Reports from the Bibliographic Bunker
Jed Birmingham on William S. Burroughs Collecting
Reps at Batman
Here is another Batman Gallery announcement; this time for Paul Reps. Reps is who initially got Haselwood and Hoyem together, as Hoyem wanted to publish a book by Reps. Reps is a haiku pioneer in the United States. The resulting book was Gold/Fish Signatures: Poems. It is with this book of Zen poetry that Eastern influences come into the Auerhahn aesthetic.
The Ostentation of Peacocks
I call on Kane’s Book, which is a Book of Daniel, not Trocchi, as a reference to the self-consciousness and sense of display that enters into Dave Haselwood Books as opposed to the early Auerhahn titles. The two editions of The Hotel Wentley Poems capture this shift. In the 1965 Haselwood edition, the mysterious Jerry Burchard cover photograph has been framed by what can be interpreted as feathers. It looks like an opening credit to a James Bond film.
Personally I prefer the gritty, early covers. Maybe that is the Berman influence. I do not know but the later Dave Haselwood titles run the danger of turning the Auerhahn look into a preening peacock.
One of 100 copies, Chinoiserie by John Wieners was an early offering by Dave Haselwood Books. I see quite a bit of what has been presented as the Hoyem look carrying over into the post-Auerhahn publications of Dave Haselwood Books, particularly the affinity for Asian artistic styles and papers. Chinoiserie indeed.
The Book Art of Dave Haselwood
Here is our first publication by Dave Haselwood Books, an announcement for a collaboration by Bruce Conner and Michael McClure. Published in 1966, “1200 copies on 65 pound beige cover stock, saddle-stitched into 130 lb cover; text in 12pt Clarendon, versos printed with Ben Day dot screen (Johnston).” Give an assist to Haselwood as book designer, as this is an artists’ book with text by McClure and mandalas by Conner.
Not to be confused with Lobe Key Stilled Lionman Laced Winged April Raphael Dance Wiry, which was also a collaboration by Conner and McClure, “11.1 X 14.2 Ultima laid envelope; Bruce Conner 1966 Michael McClure (on gummed flap); contains 24 cards 5 X 5 with 12 pt Joanna capitals; four words per card, bled mandalas on verso (the announcement for the next book) (Johnston).”
Seemingly similar publications but if you try to purchase them at a bookshop or online you will not confuse them due to a major difference: Mandalas is around $75; Lobe Key $1500.
A Writer Scorned
Alastair Johnston’s bibliography is the best place to go to get information on William Burroughs’ interaction with Auerhahn Press. The second volume of Burroughs’s letters has just come out and it includes a handful of correspondence between Burroughs and Haselwood.
The relationship of the two men deteriorated when Haselwood balked at publishing The Exterminator II. One dose of the cut-ups was enough for Haselwood. The cut-ups were tough medicine. At one point Burroughs wrote five increasingly irate letters to Haselwood to get information on future publication and royalities. Here is the fifth letter which was mentioned but not included in Johnston. It is a rare instance of a pissed off Burroughs.
Feb 24, 1961
9 Rue Git Le Coeur
Paris 6, France
Dear Dave Haselwood:
You seem to be running a mighty loose ship. This is the fifth letter I have sent you to inquire about a manuscript sent six months ago. Now I hear through J. Montgomery that you do not intend to publish Exterminator II. I consider your behavior discourteous. sloppy business practice, dishonest, and down right stupid. Is that clear enough or shall I make it even clearer? Will you please return my manuscript right now like today.
Haselwood responded to this letter and sent Burroughs a royalty check. The beast was calmed to a certain extent, even admiting to Haselwood “[j]ust as well I think the other material was not published in that form.”
The Book to Come
This list of publications is interesting in the fact that it includes A Book of Resemblances by Robert Duncan as “In Preparation.” The project (spectacularly) fell through and was never done by Haselwood.
