College (1970). Cover by the author.

Tom Veitch, Death College (1970). Cover by the author.

Siamese Banana books include

Anderson, David. Under Western Eyes. 1970.

Auster, Paul, trans. A Little Anthology of Surrealist Poems. 1972. Cover by George Schneeman.

Brainard, Joe. The Banana Book. 1972. Cover and drawings by the author.

Brainard, Joe. The Friendly Way. 1972. Cover and drawings by the author.

Brainard, Joe. Some Drawings of Some Notes to Myself. 1971.

Brainard, Joe, ed. The Cigarette Book. 1972. Cover by the editor.

Brainard, Joe, and Anne Waldman. Self Portrait. 1972.

Brown, Rebecca. Mouse Works. 1971. Cover and illustrations by Martha Diamond.

Cohen, Keith. Madness in Literature. 1970.

Obenzinger, Hilton. Thunder Road. 1970.

Stanton, Johnny. The Day Our Turtle Was Kidnaped—. 1978.

Veitch, Tom. Death College. 1970. Cover by the author.

Weingarten, Don. Lord Scum’s Hotel. 1971. Cover and illustrations by the author.

Joe Brainard, The Banana Book (1972). Cover and drawings by the author.

Joe Brainard, The Banana Book (1972). Cover and drawings by the author.

Something Else Press

magazines & Presses

Something Else Press

Dick Higgins
New York, and Barton, Vermont (principally)


Dick Higgins, Jefferson’s Birthday/Postface (1964). Cover photograph of the author by Wolf Vostell.

Something Else Press books

Designed, edited, and produced by Dick Higgins, the Something Else Press books contained offbeat and avant-garde writing in a neat and tidy, yet quirky and distinctive form. The press began in 1964 following Higgins’s break with Fluxus founder George Maciunas and embodied many of the concerns of the then nascent art movement. Early titles included Jefferson’s Birthday/Postface, Higgins’s collection of performance scores; mail art pioneer Ray Johnson’s The Paper Snake, Al Hansen’s A Primer of Happenings & Time/Space Art, and Romanian-born Nouveau réaliste artist Daniel Spoerri’s An Anecdoted Topography of Chance. Higgins’s foew&ombwhnw (a 1969 collection disguised as a prayer book) contains his important essay “Intermedia,” in which he describes artworks which “fall between media,” arguing that the social conditions of the time (early to mid-1960s) no longer allowed for a “compartmentalized approach” to either art or life.

Wolf Vostell, and Dick Higgins, eds. Fantastic Architecture [1970 or 1971]. Book jacket illustration: Richard Hamilton’s Guggenheim Collage, 1967.

Wolf Vostell and Dick Higgins, eds., Fantastic Architecture [1970 or 1971]. Book jacket illustration is Richard Hamilton’s Guggenheim Collage, 1967.

Indeed, the range of works published by Something Else exemplifies a very diverse approach: first American editions of several of Gertrude Stein’s works, including The Making of Americans; a reprint of Henry Cowell’s New Musical Resources; Merce Cunningham’s Changes: Notes on Choreography; John Cage’s anthology of unusual musical scores, Notations; Jackson Mac Low’s Stanzas for Iris Lezak; R[ichard] Meltzer’s The Aesthetics of Rock; One Thousand American Fungi by Charles McIlvaine and Robert K. Macadam; as well as Emmett Williams’s important Anthology of Concrete Poetry, among many others. Artists’ books, critical theory, conceptual art, amusement, back-to-the-land hippie culture—through the use of conventional production and marketing strategies, Dick Higgins was able to place unconventional works into the hands of new and often unsuspecting readers. Something Else Press had published more than sixty books when it ended in 1974, in addition to pamphlets, newsletters, cards, posters, and other ephemera.

