Cow: What Art Thou?

Cow Soup Issue (1965)

Cow: Un-escalation Issue (1965)

Cow: Pregnant Cow Issue (1966)

When I saw this mimeo, I wondered what in the heck it was.  It is not mentioned in A Secret Location.  It was suggested to me that the magazine might have ties to Wild Dog, but a quick look at the contributors (Jack Spicer, Harold Dull, Ronnie Primack, Joanne Kyger, Stan Persky, and Robin Blaser) made clear to me that this was a San Francisco mag centered around Jack Spicer like J, M, and Open Space.  There is only one place to find out:  Poet Be Like God, Killian and Ellingham's biography of Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance.

Well, the answer is there on page 352.  The editor of Cow was Luther T. Cupp, described by Killian and Ellingsham as Spicer's final Rimbaud.  Spicer nicknamed Cupp "Link" and he went by the name of Link Martin.  Inspired by Stan Persky's Open Space, Luther/Link hoped to publish his own magazine, seeking the advice and approval of Spicer at every turn.  Spicer died before the first issue and Spicer's ghost haunts all three issues of Cow I own.  Link became known around town as the Spicerian version of Ruth Kligman, Jackson Pollock's last lover.  Frank O'Hara nicknamed Kligman, "Death Car Girl," after she survived Pollock's fatal car crash.

Like Open Space and J, Cow is inside, intimate, and insular, the epitome of coetrie publishing.  Although Cow may not be as famous as Floating Bear, C, or Fuck You, it is classic mimeo and a textbook example of the medium.


jadecar said...

I came home and saw this tonight and nearly flipped! Where do you guys find this stuff? My Gawd! ' Cow: What Art Thou ' indeed. Yep. I checked the Killian/Ellingham bio like you said and there it was, but to actually see these things blows me away. I can't imagine what's inside? The usual suspects you mentioned confirms it for sure: Spicer, Persky, Dull, Kyger, et al. Poor Joanne, no, not poor Joanne, lucky as hell Joanne as being virtually the only woman who was let into the nearly hermetically-sealed male Spicer circle back in the day; ' Miss Kids,' is that what Wieners named her? Something like that. I can only believe that only a few of these things were printed and that fewer still made it outside of the Bay area even after Spicer's untimely demise. Like you say, his ghost haunts every page and probably still somehow prevented any of them from getting any further east than Oakland. You guys have gotta be stopped! Just kiddin...
All Best,

St. said...


Is there a way to read these three issues? I know a deal about Link Martin and would love to see what Cow was like.

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