Tag Archives: Michael McClure

Four Seasons Foundation

Donald Merriam Allen (Iowa, 1912 – San Francisco, August 29, 2004) was an influential editor, publisher, and translator of contemporary American literature. He is perhaps best known for his project The New American Poetry 1945-1960 (Grove Press, 1960), a seminal anthology that introduced a revolutionary new generation of postwar poetry that was to change the course of American literature.

In 1960, Allen moved from New York to San Francisco, where he established Grey Fox and the Four Seasons Foundation, two significant literary presses where he continued to publish work from Beat, San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain, and New York School writers, as well as younger new voices.  Among the authors were Richard Brautigan, Robert Creeley, Edward Dorn, Robert Duncan, Jack Kerouac, Joanne Kyger, Philip Lamantia, Frank O’Hara, Charles Olson, John Rechy, Aaron Shurin, Gary Snyder, Jack Spicer, Lew Welch, and Philip Whalen.


Four Seasons Foundation, A Preliminary Checklist

Welch, Lew. STEP OUT ONTO THE PLANET
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation 1963
First edition, broadside, 9.5″ x 12.5″, 300 copies, signed. Printed for the occasion of a reading at Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, June 12, 1964

Whalen, Philip. THREE MORNINGS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation 1963
First edition, broadside, 9.5″ x 12.5″, 300 copies, signed. Printed for the occasion of a reading at Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, June 12, 1964

Snyder, Gary. NANAO KNOWS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation 1964
First edition, broadside, 9.5″ x 12.5″, 300 copies, signed. Printed for the occasion of a reading at Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, June 12, 1964

Olson, Charles. A BIBLIOGRAPHY ON AMERICA FOR ED DORN
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation (1964)
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 6″ x 8″, 16 pages.
Published as Writing 1

Dorn, Edward; Rumaker, Michael; Tallman, Warren. PROSE 1
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1964
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 36 pages
Published as Writing 2

[anthology]. 12 Poets & 1 Painter
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1964
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 32 pages. Contributors include: LeRoi Jones, Joanne Kyger, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Duncan, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Max Finstein, Bruce Boyd, and Jess Collins
Published as Writing 3

Loewinsohn, Ron. AGAINST THE SILENCES TO COME
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1965
A. stapled wrappers, 7.75″ x 9.75″, (16 pages), 1000 copies
B. stapled wrappers, 7.75″ x 9.75″, (16 pages), 26 lettered and signed copies
Published as Writing 4

Kyger, Joanne. THE TAPESTRY AND THE WEB
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1965
A. paperback, 61 pages
B. hardcover, 61 pages
Published as Writing 5

Olson, Charles. PROPRIOCEPTION
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1965
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 18 pages
Published as Writing 6

Snyder, Gary. RIPRAP & COLD MOUNTAIN POEMS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1965
stapled wrappers, 7.75″ x 9.75″, 50 pages
Published as Writing 7

Welch, Lew. HERMIT POEMS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1965
A. First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 16 pages, 974 copies
B. First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 16 pages, 26 numbered and signed copies
Published as Writing 8

Snyder, Gary. SIX SECTIONS FROM MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS WITHOUT END
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1965
stapled wrappers, 42 pages, 1000 copies
Published as Writing 9

Koller, James. THE DOGS & OTHER DARK WOODS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1966
A. stapled wrappers, 33 pages, 1000 copies
B. hardcover, 33 pages, 26 copies, numbered signed
Published as Writing 10

McClure, Michael. LOVE LION BOOK
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1966
A. stapled wrappers, 24 pages, 1000 copies
B. hardcover, 24 pages, 40 copies, numbered, signed
Published as Writing 11

Writing 12 [?]

Olson, Charles. STOCKING CAP: A STORY
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1966
stapled wrappers, 15 pages
Published as Writing 13

Brautigan, Richard. TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1967
paperback
Published as Writing 14

Hadley, Drummond. THE WEBBING
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1967
stapled wrappers, 52 pages, 500 copies
Published as Writing 15

McClure, Michael. THE SERMONS OF JEAN HARLOW & THE CURSES OF BILLY THE KID
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation with Dave Haselwood Books, 1968
A. First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 1200 copies

Olson, Charles. CAUSAL MYTHOLOGY
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1969
A. paperback, 40 pages
B. hardcover, 40 pages
Published as Writing 16

Blaser, Robin. CUPS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1968
A. stapled wrappers, 24 pages, 1000 copies
B. hardcover, 24 pages, 40 copies, numbered, signed
Published as Writing 17

McClure, Michael. GHOST TANTRAS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1969
paperback

Writing 18 [?]