“My job included copy editing, proofreading, managing the office and correspondence. I never knew what to expect, as Dick was always bursting with ideas…. My most vivid editorial memory concerns…Daniel Spoerri’s An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, translated from the French and anecdotally expanded by the author’s friend, the expatriate American poet/artist Emmett Williams. (Emmett, though still in Europe at the time, later came to New York to follow me as editor at the Press.) Due to Emmett’s professionalism, the Topography made for tricky proofreading. Unaware of Emmett and Dieter Roth’s mnemonic ‘the man with 5 A’s in his name,’ I removed what appeared to be extra letters from the name Aagaard Andersen. As the proofs traveled back and forth across the ocean in those pre-fax days, Emmett kept putting the A’s back in and I conscientiously kept removing them. I got my comeuppance on that one when about 12 or 15 years later, I was shackled with a typewriter that printed double A’s every time I hit the key.”

— Barbara Moore, from Some Things Else About Something Else (New York: Granary Books, 1991)

Wolf Vostell, dé-coll/age happenings (1966). Something Else Press books.

Wolf Vostell, dé-coll/age happenings (1966). Translated by Laura P. Miller. Wooden box with sliding plexiglass panel as cover. Contents include book plus 15 folded posters, silk-screen print, one package of Bromo-Seltzer mounted on mirrored Mylar, and one piece of matzoh.

Something Else Press books include

Cage, John. Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) Continued Part Three. 1967. A Great Bear Pamphlet.

Cage, John, with Alison Knowles. Notations. 1969.

Cowell, Henry. New Musical Resources. 1969.

Cunningham, Merce. Changes: Notes on Choreography. 1968.

Filliou, Robert. Ample Food for Stupid Thought. 1965.

Finlay, Ian Hamilton, and Gordon Hundy. A Sailor’s Calendar. 1971.

Gomringer, Eugen. The Book of Hours and Constellations. 1968. Translated and edited by Jerome Rothenberg.

Gysin, Brion. Brion Gysin Let the Mice In. 1973. Edited by Jan Herman with contributions by William S. Burroughs and Ian Sommerville.

Hansen, Al. A Primer of Happenings & Time/Space Art. 1965.

Higgins, Dick. foew&ombwhnw. 1969.

Higgins, Dick. Jefferson’s Birthday/Postface. 1964.

Johnson, Ray. The Paper Snake. 1965.

Kaprow, Allan. Some Recent Happenings. 1966. A Great Bear Pamphlet.

Knowles, Alison, Tomas Schmit, Benjamin Patterson, and Philip Corner. The Four Suits. 1965.

McLuhan, Marshall. Verbi-Voco-Visual Explorations. 1967.

Oldenburg, Claes. Store Days. 1967.

Porter, Bern. I’ve Left: A Manifesto and a Testament of SCIence and -ART (SCIART). 1971.

Bern Porter, I’ve Left: A Manifesto and a Testament of SCIence and -ART (SCIART) (1971).

Bern Porter, I’ve Left: A Manifesto and a Testament of SCIence and -ART (SCIART) (1971).

Roth, Dieter. 246 Little Clouds. 1968. Introduction by Emmett Williams.

Spoerri, Daniel. An Anecdoted Topography of Chance. 1966. Translated from the French, and further anecdoted at random by Emmett Williams. With one hundred reflective illustrations by Topor.

Stein, Gertrude. The Making of Americans. 1966.

Vostell, Wolf. dé-coll/age happenings. 1966. Translated by Laura P. Miller.

Vostell, Wolf, and Dick Higgins, eds. Fantastic Architecture. 1971.

Williams, Emmett. Anthology of Concrete Poetry. 1967.

Williams, Emmett. Sweethearts. 1967.


For a complete list of Something Else publications, the reader is referred to: Peter Frank, Something Else Press: An Annotated Bibliography (New Paltz, NY: Documentext/McPherson & Company, 1983).


Magazines & Presses


Gerrit Lansing
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Nos. 1–2 (1961–64).

SET 1 (1961–62).


In 1959, when I decided to produce a small magazine, I sent out a note (prodrome) about the magazine’s content and format to a number of poets and poet-friends. I said that SET would be photo-offset, appear irregularly. As to intent and content I wrote: “SET will be about the poetic exploration of the swarming possibilities occult and/or unused in American life, urban and local, here & especially now, at this moment of the Aeon, i.e. the Vulgar Advent.”