The Batman Gallery
This is more job work by Auerhahn: an announcement for an exhibition of Robert La Vigne at The Batman Gallery. I have read quite a bit and there is quite a bit written on the Ferus Gallery but I find myself drawn to The Batman Gallery. I really do not know much about it; Jason Davis recommends Jack Foley’s O Her Blackness Sparkles as a place to start. Mental note made and soon to be acted upon.
Billy Jahrmarkt started the Gallery on November 3, 1960 with his father’s money. It was in large part a measure to keep Billy occupied and out of trouble. The gallery was sold in 1962 to Michael Argon, who ran it until 1965. This above announcement is late in the game for Batman: 1964.
The Gallery was located at 2222 Fillmore, next door to the International Music Hall and down the street from the McClure’s residence from 1958 to 1961. Michael McClure figures in huge in the Gallery; he suggested the name (after Billy’s obsession with Batman); he persuaded Billy’s father to release the money; and he provided content by putting on The Feast there soon after the opening. The space was a defunct dress shop located by Bruce Conner, and he designed the Gallery. Conner was the subject of the Gallery’s first show.
Jahrmarkt is one of the doomed figures of the Berman Circle, who played careless with his talents and interests. Given Jahrmarkt’s addictions and wandering interest, the Gallery opened when it happened to open; mounted shows on an irregular schedule; and in some cases even sold some art. I would suspect the sale to Agron marked a shift in operating procedure and standardized things a bit. In a characteristic gesture, Jahrmarkt gave Berman his Verifax machine after Billy had grown bored with it. Berman put it to good use.
On Jahrmarkt, McClure states, “Nobody expected Billy to live very long.” He did not. Jahrmarkt moved to Afghanistan because heroin and guns were legal and freely obtainable there. In 1973, he dropped a gun and accidentally shot himself in the stomach. Not realizing the direness of the situation, he did nothing to address the wound and bled to death by the morning.
I have to admit that figures like Jahrmarkt fascinate me. And there are several like him in the Berman Circle. The carelessness, the wastefulness, the insouciance. The disrespect shown to one’s own abilities and one’s artistic output. The opportunity, the possibility, the inheritance, the promise squandered. It is the same reason I am drawn to the philosophies of Bataille. All this was reflected in the creation and day-to-day operations of the Batman Gallery. With Jahrmarkt it is a miracle that anything was accomplished, that any of it survived, and that any of it mattered. In my eyes they definitely did.
A Night at the Theatre
I hope all you lovebirds are enjoying your Ghirardelli chocolates and sparkling wines from Napa and Sonoma. Remember the words of France: Love is not love / When it is mingled with regards that stand / Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her? / She is herself a dowry.
The program for a performance of King Lear by the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop from 1961. Here we have an example of Auerhahn working hard for the money. So you better treat her right. Robert La Vigne did the costume and set design. There is a very nice write up on Big Bridge with images of the performance.
It is the advertisements that make this program: for Auerhahn, the Batman Gallery, and, yes, The Curtain Call (“where the fourth act begins”). I hope everybody had a drink at The Curtain Call tonight, and I leave you to your fifth and final acts??
But before I do, let’s remember to tip our servers and that means a shout out to Jason Davis, who has been serving up some remarkable Auerhahn material. Thanks so much.
From Auerhahn with Love
Valentine’s Day the Auerhahn way.
Hugs and Kisses,
A Pre-Valentine’s Day Present
What you need on Valentine’s Day is “A Long Poem of Spiritual Revolution and Sexuality.” But I have a lot of shit to do tonight so all you get is a little bit of Dark Brown, i.e., the announcement of publication. As I mentioned before this is the first title with Andrew Hoyem’s name on it. Haselwood on Dark Brown: “That is one where [Hoyem] really hit it.” At $3.00 it is one of the more expensive offerings of the early partnership, but on Valentine’s Day money is no object for that which you love.
A Man’s Gotta Eat
And feed the press. The press is hungry. Haselwood and Hoyem churned out a bunch of job work on top all the books, broadsides, and ephemera under their own imprint. The piece above is pure Auerhahn and a beautiful piece of work. Call for work/exemplar of that work. Auerhahn: Killing two birds with one stone.
