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Tooth of Time Review

Magazines & Presses

Tooth of Time Review

John Brandi
Guadalupita, New Mexico

Nos. 1–7 (1974–78).

John Brandi, ed. Sol Tide: From Sunrise to Sunset: a Collective Wave (n.d.). Tooth of Time Review 3. Cover and illustrations by the editor.

The first chapbooks and broadsides published by Tooth of Time Books were printed on a 1903 Rotary Neostyle mimeograph, now in the archives of UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. Of those early editions, Sol Tide—an 88-page poetry anthology limited to 200 copies—is a favorite.

John Brandi at his Rotary Neostyle press, ca. mid-1970s.

Published in the mid-1970s, it sold for $2, plus a buck for postage, direct from my New Mexico mountain cabin. An iconic and classic counterculture production, Sol Tide’s contents were typed on waxed-paper stencils which were wrapped around the mimeo’s hand-inked rotating drum, into which sheets of paper were fed, then collated and bound—with staples, needle and thread, or by treadle sewing machine. Such was the manner of production for the early Tooth of Time editions. The routine included a healthy mix of work and play: nips of tequila, music, a domino game, cookouts, a dip in the spring, readings of Shakespeare under the pines. Many books featured hand-colored drawings: Emptylots, Field Notes From Alaska, A Partial Exploration of Palo Flechado Canyon—to name a few (they appeared under various imprints—Nail Press, Smokey the Bear Press, etc.—while I searched for a fitting name after moving from California to New Mexico).

Sol Tide featured one of the very first poems in English by Japanese poet-wanderer, Nanao Sakaki—whom I had met at Gary Snyder’s Kitkitdizee. The anthology featured works by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Simon Ortiz, Peter Blue Cloud, Charles Plymell, Janine Pommy Vega, Robert Peterson, David Meltzer, Jack Hirschman, Rachel Peters, Gary Paul Nabhan, Larry Goodell, Anaïs Nin, and others. Plus translations by Arthur Sze and Barbara Szerlip, and excerpts from writings by Lama Anagarika Govinda, Chögyam Trungpa, Walt Whitman, Leonardo da Vinci, and William Shakespeare.

Much has been written about Tooth of Time Books. How it was inspired by a hermit I visited in the Andes, mid-1960s. How, in exchange for the use of his mimeo machine, he had me tote buckets of “ink”—used crankcase oil—up a two-kilometer hill to his shack. How he advised me: “Do it yourself, don’t wait for someone from the mainstream to give you the go-ahead.” How I brought my own vintage mimeograph to New Mexico in 1971, setting it up (along with a 1940s Remington “noiseless” typewriter) inside a plastic-covered wikiup—a temporary shelter while a pole-frame cabin was being constructed.

Arthur Sze, Two Ravens (1976). Tooth of Time Review 4. Cover and illustrations by John and Gioia Brandi.

Tooth of Time Books was named after a domed-rock promontory north of the cabin site. Sol Tide’s colophon indicated “The press is devoted to journal jottings, poetry, prose, song/dance & alchemistic probings concerned with exploration/meditation/narration related to wanderings/settlings over/in astral & geographical hemispheres.” Manuscripts were solicited. Production relied “on maximum participation by songsters, usually in the form of typing, preparing stencils, & sharing paper costs.” This required authors to show up, albeit with a forewarning: “We do not operate a dude ranch, there is no electricity or plumbing, water is drawn from a spring, a small garden feeds us. As Jaime de Angulo would say: ‘if you are looking for comfort, don’t come here! You will have to sleep in a tent or under the stars. This place is far from civilization.’”

Tooth of Time Books has been featured in two Museum of New Mexico exhibitions, Lasting Impressions: The Private Presses of New Mexico and Voices of the Counterculture in the Southwest. As it developed from mimeo books to small-press trade editions (featuring such authors as Arthur Sze, Harold Littlebird, Luci Tapahonso, and Nanao Sakaki) the press garnered support from the National Endowment for the Arts. In the year 2000 Tooth of Time Books resumed as when first founded: limited-edition, hand-colored chapbooks and broadsides. The mimeograph days, however, have come to an end.

— John Brandi, El Rito, New Mexico, March 2017

Tooth of Time Publications (complete)


Baber, Bob Henry, ed. Time is an Eightball: Poems from Juvenile Homes & the Penitentiary of New Mexico. 1984.

Brandi, John. Poems from the Green Parade. 1990.

Brandi, John. River Following. 1997. Yoo-Hoo Press / Tooth of Time.

Brandi, John. Sky Hourse / Pink Cottonwood. 1980.

Brandi, John. Shadow Play. 1992. Light and Dust / Tooth of Time.

Brandi, John. Stone Garland. 2000.

Brandi, John. That Crow That Visited Was Flying Backwards. 1982.

Brandi, John. That Crow That Visited Was Flying Backwards. 1984. Revised edition.

Brandi, John. Visits to the City of Light. 2000. Mother’s Milk / Tooth of Time.

Brandi, John and Steve Sanfield. Postage Due. 2011. Backlog / Tooth of Time.

Brandi, John, ed. Dog Blue Day: An Anthology of Writing from the Penitentiary of New Mexico. 1985.

Catacalos, Rosemary. Again For The First Time. 1984.

Connor, Julia. Making the Good. 1988.

Crews, Judson. The Noose. 1980. Duende / Tooth of Time.

Kage. Only the Ashes. 1981. Translated by Steve Sanfield.

Lamadrid, Enrique, ed. En Breve: Minimalism in Mexican Poetry 1900–1985. 1988.

Lamadrid, Enrique and Mario Del Valle, eds. Un Ojo en el Muro / An Eye Through the Wall: Mexican Poetry 1970–1985. 1986.

Lau, Carolyn. Wode Shuofa (My Way of Speaking). 1988.

Littlebird, Harold. On Mountain’s Breath. 1982.

Noyes, Stanley. The Commander of Dead Leaves. 1984.

Noyes, Stanley. My Half-Wild West. 2012.

Sakaki, Nanao. Real Play. 1981.

Sanfield, Steve. A New Way. 1983.

Sanfield, Steve and John Brandi. Clouds Come and Go. 2015.

Sze, Arthur. Two Ravens. 1984.

Sze, Arthur. The Willow Wind. 1981.

Tapahonso, Luci. Seasonal Woman. 1982.

Tarn, Nathaniel. At the Western Gates. 1985.

Vega, Janine Pommy. Drunk on a Glacier, Talking to Flies. 1988.

Zarco, Cyn. Circumnavigation. 1986.

