Home Planet News

Magazines & Presses

Home Planet News

Enid Dame and Donald Lev
High Falls, New York

Nos. 1–68 (1979–2018).

Home Planet News, no. 51. 2004.

Donald Lev and Enid Dame began publishing Home Planet News in 1979, after meeting at the New York Poets Cooperative in 1976. At the time, Dame was working on her Ph.D. in English at Rutgers University, and Lev had been working on a small literary tabloid called Poets with Michael Devlin, publishing many of the contributors that would continue on with HPN, including Tuli Kupferberg (whose cartoons became a regular fixture of the magazine from 1983 onward), Harold Goldfinger, Emilie Glen, Barbara Holland, Ree Dragonette, Bob Kramer, Bob Holman, and of course, Enid Dame. When Devlin indicated that he would not be able to continue supporting Poets, Dame and Lev asked “Could we start a magazine of our own? Could it combine Poets’ funky vision and mad energy with a more settled political and communal commitment? A place where the new feminist poetry (this was 1978) could share space and dialogue with neo-Beat bardic effusions?”[1]

The answer was yes, and Dame and Lev moved into together, “procured an electronic typewriter in a Bleeker Street shop, got as many files from the Union Square office as [they] could carry out before the landlord locked the door, and [they] were in business.” They called the tabloid after a poem of Lev’s titled “Fragment of a Letter from One’s Home Planet,” which was also the name of a bookshop on East 9th Street that he ran in 1971. The first issue was published in March 1979, with jazz poets Steve and Gloria Tropp on the cover, inaugurated at West End Bar on upper Broadway.

Home Planet News, no. 60. 2008.

Specific focuses of issues included cronyism at the National Endowment for the Arts (1982), the AIDS crisis (1995), Yiddish poetry in translation (1982), a festschrift for Enid Dame (2005), reflections on Woodstock (2009), prison writing (1999), computer/desktop publishing (1993), progressive arts (1991), a festschrift for Harold Goldfinger (1990), an index of the first 24 issues (1988), and a variety of other political and artistic themes. In 2004, HPN published an index of contributors to the first 50 issues (pictured at top), which stretched for six pages of three columns each, containing hundreds of contributors and the titles of their works within.

As one of the longest-running literary tabloids in the United States, HPN was jointly edited by Dame and Lev until Dame’s death in 2003, at which point Lev continued to publish the tabloid until his death in 2018. The circulation of each issue was approx. 1000 copies, with the goal of three issues per year (though this varied over time), and it was published in High Falls, New York. A digital offshoot of the print publication, titled Home Planet News Online, continues today and is edited by Frank Murphy.

[1] Citations are from a typescript titled “The Story of HPN,” which was included in the Home Planet News Archive.

Home Planet News, no. 45. 2008.

Home Planet News, no. 50. 2004.

Home Planet News, no. 46. 2000.