Upton, Charles. TIME RAID
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1969
stapled wrappers, 30 pages
Published as Writing 19

Brautigan, Richard. THE PILL VERSUS THE SPRINGHILL MINE DISASTER
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1968
A. paperback, 108 pages
B. hardcover, 108 pages, 50 copies, numbered, signed
Published as Writing 20

Brautigan, Richard. IN WATERMELON SUGAR
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1968
A. paperback, 138 pages
B. hardcover, 138 pages, 50 copies, numbered, signed
Published as Writing 21

Creeley, Robert. A Quick Graph: Collected Notes & Essays
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1969
A. paperback, 365 pages, 1000 copies
B. hardcover, 365 pages
C. hardcover in dust jacket, 365 pages
Published as Writing 22.

Creeley, Robert. THE CHARM: EARLY AND UNCOLLECTED POEMS
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1969
A. paperback, 97 pages
B. hardcover, 97 pages
C. hardcover, 97 pages, 100 copies, numbered, signed
Published as Writing 23

Whalen, Philip. SEVERANCE PAY
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1970
A. paperback, 51 pages
B. paperback, 51 pages, 50 copies, numbered, signed
Published as Writing 24

Lamantia , Philip. THE BLOOD OF THE AIR
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1970
A. paperback, 45 pages
B. hardcover, 45 pages, 50 copies, numbered, signed
Published as Writing 25

Millward, Pamela. MOTHER: A NOVEL OF REVOLUTION
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1970
A. paperback, 57 pages
Published as Writing 26

Olson, Charles. POETRY AND TRUTH
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1971
A. paperback, 75 pages
B. hardcover, 75 pages
Published as Writing 27

Schaff, David. THE MOON BY DAY
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1971
paperback, 114 pages
Published as Writing 28

Herd, Dale. EARLY MORNING WIND AND OTHER STORIES
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1972
paperback
Published as Writing 29

Snyder, Gary. MANZANITA
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1972
paperback

Creeley, Robert. CONTEXTS OF POETRY: INTERVIEWS 1961-1971
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1973
paperback, 214 pages
Published as Writing 30

Olson, Charles. ADDITIONAL PROSE: A BIBLIOGRAPHY ON AMERICA, PROPRIOCEPTION, & OTHER NOTES & ESSAYS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1974
A. paperback, 109 pages
B. hardcover, 109 pages
Published as Writing 31

Lamantia, Philip. TOUCH OF THE MARVELOUS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1974
A. paperback, 47 pages
B. hardcover, 47 pages
Published as Writing 32

Whalen, Philip. THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS: POEMS 1969-1974
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1976
paperback, 57 pages
Published as Writing 33

Dorn, Edward. THE COLLECTED POEMS 1956-1974
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1975
A. paperback, 277 pages
B. hardcover, 277 pages
Published as Writing 34

Olson, Charles. MUTHOLOGOS; COLLECTED LETTERS & INTERVIEWS 
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1979
A. paperback, 230 pages, 2 volumes
B. hardcover, 230 pages, 2 volumes
Published as Writing 35

Olson, Charles. THE FIERY HUNT AND OTHER PLAYS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1977
paperback, 125 pages
Published as Writing 36

Whalen, Philip. OFF THE WALL: INTERVIEWS WITH PHILIP WHALEN
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1978
paperback, 88 pages
Published as Writing 37

Dorn, Edward. INTERVIEWS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1980
paperback, 117 pages
Published as Writing 38

Creeley, Robert. WAS THAT A REAL POEM & OTHER ESSAYS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation 1979
A. paperback, 149 pages
B. hardcover, 149 pages
Published as Writing 39

Dorn, Edward. VIEWS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1980
A. paperback, 142 pages
B. hardcover, 142 pages
Published as Writing 40

Gluck, Robert. ELEMENTS OF A COFFEE SERVICE
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1982
paperback, 97 pages
Published as Writing 41

Whalen, Philip. HEAVY BREATHING: POEMS 1967-1980
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1983
paperback, 207 pages
Published as Writing 42

Shurin, Aaron. THE GRACES
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1983
paperback, 72 pages


References consulted:

Bohn, Dave. OYEZ: THE AUTHORIZED CHECKLIST
Berkeley: n.p., 1997

Hawley, Bob. CHECKLISTS OF SEPARATE PUBLICATIONS OF POETS AT THE FIRST BERKELEY POETRY CONFERENCE 1965
Berkeley: Oyez/Cody’s, 1965

Johnston, Alastair. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AUERHAHN PRESS & ITS SUCCESSOR DAVE HASELWOOD BOOKS
Berkeley: Poltroon Press, 1976

Lepper, Gary M. A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION TO SEVENTY-FIVE MODERN AMERICAN AUTHORS
Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976

Ark

“ARK II, MOBY I, is the successor to THE ARK, a collection of verse, drawings, and articles published in San Francisco in 1947. This was probably the first coherent expression of a new aesthetic and social freedom, which as the years have gone by is now seen to be the characteristic approach of the post war II generation.