Early Tooth Of Time (the mimeograph days)
The following chapbooks were printed on the 1903 Rotary Neostyle mimeograph machine, given to John Brandi by Fred Marchman—painter, poet, and amigo from Peace Corps days, mid ‘60s. When Fred returned to the U.S. in 1968, he used the Neostyle to print his own books (Ecuadernos, and others) under the imprint: Nail Press. John Brandi eventually changed the name to Tooth of Time Books, after moving to New Mexico, Spring, 1971.

Brandi, John. Emptylots: Poems of Venice and L.A. 1971. Nail Press.

Brandi, John. Firebook. 1974. Smoky the Bear Press (a.k.a. Nail Press).

Brandi, John. A Partial Exploration of Palo Flechado Canyon. 1973. Nail Press.

Brandi, John. The Phoenix Gas Slam. 1974. Nail Press.

Brandi, John. San Francisco Lastday Homebound Hangover Blues. 1973. Nail Press.

Brandi, John. Smudgepots. 1974. Nail Press.

Brandi, John. Three Poems for Spring. 1975. Tooth of Time.

Continue reading

Brandi, John. Turning Thirty Poem. 1974. Nail Press (cover) / Duende (interior).

Brandi, John, ed. Sol Tide: From Sunrise to Sunset: a Collective Wave. 1976. Tooth of Time.

Brandi, John, ed. Poems and Storys: by Children of Coyote Valley School. 1975. Tooth of Time.

Curtis, Walt. Wauregon. 1974. Nail Press.

Felger, Richard. Dark Horses and Little Turtles. 1974. Nail Press.

Marchman, Fred. Dr. Jomo’s Handy Holy Home Remedy Remedial Reader. 1973. Nail Press.

Marchman, Fred. Ecuadernos, vols I, II, III. 1968. [Nail Press].

Martino, Bill. Fallen Feathers. 1973. Nail Press

The seven issues of the Tooth of Time Review monograph issues are

Bird, Leonard. River of Lost Souls. 1976. Tooth of Time Review 6.

Brandi, John. Andean Town: Circa 1980. 1978. Tooth of Time Review 7. Illustrated with photographs by John Powell.

Brandi, John, ed. Sol Tide: From Sunrise to Sunset: a Collective Wave. (n.d.). Tooth of Time Review 3. Cover and illustrations by the editor.

Felger, Richard. Dark Horses and Little Turtles. 1974. Tooth of Time Review 1. Cover and illustrations by the author.

Sanfield, Steve. Back Log: A Cycle of Hoops from the Sierra Foothills. 1975. Tooth of Time Review 2.

Sze, Arthur. Two Ravens. 1976. Tooth of Time Review 4. Cover and illustrations by John and Gioia Brandi.

Willems, J. Rutherford. Amidamerica. 1976. Tooth of Time Review 5.


Magazines & Presses


John Moritz (ed.), Lee Chapman (art ed.),
and others
Lawrence, Kansas

Nos. 1–5 (Spring/Summer 1970–Spring/Summer 1972).

Tansy 1 (Spring 1970). Front cover drawing by Lee Chapman.

In May 1968, John Moritz, a twenty-two-year-old student at the University of Kansas, wrote to poet Edward Dorn, whom he’d recently met in a writing workshop, about his plan to start an “art and poetry” magazine that would serve as “an extension of what we see and feel, capturing the electricity and energy of the moment.” The first issue of Tansy materialized two years later, in the spring of 1970, featuring work by (among others) Edward Dorn, Charles Plymell, Frank Stanford, George Kimball, David Antin, and a number of drawings by Lee Chapman. In all, nearly half of the contributors to Tansy 1 were either living in Kansas, or had at some point, and although the issue includes no editorial statement or any contributor biographies, the map of Lawrence (circa 1880) on its back cover, and the 1914 piece by Lincoln Phifer with which it begins—“beseech[ing] Kansans to break the literary domination of the East”—hint at the kinds of “extension” Moritz had in mind for Tansy to explore.

Tansy 2 ([1970]). Cover by John McVicker.

The word tansy comes from athanasia, Latin for “immortality.” Moritz intended the name as an homage to Charles Olson and his beloved “tansy city” (Gloucester, MA), but it had local roots too, as the name of the used bookstore run by Moritz and Chapman in Lawrence in the late ’60s and early ’70s. [1] Located above the once famously depraved, now largely forgotten, Rock Chalk Café—a hippie, biker, countercultural grotesque that served 3.2% beer until 4 a.m.—the Tansy Bookstore carried small-press editions from all over the country, displayed the work of local artists, and hosted readings and live music for a politically and psychedelically active literary community, helping to maintain Lawrence as a sympathetic outpost, a “friendly place for wayward freaks,” on that broad anvil of fanatical conservatism called the American Midwest. I say maintain because a century earlier Lawrence had been an abolitionist stronghold at the epicenter of what is now known as Bleeding Kansas, when radical abolitionist John Brown proselytized broadsword massacre on the front steps of the historic Eldridge Hotel, one of the many structures burned to the ground during an 1863 raid by William Quantrill and his pro-slavery marauders, who murdered over two hundred of the town’s residents. Dorn commemorated both the Rock Chalk and the Eldridge in late ’60s poems, and while poet-in-residence at the university in the spring of 1968, he held his office hours off-campus on the roof of the restored hotel. Those were formative afternoons for Moritz. Looking out over the bottomlands of the Kaw River Valley, he absorbed Dorn’s deep geographical sense of history and resistance in the Far West—inherited and modified from Olson’s sense of Gloucester—and began to modify it in turn, to dig the “electricity and energy” of Kansas. As he was compiling Tansy 2 over the summer of 1970, an arson attack destroyed the KU Student Union, local police murdered two unarmed young men on the street, and the National Guard descended to enforce a citywide curfew. This explosive recrudescence of an unrelieved historical struggle, brooding in the oceanic landscape, and the funky, idiosyncratic forms of resistance it called forth, shaped and refined Moritz’s conception of Tansy, which he expressed in an introduction to the second issue:

As many of our letters to the poets on the outside indicate, Tansy points—by that process of getting an issue together, getting it born—toward a set of lines & links, forces & signatures, to a locality we loosely call Kansas, & by the magnifying glass, Lawrence. Last May the Union burned. This summer two human beings were killed on the streets. The media came out with—“Shades of Quantrill.” We enter an age of struggle & adventure.

The first issue opened with a piece by Lincoln Phifer, written in 1914, when the fish were brain-food without the mercury connotation, and he beseeched Kansans to break the literary domination of the East, as they once broke the chains of the South. To seize the moment. We are at that moment in both time & geography. The work that appears beyond, is Now, as pulse, and Here, from a set of comparable meridians.

