The Paper It Is Printed On

Continuing with our Berrigan theme: Here is C A Journal of Poetry Issue 1. I want to focus here on the unusual paper size. It is usually described by booksellers as folio size. I love this description because it immediately brings to mind Shakespeare and the Folios. This is appropriate since Berrigan was working on The Sonnets during the early days of C. A nice allusion that I think was intended by Berrigan and Co.
Talking with Barry Miles, he told me that C posed a real problem at Better Books and Indica. How do you display them? They are too long to fit in a normal book shelf. C literally does not fit. The content of C also stood outside the canon although as Career Moves makes clear C was used as a wedge to get into the Establishment. Again I think it was intended that C should stick out. In a sense it was head and shoulders above the rest of the mimeos in form and content.
All the issues of C are 9" X 14". This also has meaning. As a paralegal I know these dimensions are indicative of legal size paper. Daniel Kane in All Poets Welcome describes how C grew out of the controversy that surrounded Berrigan's poems at Columbia University. His poems were censored out of the Columbia literary magazine, which lead to the publication of Censored Review, which then spawned C. There was quite a bit of publicity surrounding Censored Review and it sold well. The "C" of C Journal refers to Columbia and Censored Review, as well as other things I am sure, like controversy and censorship. A scarlet letter of sorts, or maybe a blue one. The size of the issues alludes to legal issues like obscenity and censorship. Lady's Chatterley's Lover and Tropic of Cancer (more C's perhaps) and their legal problems come to mind and of course Berrigan's brush with the authorities.
When approaching a mimeo, you have to read the text AND the paper it is printed on.


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