Once Series

The final issue of the Once Series with Joe Brainard cover art.

An eclectic periodical, published coincident with Tom Clark’s Fulbright study and posting as Instructor in American Poetry at the University of Essex. The titles varied but each was denoted “A One Shot Magazine… No Copyright No Nothin.”

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Fielding Dawson’s cover of LINES, No. 5, edited by Aram Saroyan, May 1965

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YUGEN, No. 3, edited by LeRoi Jones and Hettie Cohen.

Edited by Beat poet LeRoi Jones and Hettie Cohen, Yugen was devoted to “A New Consciousness in the Arts and Letters”. Bringing together the Beats, Black Mountain poets, and the New York School poets of the late 1950s, Yugen took its name from the Japanese aesthetic term meaning “a profound mysterious sense of the beauty of universe … and the sad beauty of human suffering.”

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BIG TABLE, No. 1, edited by Irving Rosenthal and Paul Carrol.

Big Table was launched in Spring 1959 following the suppression of the Winter 1958 issue of The Chicago Review. An exposé in the Chicago Daily News revealed editors Irving Rosenthal’s and Paul Carroll’s plans to publish work by William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and other Beat writers, and the administration quashed the magazine…”

— from A Secret Location on the Lower East Side

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The Spicer Circle’s J

Cover of Jack Spicer’s J, No. 4. San Francisco 1959

Jack Spicer’s J ran for eight issues: Nos. 1–5 were edited by Spicer in North Beach where contributions were left in a box marked “J” in The Place, a bar on Grant Avenue in San Francisco; Nos. 6 and 7 (an Apparition of the late J) were edited by George Stanley in San Francisco and New York City respectively while no. 8 was edited by Harold Dull in Rome. Spicer believed that poetry was for poets and the magazine had a small circulation but cast a long shadow.

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The White Dove Review

White Dove Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, edited by Ron Padgett, Richard Gallup, Joe Brainard, and Michael Marsh. Tulsa, 1959

While working at the Lewis Meyer bookstore on 37th and Peoria in 1959, Ron Padgett had an idea. Taken with the work of the era’s literary giants and New York-based “little mags” like the Evergreen Review, Padgett, barely 17 and still a junior at Central High School, decided that he would start his own avant-garde lit journal. He and his best friend Dick Gallup would be co-editors…

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Cleft, Edinburgh University

CLEFT, Vol. 1, No. 1, edited by Bill McArthur. Edinburgh, June 1963

Bill McArthur studied drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art, then took a degree in Fine Art at Edinburgh University. At Edinburgh he became known as an illustrator and cartoonist in the student press, and editor of the student magazines Gambit and Cleft.

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The Outsider and Loujon Press

The Outsider, No. 1, edited by Jon and Louise Webb. New Orleans, Fall 1961.

In the Fall of 1961, Jon and Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb published the first issue of their avant-garde poetry and prose magazine, The Outsider. Hand-set and letterpress printed, the journal straddled the line between traditional books and modern works of art, and the journal made an outsized impact on the literary world, shining a light on the talents of Beat Generation, Black Mountain and other avant-garde and counterculture poets, writers, and artists of the era…

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My Own Mag

MY OWN MAG, No. 6, edited by Jeff Nuttall (Barnet, July 1964)

My Own Mag was produced by Jeff Nuttall, a larger than life figure in the history of the British counterculture, who edited it while working as a secondary school art teacher. Many prominent underground, Beat and related writers of a usually modest reputation, but not always, contributed to it. These included Anselm Hollo, Alan Brownjohn, Charles Plymell, Jim Haynes, William Wantling, Douglas Blazek, Bill Butler, Carl Weissner, Claude Pélieu, Criton Tomazos, Robert Creeley, and Allen Ginsberg.

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Pry Yourself Loose…

Gnaoua, No. 1 (Tangier, Spring 1964)

Poet, photographer, filmmaker, editor, and publisher Ira Cohen produced this one-shot magazine in Tangier in 1964. The title refers to an ethnic group originating in North and West Africa who eventually became part of the Sufi order in Morocco. In Cohen’s brief editorial statement, he notes that the magazine is named for the ecstatic dancing and possession trances of the North African sect of the same name, and concludes that “The object is exorcism”.

The magazine was in printed in Antwerp by Roger Binnemans and features striking cover art by Cohen’s then-girlfriend, the artist Rosalind Schwartz and features 5 black and white photographic plates illustrating Jack Smith’s “Superstars of Cinemaroc”, reproducing images from Smith’s infamous film Flaming Creatures (1963). Bob Dylan featured a copy of Gnaoua prominently on the cover of his fifth album, Bringing It All Back Home, among other artefacts chosen to pay tribute to the artist’s influences; it is possible that it was in Gnaoua that he first came across the work of William Burroughs.

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