This issue opens with Jonathan Towers from Denver, at the end of the plains, not the beginning of the mountains. There are still the ghosts of riverboats that ran aground in Kansas City; then the horse, waiting on the railroad to lay out the prairie, the prairie commuted, then peopled. The Santa Fe tracks go west from Lawrence, first to Denver, then San Francisco. And the issue closes with the work of Richard Grossinger, whose Fredericton is a locality different, another place, than Lawrence, but still acting on & acted upon by the same elements & people trying to live there own life, determine their own power, their own chemicals of ingestion/digestion.

We learn by comparing/contrasting & this is—location. For the local, the sense isoutward, an introduction, and those of other directions are brought here, between these pages.

Shortly after the publication of Tansy 2—which also featured work by Clayton Eshleman, Jim McCrary, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Kelly, and Anselm Hollo—the sense of adventure within the struggle suffered another heavy blow, this one much closer to the Lawrence literary community. Max Douglas, a twenty-one-year-old student from St. Joseph, Missouri, close friend of Chapman and Moritz, and a remarkably precocious poet, died of a heroin overdose in October 1970. From this point forward, the story of Tansy (the magazine) is inextricably bound up with Douglas’s tragic fate.

The death of Max Douglas is first mentioned in the “Late News” at the back of Tansy 4, which section also explains the whereabouts of Tansy 3:

Tansy 3 is a joint publication with Peg Leg press who is Jim Schmidt and appears out of the bottoms as a long, beautiful poem by Ken Irby, A Poem for Max Douglas. Tansy 5 will carry a large portion of Max’s work. He was a young poet from St Joe who died last October. The only work of his available to date were printed in Caterpillar 7 & 10.

Tansy 4 ([Fall 1971]).

Published in the fall of 1971, Tansy 4 features a John McVicker painting of tansy blossoms on its cover, and includes writing by Theodore Enslin, Lindy Hough, Don Byrd, and Thomas Meyer, among many others. The fact that Moritz’s “Late News” misrepresents the title of Irby’s book suggests that the publication of Tansy 4 preceded that of Tansy 3 (i.e., To Max Douglas), and it seems more than likely that the confusion caused by this glitch also resulted in the colophon of To Max Douglas incorrectly claiming its issuance as Tansy 4, rather than Tansy 3. Whatever the case, Tansy 5 was published in mid-1972, and the tone of Moritz’s brief afterword to that issue stands in sharp contrast to that of his introduction to Tansy 2, written less than two years before:

This has been a particularly difficult issue of Tansy to get finished. Some of the material has been in my hands for over a year. There are several reasons for this. One, for the last year and also the next, I have been the poetry hour chairman for Kansas University. Not that this has been overly time consuming, which is hasn’t, but with the quality of last year’s readings, I could not help but ask for something from everyone. So, it’s a question of saying “it’s finished” for those of you who felt your work waiting at the station. I think I’ve learned the lesson. Another reason, at the beginning, I saw this issue as some kind of statement on the death of Max Douglas. I think a statement has been made in this issue but not the one I began with. There were to be works by several people who expressed a desire to tell their story, all relating to Max in very different ways, i.e., the young poet, the impossible person, the tragedy of heroin. Those pieces never materialized. Instead, like always the magazine grew out of itself. Like the first issue grew out of a bookstore, the second out of a conversation with Clayton Eshleman and the fourth out of the flower. Ken Irby’s chapbook of course, grew out of its own soil.

In the future, Tansy will rotate an issue with a chapbook. The magazine will be published in the spring/summer and the chapbooks in the fall/winter. The next book of this series will be a collection of poems by John Morgan.

In spite of these plans, Tansy 5 was Moritz’s final issue, but the press continued. Moritz published books, chapbooks, and broadsides for another two decades, sometimes collaborating with other small presses, near and far. The Tansy pamphlet series runs to sixteen volumes, from 1976 through 1982, including titles by Ken Irby, Paul Metcalf, Harvey Bialy, Stephen Sandy, Bob Callahan, Richard Blevins, and Bob Grenier. And Tansy printed a total of seventeen broadsides, over half of which were issued in conjunction with KU Friends of the Library on the occasions of readings that Moritz organized for visiting poets, including Alice Notley, Ed Dorn, Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, Tom Raworth, Robin Blaser, and Duncan McNaughton. Overall, Tansy’s longevity and impressive catalog stand as a vivid testament to the thriving but under-recognized literary community in Lawrence, and to Moritz’s lifelong resistance to the cultural hegemony of the coasts.

— Kyle Waugh, Brooklyn, March 2017

[1] Lee Chapman would serve as art editor of Tansy 5, before moving to New York with Kenneth Irving (an assistant editor, along with Brian Sulkis, of Tansy 1), where the couple coedited American Astrology Magazine. In the early 1990s, after Chapman had returned to Lawrence, she founded First Intensity Press and First Intensity: a magazine of new writing, which remained active through the early 2000s.

Tansy Pamphlets, Books, and Broadsides

Pamphlet Series

Pamphlets measure 8½ x 5½ inches and are unpaginated. They include a short biography of the author on the illustrated verso of the final page, along with the following editorial statement:

The cover design is a collaboration between Lee Chapman and John Moritz. The original leaf of which the cover leaf is a reduction was sent to Tansy Press from Gloucester, Massachusetts. This series will appear randomly but, it is hoped, frequently and will be devoted to the work of a single artist.

Bialy, Harvey. From The Dance of the Fortune Chicken. September 1979. Tansy 11.

Blevins, Richard. Court of the Half-King. 1980. Tansy 13.

Callahan, Bob. At the Altar of the Fenians. 1979. Tansy 10.

Coues, Elliot (1842–1899), with an introduction and notes by Michael Brodhead. Two Fragments.
1978. Tansy 8.

Eshleman, Clayton. The Woman Who Saw through Paradise. N.d. [1976]. Tansy 2.

Grenier, Robert. Burns’ Night Heard. 1982. Tansy 15.

Gridley, Roy. PRC Diary – June 1982. 1982. Tansy 16.

Irby, Kenneth. For the Snow Queen. 1976. Tansy 1.

Irby, Kenneth. From Some Etudes. 1978. Tansy 9.

Kahn, Paul. Memorial Day [31 May–1 June 76]. 1976. Tansy 3.

Metcalf, Paul. Upriver Farming and Industry: an excerpt from Waters of Potowmack, A Documentary History of the Potomac River Basin. 1977. Tansy 5.

Metcalf, Paul. Where Do You Put the Horse? 1977. Tansy 6.

