The Third Mind Books January/February Feature is the PUBLISHER-PRINTER-POET Special! For the first two months of the new year, we’ve chosen selections from poets published on their own press, publications from the presses of poet-publishers, and books about individual publishers and their presses. Among the author-publishers represented are NEELI CHERKOVSKI, GARY SNYDER, LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI, KEN MIKOLOWSKI, ROBERT CREELEY, CHARLES PLYMELL, COUNTRY JOE MCDONALD, JEROME ROTHENBERG, DUDLEY RANDALL, ROBERT KELLY, DIANE DI PRIMA, LEROI JONES & MORE! All at 10% off for the months of January & February only!
One interesting thing about arranging this New Year special was the question of how we were going to work with the theme of “Publisher-Printer-Poet.” There were a few obvious examples of ways to go about this–such as featuring Ferlinghetti books published through City Lights Books. I didn’t want to limit things and have that be the only defining rule, though. I wanted to include some of the rarer titles from Diane di Prima’s Poet’s Press, like John’s Book, Clive Matson’s Mainline to the Heart, and Beat legend Herbert Huncke’s key 1965 work Huncke’s Journal. Then, there were other selections from people who don’t necessarily qualify as “publishers,” like Neeli Cherkovski–but his involvement in Beatitude press and its related events with Thomas Rain Crowe in the 1970s did involve getting work out to the public in a “publishing” capacity. Other isomers were the “self-publishers” that made no pretense of having a press, like Country Joe McDonald and his Navy Poems, which was a PTSD poetry exercise of-sorts. McDonald is of course better known as the front man and primary songwriter for Country Joe & the Fish, the classic 60s psychedelic rock band.
Another absolutely incredible rarity included in this special is the two-volume work of autobiography by notorious publisher of the Olympia Press, Maurice Girodias. The work is signed by Girodias just before his death–it could very well be the last signature he ever gave! We’ve also got a signed Totem-Corinth title from Leroi Jones, who of course occupied the “Totem” side of that publishing collaboration, with Ted Wilentz of the 8th Street Bookshop on the “Corinth” side. Along with these are three specimens of Jerome Rothenberg’s tiny, stapled-wrappers, powerhouse chapbook-journals titled Poems from the Floating World. I have always had a personal fondness for these titles and it is miraculous that a few have retained a clean condition as they approach 60 years since their initial publication date. Another unique item is John Wieners’ Letter to Charles Olson published by Sam Charters, blues historian and husband of respected Beat authority Ann Charters. We’ve got a signed title from poet-publisher Dudley Randall, as well. Randall’s Broadside Press is extremely well-known as a Civil Rights-era press that heralded works by Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes among many other important African-American voices of the era. Additionally, we’ve got some Allen Ginsberg fragments published by Charles Plymell in Allen’s oft-overlooked Poems All Over the Place (Mostly 70s), one of Allen’s most interesting “deep-track” titles.
These represent just a few of the multifarious titles we could feature that would qualify for the above rules. As Thomas Rain Crowe talked about in our lengthy interviews with him (soon to be revealed in-full in our forthcoming publication with Crowe), the reason why many of the Beats started publishing houses was because nobody would publish them! Once they began this, they enjoyed the self-styling freedom having their own “press” would allow and embraced it wholeheartedly. The examples, from west coast Beatitude to east coast Fuck You to international operations like Cid Corman’s Origin (look for special deals on Cid Corman’s Origin journals in the near future!), are virtually innumerable. It was in this same spirit–the spirit that said “…I don’t like the way they’re doing this. Let’s do it ourselves and really make it what we think it should be…” that Third Mind Books itself was founded. In that spirit we feature these titles, from the poet-publisher-printers who risked it all and are now commemorated to varying degrees the world over for having done so.
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