Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1942, Ron Padgett started writing poetry at an early age and developed an interest in visual arts in high school. Together with fellow high school students Joe Brainard and Dick Gallup, Padgett founded ‘The White Dove Review’, publishing works by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, LeRoi Jones and other Beat and Black Mountain poets. Soon after he had moved to New York City in 1960 to follow in Ginsberg’s and Kerouac’s footsteps and study at Columbia College, Padgett became influenced by the New York School. He studied modern French poetry on a Fulbright Fellowship after having received his B.A. in 1964 and having followed a course in creative writing at Wagner College on Staten Island. In 1972 Padgett founded ‘The Poetry Project Newsletter’, which he directed for two and a half years. ‘Full Court Press’ was another of Padgett’s literary projects, for which he worked as an editor from 1973 to 1988, publishing works by Ginsberg, Brainard, O’Hara, Burroughs, Soupault and many others while at the same time lecturing and teaching at Brooklyn College and Columbia University. He authored more than twenty poetry compilations, among which Great Balls of Fire (1969), You never know (2001) and How long (2011). Padgett translated works by Blaise Cendrars, Max Jacob, Apollinaire and others from the French. Among his prose Ted: a personal Memoir of Ted Berrigan (1993) and Joe: a Memoir of Joe Brainard (2004) should be mentioned as well.
Ron Padgett’s ecstatic poem Sweet Pea was published in a limited edition of 200 by Jim Pennington’s Aloes Books from London in 1971. Illustrated by Padgett’s friend George Schneeman this mimeographed and saddle stitched ode to the Sweet Pea is a fine example of Padgett’s work of the period. This particular copy of this sought-after edition is in good condition with a superficial crease in the back cover. Order now →
A Black Revolutionary’s Life in Labor, subtitled Black Workers Power in Detroit by Michael Hamlin with Michele Gibbs is a personal narrative in which Hamlin (1935-2017) candidly talks about the horrors of growing up black in America from a Mississippi sharecropper’s plantation to Korean War soldier, and ultimately truck driver for the Detroit News and his increasing rage at the system. Hamlin, a key organizer of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and a leader of The League of Revolutionary Black Workers, describes his role in the 1960’s and early 1970’s when black assembly line workers shut down Chrysler Detroit’s Dodge Main and Eldon Road auto plants to protest racial discrimination, safety violations and poor working conditions. The actions spawned a national revolutionary union movement built on black workers power. In a documented conversation with political activist, artist and poet Michele Gibbs, Hamlin offers an inside look at the development of the League and its internal struggles, analyzes historic gains made and lessons learned as they apply to the continuing fight for racial equality by the working class. (Amazon)
This copy has been signed by Michael Hamlin and includes an introduction by George D. Colman, a Reader’s Study Guide, historic documents, artwork and photos from the period. Order now →
When William Burroughs mailed Alan Ansen a copy of Naked Lunch on its publication in 1959, he dedicated it to “one of the few who understood Naked Lunch before I did”, testifying to the unique role Ansen played from the start of Burroughs’s career as collaborator, promoter, critic, friend and author of three essays written across three decades. A Burroughs Triptych pieces together for the first time the backstory to Ansen’s three essays which were previously edited into a composite volume in 1986, in order to do justice to the special part Ansen played in making the Burroughs legend. As editor Oliver Harris observes in the introduction: “For all his insights into Burroughs, Ansen’s vision had the seductive quality of one who has been seduced, as in the alluringly enigmatic portrait that is worth the entrance fee alone: ‘A tall ectomorph – in Tangier the boys called him ‘El Hombre invisible’ – his persona constituted by a magic triad of fedora, glasses and raincoat rather than by a face, his first presence is that of a con-man down on his luck”.
Who was Alan Ansen? “There is a certain kind of ghost”, observes William Lee, the deadpan narrator of Burroughs’s debut novel Junky, “that can only materialize with the aid of a sheet or other piece of cloth to give it outline. Gains was like that. He materialized in someone else’s overcoat”. Alan Ansen is like that kind of ghost, haunting the margins of someone else’s biography and the footnotes of other writers’ literary histories. Read more & order →
The first three issues of the City Lights Journal were published between 1963 and 1966. Combining English translations of European avant-garde authors and poets such as Arthur Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Guillaume Apollinaire and Ferdinand Céline with Beat poets such as Gregory Corso, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg and leading artists as Roland Topor, Allan Kaprow and Julian Beck, the City Lights Journals proved seminal to the 1960s counterculture and set an example for many later publishing ventures.
This copy of City Lights Journal, Number Two, published in 1964, is in very good condition with only minor shelf wear of the cover and minor damage to the spine. Among the contributors to this 280-page book count Alexander Trocchi with his famous invisible insurrection of a million minds, Grazia Livi’s interview of Ezra Pound, Claude Pelieu, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara and many others. Read more →
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.