Magazines & Presses


Alan Bernheimer
New York

Sole issue (May 1971).

Sunshine, sole issue (May 1971). Cover by Merrill Gilfillan.


In the spring of 1971, after a post-graduate year hanging around the Poetry Project and working part-time at East Side Books on St. Mark’s Place (the best location for mimeo and other small press publications, although the Phoenix and Eighth Street bookshops in the West Village and the Gotham Book Mart uptown had admirable troves), I was invited to edit a one-shot magazine at the Project.

I chose the name Sunshine and appropriated the lovely italic Sunshine Biscuits Co. (baker of Hydrox cookies and Vienna Fingers) logo with the help of tracing paper. The economical, hands-on, analog technology for text reproduction was, of course, mimeograph, with photocopiers still exotic and expensive. I cut stencils and ran them off on the Project’s workhorse mimeo machine under the watchful eye of Larry Fagin.

But I was stuck for cover art, until Merrill Gilfillan lifted the image of yachtsman Sir Thomas Lipton from the eponymous tea packaging, proffering a cuppa but minus facial features except mustache and otis. Merrill added a couple of his trademark gulls and a horizon line to complete the open-air, nautical setting.

The dozen contributors comprised my young poet friends—Rebecca Wright, Michael Waltuch, Alex Smith, Arlene Ladden, Kit Robinson, Bill Zavatsky, Steve Benson, Rodger Kamenetz, Pat Bizzell, Merrill, and Paul Violi. Avant-garde composer Humphrey Evans III contributed a political cartoon.

And then I turned up my nose at the chance to be editorial assistant to Michael Korda at Simon & Schuster or teach poetry to kids at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and instead hitchhiked to San Francisco. But that’s another story.

— Alan Bernheimer, Berkeley, February 2017