The Show Must Go On
After Auerhahn Press fell apart, Haselwood began printing under his own imprint, Dave Haselwood books. This broadside / catalogue features all three imprints: Auerhahn Press, Auerhahn Society and Dave Haselwood. Haselwood’s HQ moved to 1403 Gough Street, which is a legendary address in San Francisco counterculture. Robert La Vigne lived here in the mid-1950s and it was here that Ginsberg saw a La Vigne painting of Peter Orlovsky and fell in love. Ginsberg soon moved in. From that point on, one writer / artist after another rested their weary little heads at 1403 Gough Street. Haselwood was there by at least 1963, along with Charles Plymell, who like Haselwood was from Kansas. Michael McClure (Kansas again) was there; Neal Cassady lived there with Anne Murphy. Ginsberg made this his crash pad once again upon his return from Japan and India in 1963. Beat Scene Press published Plymell’s account of Neal and Anne’s time there in Number 14 Kevin Ring’s Pocket Book Series. Not sure if copies are still available.
A Summing Up
Not quite the production of the 1962 Catalogue, but this list of books in print from August 1964 is a very nice piece of ephemera in its own right. This is near the end of the first run of Auerhahn Press, when Hoyem and Haselwood would part company and go their separate ways.
The Exterminator and The Invisible Man
That’s all that’s left behind . . . the skies
And a sweet caress
The skies, the sights
And a sweet caress
He’s the Invisible Man
Catch him if you can
As this announcement card shows, Brion Gysin was the real “el hombre invisible.” As often happened with Gysin and his work, erased from memory by Haselwood, which is really strange given that Haselwood felt the Gysin drawings were the strongest element of the entire publication.
“The center of the tornado”
“This is an ode to John Wieners and Auerhahn Press
Who have driven me away from poetry like a fast car”
The Auerhahn bibliography states that The Heads of the Town Up to the Aether is arguably “Auerhahn’s main contribution to literature.” But as Johnston details, the publication of the book blew up a shit storm throughout the Spicer Circle proving once again that all poets are a pain in the ass. Robert Duncan blasted Auerhahn Press in the Valentine Issue of Open Space (not a love letter to be sure): “With the exception that the typography is abominable (titles crammed into the text; explanatory notes for ‘homage to creeley’ shoved to the bottom of the page, etc) and that the lithographs [by Fran Herndon] lose in reproduction, from these poems and these illustrations I draw increasing sense of what poetry can mean.”
When The Heads of the Town Up to the Aether failed to deliver commercially, Jack Spicer accused Hoyem and Haselwood of not promoting the book properly. Citing “[e]vidence of Auerhahn’s attempts to promote Heads’ sale” in the press files, Ellingham and Killian clear Auerhahn Press of all charges. This publication announcement could be considered Exhibit A.
Putting Spicer on the stand and having him explain why he prevented City Lights from distributing the book and why the Discovery Bookstore was similarly attacked by the Spicer Circle would provide valuable testimony for why the book failed as well. Or you could have Spicer give a reading of the book to a jury, not of his Circle, but of Joe and Jan Public of San Francisco. The blank stares would further acquit Auerhahn. Spicer is an acquired taste. The general reader is busy reading Playboy and the Sunday New York Times, not Spicer. Actually, he was little read outside of a small circle of friends.
Off the Grid
This is a commissoned publication by Auerhahn Press. I’ll be damned if I can find any information the book at all. Nothingon New Gnu Press. Nothing on Abebooks. Nothing on Paul Magistretti. I am going to guess that Tram Combs ran New Gnu Press, but that is pure speculation. This broadside is listed in Johnston but details of the actual publication seem to be undocumented.
This is the flipside of the Wieners Journal written at 707 Scott. Auerhahn designed blank journals for sale in a limited edition of 40 copies. I wonder who bought them and what use was made of them. It would make an interesting exhibition of gathering a collection of these journals.
