Floating Bear #9 may be the most infamous, Issue #24 might be my most treasured, but Issue 33 is my favorite issue of this long running mimeo. Diane Di Prima took over as editor with Issue 26 when Leroi Jones left after Issue 25. In the remaining issues, on rare occasions, Di Prima would hand the Bear over to a guest editor. Kirby Doyle edited an issue. John Wieners edited Issue 33. It is as if the magazine was mimeo'd in the basement of the Hotel Wentley by the angel-headed hipsters of Ginsberg's Howl. Published in 1967, this issue captures the flipside of the Summer of Love, the cruel Summer depicted by Joan Didion in Slouching Towards Bethelhem and The White Album collections. Wieners, Jack Spicer, Sharon Morrill, Bobby Driscoll, Philip Lamantia, John Reed, Kirby Doyle, edward freeman, Janine Pommey, Stephen Jonas, Jan Balas. All struggled with drugs and/or alcohol. Spicer and freeman were dead before this issue was published.
Strange to see Robert Grenier here. An early poem from Cambridge 1962 ("A Race"). This has to be an extremely early poem for Grenier almost juvenilia.
I am not saying that the work in this issue is great poetry, but this magazine is a very moving artifact, an accounting that tallies the cost of the 1960s.