Mimeo as Protest Literature

When I think of the Mimeo Revolution, a chapbook or a little mag often comes to mind, but it could be argued that flyers and handbills are more to the spirit of mimeo publishing.  Immediate, ephemeral, simple, and in your face.  As these two flyers show, such printed material is also political in nature.  Fuck You, a magazine of the arts was part of a total assault on the culture, but there was resulting counter-assault directed on the counterculture by all manner of J. Edgar Hoovers and associated buzzkills on grope scenes. 

Daniel Kane in All Poets Welcome documents the suppression of artistic and sexual freedoms in the Lower East Side through censorship, harassment and manipulation of licensing laws.  These two flyers were printed in some secret location to support the April 22, 1964 march on Lincoln Center to protest this sustained campaign of dirty tricks.  Kane writes, "By reading such a document [the Freedom for the Arts flyer], one can see that the poets and artists of the Lower East Side were using traditional poetic images to distinguish themselves as a significant, culturally rich movement.  The erect angel might have elicted associations with Dionysus, the Greek god who is variously depicted as immortal and powerful and irrevent, lusty, and fond of intoxicants and revelry.  The figure may also have reminded those who used this flyer of Ginsberg's famous line from 'Howl,' "Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the night."  Even in their ephemeral flyers, it is clear that the poetic community reached back to traditions that could in some way support and add intellectual, literary, spiritual seriousness and context to their practices." (pp. 53-54)



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