Bob Perelman and Michael Waltuch
Iowa City, Cambridge, San Francisco and Berkeley
Nos. 1–9 (March 1973–Spring 1983).
Bob Perelman and Michael Waltuch (1); Bob Perelman (2–9).
No. 6/7 is the double issue “Talks.” Covers by Francie Shaw (1, 2, 4, 6/7), Francis Shaw and John Bakti (3), and John Winet (5).
Edited by Bob Perelman, and following him all over the country, Hills was the sweetest of all language-centered journals, with covers often resembling cows. The first issue, from Iowa City, was coedited with Michael Waltuch and included the work of Iowa poet Darrell Gray, as well as some experimental and exotic work by Kit Robinson and Josephine Clare. Included also are some of the earliest translations (by Anselm Hollo, Eliot Anderson, and editor Perelman) of the Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun. All the work in this first issue is clustered toward the top of the page, leaving white space below. Hills 2 is typed on a more elegant typewriter (perhaps by Bob Grenier) and some of his Sentences appear within, for instance: “SWEET / expect accept object.” Hills 4 was typeset by Barrett Watten, and includes work by Ron Silliman, Carla Harryman, Bruce Andrews, and Fanny Howe, as well as Iowan and Poetry Comics editor Dave Morice. With issue 5, Perelman and the magazine moved to San Francisco, and the cover is appropriately reproduced from a photo by Jon Winet of Center Ice, The Cow Palace.
The very famous and important double issue 6/7 prints a number of the “Talks” then given in different San Francisco venues (including the San Francisco Art Institute, 80 Langton Street, and various lofts and apartments). According to Perelman, the talk series began in 1977 and numbered nearly forty over the next five or so years: “A ‘talk’ is a broad designation—was the situation educational, creational, dramatic? Was information to be presented or were values to be embodied: was the focus on the speaker or the community or the speaker and audience? The answers varied. All speakers were presented with a common problem: to say something in public. In various cases this meant talking spontaneously, referring to notes and texts, reading written out essays, or abandoning written essays in midstream.” Talkers included Bill Berkson, Barrett Watten on “Russian Formalism and the Present,” Steve Benson with “Views of Communist China,” Bob Perelman on “The First Person,” Michael Davidson on “The Prose of Fact,” and Ron Silliman on “The New Sentence.” Hills 8 includes a play by Carla Harryman entitled The Third Man. Its cast included Steve Benson and Kit Robinson.
Scans of the complete run of Hills are available on the Eclipse website.