I came to the Lower East Side by way of San Francisco, Japan, and Bronson, Missouri. I was with Lauren Owen at the time, and when we got to New York, we stayed at the apartment of his friends from Tulsa, Ron and Patty Padgett. Ron and another pal, Johnny Stanton, told me about the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s. I immediately took myself over there and began going to readings and meeting other poets. Anne Waldman was bringing out The World, and it was very exciting. I started thinking about doing books and putting a magazine of my own together. I went over to St. Mark’s and asked Anne if I could use the Gestetner to launch my new press. She and Larry Fagin instructed me in the use of stencils, which was not as easy as it sounded, a tricky business at best. I added illustrations.
Susan Howe, Hinge Picture. 1974.
My light table was a window. I would hold the stencil up against the window and trace the drawing I wanted to use. Tom Veitch, whom I barely knew, volunteered to run the Gestetner for me and show me how to actually mimeograph. I’ll never forget that first page coming off the big roller. Like a miracle, the dark stencil had yielded up a page bright white with words embossed in shiny black ink. Mimeo is the greatest way to do a publication. It’s immediate, streetwise, hands on, open to change to the last second before the machine starts to hum, and the ink sits up on the page like art. It’s sensual and sexy, raw and real. Alone in the big empty church of St. Mark’s late into the night with only the sound of the mimeograph “kachucking” and the pages swishing down. Although I went on to mimeo on my own, on long late nights in that big church, Tom Veitch will always be a saint to me. After we ran off the pages we stacked them to dry, and some days later I gathered every friend I’d made and their friends and we collated. One of the beautiful things about mimeo is the sense of community. People collated and stapled and took copies to hand around. In that beginning time, I did two Telephone Books: Rebecca Wright’s Elusive Continent and David Rosenberg’s Frontal Nudity, and a first issue of the magazine Telephone. I was hooked.
— Maureen Owen, Guilford, Connecticut, September 1997
Telephone Books include
Bennett, Will. Zero. 1984. Cover by George Schneeman.
Berrigan, Sandy. Summer Sleeper. 1981.
Brodey, Jim. Last Licks. 1973.
Brown, Rebecca. The Barbarian Queen. 1981.
Brown, Rebecca. The Bicycle Trip. 1974.
Brown, Rebecca. 3-way Split. 1978.
Cataldo, Susan. Brooklyn Queens Day. 1982.
Friedman, Ed. The Telephone Book. 1979.
Hamill, Janet. The Temple. 1980.
Hartman, Yuki. Hot Footsteps. 1976.
Howe, Fanny. The Amerindian Coastline Poem. 1975. Cover and centerfold drawing by Hugh Kepets.
Howe, Fanny. Fanny Howe’s Alsace-Lorraine. 1982. Cover and drawings by Colleen McCallion.
Howe, Susan. Hinge Picture. 1974.
Howe, Susan. Secret History of the Dividing Line. 1978.
Nolan, Pat. Drastic Measures. 1981.
Norton, Joshua. Pool. 1974. Cover by Charles Plymell.
Plymell, Charles. Over the Stage of Kansas. 1973. Cover by the author.
Pommy-Vega, Janine. Morning Passage. 1976. Cover drawing by Martin Carey.
Rosenberg, David. Frontal Nudity. 1972. Cover by George Schneeman.
Torregian, Sotère. Amtrak Trek. 1979. Cover drawing and calligraphy by the author.
Weigel, Tom. Audrey Hepburn’s Symphonic Salad and the Coming of Autumn. 1980. Covers by Monica Weigel.
Weigel, Tom. Twenty-four Haiku after the Japanese. 1982.
Wilkie, Britton. The Celestial Splendor Shining Forth from Geometric Thought, & On the Motion of the Apparently Fixed Stars. 1977.
Wright, Rebecca. Ciao Manhattan. 1977.
Wright, Rebecca. Elusive Continent. 1972. Cover and drawings by Denise Green.