Jed Birmingham’s library began with his William Burroughs collection. After he obtained all the books, he started to research and obtain any periodical that Burroughs contributed to, but quickly realized that the small press culture of the little magazines was just as interesting (if not more) than Burroughs’ contribution, and that’s how our little magazine, Mimeo Mimeo, got started. The poets, artists, printers, paper, collating parties, distribution, associations, manuscripts, postcards, and, letters are all part of the overall aesthetic and culture of the Mimeograph Revolution, brilliantly documented in Steve Clay and Rodney Phillips’s A Secret Location on the Lower East Side. There are few people who take the art of mimeo as seriously as Jed, whose attention to detail is more common amongst bibliophiles specializing in incunabula and antiquarian books. In addition to sharing his research, he also shares aspects of his collection and others online in the Bibliographic Bunker at Reality Studio. Check out the Floating Bear archive, for startes, which includes a free, downloadable spreadsheet mapping the recipients of Di Prima and Jones' legendary mimeo magazine.
In her marvelous, odd textbook, The Writing Experiment: Strategies for Innovative Creative Writing, Hazel Smith devotes a late chapter to “Mapping worlds, moving cities.” Composing in a kind of sociological sublime, she writes in the subsection, “The diasporic city,” of the sub-section, “Cities rather than city,” “As the concept of the nation-state breaks down, people migrate and borders shift. The modern western city has become a mixture of nationalities and ethnicities: this has transformed food, clothing, customs, art and language” (260). Cutting to the chase, she ends her paragraph on “the diasporic city” with this pithy sentence: “The diasporic city is as much about displacement as about place” (261).
Nice to see your Jacket2 write-up, and that you used the 2 words I wrote at the beginning of our very very very very very very very very very very long beach poem – I'm sure I am pulling 'begin anywhere' from some co-making moment, and that too is par for the symposium. …
Which prompts me, in turn, to claim responsibility for inscribing the four words visible in the picture above, beside Michele and Olive, which were meant to be a quote from the last line of the title poem of Allen Curnow's 1982 collection You Will Know When You Get There:
Down you go alone, so late, into the surge-black fissure.
At the recent Short Takes on Long Poems symposium in Auckland (see Jack Ross's take here), Jacob Edmond, whose comic-serious talk concerned the literal weights and volumes of long poems, kept asking a single question of other speakers. “In what way is the work you're talking about local?” Or, in the case of my presentation, “Do you think your videos [of people in Hawai`i saying back lines of George Oppen's ‘Of Being Numerous’ as best they could] localize the poem in some way?” Jack Ross argues that the symposium would have been too international had it not included the work of Robert Sullivan and John Adams, writing the interstices between Maori and Pakeha in Aotearoa / New Zealand. This discussion felt like home to me, albeit set on a different stage and peopled by very different writers and critics than is the case in Hawai`i. But of course these distinctions are hard to keep or enforce when (like me) you can leave Auckland at 7 a.m. of a Monday morning and arrive in Honolulu at 7 a.m. the same morning. Yet Lucas Klein, a scholar and translator of Chinese poetry, quoted the Chinese poet, citizen of New Zealand, and resident of London, Yang Lian, as saying: “There is no international, only different locals.”