“This new gathering has concentrated on poetry and drawings because we feel that the social message has long since been taken for granted by those likely to be interested.”

-From the introduction to ARK II, MOBY I


THE ARK
San Francisco, Spring 1947
First edition, stapled sheets glued into printed wrappers, 72 pages including Contents and Notes on Contributors, letterpress printed, artwork by Ronald Bladen.

Contributors:
Patchen, Kenneth. Excerpt from SLEEPERS AWAKE. page 5
Boodson, Alison. Three Poems. page 12
Rexroth, Kenneth. Advent 1946. page 14
Laughlin IV, James. Now Love Speaks. page 15
Eberhart, Richard. At the End of War. page 16
Woodcock, George. What is Anarchism? page 19
Duncan, Robert. Four Poems. page 23
Goodman, Paul. The “Horace” of Corneille. page 32
Everson, William. If I Hide My Hand. page 38
Cummings, E. E. Four Poems. page 40
Hennacy, Ammon A. Christian Anarchism. page 42
Russell, Sanders. Six Poems. page 48
Lamantia, Philip. Another Autumn Coming. page 51
Stock, Robert. Poem on Holy Saturday. page 52
Rambo, Christopher. Peace To the Doomed Idol. page 54
Williams, William Carlos. Inquest. page 55
Russell, Sanders. E. E. Cummings and the Idea of Actuality. page 59
Duncan, Robert. Reviewing View, an Attack. page 62
Parkinson, Thomas. September Elegy. page 68
Moore, Richard. A Mediation. page 72 


ARK II, MOBY I, edited by Michael McClure and James Harmon
San Francisco, 1956-1957
First edition, stapled wrappers, 46 pages including Notes on Contributors and advertisements for The Pocket Poets Series, Jargon, and Black Mountain Review, letterpress printed at the Press of Villiers Publications, artwork by Ronald Bladen..

Contributors:
Levertov, Denise. Central Park, Winter, After Sunset. Page 1
Levertov, Denise. A Song. Page 1
Levertov, Denise. The Springtime. Page 2
Levertov, Denise. The Third Dimension. Page 3
Levertov, Denise. Laying the Dust. Page 4
McClure, Michael. Canoe: Explication. Page 4
McClure, Michael. Logos: Knout. Page 5
Zukofsky, Louis. Michtam. Page 6
Zukofsky, Louis. George Washington. Page 7
Rexroth, Kenneth. 140 Syllables. Page 8
Russell, Sanders. Two Poems. Page 8
Duncan, Robert. The Law I Love is Major Mover. Page 10
Olson, Charles. As the Dead Prey Upon Us. Page 12
Kerouac, Jack. 230th Chorus from MEXICO CITY BLUES. Page 19
Ginsberg, Allen. The Trembling of the Veil. Page 20
Snyder, Gary. Groves, 12 fromMYTHS & TEXTS. Page27
Williams, Jonathan. The Switch Blade (or, John’s Other Wife). Page 27
Williams, Jonathan. Catullus: Carmen XVI. Page 28
Williams, Jonathan. Greque Musique d’Ameublement (Bar-Fixtures Dept.). Page 28
Perkoff, Stuart. The Recluses. Page 29
Creeley, Robert. Ballad of the Despairing Husband. Page 30
Dorn, Edward. The Revival. Page 32
Dorn, Edward. Lines from a Sitting Position. Page 32
Dorn, Edward. The Common Site. Page 33
Patchen, Kenneth. Another Hamlet is Heard From. Page 34
Patchen, Kenneth. The Most Hen. Page 35
Cox, Paul. Reclame. Page 35
Collins, Jess & Christian Morgenstern. Gallowbrother’s Song to Sophie; The Hangman’s Maiden. Page 36
Collins, Jess & Christian Morgenstern. Moonmatters. Page 36
Collins, Jess & Christian Morgenstern. Goat and Stalker. Page 37
Collins, Jess & Christian Morgenstern. How the Gallowschild Remembers the Names of the Months. Page 37
Whalen, Philip. Martyrdom of Two Pagans. Page 38
Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. Untitled: “Constantly risking absurdity…”. Page 39
Eberhart, Richard. Clocks. Page 40
Eberhart, Richard. Snow. Page 40
Hawthorne, Clive. Four Poems and Notes. Page 40
Harmon, James. Silver Fox Island. Page 42
Harmon, James. Hawk Inlet. Page 42
Harmon, James. The Wind on Market Street. Page 43
Harmon, James. For H. H. Page 44
Turnbull, Gael. A Self-Portrait. Page 44
Turnbull, Gael. Why Don’t You Answer? Page 45


