Returned to Sender

A few years ago I was all psyched about a project to track who got copies of Floating Bear. I created a spreadsheet and everything: At that point I tracked all the copies I could find and I lost touch with it. Well, since Between the Covers' attempt to establish the market for Floating Bear at several hundred dollars a copy, lots of copies of Floating Bear have come to market. Unfortunately I have not tracked these new copies.

I should. It would make an interesting chapbook to write about who received Floating Bear and what these correspondences mean. I could see it taking the shape of 37 chapters with each chapter focusing on each issue of Floating Bear and homing in on one issue and one particular relationship.

For example, Chapter 10 would deal with Issue 10 (pictured above) which was sent to Chicago to Frederick Bock , the associate editor of Poetry. Issue 10 dealt exclusively with the poetry of John Wieners. What makes this issue great is that it was Returned to Sender. Maybe Bock's address changed or the address was wrong or whatever, but it would be fun to riff on the possibility that Bock refused to accept it, that he ducked it like an unwanted subpoena. In 1961, the poetry of Wieners and the rest of the poets of the New American Anthology (and Floating Bear) were not to be invited into the home of the editor of Poetry. Likewise, they were not ushered into the pages of the establishment magazines. Such rejections were the primary reason for mimeos like Floating Bear in the first place.

I should really do this.



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