For Your Reference Library

Richard Price contributed to Mimeo Mimeo 4 with an article on scanning little magazines. It is embarrassing that it has taken me so long to pick up his indispensible reference, British Poetry Magazines 1914-2000: A History and Bibliography of Little Magazines, co-compiled with David Miller. While at the NY Book Fair at PS 1, I desperately needed a copy to find out if Lee Harwood's Horde, a one-shot little mag from the mid-1960s, was, in fact, a one-shot. Miller and Price told me it was, despite the announcement of a second issue in the closing pages of the first.

The back cover blurb reads, "Here is the work of T.S. Eliot, Robert Graves, James Joyce, Laura Riding, Dylan Thomas, Samuel Beckett, Muriel Spark, Harold Pinter, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Angela Carter, Irvine Welsh and many others." For me, the value of this book lies with the "many others," who were rebelling against many of the names listed above. Not a single British Poetry Revival writer is listed in the blurb above and it is names like Bob Cobbing, Jeff Nuttall, Lee Harwood, Michael Horovitz and Eric Mottram that I search the index for and why I bought the book. It strikes me that the Revival writers took the mantle from the Modernist magazine masters and made great use out of the little magazine, not Seamus Heaney, Muriel Spark, and Ted Hughes. I cannont stress enough that Miller and Price know just how important the Revivial writers were to the British little mag as their chapter accompanying the magazines of 1960-1975 makes very clear. Yet in marketing to the general public and, more important, establishment institutions and libraries, Seamus Heaney, Angela Carter, and Ted Hughes still get all the respect and justify a cash-strapped library to find $95 in its cut-to-the-bone budget. So I should not be that surprised, the Revival Poets still get the short end of the stick. I had to crack a sad smile when Miller and Price's bibliography informs me that the British Library (co-publisher along with Oak Knoll Press) has a complete run of Connolly's Horizon but not of Nuttall's My Own Mag. In fact, the British Library only recently purchased the incredibly important Dutch Schultz issue of My Own Mag for its collection. It seems ironic (yet typical of the state of the academic landscape) that a bibliography on little magazines, that oasis and utopia for the underdog and underappreciated, should promote itself by listing darlings of the establishment.

These are quibbles and my personal axe to grind. The amount of time and effort that went into compiling this absolutely essential reference is staggering. Christopher Harter's mimeo index listed 125 mags, Miller and Price list over 2,000, along with a name index that features well over 5,000 authors and artists. Miller and Price is full of useful information on the Mimeo Revolution (Charles Olson was the anonymous editor of Before Your Very Eyes, published by Goliard) and a must for one's research library.



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