ARK III edited by James Harmon
San Francisco, Winter 1957
First edition, stapled wrappers, 48 pages including Notes on Contributors and advertisements for New Directions, and City Lights Books, letterpress printed at the Press of Villiers Publications, artwork by Ronald Bladen.

Contributors:
Zukofsky, Louis. Barely and Widely. Page 3
Parkinson, Thomas. Two Vineyards. Page 4
Rexroth, Kenneth. Untitled: “I am fifty-two years old…”. Page 6
Hawthorne, Clive. Greeting, Sweets, The Dog. Page 7
Hawthorne, Clive. Art Blakey. Page 7
Hawthorne, Clive. Love Song. Page 8
Hawthorne, Clive. Night. Page 8
Hawthorne, Clive. Poem. Page 8
Fall, Donald. Caprice. Page 9
Fall, Donald. Eddy Street, San Francisco, 10.30 A.M. Page 9
Fall, Donald. To H. L. Page 10
Fall, Donald. A Respectful Statement on Sex in Unsettled Times. Page 10
Fall, Donald. Postcard. Page 10
Fall, Donald. Abstract Celebration. Page 11
Roskolenko, Harry. Images of Disorder. Page 11
Roskolenko, Harry. My Father’s Profession. Page 12
Roskolenko, Harry. The Streets of Home. Page 12
Roskolenko, Harry. Charlie. Page 13
Boyd, Bruce. Nocturne for the West. Page 13
Perkoff, Stuart Z. Utter Fascinations. Page 14
Sanzenbach, Nicole. Consider Children in the Street. Page 16
Sanzenbach, Nicole. To Allen. Page 16
Whalen, Philip. A Dim View of Berkeley in the Spring. Page 17
Snyder, Gary. What I Think About When I Meditate. Page 18.
Ginsberg, Allen. An Atypical Affair. Page 19
Ginsberg, Allen. A Typical Affair. Page 20
Ginsberg, Allen. How Come He Got Canned at the Ribbon Factory. Page 21
Kerouac, Jack. San Francisco Blues (two excerpts). Page 21
Margolis, William J. Use Your Imagination (no one else does). Page 22
Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. Frame This Picture. Page 23
Wallick, Philip. My Apartment is a Pastoral Apartment. Page 25
Maclaine, Christopher. Three. Page 26
DeJong, David Cornel. Hour of Damnation. Page 27
DeJong, David Cornel. White Collar Class. Page 27
Orlovitz, Gil. The Beggar. Page 28
Lifton, Mitchell. Song. Page 28
Galler, David. Thoughts in the Ward. Page 30
Wernham, Guy. Nature Loves to Hide Herself. Page 32
Wernham, Guy. L’Homme Arraignee. Page 32
Larsen, Carl. The Work of Hands. Page 34
Eberhart, Richard. Hockey. Page 35
Eberhart, Richard. Dogs. Page 35
Uronivitz, Laura. How St George Met The Dragon. Page 36
Gilbert, Jack. Who Cried Love. Page 37
Romero, Idell Tarlow. Message on a Tree Trunk. Page 37
Romero, Idell Tarlow. Written on a Curbstone. Page 38
Corman, Cid. Agamemnon. Page 38
Turnbull, Gael. October. Page 39
Turnbull, Gael. The War. Page 40
Lipton, Lawrence. End of The Nile. Page 41

The San Francisco Renaissance

[excerpt from Steve Clay and Rodney Phillips’ A SECRET LOCATION ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE. Granary Books, 1998]

The San Francisco Renaissance, a timeline of events

1951

1953

      • City Lights Bookstore opens in North Beach

1955

1956

      • Allen Ginsberg’s Howl published by City Lights

1957

      • Howl confiscated by customs; Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Shigeyoshi Murao arrested
      • Jack Spicer‘s Poetry as Magic Workshop, San Francisco Public Library
      • Charles Olson reads and lectures in San Francisco
      • First book from White Rabbit Press, Steve Jonas’s Love, the Poem, the Sea & Other Pieces Examined