Meyer, Thomas. Beautiful Rivers. 1981. Tansy 14.

Morgan, John. Grand Junction. 1977. Tansy 4.

Moritz, John. From The Heart Too Is a Flower, A Leaf. April 1978. Tansy 7.

Sandy, Stephen. The Hawthorne Effect. 1980. Tansy 12.

Kenneth Irby, For the Snow Queen (1976). Tansy 1.

Books (1971–92)

Blevins, Richard. Taz Alago: Pursuing the Five Tribes of the Nez Perce, 1877/1983. 1984.

Braman, Sandra. A True Story. 1985. Note: Published in conjunction with Zelot Press.

Byrd, Don. Technics of Travel. 1984. Note: Published in conjunction with Zelot Press.

Irby, Kenneth. Call Steps: Plains, Camps, Stations, Consistories. 1992. Note: Published in conjunction with Station Hill Press.

Irby, Kenneth. Catalpa. 1977. Illustrations by the author; cover illustration by Lee Chapman.

Irby, Kenneth. A Set. 1983.

Irby, Kenneth. To Max Douglas. 1971. Cover illustration by Lee Chapman. Note: Issued as Tansy 3 (misprinted as Tansy 4). Published in conjunction with Peg-Leg Press.

Irby, Kenneth. To Max Douglas (enlarged edition). 1974. Introduction by Edward Dorn. Cover illustration by Lee Chapman. Note: Published in conjunction with Peg-Leg Press; also includes the poems “Jesus” and “Delius.”

McCrary, Jim. West of Mass: Poems 1988–1991. 1992.

Metcalf, Paul. The Island. 1982.

Metcalf, Paul. The Man Blinded: an excerpt from I-57, a work-in-progress. 1976. Note: Published in conjunction with Skop Press.

Metcalf, Paul. Zip Odes. 1979.

Morgan, John. Intersections. 1972.

Moritz, John. Consentryks. 1985. Note: Published in conjunction with Zelot Press.

Moritz, John. Crossings I–IV. 1972. Cover illustration by Lee Chapman.

Parker, Linda. Graphite. 1980.

Wilk, David. Sassafras. 1973.

Broadsides (1971–91)

Only two of the broadsides (as far as I know) are numbered: #5 and #6.

Blaser, Robin. “Muses, Dionysus, Eros.” 1990. Note: “31 January 1990. / Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading series. / 100 copies have been printed of which 75 are for public distribution and have been signed and numbered by the author.”

Brotherston, Gordon. “Good Times at Tula.” 1973. Issued as Tansy 5.

Dorn, Edward. “Cocaine Lil.” 1975. Issued as Tansy 6. Note: Poem is not attributed to an author.

Dorn, Edward. “The Poem Called Alexander Hamilton.” 1971. Note: “From Book IIIIII / Chicago January / 1971 / Printed Lawrence / February 1971 / Tansy/Peg-Leg Press Publication.”

Irby, Kenneth. “[Planks turned to marble]: for Robert Kelly, for Ruth Palmer.” 1979.

Irby, Kenneth. “Restless, the rain returns …” 1980.

Irby, Kenneth. “Two Studies.” 1989. Note: “Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading series. January 25, 1989.”

Kelly, Robert. “Whaler, Frigate, Clippership.” 1973.

Kyger, Joanne. “The phone is constantly busy to you.” 1989. Note: “Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading series. March 29, 1989.”

Low, Denise. “Metamorphosis.” 1989. Note: “Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading series. January 25, 1989.”

McClure, Michael. “99 Theses.” 1972. Note: “A Tansy/Wakarusa publication composed at The House of Usher 1 February, 1972, Lawrence, Kansas.”

McNaughton, Duncan. “The see you later library.” 1989. Note: “Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading series. September 27, 1989. / 100 copies printed, of which 26 lettered and 50 numbered copies have been signed by the poet. Issued in conjunction with a reading by the poet.”

Moritz, John. “Cahokia Mounds” and “Reunion.” 1989. Note: “Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of KU Poetry Collection reading series. January 25, 1989.”

Moritz, John, and Lee Chapman. “Poems” (w/ illustrations). 1989.

Moritz, John, and Lee Chapman. “On whether or not the pig is indigenous to the New World: from I hear America cooking.” 1990.

Notley, Alice. “For Al.” 1990. Note: “31 January 1990. / Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading series. / 100 copies have been printed of which 75 are for public distribution and have been signed and numbered by the author.”

Peters, Robert. “There’s pain in gardening, as there is in writing poetry.” 1991. Note: “31 January 1991. / Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading series. / 100 copies have been printed of which 75 are for public distribution and have been signed and numbered by the author.”

Raworth, Tom. “Eternal Sections: Three Poems from a Sequence.” 1989. Note: “Published by Tansy Press in conjunction with the Friends of the KU Poetry Collection reading Series. February 28, 1989.”


Magazines & Presses


Jack Collom
Boulder, Colorado

Nos. 1–14 (1966–77).

the 9 (n.d.). Cover by Jo Bernofsky.

In the late 1950s and early ‘60s, I was a young poet living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, open to rebellious art movements. Donald Allen’s The New American Poetry anthology converted me to the post-Beat side of Academics vs. Rebels. I was amazed that you “could” write about something happening right in front of you versus analyzing the Latinate Universal.

the 12 (n.d.). Cover by Jo Bernofsky.

I moved home (Boulder), became a messenger between plain and fancy poetics, started a “little” named the: fourteen issues from 1965 to 1975, all work done and costs paid (after issue 1) by my factory labor income (I was also raising a family). Editorially I strove for post-Olsonian (et al.) spare wildness. And for the best poets available. Olson himself sent a piece for number 3. Other published luminaries included Robert Kelly, Gary Snyder, Jerome Rothenberg, Rochelle Owens, Aram Saroyan, Ron Silliman, Ron Padgett, Denise Levertov, Kenneth Rexroth, Jackson Mac Low, Allen Ginsberg, Ed Dorn, John Giorno, Anne Waldman, and Bob Creeley.

the 14 [1977].

Because the was made with, simultaneously, great care and unlimited experimentalism, it was widely regarded as an excellent mag by the poetry generators.

A special feature of the was the stimulating variety of excerpts from the world at large (especially issue 6). Chunks of Columbus, Darwin, folk medical cures, and such world-chat melded with, while lighting up, the Vigils and Tarns.

Publication was quite simple physically. No ads; just selections from literary waters of the planet.

