Berrigan on the Making of The Lily of St. Mark's


Read United Artists 13 on the train today.  A strong issue I felt mainly because it features excerpts from several journals that I found fascinating:  Eileen Myles Journal 1960, Ron Padgett’s account of the making of Oo La La, Charlotte Carter’s Morocco Journal 1980, Ted Berrigan’s Selections from a Journal,  and Lewis Warsh’s On Reading.  Alice Notley's Waltzing Matilda utilizes the journal form as does Russell Banks' The Relation of My Imprisonment.  Berrigan’s journal chronicles his activities in late 1977 into 1978 and amongst all the comings and goings, people and places you can piece together a pretty cool accounting of the making of Steve Carey’s The Lily of St. Mark’s, published as a C Press title in 1978.  It shows just how quick a book could be issued from conception to printing with a mimeograph.  About a month exactly in this case.  Here are the excerpts from Berrigan’s Journal dealing with the publication of Carey’s book of poems.

Feb 17 1978: 

We made Steve go to the dentist.  He needs 3 teeth out.  I gave him $17.00 for dentist  & codeine & anti-biotics.  He feels pretty good, tho his teeth don’t.
I suggested he write a new long poem and put it in a book I will mimeo as a C Press book & he sd today he started one last night, about The Physically Strong Woman!
George said he’d happily do a cover for Steve.

Feb 20, 1978:

Steve brought over 8 more poems to go with the 14 I’ve typed on stencils and so his book will be 22 pp plus title, dedication and copyright page etc.  Maybe 200 copies.
Steve Facey, who said he’d get me the paper, confirmed today that he wd.  Now to get the title and a cover from George, who agreed to do it.
Typing up Steve’s poems is illuminating, his moves are so perfectly his and so impeccably accurate to precision of emotion as well as quality of.

Feb 25, 1978:

Finished typing & fixing Steve’s stencils.  The book – The Lily of St. Mark’s – is all ready to go – waiting for the cover and for Steve to decide on the order.

March 6, 1978:

Now it’s 11:05, we’re back from a delicious dinner at Katie’s.  Anselm & I are lying in my bed waiting to watch Allen Ginsberg on the Dick Cavett show.  Tonight earlier I typed up the stencil for Steve’s poem “Old Year,” which will be the final poem in the book.  Tomorrow Bob & I will run it off at the Church.

March 11, 1978:

Alice returns tomorrow and what have I done since she left?  Well, Tuesday I typed up four more poems that Steve brought over, and also paid Ron for the paper or maybe paid him Monday? and Tuesday night went to dinner with the kids at Steve and Toms w/ Kate Hammond there also.  Then I went with Bob Rosenthal to the Church & we ran off Steve’s book and chatted with Johnny Stanton.

March 15, 1978

Got Steve’s covers.  Made 3 copies of his book – will finish it tomorrow.  Worked on Peter’s mss.  11-2 – typed up 5 poems.

March 16, 1978:

Grandma sent 20 today.  Steve & I & Simon Pettet collated ½ of Steve’s book & now (8:30) Alice & Steve are over doing the rest at the Church.  We did not receive Alice’s check form Poet’s & Writers but Marion volunteered to loan us the fare, so we are all of (A & me & the kids) to Lenox, Mass. tomorrow to visit with Lewis & Bernadette.  Happily Tom comes by at 10 with pills.
Stupid ass Tom did not get pills but I love him anyway.

JB

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