1958

1959

      • Philip Lamantia‘s Ekstasis published by Auerhahn Press
      • Bob Kaufman’s The Abomunist Manifesto published by City Lights
      • J, edited by Jack Spicer
      • Cid Corman’s Origin Press publishes Gary Snyder’s first book, Riprap

1960

      • Gary Snyder’s Myths and Texts published by Corinth Books
      • Lew Welch‘s Wobbly Rock published by Auerhahn Press
      • William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin’s The Exterminator published by Auerhahn Press

1962

      • White Rabbit Press revived by Graham Mackintosh with Spicer’s LAMENT FOR THE MAKERS, which was published in a small edition of less than 100 copies and illustrated by Mackintosh

1963

      • Vancouver Poetry Conference

1964

      • Open Space publishes Robin Blaser’s first book, The Moth Poem

1965

1966

      • Lenore Kandel’s The Love Book published by Stolen Paper Editions
      • Philip Lamantia‘s Touch of the Marvelous published by Oyez Press
      • John Martin’s Black Sparrow Press begins in Los Angeles

1967

      • The Pacific Nation, edited by Robin Blaser in Vancouver

1968

      • Janine Pommy-Vega’s Poems to Fernando published by City Lights

1969

      • Gary Snyder’s book of essays Earth House Hold published by New Directions

1975

      • Jack Spicer‘s Collected Books published by Black Sparrow

 

In San Francisco, the commingling of several activities helped to prepare the ground for the remarkable literary explosion that was soon to take place. The Libertarian Circle held regular literary events; poet members included Kenneth Rexroth, Muriel Rukeyser, William Everson, Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, and Thomas Parkinson. Rexroth also ran a literary program on KPFA, the country’s first listener-sponsored radio station. Madeline Gleason (assisted by Rexroth and Duncan) founded the San Francisco Poetry Center, housed at San Francisco State College and managed by Ruth Witt-Diamant. The magazines Circle, Ark, City Lights, Goad, Inferno, and Golden Goose helped to consolidate the growing literary underground.

The famous reading at Six Gallery on Fillmore Street was publicized by Allen Ginsberg (via a hundred mailed postcards and a few flyers) thus:

mcclure_sixgallery

On October 7, 1955, in a room measuring 20 x 25 feet with a dirt floor, Ginsberg “read Howl and started an epoch.”(1) Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, and Philip Whalen shared the bill and, by all reports, also read brilliantly. Aside from Rexroth and Whalen, all the readers were in their twenties. Again, in the words of Kenneth Rexroth, “What started in SF and spread from there across the world was public poetry, the return of a tribal, preliterate relationship between poet and audience.”(1)

These events, along with the flourishing of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookshop and publishing house, helped to inaugurate and consolidate what has become known as the San Francisco Renaissance. City Lights published Howl in 1956 (Ferlinghetti asked Ginsberg for the manuscript the same night it was read at the Six Gallery) as Number Four in the Pocket Poets Series. (It had been preceded by an extremely rare mimeographed edition, typed by Martha Rexroth and mimeographed by none other than Robert Creeley. Ginsberg’s Siesta in Xbalba had been mimeographed by the man himself on a freighter in the Alaskan Ocean.) Among the audience members that night was one who added his own chant, the young novelist Jack Kerouac, whose On the Road, published in 1957, was to make this reading and its readers legendary. It was also in 1957 that Charles Olson, rector of the experimental Black Mountain College, visited San Francisco and gave a series of lectures on Alfred North Whitehead at the Portrero Hill home of Robert Duncan and his companion, the painter Jess Collins. Among the attendees at the lectures were, of course, Duncan himself, but also Michael McClure, Gary Snyder’s Reed College friend Philip Whalen, Jack Spicer, and Richard Duerden. The same year saw the “San Francisco Scene” issue of Evergreen Review. Poet Helen Adam’s flamboyant 1961 ballad opera, entitled San Francisco’s Burning, epitomized the time, outrageous both aesthetically and socially. Other writers associated with the San Francisco Renaissance included James Broughton, Lew Welch, Ron Loewinsohn, Madeline Gleason, David Meltzer, Kirby Doyle, and Lenore Kandel.

