It isn't every day that I read a catalog cover to cover, but today was one of them. And it was a pleasure. James Jaffe's Many Happy Returns: Arts & Letters of the Tulsa School focuses on the work of Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Dick Gallup, and Ron Padgett, four poets (and friends) who moved from Tulsa to New York City at the same (approximate) time and became a vital part of what was later known as the second generation of the New York School. The catalog opens with a very special run of The White Dove Review, a now legendary literary magazine in the mimeo revolution edited by Padgett and Gallup with art editors Michael Marsh and Brainard. The bulk of the catalog is divided into four sections, one devoted to each author (Berrigan, followed by Brainard, Gallup, and Padgett). It also includes relevant letters, manuscripts, original art, magazines, and collaborations. Generously illustrated throughout in black and white, plus a dozen color reproductions (mostly by Brainard) toward the end.
Aside from the wonderful descriptions by Jaffe and impeccable design by none other than Jerry Kelly, what impresses me most about the materials here is the highly personal nature of many of items: the inscriptions in the books; the correspondence; the collaborative language and visual arts; and the sense, above all else, that beyond any material thing, that these poets knew how to work and play with one another like no other generation.
Explore this, and other catalogs by Jaffe here.