From 1957-1968, the White Rabbit Press published sixty-three books and ten broadsides. It was the primary publisher of the work of Spicer, Robin Blaser, and Robert Duncan—the three central figures of the literary movement first known as the Berkeley Renaissance, and later as the San Francisco Renaissance.
Founded by Joe Dunn in 1957 to print the poetry of the Jack Spicer Circle, the first ten books were printed surreptitiously on a multilith at the Greyhound Bus offices on 7th street in San Francisco. These early books were illustrated by Jess, Robert Duncan, and Kenn Davis.
After a four-year hiatus, the imprint was revived in 1962 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. (more…)
“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
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
John Martin’s Black Sparrow Press begins in Los Angeles
The Pacific Nation, edited by Robin Blaser in Vancouver
Janine Pommy-Vega’s Poems to Fernando published by City Lights
Gary Snyder’s book of essays Earth House Hold published by New Directions
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:
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.
Richard Gary Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – ca. September 14, 1984) was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. Writing about nature, life, and emotion, his work often employs comedy, parody, and satire; his singular imagination provided the unusual settings for his themes. He is best known for his 1967 novel TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA.
Robert Novak wrote in Dictionary of Literary Biography that “Brautigan is commonly seen as the bridge between the Beat Movement of the 1950s and the youth revolution of the 1960s.”
Considered one of the primary writers of the “New Fiction,” Brautigan at first experienced difficulty in finding a publisher; thus his early work was only published by small presses.
About the body of Brautigan’s work, Guy Davenport commented in the Hudson Review: “Mr. Brautigan locates his writing on the barricade which the sane mind maintains against spiel and bilge, and here he cavorts with a divine idiocy, thumbing his nose. But he makes clear that at his immediate disposal is a fund of common sense he does not hesitate to bring into play. He is a kind of Thoreau who cannot keep a straight face.” (more…)
Richard Gary Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – ca. September 14, 1984) was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His work often clinically and surrealistically employs black comedy, parody, and satire, with emotionally blunt prose describing pastoral American life intertwining with technological progress. He is best known for his novels Trout Fishing in America (1967) and In Watermelon Sugar (1968).
Brautigan began his career as a poet, with his first collection being published in 1957. He made his debut as a novelist with A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964), about a seemingly delusional man who believes himself to be the descendant of a Confederate general. Brautigan would go on to publish numerous prose and poetry collections until 1982. He committed suicide in 1984.
Robert Novak wrote in Dictionary of Literary Biography that “Brautigan is commonly seen as the bridge between the Beat Movement of the 1950s and the youth revolution of the 1960s.”
About the body of Brautigan’s work, Guy Davenport commented in the Hudson Review: “Mr. Brautigan locates his writing on the barricade which the sane mind maintains against spiel and bilge, and here he cavorts with a divine idiocy, thumbing his nose. But he makes clear that at his immediate disposal is a fund of common sense he does not hesitate to bring into play. He is a kind of Thoreau who cannot keep a straight face.”
Barber, John F. Richard Brautigan: An Annotated Bibliography
Jefferson: McFarland, 1990
Lepper, Gary M. A Bibliographical Introduction to Seventy-Five Modern American Authors Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976
Philip Lamantia was born to Sicilian immigrants in San Francisco in 1927. His father was a produce broker in the old Embarcadero. He began writing poetry in elementary school and was later inspired by the paintings of Miro and Dali at the San Francisco Museum of Art. After being expelled for “intellectual delinquency” at age sixteen, he dropped out of high school and moved to New York City, where he lived for several years and where he was associated with Andre Breton and other exiled European artists such as Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy. During these years he worked as an assistant editor of View magazine and his poems were published in View as well as in publications like Hemispheres, which was being published by another French ex-patriot Yvan Goll.
In 1943, when Lamantia was only fifteen years old, Breton heralded him as being “a voice that rises once in a hundred years.” In 1946, at the age of nineteen, his first book of poems Erotic Poems was published by Bern Porter Books in Berkeley, California, followed by two collections (Narcotica and Ekstasis) published in 1959 by Auerhahn Press. A literary prodigy whose poems delved into the worlds of the subconscious and dreams, his love of Surrealism had a major influence on the Beats and other American poets. On March 7, 2005 he died of heart failure in his North Beach, San Francisco apartment at age seventy-seven.
–Thomas Rain Crowe
Section A: Books and Broadsides
1. Lamantia, Philip. EROTIC POEMS
(Berkeley): Bern Porter, 1946
First edition, hardcover issued without dust jacket, 42 pages.
2. Lamantia, Philip. EKSTASIS San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1959
First edition, perfect-bound wrappers, 5.75? x 7?48 pages, (circa 950 copies). Titling by Robert La Vigne. Printed announcement issued.
3. Lamantia, Philip. NARCOTICA San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1959
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 6.25? x 8.5?, 16 pages, (750 copies). Cover photographs by Wallace Berman. Published as Auerhahn Pamphlet No. 1. Printed announcement issued.
4. Lamantia, Philip. DESTROYED WORKS San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1962
A. First edition, perfect-bound illustrated wrappers, 7? x 8.75?, 48 pages, 1250 copies. (pictured)
B. First edition, hardcover, 7? x 8.75?, 48 pages, 50 numbered and signed copies, bound by the Schuberth Bindery.
5. Lamantia, Philip. TOUCH OF THE MARVELOUS
(Berkeley): Oyez, 1966
a. First edition, hardcover, 65 pages, 50 copies on handmade Tovil paper, numbered, signed by the author, bound by Dorothy Hawley.
b. First edition, sewn and glued into wrappers, 65 pages, 1450 copies.
