Rocky Mountain High

For quite some time I resisted the charms of Anne Waldman and Reed Bye's Rocky Ledge. William Burroughs appears in Issue 3 so it is a magazine I always wanted to have but my prejudices got in the way. I grossly undervalue 1970s mimeo to say nothing of the last gasps of the Mimeo Revolution in the early Reagan Years. Kyle assures me I am wrong on this and the more I look into it, like with United Artists or Chicago (two 1970s mimeo mags I have bought recently), the more I agree with him. There is much more to mimeo than Fuck You and Floating Bear even if I am slow to see and read it.
I also find Naropa University to be where the Beats went to die, at least creatively. It strikes me more as an old folk's home than a vibrant creative community. Allen Ginsberg's slavish following of Chogyam Trungpa is, for me, Ginsberg at his worst. Ginsberg's fascination with the drunken Buddhist clown routine is not a high point. That said, there can be no denying the incredible material that comes out of the Naropa experience. The audio archive gathered there is a national treasure and the Bombay Gin is not to my taste, but I found myself enjoying walking around Rocky Ledge.
The covers by Rudy Burckhardt, Alex Katz and Joe Brainard are a sight for sore eyes but what I really enjoyed seeing were the interviews with the likes of Diane Di Prima and Joe Brainard and the talk by Bill Berkson on Philip Guston. To be honest my favorite thing out of Naropa is the Disembodied Poetics: Annals of the Jack Kerouac Schools, which is full of great interviews and lectures. Rocky Ledge has a nice mix of Beat, later generation New York School, Naropa students and their literary influences, like Breton and Cendars. As I read through Rocky Ledge, I find that the view is much better than I thought. I just had to take my blinders off.


Alma Owlma said...

Can anyone tell me the inclusive pub dates for Rocky Ledge (magazine, not Cottage Editions)? Did it have just 8 issues? Thanks!

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