A Clean, Boring Well Lighted Place

I highly recommend little magazine collectors getting their hands on contemporary accounts of the landscape.  Secret Location is wonderful, but so are the various roundtables and newspaper accounts of the time that attempted to come to turns with the Mimeo Revolution as it was happening.

Take Works:  A Quarterly of Writing, which in 1969 included a small press section in its Spring issue.  The presses represented included:  Open Skull, Something Else, Unicorn Press, Black Sparrow, Ox Head, Angel Hair, New Rivers, TwoWindows.  A mix of Mimeo Revolution as defined by Secret Location and the more traditional small press, but not the fine press.

Works is in the small press camp.  By and large the editors look down on mimeo as beneath them while at the same time viewing the fine press as too lofty and removed from the general reader.  That is the small press in a nutshell.   In the middle and wallowing in mediocrity.

Here is Alan Brilliant of Unicorn Press in full wallow:

Another development is lack of taste:  thousands of poets and the mimeograph revolution has resulted in a deluge of words, ugly to read and see, literally an onslaught of verbiage.  Little magazines, especially the mimeos, have become the television sets of poetry readers.  Meanwhile, limited editions, swank designs, elegant printing, signed and numbered colophons have replaced the poem itself.  Between the Scylla of dilettantism and the Charybdis of muck, the small press publisher must sail his fragile craft.  The future looks black of the unpretentious.

Stuck in the middle with you.  I would rather stick wax in my ears than be subjected to Brilliant's elevator music.  Pure torture that is for the dogs.  But Brilliant is right without knowing it.  Mimeo is without a doubt a cool medium.  In addition it introduces some much needed noise into the system.  I am all for feedback.  What is yours?



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