Experimentation with forms of literature and lifestyle had long been an attractive characteristic of life in San Francisco. But the tolerance felt in Northern California was not as evident in Los Angeles. In 1957, an exhibit of work by assemblage artist Wallace Berman at the Ferus Gallery was closed by the Los Angeles Police Department, and Berman was jailed on charges of exhibiting “lewd and lascivious pornographic art.” Found guilty (by the same judge who ruled against Henry Miller), Berman and family left L.A. for San Francisco that year. Berman edited and published a fascinating assemblage magazine called Semina. After the raid of his exhibit at Ferus, he announced in Semina 2 that “I will continue to print Semina from locations other than this city of degen-erate angels.” Berman’s friend, artist George Herms, designed his own books and provided the artwork for others, including Diane di Prima. Herms had likewise found the political climate in L.A. intolerable and had preceded the Bermans to Northern California.

In the mid-1960s, John Martin’s Black Sparrow Press began publishing broadsides and booklets and has, over the years, published a wide variety of experimental and alternative poetry and prose, including work by Duncan, Olson, Spicer, and Creeley among very many others. 

Because of the previous associations of house printer/designer Graham Mackintosh, Black Sparrow is linked to earlier literary small presses of Northern California, particularly White Rabbit Press (at the urging of Jack Spicer, Mackintosh resurrected the press in 1962, printing Spicer’s own Lament for the Makers); Robert Hawley’s Oyez Press (Mackintosh had printed its first book in 1963); and Dave Haselwood’s Auerhahn Press, which flourished during the 1960s and early 70s in San Francisco. Auerhahn published a wide variety of well-designed books, including The Exterminator, an early example of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin’s cut-up technique, in 1960. Auerhahn also published John Wieners’s first book, The Hotel Wentley Poems. Oyez published many memorable volumes including Philip Lamantia‘s Touch of the Marvelous. Joe Dunn’s White Rabbit Press, which had begun publishing in 1957 with Steve Jonas’s rough work Love, the Poem, the Sea & Other Pieces Examined, produced books somewhat less elegant than Auerhahn’s or Oyez’s but with a beauty all their own.

The editorial genius behind White Rabbit was the irrepressible Jack Spicer, who published his own remarkable mimeographed magazine, J. Spicer emphasized the inclusion of writers who were not well published elsewhere, and accepted contributions for consideration in a box that was kept in one of three bars in the North Beach area of San Francisco. J is representative of the best of the mimeograph revolution: an uncompromising editorial stance combined with a playful, even colorful, formal character thanks to Fran Herndon, who edited the artwork for the magazine. Spicer’s model for J was Beatitude, which had begun publication in San Francisco slightly before J. And a recalcitrant model it was, since Spicer was not a fan of the Beats and carried on a running war against Ferlinghetti in particular. He imagined Ferlinghetti had become commercial and financially successful, thereby, in Spicer’s mind, “selling out” to the establishment. Magnificently consistent with his principles, Spicer never copyrighted his own work, anticipating the “no copyright, no nuthin” statements of Tom Clark’s London-based Once Series. The performative aspects of Spicer’s poetics as well as his personality also prefigured the rise of poetry readings in the 1950s, particularly those sponsored by the Poetry Center at San Francisco State, which featured mimeographed programs and booklets printing selections from the poets who were reading, among them, Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, and Louis Zukofsky.

Although Spicer’s J didn’t publish the works of “established” poets, Spicer did include the work of Robert Duncan in four issues of his magazine. Duncan and Jess Collins (whose work adorned the cover of many magazines and books of the period, including Open Space, Caterpillar, and The Floating Bear) were important influences on the literary and artistic scene in San Francisco in the 60s. Duncan’s early work was published in Berkeley or North Carolina (his Song of the Border-Guard was published by the Black Mountain College Press with a cover by Cy Twombly in 1952). Other earlier works were multilithed (Fragments of a Disordered Devotionin San Francisco in 1952) or mimeographed (the first hundred copies of Faust Foutu were mimeographed by Duncan himself, and the next 150 or so of one act of the play were multilithed by Joe Dunn of White Rabbit Press at his place of employment, the Greyhound Bus offices in San Francisco). The multilithed third edition of Faust Foutu, although also produced by Dunn, was published under Duncan’s own imprint, Enkidu Surrogate, of Stinson Beach. Duncan’s work was published by an amazing variety and number of publishers, including Oyez, Auerhahn, White Rabbit, Black Sparrow, Divers Press, Jargon, Perishable Press, City Lights, Grove Press, New Directions, and Scribners.