The Death Warrant
In an earlier post, I suggested the presence of a shift in aesthetic at Auerhahn Press once Jay McIlroy sold his part of the business to Andrew Hoyem. Here is Haselwood from the Johnston interview on this shift: “But suddenly it was all done in a very different way. The Reps book was printed in Japan by collotype and it is beautiful. You can’t tell that these are not original sumi ink drawings because the collotype will do that. It’s the only way you can do it. But it was done in Japan and it’s this elegant book. Has anyone ever seen one? It’s fairly rare. It was boxed and very fancy. Now I had done limited hardcover editions of some of these books I had done so far to help pay for the rest of the edition. You did a few hard-cover editions signed by the author, so these paid for the rest of the books, so you could sell them for $1 and everyone could have one. That was the idea. But suddenly we began getting into these ‘exquiste’ productions. I think Andy is a great printer. I dont really want to get nasty about this, because it was just that he really wanted to go in a different direction than I did and he’s done an incredible body of work, but that;s not what I wanted to do, so from the very beginning, it was the beginning of the end. When we formed this partnership, it became this tug immediately.”
The above business card epitomizes the “beginning of the end” of Auerhahn Press. The “Made in Italy” in the lower left corner. The card as “very fancy,” “exquiste” and “elegant.”
Also of interest is the role of the collector in the Auerhahn business plan. Haselwood states in the Johnston interview that he did not want the collectible book at all and it is implied that Hoyem brought that business model into Auerhahn. That is not really the case. As the above quote shows, the collector always had a role in the Press, but it was a question of degree. For Haselwood, collectors subsidized “the rest of the books,” which were designed for “everyone.” Under the Hoyem model, all the books were “exquiste productions” specifically designed with the collector or connoisseur in mind.
According to Secret Location, “[s]ome of Haselwood’s later titles were considered outrageously overpriced when they were first offered for sale at $10 each.” Note this is the later titles; the one’s after Hoyem’s arrival and influence. Yet what is remarkable about Auerhahn Press titles on today’s market is how affordable they are. The most expensive Auerhahn title on Abebooks is the signed limited of McClure’s Dark Brown, printed on Alexandra Japan paper, handbound in full leather at the Schuberth Bindery, for $1450. This is the first book printed under the new partnership but largely of Haselwood’s vision and design. Almost half the Auerhahn titles currently available are $40 or under. The Arion Press Ulysses with etchings by Robert Motherwell is almost $50,000.
It Speaks for Itself
A shout-out to Jason Davis for providing the Mad Monster Mammoth Poetry Reading press release. He has also provided me with a ton of announcements and other goodies that I will be posting until I run out of material. Possibly a couple weeks.
Where the Magick Happens
Dave Haselwood designed The Hotel Wentley Poems but he did not print it. East Wind Printers did the honors and according to Haselwood they botched it. Haselwood’s “vision of what the book should look like was not completely carried through. That made me decide that in the future I would not only design but personally print any book the Press decided to do.” The above announcement card definitely does not have that Auerhahn feel to it and handling this announcement vs. the Auerhahn business cards reveals a clear difference in print quality.
From what I can tell, Auerhahn called 1605 Laguna home and then moved to 1334 Franklin. By the time of Andrew Hoyem’s arrival in 1961, the print shop was at 1334 Franklin. Glenn Todd remembers the two men printing in a small room there. The Hotel Wentley was on 1214 Polk and Haselwood had a small room on rent that he loaned to John Wieners for a week, during which Wieners banged out his slim first collection of poems. Foster’s Cafeteria was on the first floor of the Wentley Building. Foster’s is long gone, but, in February of 2009, the Bed Bug Registry reported a complaint for an apartment at this address. Good to see things have not totally changed.
A Walk in the Neighborhood
Alastair Johnston sent me “The Way-Out Walk of Poets” photograph above to go with the post on the Mad Mammoth Monster Poetry Reading. Wallace Berman took the shot of Bruce Conner and Beth Branaman (behind mask) who both designed the costumes for the Walk. Alastair used the photograph on the cover of The Ampersand’s Beat: A Dead Horse issue. Alastair edited the Quarterly Journal of the Pacific Center for the Book Arts and it is worth hunting down old copies if you can find them. I have a few and there are great interviews and images relating to the alternative press in California. Unfortunately, I can find only one issue of The Ampersand on Abebooks.
