The Grey Pilgrim

Mithrander was a one-shot edited by Tony Sherrod in 1963 in San Francisco. Once again Graham Mackintosh did the printing honors. He also provided the cover art. There is not much information on Sherrod. He lurks in the footnotes of Poet Be Like God. Hailing from Knoxville, Tennesse, he moved to San Francisco and hung on the edge of the Spicer Circle. He was one of the two Tonys, the other being Tony Ashe, who Spicer grew infatuated with. Spicer called grouped the two Tonys as the Jets, named after the gang in West Side Story. They both appear in The Holy Grail and in a Spicer poem in The Capitalist Bloodsucker: N, a magazine by George Stanley.
Sherrod was married and Lew Ellingham and Helen Adam were the godfather/godmother of his child. Mithrander (called Mythrander in Poet Be Like God) was largely created to showcase Ellingham whose essay dominates the magazine. Like Sherrod, Mithrander is a sidelight to the mimeo scene that developed around Spicer. He was labelled as too lightweight to be considered seriously in that scene and his magazine has that same feel. Despite the appearance of a poet like Philip Whalen, both magazine and editor are ephemeral.
As for the magazine's name, I would guess that it is a misspelling of Mithrandir, Gandalf's name in J.R.R. Tolkien's invented language of Sindarin. I could be wrong. The name means "Grey Pilgrim". Sherrod himself is shadowy, ghost-like, leaving only a slight trace, of which Mithrandir is one, on the literary history of San Francisco. The reference to Lord of the Rings ties in with the mystical nature of Spicer, Duncan and Blaser. According to Jonathan Williams, Duncan enjoyed Tolkien, but I would guess that those poets preferred headier material like Dante and more obscure sources. Am I right in thinking that Lord of the Rings was too low-brow, too popular, too lightweight for the elite of the Spicer Circle? The fodder of hippies. Spicer mentions Tolkien in his first Vancouver lecture Dictation and "A Textbook of Poetry," so I could be wrong.



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