Slightly outside the Spicer circle (although some of his own poems were published in J) was Donald Allen, who, after the publication of The New American Poetry, 1945-1960 and before his removal to New York, established the Four Seasons Foundation in San Francisco, which published the work of a number of the writers from the anthology, including Charles Olson, Ed Dorn, Ron Loewinsohn, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaser, and Robert Creeley. Among the early Four Seasons publications were two important works by poet Gary Snyder (the Reed College roommate of Lew Welch and Philip Whalen and the “Japhy Ryder” of Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums): Six Sections from Rivers and Mountains Without End and Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems, both published in 1965. Riprap, it should be noted, was originally published in 1959 as a booklet by Cid Corman’s Origin Press. Snyder’s Myths and Textswas published in 1960 by Corinth Books. Snyder was out of the country on an extended stay in Japan, and the text used for the Corinth publication was probably from a manuscript that LeRoi Jones had hand-copied from one that Robert Creeley had received from Snyder in 1955 or 1956. Snyder’s poetry was extremely popular in the 60s and was often used as text for broadsides by small presses, particularly those whose owners were ecologically minded. For instance, Snyder’s poem “Four Changes” was published in 1969 by Earth Read Out, a Berkeley environmental protection group, as four mimeographed pages, as well as in a folded, printed version in 200,000 copies by environmentalist Alan Shapiro for free distribution to schools and citizens’ groups.

Literary scenes with strong affiliations to the New American Poetry were in evidence elsewhere in California — most notably Bolinas in the 1970s, when that somewhat remote hippie village north of San Francisco became home to many poets. In particular, the transplanted easterner and Poetry Project veteran Bill Berkson and his press Big Sky flourished there in the decade, publishing both a magazine and a series of books. Bolinas residents of the period also included Robert Creeley, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, David Meltzer, Lewis Warsh, Tom Clark, Lewis MacAdams, Philip Whalen, Aram Saroyan, Joanne Kyger, Jim Carroll, and Duncan McNaughton, among others. Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley, and Joe Brainard were among many occasional visitors, with Joe Brainard’s Bolinas Journal providing an interesting record of one such extended stay.


(1) Kenneth Rexroth. AMERICAN POETRY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (New York: Herder and Herder, 1971), p. 141.

Auerhahn Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

A. Auerhahn Press: Books & Pamphlets 1958-1965
B. Auerhahn Press: Broadsides 1959-1965
C. Auerhahn Press: Commissioned Publications 1961-1965
D. Dave Haselwood Books 1965-1969

While stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany during the 1950s, David Haselwood conceived the idea of becoming a publisher. At the time he was corresponding with his friend Michael McClure (also a native of Wichita, Kansas) who was living in San Francisco. McClure’s first book of poems, Passage (1956), was being published by Jonathan Williams’ Jargon Press. “Jonathan was having books printed in Germany because of the high quality and low cost,” Haselwood says, “and I began looking into things.”

When Haselwood was released from the Army, he came to live in San Francisco. According to Haselwood, “During the summer of 1958 I drifted around San Francisco talking endlessly with painters such as Robert LaVigne and Jesse Sharpe and poets [Philip] Lamantia, [Michael] McClure, [John] Wieners, and reading all the live poetry and prose I could get my hands on. It was at this time that it occurred to me that the press could mean a great many things … ” From this intense exposure to the active literary scene in the Bay Area grew the desire to see these writers published without the great delays imposed by larger printing establishments.

A short while later in 1958 appeared the first publication of the Auerhahn Press, John Wieners’s The Hotel Wentley Poems. After this initial experience, in which the actual printing was done by a commercial printer (and edited by the printer without Haselwood’s knowledge), Haselwood was convinced that he should not only design all future books himself, but also print them: “The first and final consideration in printing poetry is the poetry itself. If the poems are great they create their own space, the publisher is just a midwife during the final operation…” With this ideal in mind, Haselwood tackled the publication of Philip Lamantia’s Ekstasis, and went on to the printing of Michael McClure’s Hymns to St. Geryon.

Though its limited financial resources were drained by this last publication, the press continued its publication of controversial and avant-garde works, such as Lamantia’s pamphlet Narcotica.

Haselwood took on a partner, Andrew Hoyem, in 1961. By then, a number of Kansans had arrived in San Francisco — including Robert Branaman, who shared living quarters with Haselwood for a time, and Glenn Todd, who later worked as a pressman and editor at Arion Press, which Hoyem founded after an amicable dissolution of his Auerhahn interests in 1964. Todd remembers the partners at work at 1334 Franklin Street: “The Auerhahn was a small press in a small room. Andrew would be setting type, and Dave running the press, passing single sheets of paper through. They’d be in their blue printer’s aprons.” Branaman adds, “Dave looked like someone out of Dickens to me. His shop was a center for artists. It was a well-known center of the culture.”