— Jack Collom, Boulder, Colorado, January 2017

Contributors include

Vito Acconci
Jayne Anne Phillips
David Ball
Carol Bergé
Ted Berrigan
George Bowering
Stan Brakhage
John Brandi
Charles Bukowski
Rex Burns
Reed Bye
Marc Campbell
Joe Ceravolo
Tom Clark
Juliet Clark
Clark Coolidge
Robert Creeley
Jane Creighton
John Curl
Alfred D. Kleyhauer III
Rubén Dario
Diane di Prima
Ed Dorn
Peter Douthit
Richard Duerden
Larry Eigner
Theodore Enslin
Clayton Eshleman
Zoltan Farkas
Max Finstein
Dick Gallup
Charley George
John Gierach
Allen Ginsberg
John Giorno
David Gitin
Maria Gitin
Sydney Goldfarb
Larry Goodell
Dick Higgins
Jack Hirschman
Anselm Hollo
Robert Kelly
James Koller
Opal L. Nations
Arlene Ladden
Denise Levertov
Ron Loewinsohn
Jackson Mac Low
Lewis MacAdams
Daphne Marlatt
Michael McClure
Duncan McNaughton
Janet McReynolds
David Meltzer
Charles Olson
Toby Olson
Rochelle Owens
Ron Padgett
Michael Palmer
Stuart Z. Perkoff
Margaret Randall
Kenneth Rexroth
Jerome Rothenberg
James Ryan Morris
Ed Sanders
Aram Saroyan
Ron Silliman
Gary Snyder
Charles Stein
Nathaniel Tarn
Marilyn Thompson
James Tipton
George Tysh
Anne Waldman
Keith Wilson

Tuumba Press

magazines & Presses

Tuumba Press

Lyn Hejinian
Willits and Berkeley, California


Carla Harryman, Percentage (1979).

I founded Tuumba Press in 1976. It was a solo venture in that I had no partner(s) or assistant(s) but it was not a private or solitary one; I had come to realize that poetry exists not in isolation (alone on its lonely page) but in transit, as experience, in the social worlds of people. For poetry to exist, it has to be given meaning, and for meaning to develop there must be communities of people thinking about it. Publishing books as I did was a way of contributing to such a community—even a way of helping to invent it. Invention is essential to every aspect of a life of writing. In order to learn how to print, I invented a job for myself in the shop of a local printer. The shop was in Willits, California—a small rural town with an economy based on cattle ranching and logging; the owner of the shop (the printer, Jim Case) was adamant that “printing ain’t for girls,” but he took me on three afternoons a week as the shop’s cleaning lady. A year later I moved to Berkeley, and purchased an old Chandler-Price press from a newspaper ad. I knew how to run the press but not much about typesetting; friends (particularly Johanna Drucker and Kathy Walkup) taught me a few essentials and a number of tricks. The first eleven chapbooks (printed in Willits in 1976–77) had a slightly larger trim size than those I did myself (in a back room of the house in Berkeley)—I was using leftover paper in Willits, but in Berkeley I bought paper from a local warehouse and used the trim size that was the most economical (creating the least amount of scrap).

Dick Higgins, Cat Alley: A Long Short Novel (1976). (Tuumba 5).

Dick Higgins, Cat Alley: A Long Short Novel (1976). Tuumba 5.

The list of authors of the first books makes it clear that for the first year and a half I was looking to various modes of “experimental,” “innovative,” or “avant-garde” writing for information; the subsequent chapbooks represent a commitment to a particular community—the group of writers who came to be associated with “Language Writing.” The chapbook format appealed to me for obvious practical reasons—a shorter book meant less work (and expense) than a longer one. But there were two other advantages to the chapbook. First, most of the books I published were commissioned—I invited poets to give me a manuscript by a certain date (usually six months to a year away)—and I didn’t want to make the invitation a burden. And second, I wanted the Tuumba books to come to people in the mode of “news”—in this sense, rather than “chapbook” perhaps one should say “pamphlet.” It is for this reason, by the way, that I didn’t handsew the books; they are all stapled—a transgression in the world of fine printing but highly practical in the world of pamphleteering.

Lyn Hejinian, Berkeley, California, September 1997

Ted Greenwald, Smile (1981). (Tuumba 31.)

Ted Greenwald, Smile (1981). Tuumba 31.

Alice Notley, Doctor Williams’ Heiresses (1980). (Tuumba 28.)

Alice Notley, Doctor Williams’ Heiresses (1980). Tuumba 28.

Tuumba publications

Tuumba issued fifty pamphlets and a poster. In addition the press issued numerous small broadsides, cards, and other ephemera.

What follows is a complete checklist of the pamphlets and poster:

Andrews, Bruce. Praxis. 1978. Tuumba 18.

Armantrout, Rae. The Invention of Hunger. 1979. Tuumba 22.

Baracks, Barbara. No Sleep. 1977. Tuumba 11.

Benson, Steve. The Busses. 1981. Tuumba 32.

Bernheimer, Alan. State Lounge. 1981. Tuumba 33.

Bernstein, Charles. Senses of Responsibility. 1979. Tuumba 20.

Bromige, David. P-E-A-C-E. 1981. Tuumba 34.

Coolidge, Clark. Research. 1982. Tuumba 40.

Day, Jean. Linear C. 1983. Tuumba 43.

DiPalma, Ray. Observatory Gardens. 1979. Tuumba 24.

Dreyer, Lynne. Step Work. 1983. Tuumba 44.

Eigner, Larry. Flat and Round. 1980. Tuumba 25.

Eisenberg, Barry. Bones’ Fire. 1977. Tuumba 7.

Eshleman, Clayton. The Gospel of Celine Arnauld. 1977. Tuumba 12.

Faville, Curtis. Wittgenstein’s Door. 1980. Tuumba 29.

Fraser, Kathleen. Magritte Series. 1977. Tuumba 6.

Greenwald, Ted. Smile. 1981. Tuumba 31.

Grenier, Robert. Cambridge M’ass. 1979. Poster.

Grenier, Robert. Oakland. 1980. Tuumba 27.

Hall, Doug. Beyond the Edge. 1977. Tuumba 8.

Harryman, Carla. Percentage. 1979. Tuumba 23.

Harryman, Carla. Property. 1982. Tuumba 39.

Hejinian, Lyn. Gesualdo. 1978. Tuumba 15.

Hejinian, Lyn. The Guard. 1984. Tuumba 50.

Hejinian, Lyn. A Thought Is the Bride of What Thinking. 1976. Tuumba 1.

Higgins, Dick. Cat Alley: A Long Short Novel. 1976. Tuumba 5.

Howe, Fanny. For Erato: The Meaning of Life. 1984. Tuumba 48.

Howe, Susan. The Western Borders. 1976. Tuumba 2.