“The gates of memory and intuition, history and magic, open from a ‘windowless’ monad into Time,” I wrote to Kenward Elmslie, amplifying a sentence in my prodromic statement, “Thus its (i.e. SET’s) character will be dual historical & magical, the emphasized characters of Time.” (The last phrase delighted Robert Duncan.)

“In this time-moment poetry and science meet. Hence the manifesto states that SET is interested in material ‘relevant to the poetic-scientific study of American experience and nature…’” but “As I wrote to Frank O’Hara, ‘I don’t want SET to be polemick abt Amerika…will be more James Dean & Andrew Jackson Davis than Marcel Marceau or the Sar Peladan…’” I also wrote Frank, “Certainly I want neither the ‘monumental’ nor the ‘study’…the ‘study’: the nature-morte ou vivante of the Misses Moore, Bishop, Wilbur, etc.”

[the datedness of this now entertains me (1997)]

Around 1959 I wrote the poet Steve Jonas that the name of the proposed magazine come on like or in the places of its play, as:

(1) jazz (wch most readers will probably read primary)
(2) stance
(3) direction
(4) “theory of Sets” in mathesis
(5) (tennis, for those who like it)
(6) the God      — by the Chenoboskion gnostics identified w/ the Biblical Seth
— and and and
Shem Melchizedek      Christ / Antichrist      Saturn      Typhon      Mercury      Dionysius (sacred ass)      Capricorn

        “Enough ! or Too much” (Blake).

Gerrit Lansing, “Statement: how SET was conceived,” Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1997, at the Equinox of Fall.

SET 2 (1963–64)

SET 2 (1963–64).


Magazines & Presses


Jerome Rothenberg and David Antin
New York

Nos. 1–4/5 (1965–68).

Some/thing 1 (1965).


David Antin’s first separate book was in preparation at Hawk’s Well Press (Definitions was ultimately published by Caterpillar in 1967) when he joined with veteran poet and editor Jerome Rothenberg to create Some/thing. The first issue, published by Rothenberg’s Hawk’s Well Press in New York in the spring of 1965, leads off with “Aztec Definitions: Found Poems from the Florentine Codex,” translated from Bernardino de Sahagun’s General History of the Things of New Spain. The issue also includes work by Paul Blackburn, Anselm Hollo, Diane Wakoski, and Rothenberg, deep image poets all, and, on red paper, “The Presidents of the United States,” the first series, including Washington through Fillmore, of one of Jackson Mac Low’s chance compositions. Carolee Schneemann’s “Meatjoy,” with pictures from the performance at the Judson Memorial Theater in October 1964, is the highlight of the second issue, which includes a cover picture of a sculpture by Robert Morris.

Some/thing 3 (vol. 2, no. 1) (Winter 1966). Cover by Andy Warhol.

Some/thing 3 (vol. 2, no. 1) (Winter 1966). Cover by Andy Warhol.

Issue three, with a yellow perforated sticker cover by Andy Warhol, is devoted to “A Vietnam Assemblage.” Published in 1966, early in the Vietnam War, it includes Allen Ginsberg’s long poem “Who Be Kind To” (“Be kind to yourself, it is only one and perishable of many on the planet”) and works by Mac Low and others, interspersed with quotations from newspapers, magazines, and photo captions from the Associated Press and elsewhere. The last, double issue of Summer 1968, with a cover by Fluxus artist George Maciunas, integrated the deep image poets with the performance poets; it includes Clayton Eshleman’s “Travel Journal in Peru,” from October 1965, as well as five poems by Margaret Randall, editor of El Corno Emplumado, and one by Carol Bergé, editor of Center. It also contains Rothenberg’s “’Doings’ and ‘Happenings’: Notes on a Performance of the Seneca Eagle Dance.” All the issues of Some/thing feature a log taken from a Southwestern Indian drawing described by the editors as an emblem for the magazine: “a Pima drawing: of the pathways: searchings: stopping places: where the god has stopped: a wave length: energy: cessation: strife: emergence into: something.”

Some/thing 4/5 (1968).

Some/thing 4/5 (1968).


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].