Another of San Francisco’s cultural hot spots was the Batman Gallery, first owned by William Jahrmarkt, a.k.a. Billy Batman, whose art interests leaned to the visionary, the experimental and the mystical. According to Jack Foley in O Her Blackness Sparkles! The Life and Times of the Batman Art Gallery, 1960-65 (1995), the opening of the gallery was a “spectacular affair” and featured 99 pieces of Bruce Conner’s work. Auerhahn produced the announcement. In 1962, the gallery was sold to Michael Agron, a psychiatrist and University of California Medical Center associate professor who researched LSD as a therapeutic tool. Collaborating with Haselwood, Agron conceived of each exhibition’s announcement as a work of art. The first Agron show, Master-Bat, showcased the works of, among others, Conner and Branaman.

As the Beat scene faded with the ascent of Hippie culture, Haselwood continued to collaborate with artists on Dave Haselwood Books projects. He worked for a time at Arion Press and designed books for other presses, but his interest in publishing had waned by the close of the ’60s. It was time, he says, to choose another path.


References consulted:

Clay, Steven and Rodney Phillips. A SECRET LOCATION ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE: Adventures in Writing, 1960-1980
New York: New York Public Library / Granary Books, 1998

Clements, Marshall. A CATALOG OF WORKS BY MICHAEL MCCLURE, 1956-1965
New York: The Phoenix Book Shop, 1965

Johnston, Alastair. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AUERHAHN PRESS & ITS SUCCESSOR DAVE HASELWOOD BOOKS
Berkeley: Poltroon Press, 1976

Lepper, Gary M. A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION TO SEVENTY-FIVE MODERN AMERICAN AUTHORS
Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976

 

Michael McClure

Since his literary debut at the Six Gallery reading, Michael McClure has been one of the most enduring and influential writers of the Beat movement. As one of five poets who began his career on that mcclure_sixgallerynight in 1955, he shares a long and rich history with Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia, and many other writers of San Francisco’s Beat period. As one of the youngest members of the Beat circle, McClure played an important role as a bridge between writers and artists of the Beat movement and the region’s youth counterculture of the 1960s and has been a close friend and collaborator with figures such as Jim Morrison, Richard Brautigan, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin.

McClure was born October 20, 1932, in Marysville, Kansas. He began his university education in 1951 at the University of Wichita and later transferred to the University of Arizona before moving to San Francisco where he enrolled in a writing workshop with poet Robert Duncan at San Francisco State University. Through his friendship with Duncan and later with poet Kenneth Rexroth, he began to find his place in the city’s literary community in the early 1950s.

In fall 1955 McClure took part in the now famous Six Gallery reading — the foundation of what would soon be called the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. Here, in his first public reading, McClure, along with Lamantia, Snyder, Whalen, and Ginsberg helped to launch the Beat movement, and his presence at the event helped to instill in the fledgling movement his lifelong fascination with the natural world.

In the months following the Six Gallery reading, McClure began in earnest to publish his work. In 1956 his first small collection of poems PASSAGE, was published by Jonathan Williams (Jargon). Other collections soon followed, including McClures first major collection, HYMNS TO ST. GERYON AND OTHER POEMS (Auerhahn Press, 1958), THE NEW BOOK / A BOOK OF TORTURE (Grove Press, 1961), his powerfully erotic long poem DARK BROWN (Auerhahn Press, 1961), the wildly experimental “beast language” poems contained in GHOST TANTRAS (1964), and his vitriolic condemnation of the Vietnam War, POISONED WHEAT (Oyez, 1965). During these early years, McClure also took an active role in seeing that the words and ideas of other writers of the Beat movement and the Black Mountain School made it into print; he coedited two influential literary journals of the period: ARK II / MOBY I and JOURNAL FOR THE PROTECTION OF ALL BEINGS.

— Encyclopedia of Beat Literature


A. Books and Broadsides
B. Contributions to Periodicals


References consulted:

Clements, Marshall. A CATALOG OF WORKS BY MICHAEL MCCLURE, 1956-1965
New York: The Phoenix Book Shop, 1965

Cook, Ralph T. CITY LIGHTS BOOKS: A DESCRIPTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY
Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1992

Cooney, Seamus. THE BLACK SPARROW PRESS, A CHECKLIST
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1971

Johnston, Alastair. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AUERHAHN PRESS & ITS SUCCESSOR DAVE HASELWOOD BOOKS
Berkeley: Poltroon Press, 1976

Lepper, Gary M. A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION TO SEVENTY-FIVE MODERN AMERICAN AUTHORS
Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976


Online resources:

Empty Mirror  Books