Inman, P. Ocker. 1982. Tuumba 37.

Irby, Kenneth. Archipelago. 1976. Tuumba 4.

Kahn, Paul. January. 1978. Tuumba 13.

Kostelanetz, Richard. Foreshortenings, and Other Stories. 1978. Tuumba 14.

Lipp, Jeremy. Sections from Defiled by Water. 1976. Tuumba 3.

Mandel, Tom. EncY. 1978. Tuumba 16.

Mason, John. Fade to Prompt. 1981. Tuumba 35.

Melnick, David. Men in Aida: Book One. 1983. Tuumba 47.

Notley, Alice. Doctor Williams’ Heiresses. 1980. Tuumba 28.

Palmer, Michael. Alogon. 1980. Tuumba 30.

Perelman, Bob. a.k.a. 1979. Tuumba 19.

Perelman, Bob. To the Reader. 1984. Tuumba 49.

Price, Larry. Proof. 1982. Tuumba 42.

Robinson, Kit. Riddle Road. 1982. Tuumba 41.

Robinson, Kit. Tribute to Nervous. 1980. Tuumba 26.

Rodefer, Stephen. Plane Debris. 1981. Tuumba 36.

Seaton, Peter. Crisis Intervention. 1983. Tuumba 45.

Silliman, Ron. ABC. 1983. Tuumba 46.

Silliman, Ron. Sitting Up, Standing, Taking Steps. 1978. Tuumba 17.

Watten, Barrett. Complete Thought. 1982. Tuumba 38.

Watten, Barrett. Plasma / Paralleles / “X”. 1979. Tuumba 21.

Wilk, David. For You/For Sure. 1977. Tuumba 9.

Woodall, John. Recipe: Collected Thoughts for Considering the Void. 1977. Tuumba 10.


Scans of the complete run of Tuumba are available on the Eclipse website.


magazines & Presses


Ron Silliman
Oakland and San Francisco

Nos. 1–18 (1970–81)

Tottel’s 1 [1970].


Named after the first anthology of English poetry, Tottel’s Miscellany of 1557, Ron Silliman’s mimeo Tottel’s published mostly controversial and always innovative work. In each of eighteen issues, with contributors including Bruce Andrews, Rae Armantrout, Clark Coolidge, Ray DiPalma, Larry Eigner, David Gitin, Robert Grenier, David Melnick, and Thomas Meyer, Silliman printed the most radically disjunctive work he could find. One of the original San Francisco language poets, he seemed driven by his own catholic and authentic background to organize (he has been a prison and tenants rights organizer, editor of the Socialist Review, a lobbyist, and teacher). Silliman’s biographical statement in Michael Lally’s anthology None of the Above: New Poets of the U.S.A. (1976) can serve as a good introduction to Tottel’s: “I started out as a conventional writer of lyrical poems, but, as the forms I’d inherited, common to any writer circa ’65/’66, had no more reason or meaning for their existence than conformity & habit, I became quickly frustrated & bored. I wanted something more than a half-art.

Tottel’s 17 (1978). Cover: “Philip Whalen models ‘Fat Pants’ made by Alaya Stitchery.”

Tottel’s 17 (1978). On the cover, “Philip Whalen models ‘Fat Pants’ made by Alaya Stitchery.”

The pseudo-formalist approach of the post-Projective writers, with which I experimented for a time, offered no real solution. At best, the equation of the page to ‘scored speech’ was a rough metaphor & it excluded more of the world than it could bring in…. Thus when Coolidge & then Grenier extended the definition of language beyond discourse, it seemed that a reinvestigation of the whole act of writing was not only possible, but necessary. Any other tendency now is mere decoration.” Silliman has published an influential collection of essays, The New Sentence (1987), and edited a defining anthology of language writing, In the American Tree (1986). Two of his own volumes, Ketjak (1978) and Tjanting (1981), are widely respected for their radical experimentation and lively rebelliousness. He has taken as his literary mothers Gertrude Stein and Laura Riding, which helps explain his conflation of politics and poetics: “poetics must be concerned with the process by which writing is organized politically into literature” and “there can be no such thing as a formal problem in poetry which is not a social one as well.”

Tottel's 3 (June1971). This whole issue is devoted to publishing the poems of Rae Armantrout.

Tottel’s 3 (June 1971).


Scans of the complete run of Tottel’s are available on the Eclipse website.


magazines & Presses


Barrett Watten and Robert Grenier;
later Barrett Watten

Lanesville, Massachusetts; Iowa City; Franconia, New Hampshire;
San Francisco and Oakland

Nos. 1–12 (Winter 1971–Fall 1982).

No. 5 includes a 16 page card insert by Robert Grenier. All covers are by Barrett Watten, except no. 1 (Amy Grenier) and no. 4 (Louise Stanley).

Barrett Watten and Robert Grenier (1–5); Barrett Watten (6–12).

This 1 (Winter 1971). Cover by Amy Grenier.


In his landmark critical history, The Marginalization of Poetry: Language Writing and Literary History, Bob Perelman stressed the importance of the creation of literary venues (magazines and small presses) for the nurturing of new writing, singling out This for particular attention, as “the first self-conscious journal of what would become known as language writing. The name and character of the movement were uninvented at the time, nor were many of the future participants in touch yet, but the magazine was clearly motivated by a sense of literary progress.” In his discussion, Perelman places This and language writing in the context of literary history, providing for it a distinguished genealogy: “At the time there were many writers, involved in different social formations and providing various formal models, from which language writing would arise.

This, 9 (Winter 1978–79) Cover and photographs by Barrett Watten.

This 9 (Winter 1978–79). Cover and photographs by Barrett Watten.

A short list would include figures associated with Black Mountain, the New York School, the San Francisco Renaissance: Charles Olson, Frank O’Hara, and Jack Spicer, each of whom had recently died but whose work was still appearing; Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Larry Eigner; the aleatory work of Jackson Mac Low and John Cage; John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley, Clark Coolidge, Bernadette Mayer, and Ron Padgett; Tom Raworth, David Bromige, and Michael Palmer. The Objectivists were still active and were in fact a much stronger presence than they had been in prior decades: George Oppen had just won the Pulitzer Prize and Louis Zukofsky was in the process of finishing “A.” …Compared to the range of formal possibilities and social groupings and postures this partial list includes, the work and literary information in This 1 was quite limited. But [the magazine was] important in its positing of literary space. It established, at least in embryonic form, a way of connecting private reading and writing desires with some sense of public consequence and thus with a future. All the above writers could conceivably be used, not simply read.”

