SCOTTish poet Gael Turnbull began Migrant Books by purchasing stock from several presses, including Origin, Jargon, and Divers Press, and his first solo publication was a single mimeographed sheet advertising these publications, which included Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems. In a personal memoir of the press, Turnbull comments on his first real book publication: “In the summer of 1957, I published The Whip, a small volume of selected poems by Robert Creeley, who arranged and managed the printing for me on Mallorca (with Mosen Alcover who had printed the Divers Press books). There were 500 copies in paper wrappers and 100 hard cover…the bulk of the edition went out through Jargon (Jonathan Williams) in the United States. (I did have the intention of publishing Olson’s O’Ryan Poem but it didn’t get further than ‘an intention’ because I never got myself together enough to actually approach a printer in Worcester.)”
Turnbull immigrated to the United States in 1958 and settled in Ventura, California, where he began to publish his books on a hand-operated Sears Roebuck duplicator. He used this machine to produce the little magazine entitled Migrant, which he sent to friends and colleagues, partly as a way to retain contact with England, where he returned in 1964. Eight issues of Migrant appeared over the course of a year, and then Turnbull began publishing pamphlets, including Scottish artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay’s The Dancers Inherit the Party, which was printed in two editions. Although it lasted only a few years, Migrant was an example to certain other presses in the United Kingdom, influencing (at least editorially) both Finlay’s Wild Hawthorn Press and the more mainstream Fulcrum Press in London. An unassuming, simple affair, each Migrant book was focused on providing a readable text in more ways than one. The last publication of the press was Few by Pete Brown in 1966: “It was our biggest in sheer size, and somewhere, somehow, 1,000 copies vanished into other bookshops and presumably into the hands of readers.”
Migrant Press: Bibliographical History [1965?]. The inside of a single-fold brochure.
Migrant Books include
Adele, David. Becoming. 1980.
Brown, Pete. Few: Poems. 1966.
Creeley, Robert. The Whip. 1957.
Creighton-Hill, Hugh. Latterday Chrysalides. 1961.
Dorn, Ed. What I See in the Maximus Poems. 1960.
Finlay, Ian Hamilton. The Dancers Inherit the Party: Selected Poems. 1962. Woodcuts by Zeljko Kujundzic.
Hardiment, Melville. Doazy Bor. N.d.
Harrison, Tony, and Philip Sharpe. Looking Up. 1979.
Hollo, Anselm. & it is a song: Poems. 1965. Cover design and section plates by John Furnival.
Mead, Matthew. A Poem in Nine Parts. 1960.
Mead, Matthew. Identities. 1964.
Morgan, Edwin, trans. Sovpoems: Brecht, Neruda, Pasternak, Tsvetayeva, Mayakowsky, Martynov, Yevtushenko. 1961.
Pound, Omar S. Kano. 1971.
Shayer, Michael. Persephone. 1961.
Thayer, Michael. Poems from an Island. 1963.
Turnbull, Gael. Don’t Stop. 1980.
Turnbull, Gael. The Small Change. 1980.
Turnbull, Gael. To You, I Write. 1963.
Turnbull, Gael. Whitley Court Revisited. 1975. Broadside with drawings by Carey Blundun.
Turnbull, Gael. Twenty Words, Twenty Days: A Sketchbook & a Morula. 1966.
Anselm Hollo, & it is a song: Poems (1965). Cover design and section plates by John Furnival.