Bardo Matrix started out as a psychedelic lightshow team in Boulder, Colorado in the second half of the 1960s. Of its original members (John Chick, Craig Love, Dana Young and Greg Sharits) Chick and Young followed the hippie trail to Kathmandu in 1969, where the former started his Spirit Catcher bookstore on Freak Street. It was from that bookstore that Chick continued Bardo Matrix as a printing press for Western travellers and American expats. When Angus MacLise and Ira Cohen arrived in Kathmandu in the early 1970s, both had already made their marks as publishers, poets and artists and when they teamed up with John Chick and local craftsmen in Kathmandu to publish their own works and those by American friends and colleagues under the Bardo Matrix imprint in 1974, it resulted in the now famous Starstreams series of pamphlets, books and broadsides. Printed in limited editions on local hand made paper, works by Paul Bowles, Gregory Corso, Charles Henri Ford, Diane di Prima, Angus MacLise, Ira Cohen and one or two others were published in Bardo Matrix’s Starstreams series until MacLise died in Kathmandu in 1979.
Iris M. Gaynor’s Exits was published as a Starstreams Special Edition in 1977. Letterpress printed on local paper by Sharada Printing in a numbered edition of 200, hand sewn and illustrated by Lee Baarslag and Ludmila Sraj, this edition is a fine example of Bardo Matrix’s fusion of Western countercultural publishing and local oriental printing techniques. This particular copy of Exits is numbered 185/200, folded in the middle and otherwise in fine and pristine condition.