“One could see, without reading any of the words in the issue, that This 1 issued a double appeal to fresh beginnings and revered ancestors. The cover displays drawings by Grenier’s very young daughter Amy done at the stage when signification was just beginning to emerge from marks on paper (i.e., when big circles first mean heads and two smaller circles with centered dots mean eyes). Balancing this originary gesture, inside were photos of the masters: one of Charles Olson, who had died the previous year, and one shot from street level of the very old Pound…. The issue’s simultaneous claim to originariness, a tradition, and a productive future follows the basic patterns of Pound’s, Zukofsky’s, and Olson’s manifestos.”

Bob Perelman, The Marginalization of Poetry: Language Writing and Literary History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996)

Barrett Watten, Decay (1977).

Barrett Watten, Decay (1977).

This Press books include

Andrews, Bruce. Sonnets (Momento Mori). 1980.

Coolidge, Clark. The Maintains. 1974.

Coolidge, Clark. Quartz Hearts. 1978.

Eigner, Larry. Country / Harbor / Quiet / Act / Around: Selected Prose. 1978. Introduction by Douglas Woolf. Edited by Barrett Watten.

Greenwald, Ted. You Bet! 1978.

Grenier, Robert. Series: Poems 1967–1971. 1978. Cover by Francie Shaw.

Harryman, Carla. Under the Bridge. 1980.

Perelman, Bob. Primer. 1981.

Robinson, Kit. The Dolch Stanzas, 1976.

Silliman, Ron. Ketjak. 1978.

Watten, Barrett. Decay. 1977.

Watten, Barrett. 1–10. 1980.

This 4 (Spring 1973). Cover by Louise Stanley.

This 4 (Spring 1973). Cover by Louise Stanley.


A scan of Barrett Watten’s index to the complete run of This is available on the Eclipse website.




magazines & Presses


Maureen Owen
New York

Nos. 1–18 (1969–83).

Covers by Joe Brainard (3), Donna Dennis (6), Sonia Fox (2), Joe Giordano (11), John Giorno (7), Hugh Kepets (12, 14), Dave Morice (13, 16), Paula North (6, 9), Lauren Owen (4), Charles Plymell (8), Emilio Schneeman (5), George Schneeman (1), and Britton Wilkie (10).

Telephone 13 (1980). Cover by Dave Morice.


I came to the Lower East Side by way of San Francisco, Japan, and Bronson, Missouri. I was with Lauren Owen at the time, and when we got to New York, we stayed at the apartment of his friends from Tulsa, Ron and Patty Padgett. Ron and another pal, Johnny Stanton, told me about the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s. I immediately took myself over there and began going to readings and meeting other poets. Anne Waldman was bringing out The World, and it was very exciting. I started thinking about doing books and putting a magazine of my own together. I went over to St. Mark’s and asked Anne if I could use the Gestetner to launch my new press. She and Larry Fagin instructed me in the use of stencils, which was not as easy as it sounded, a tricky business at best. I added illustrations.

Howe, Susan. Hinge Picture. 1974.

Susan Howe, Hinge Picture. 1974.

My light table was a window. I would hold the stencil up against the window and trace the drawing I wanted to use. Tom Veitch, whom I barely knew, volunteered to run the Gestetner for me and show me how to actually mimeograph. I’ll never forget that first page coming off the big roller. Like a miracle, the dark stencil had yielded up a page bright white with words embossed in shiny black ink. Mimeo is the greatest way to do a publication. It’s immediate, streetwise, hands on, open to change to the last second before the machine starts to hum, and the ink sits up on the page like art. It’s sensual and sexy, raw and real. Alone in the big empty church of St. Mark’s late into the night with only the sound of the mimeograph “kachucking” and the pages swishing down. Although I went on to mimeo on my own, on long late nights in that big church, Tom Veitch will always be a saint to me. After we ran off the pages we stacked them to dry, and some days later I gathered every friend I’d made and their friends and we collated. One of the beautiful things about mimeo is the sense of community. People collated and stapled and took copies to hand around. In that beginning time, I did two Telephone Books: Rebecca Wright’s Elusive Continent and David Rosenberg’s Frontal Nudity, and a first issue of the magazine Telephone. I was hooked.

Maureen Owen, Guilford, Connecticut, September 1997

Telephone Books include

Bennett, Will. Zero. 1984. Cover by George Schneeman.

Berrigan, Sandy. Summer Sleeper. 1981.

Brodey, Jim. Last Licks. 1973.

Brown, Rebecca. The Barbarian Queen. 1981.

Brown, Rebecca. The Bicycle Trip. 1974.

Brown, Rebecca. 3-way Split. 1978.

Cataldo, Susan. Brooklyn Queens Day. 1982.

Friedman, Ed. The Telephone Book. 1979.

Hamill, Janet. The Temple. 1980.

Hartman, Yuki. Hot Footsteps. 1976.

Howe, Fanny. The Amerindian Coastline Poem. 1975. Cover and centerfold drawing by Hugh Kepets.

Howe, Fanny. Fanny Howe’s Alsace-Lorraine. 1982. Cover and drawings by Colleen McCallion.

Howe, Susan. Hinge Picture. 1974.

Howe, Susan. Secret History of the Dividing Line. 1978.

Nolan, Pat. Drastic Measures. 1981.

Norton, Joshua. Pool. 1974. Cover by Charles Plymell.

Plymell, Charles. Over the Stage of Kansas. 1973. Cover by the author.

Pommy-Vega, Janine. Morning Passage. 1976. Cover drawing by Martin Carey.

Rosenberg, David. Frontal Nudity. 1972. Cover by George Schneeman.

Torregian, Sotère. Amtrak Trek. 1979. Cover drawing and calligraphy by the author.

Weigel, Tom. Audrey Hepburn’s Symphonic Salad and the Coming of Autumn. 1980. Covers by Monica Weigel.

Weigel, Tom. Twenty-four Haiku after the Japanese. 1982.

Wilkie, Britton. The Celestial Splendor Shining Forth from Geometric Thought, & On the Motion of the Apparently Fixed Stars. 1977.

Wright, Rebecca. Ciao Manhattan. 1977.

Wright, Rebecca. Elusive Continent. 1972. Cover and drawings by Denise Green.

Telegraph Books

magazines & Presses

Telegraph Books

Victor Bockris, Aram Saroyan,
and Andrew Wylie

New York


Victor Bockris, In America (1972).
Cover photograph of the author by Aram Saroyan.