6. Lamantia, Philip. SELCETED POEMS 1943-1966
(San Francisco): City Lights Books, (1967)
First edition, wrappers, 100 pages, published as Pocket Poets Series Number 20. (Cook 61)
7. Lamantia, Philip. THE BLOOD OF THE AIR San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1970
a. First edition, hardcover , 45 pages, 50 copies, numbered, signed by the author, published as Writing 25. (pictured)
b. First edition, wrappers, 45 pages, published as Writing 25.
8. Lamantia, Philip. TOUCH OF THE MARVELOUS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1974
Second, expanded edition, wrappers, 47 pages, includes three poems not in the original edition: “Celestial Estrangement”, “Submarine Languor”, and “To You Henry Miller”.
9. Lamantia, Philip. BECOMING VISIBLE
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1981
a. First edition, hardcover, 96 pages, published as Pocket Poet Series No. 39.
b. First edition, wrappers, 96 pages, published as Pocket Poet Series No. 39.
10. Lamantia, Philip. MEADOWLARK WEST
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1986
First edition, wrappers, 73 pages. (Cook 171)
11. Lamantia, Philip. BED OF SPHINXES: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1943-1993
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1997
First edition, wrappers, 141 pages.
12. Lamantia, Philip. WHAT IS NOT STRANGE?
San Francisco: City Lights, 2005
First edition, broadside.
Section B: Contributions to Books and Anthologies, Selected
sequence within years is alphabetical
BEATITUDE ANTHOLOGY. San Francisco: City Lights, 1960
THE BEATS, edited by Seymour Krim. Greenwich: Gold Medal, 1960
THE BEAT SCENE, edited by Elias Wilentz, photographs by Fred McDarrah. New York: Corinth Books, 1960
THE NEW ORLANDO POETRY ANTHOLOGY. New York: New Orlando Publication, 1963
PENGUIN MODERN POETS, 13. London: Penguin, 1969
AERO INTO THE AETHER. Philip Lamantia, Clark Ashton Smith. Black Swan Press, 1980
FREE SPRITS: ANNALS OF THE INSURGENT IMAGINATION. San Francisco: City Lights, 1980. First edition, wrappers, 223 pages
Wallace Berman was born in 1926 in Staten Island, New York. In the 1930s, his family moved to the Jewish district (Boyle Heights) in Los Angeles. After being expelled from high school for gambling in the early 1940s, Berman immersed himself in the growing West Coast jazz scene. During this period, he briefly attended the Jepson Art School and Chouinard Art School, but departed when he found the training too academic for his needs.
In 1949, while working in a factory finishing antique furniture, he began to make sculptures from unused scraps and reject materials. By the early 1950s, Berman had become a full-time artist and an active figure in the beat community in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Many art historians consider him to be the ‘father’ of the California assemblage movement. Moving between the two cities, Berman devoted himself to his mail art publication SEMINA, which contained a sampling of beat poetry and images selected by Berman.
In 1963, permanently settled in Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles area, Berman began work on verifax collages (printed images, often from magazines and newspapers, mounted in collage fashion onto a flat surface, sometimes with solid bright areas of acrylic paint). He continued creating these works, as well as rock assemblages, until his death in 1976.
ART AS A MUSCULAR PRINCIPLE, 10 Artists and San Francisco 1950-1965, edited by Merril Greene and Alix Meier
Mount Holyoke: John and Norah Warbeke Gallery, 1975
ART IN LOS ANGELES: SEVENTEEN ARTISTS IN THE SIXTIES, edited by Maurice Tuchman
Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1981
ASSEMBLAGE IN CALIFORNIA: WORKS FROM THE LATE 50’S AND EARLY 60’S
Irvine: Art Gallery, University of California, 1968
DIFFERENT DRUMMERS, edited by Frank Gettings
Washington DC: Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1988
LA POP IN THE SIXTIES, edited by Anne Ayres
Newport Beach: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1989
SAN FRANCISCO RENAISSANCE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE ’50S AND ’60S, edited and with an introduction by Merril Greene
New York: Gotham Book Mart Gallery, 1975
SECRET EXHIBITION: SIX CALIFORNIA ARTISTS OF THE COLD WAR ERA, edited by Rebecca Solnit
San Francisco: City Lights, 1990
SUPPORT THE REVOLUTION, edited by Tosh Berman, Michael McClure, David Meltzer, Colin Gardner, Walter Hopps, Christopher Knight, Eduardo Lipschutz-Villa, Charles Brittin
Amsterdam: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1992
THIRD RAIL, Issue 9, edited by Uri Hertz
Los Angeles: Third Rail, 1988
UTOPIA AND DISSENT: ART, POETRY, AND POLITICS IN CALIFORNIA, by Richard Cándida Smith
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995)
Most of the work examined here is from the contemporary period with a particular focus on the post war period, the period in time from the end of World War II up until, roughly, the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The categorization of the writers, poets, artists, printers and their work here isn’t meant to be definitive, rather it’s a way to simply organize an enormous amount of information and help form some sort of story-line. Certainly there are folks here whose work started before some of the categories existed in the common lexicon and continued long after a ‘scene’ faded away. It’s not the intent of the work here to presuppose intent or oversimplify the efforts of these folks. As new pieces are added, parts will be reorganized, edited and rearranged… stay tuned…
* Aside from primary resources, references consulted can be found here