Joglars #1 appeared in Spring 1964, and its lineup of eleven contributors closely followed the tendencies that the Coolidge-Palmer correspondence was already indicating: a strong showing from the Black Mountain group (Fielding Dawson, Joel Oppenheimer, John Wieners, Jonathan Williams), two Bay area poets (Gary Snyder and Michael McClure), and the Objectivists Zukofsky and Niedecker.
As the Coolidge-Palmer correspondence housed at SUNY-Buffalo indicates, one challenge faced by the young editors of Joglars was coming up with a name for their publication. In the letter to Palmer dated November 26, 1963, Coolidge writes: “NAME for the 'creature' still hangs me -- maybe (a la tzara) open dictionary, aleatory style?
Scholars frequently cite the importance of the little magazines for literary production but, with some noteworthy exceptions--Steve Evans, Alan Golding, Daniel Kane, Libbie Rifkin, Linda Russo, Susan Vanderborg--rarely spend time much considering them in-depth. The correspondence between Clark Coolidge and Michael Palmer, who co-edited Joglars (1964-1966), offers a unique glimpse into the activity of two young poet-publishers sizing up the literary field as they find it. Their letters (housed at the SUNY-Buffalo Poetry Collection) are filled with discussions of whom to solicit work from as well as favorable reactions to the magazine from poets and artists spanning several generations and affiliations.
I remember being able (late 1990s) to return to Solution Passage more productively after reading Barrett Watten’s essay in Total Syntax and seeing more representative samples of Coolidge’s early writing there, in In The American Tree and in the xeroxes of complete early books and chapbooks I made at the University of Louisville poetry collection.
I particularly remember grooving on the poems found towards the end of Part Four and the beginning of Part Five.
I found no immediate way in to Coolidge's work with the first book of his I obtained in the late 1990s, Solution Passage: Poems 1978-1981. Instead, the way in came through the essay on Coolidge and Robert Smithson in Barrett Watten’s Total Syntax. Watten offered analysis of Coolidge’s early works, which I had never before seen in print; finally, here were excerpts from the “early Coolidge” I had heard about so routinely but never actually read! Here was a passage I highlighted in Watten's book, from Coolidge’s Polaroid (1974):