Born in Harvard Square, Telegraph Books were edited from Cambridge, Massachusetts, printed and perfect-bound in Philadelphia, and published in New York (essentially from Andrew Wylie’s bookstore on Jones Street in Greenwich Village). They were, and still are, instantly recognizable. Aram Saroyan and Wylie first discussed the series after they had both read at a benefit for a socialist bookstore in Cambridge, and Saroyan describes the purpose behind their project in Friends in the World (Coffee House Press, 1992): “We wanted to do something specifically for our own generation along the lines of what Ferlinghetti had done for the Beat Generation with his City Lights Books.

Tom Weatherly, Thumbprint (1971). Cover photograph by Elsa Dorfman.

Tom Weatherly, Thumbprint (1971). Cover photograph by Elsa Dorfman.

We spent a lot of time talking about the poets we would publish and also decided that, like City Lights’s Pocket Poets series, the books should have a standardized size and format….Victor [Bockris] had a working partnership with a printer outside Philadelphia and handled the nuts-and-bolts work of seeing that the books looked the way we wanted them to: mass paperback dimensions with a photograph, usually of the author, on the cover. When the first copy of my collection, The Rest, arrived, Gailyn and I were both amazed at the care and professionalism of the product. It was a real new book we held in our hands. After titles by Andrew and me, Victor went on to produce books by Tom Weatherly, Gerard Malanga, a memoir by Ron Padgett, Tom Clark, and Ted Berrigan, and Seventh Heaven by Patti Smith, her first poetry collection. She had been recommended to Andrew by Malanga, and Andrew, who had a quick eye for new talent, had been immediately won over both by her work and her tough-girl street style with its undercurrent of sweetness.”

Patti Smith, Seventh Heaven (1972). Cover photograph by Judy Linn.

Patti Smith, Seventh Heaven (1972). Cover photograph by Judy Linn.

Telegraph Books (complete)

Bockris, Victor. In America. 1972. Cover photograph of the author by Aram Saroyan.

Clark, Tom, Ron Padgett, and Ted Berrigan. Back in Boston Again. 1972. Introduction by Aram Saroyan. Cover photograph by Rudy Burckhardt.

Malanga, Gerard. Poetry on Film. 1972. Cover photograph by the author.

Polk, Brigid. Scars. 1972. Cover by the author.

Saroyan, Aram. Poems. 1972. Cover photograph by Gailyn Saroyan.

Aram Saroyan, Poems (1972). Cover photograph by Gailyn Saroyan.

Aram Saroyan, Poems (1972). Cover photograph by Gailyn Saroyan.

Saroyan, Aram. The Rest. 1971. Cover photograph by the author.

Smith, Patti. Seventh Heaven. 1972. Photograph by Judy Linn.

Weatherly, Tom. Thumbprint. 1971. Cover photograph by Elsa Dorfman.

Wylie, Andrew. Gold. 1972. Cover photograph by Gerard Malanga.

Wylie, Andrew. Tenderloin. 1971. Cover photograph by Aram Saroyan.

Note: Books by Victor Bockris, Otis William Brown, Lee Harwood, Davi Det Hompson, Tom Pickard, and Tom Raworth are mentioned in the press’s list but there is no evidence that they were published by Telegraph. The Pickard and Raworth titles came out later from other publishers.

Trobar, a magazine of the New American Poetry

magazines & Presses

Trobar, a magazine of the New American Poetry

George Economou, Joan Kelly,
and Robert Kelly

Brooklyn, New York

Nos. 1–5 (1960–64)

Trobar, a magazine of the New American Poetry 1 (1960).


Trobar magazine was published in Brooklyn in only five issues from 1960 to 1964, but it was tremendously influential in spreading knowledge about deep image poetry. Deep image poetry, according to Robert Kelly, is “poetry not necessarily dominated by the image, but in which it is the rhythm of the images which forms the dominant movement of the poem.” Of the three editors, Kelly has been the most tireless and enthusiastic poet, reader, and teacher, exerting a charismatic influence. He has published more than seventy-five volumes of poetry and prose (his first, Armed Descent, was published by Jerome Rothenberg’s Hawk’s Well Press) and was a founding editor of Chelsea Review and Matter and a contributing editor to CaterpillarAlcheringa, Sulfur, Conjunctions, and Poetry International. and guest editor to Los (new series, no. 1, 1975).

Trobar 2 (1961). Cover design from Abbe Breuil’s “Les Roches Peintes du Tassili-n-Ajjer.”

Trobar 2 (1961). Cover design from Abbé Henri Breuil’s Les roches peintes du Tassili-n-Ajjer (1954).

Kelly coedited, with Paris Leary, the paperback A Controversy of Poets (1965), which was an entrant in the poetry anthology wars of the 1960s. Kelly’s essay “Notes on the Poetry of Deep Image,” which appears in Trobar 2, is a provocative statement about an important thread in modern poetry and is central to the concept of Trobar (the name refers to the Troubadour tradition in Provencal poetry). The press also issued a series of books, which included works by Rochelle Owens, Jerome Rothenberg, Paul Blackburn, and Louis Zukofsky.

“…we have to try to see the world in all its natural and contemporary detail as if no differences existed between the seer and the things he sees. To see in this way—through the self (emotively)—results in certain necessary changes on the material emerging in the poem: “a heightened sense of the emotional contours of objects (their dark qualities, or shadows); “their free re-association in a manner that would be impossible to descriptive or logical thought, but is here almost unavoidable; “the sense of these objects (and the poem itself) being informed with a heightened relevance, a quickened sense of life; “the recognition of the poem as a natural structure arising at once from the act of emotive vision.”

Jerome Rothenberg, from “Why Deep Image?” in Trobar 3 (1962)

Paul Blackburn, The Nets (1961). Cover by Michelle Stuart.

Paul Blackburn, The Nets (1961). Cover by Michelle Stuart.

Trobar books include

Blackburn, Paul. The Nets. 1961. Trobar Books [2]. Cover by Michelle Stuart.

Eshleman, Clayton. Mexico & North. 1962. Distributed by Trobar Books.

Kelly, Robert. Round Dances. 1964. [No number, 5?]. Drawings by Josie Rosenfeld.

Owens, Rochelle. Not Be Essence That Cannot Be. 1961. Trobar Books 1.

Rothenberg, Jerome. The Seven Hells of the Jigoku Yoshi. 1962. Trobar Books 3.

Zukofsky, Louis. I’s (pronounced eyes). 1963. Trobar Books 4.

Totem Press

magazines & Presses

Totem Press

LeRoi Jones [Imamu Amiri Baraka]
New York


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

Totem Press. Charles Olson

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

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

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

Totem Press books include

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Totem Press books in association with Corinth Books include

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

Sorrentino, Gilbert. Black and White. 1964.

Whalen, Philip. Like I Say. 1960.