Born in Harvard Square, Telegraph Books were edited from Cambridge, Massachusetts, printed and perfect-bound in Philadelphia, and published in New York (essentially from Andrew Wylie’s bookstore on Jones Street in Greenwich Village). They were, and still are, instantly recognizable. Aram Saroyan and Wylie first discussed the series after they had both read at a benefit for a socialist bookstore in Cambridge, and Saroyan describes the purpose behind their project in Friends in the World (Coffee House Press, 1992): “We wanted to do something specifically for our own generation along the lines of what Ferlinghetti had done for the Beat Generation with his City Lights Books.
Tom Weatherly, Thumbprint (1971). Cover photograph by Elsa Dorfman.
We spent a lot of time talking about the poets we would publish and also decided that, like City Lights’s Pocket Poets series, the books should have a standardized size and format….Victor [Bockris] had a working partnership with a printer outside Philadelphia and handled the nuts-and-bolts work of seeing that the books looked the way we wanted them to: mass paperback dimensions with a photograph, usually of the author, on the cover. When the first copy of my collection, The Rest, arrived, Gailyn and I were both amazed at the care and professionalism of the product. It was a real new book we held in our hands. After titles by Andrew and me, Victor went on to produce books by Tom Weatherly, Gerard Malanga, a memoir by Ron Padgett, Tom Clark, and Ted Berrigan, and Seventh Heaven by Patti Smith, her first poetry collection. She had been recommended to Andrew by Malanga, and Andrew, who had a quick eye for new talent, had been immediately won over both by her work and her tough-girl street style with its undercurrent of sweetness.”
Patti Smith, Seventh Heaven (1972). Cover photograph by Judy Linn.
Telegraph Books (complete)
Bockris, Victor. In America. 1972. Cover photograph of the author by Aram Saroyan.
Clark, Tom, Ron Padgett, and Ted Berrigan. Back in Boston Again. 1972. Introduction by Aram Saroyan. Cover photograph by Rudy Burckhardt.
Malanga, Gerard. Poetry on Film. 1972. Cover photograph by the author.
Polk, Brigid. Scars. 1972. Cover by the author.
Saroyan, Aram. Poems. 1972. Cover photograph by Gailyn Saroyan.
Aram Saroyan, Poems (1972). Cover photograph by Gailyn Saroyan.
Saroyan, Aram. The Rest. 1971. Cover photograph by the author.
Smith, Patti. Seventh Heaven. 1972. Photograph by Judy Linn.
Weatherly, Tom. Thumbprint. 1971. Cover photograph by Elsa Dorfman.
Wylie, Andrew. Gold. 1972. Cover photograph by Gerard Malanga.
Wylie, Andrew. Tenderloin. 1971. Cover photograph by Aram Saroyan.
Note: Books by Victor Bockris, Otis William Brown, Lee Harwood, Davi Det Hompson, Tom Pickard, and Tom Raworth are mentioned in the press’s list but there is no evidence that they were published by Telegraph. The Pickard and Raworth titles came out later from other publishers.