The Mailing List of Floating Bear

I have often considered collecting every single issue of Floating Bear with a mailing label. Duplicates be damned. Looking over my nearly complete set, I find myself fixated on the postal information on the front as much as the writing inside. This isn’t as strange as it might sound. Mimeo is all about communication and community. That is why so many mimeos are self-described as newsletters.

It would be interesting to compile a database complete with mapping and graphing capabilities that tracked the who and where of the Floating Bear mailing list. Take for example this copy of Floating Bear #24. This particular issue which contains writing by William Burroughs and Paul Metcalf (on Charles Olson) was sent to Dan Rice in New York City. Rice attended Black Mountain College in the 1950s and migrated up to New York to pursue his art. The mailing label captures the exodus of Black Mountain alumni into New York City that provided the foundation for the literary and artistic community of the Lower East Side. I am thinking of Joel Oppenheimer here. Interestingly, Naked Lunch first appeared in Black Mountain Review and Metcalf on Olson, the mind and heart of Black Mountain, would hold much appeal to Rice.

Couple that with Leroi Jones’ circle which gathered at Jones’ and his wife, Hettie’s apartment and this issue of Floating Bear provides an vibrant slice of the poetry and art scene of the early 1960s, particularly in New York. Looking more closely at this and other issues of Floating Bear would no doubt uncover many more connections.



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