In 1990, after a fierce tenure battle, I decided to put all my efforts (outside of raising children and teaching at Long Island University) into poetry and poetic community. I remember sitting in a dark cubical at LIU planning this magazine with Lewis Warsh, and then in cafés at night with Michael Pelias, Don Dombowsky, and Sally Young. Long News was always a communal project. Tyrone Williams, Chris Tysh, and Paul Buck joined us as contributing editors. Tyrone came up with “Long News.” I believe Michael Pelias added “in the Short Century.” Sally Young was art editor for the first issue and then contributing art editor thereafter, along with Rick Franklin. Miranda Maher was the art editor for issues 2 through 5. However, we all contributed visuals and writing. Right from the beginning the magazine had a strong Detroit connection—Miranda, Chris, Tyrone, Sally, and I had lived in Detroit. Sally, Tyrone, and I were born there.
The father of my children, Allen Saperstein, another Detroiter, donated the first issue; he was a printer in Brooklyn. I typeset the first issue in the back of his store, Copycat; Allen printed it on resume paper; then we collated it and took it to his friend Elliot’s shop on 4th Avenue for cutting and binding.
Long News in the Short Century 5 (1994). Cover by Carolee Schneemann.
I spent many weekends in galleries with Miranda looking for possible artists to invite; in our discussions and throughout the five issues, we learned to see writing as visual and visuals as writing. The dialogue and even arguments between editors was exciting and opened up intellectual awareness and creative possibilities. We dedicated the second issue to mourning the losses in the Gulf War. In the fourth issue, Michael Pelias and Charles Wolfe edited a section commemorating the life of Felix Guattari, radical psychoanalyst and theorist; included was a beautiful eulogy by Toni Negri and some poetic essays on the concept of the One. Shortly before issue 5, David Rattray died. We had published some of David’s poems in almost every issue; I remember several times going uptown to his office at Reader’s Digest to pick up poems. A homage to David was included in issue 5 with a photo of him on the cover from an installation by Carolee Schneemann.
For the most part, we published experimental art and writing that addressed tyranny, oppression, censorship, and that made a social commentary. We wanted to transgress static ideas about culture and language, engaging social and political transformation. We had grants from the Fund for Poetry and NY Council for the Arts. Each issue was longer, more focused, and more conceptual. Later issues also included philosophical essays.
Why did we stop? It was a tremendous amount of work; I was also a single mother with two teenagers. Five was enough. It was time to move on to something else.
— Barbara Henning, New York, March 2017