The reference to 707 Scott Street on the upper left hand corner of the photograph caught my eye. The address is on Alamo Square, “one of the most photographed places in San Francisco” (see Morgan). Wallace Berman lived there in the late 1950s and took a famous shot of Jay DeFeo at her studio standing in front of her painting The Eyes. The photograph was exhibited in 1959 at 707 Scott Street. I assume that the Way-Out Walk photo was exhibited at the same time. Berman would provide Auerhahn Press with cover images at this time, including the iconic ones of Philip Lamantia injecting himself for Narcotica.
Joanna and Michael McClure lived at 707 Scott Street as well. As did Larry Jordan. Ark II, Moby I, a key little magazine of the San Francisco Renaissance, was printed in the basement. John Wieners lived at 707 Scott and kept a journal throughout 1959, before he suffered a nervous breakdown in the months after the Mad Mammoth Reading and retreated to Boston to recuperate. The journal (pictured above) was published in 1996 by Sun & Moon Press.
Stop the Presses!!!
According to Johnston, the production cost for the 1500 copies was $1476. Nothing cheerful about that.
Poetry Reading as Fund Raiser
I have two friends of mine who are currently running for political office. At the top of their “To Do” list is not stop crime or create jobs, but to raise money for their campaigns. Seemingly every other day the streets of Washington DC are shutdown while the President walks down the street to the ATM that is the Jefferson Hotel for a fund raising event.
I find all this distasteful of course and then I get the announcement card for Auerhahn Press’s Mad Monster Mammoth Poetry Reading and I realize that running a press is no different than running for office. Priority number one is securing funding.
Alastair Johnston covers the Mad Monster Mammoth reading in detail and provides images of the Auerhahn press release for the reading and an article on the reading by Lewis Lapham. For God’s sakes please order a copy of all three of Johnston’s bibliographies. They are ESSENTIAL. That said he does not provide an image of the annoucement card (horrors!!!!). You have to come to the Mimeo Mimeo blog for that. The blog is ESSENTIAL. (I don’t know what it is with the CAPS and the !!! this morning. Must be the Super Bowl atmosphere: Hype is in the air. All these “FANTASTIC EVENT[S]”. “North Beach Spectacle!!!”).
The BBC televised parts of the reading, and years later the reading was made available on the Howls, Raps and Roars CD, which you can order from your local bookseller or from Amazon if you are a soulless consumer who corporate farms (and destroys) the fragile garden of literary delights. Auerhahn books were on display at the reading and I hope the beatniks bought their copies of The Hotel Wentley Poems at the reading and did not walk up Broadway to 261 Columbus Avenue to purchase them. Jack Spicer would not approve.
Twelve poets read that night in 1959: Bruce Boyd, Ray Bremser, Kirby Doyle, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bob Kaufman, Philip Lamantia, Ron Lowensohn, Christopher MacLaine, Michael McClure, David Meltzer, John Wieners, and Philip Whalen. From the press release: “Two young San Francisco painters, Bruce Conner and Robert LaVine, are staging a spectacle of the Objects, made for the Event, that shall accompany a WayOut WALK OF POETS starting about 8PM.” “Go! Poetry! Go!”
Earlier that same summer Allen Ginsberg (along with Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan and James Broughton) read at Garibaldi Hall for another fund raising event: a monster reading in support of John Wieners’ Measure. One of the highlights was Ginsberg reading a draft of Kaddish.
Both of these reading were great successes. Auerhahn, coffers replenished, reinvested that capital back into the business with new books by Whalen and Lamantia. By the way, Lamantia organized the Auerhahn reading, so maybe we should get the Federal Election Committee to look into some type of conflict of interest here.
To me, the Auerhahn and Measure fund raisers (at a $1 per head) are simply time and money better spent than $45,000 per plate for a “roundtable discussion” and some chicken breast at the Jefferson. Although Sara Bareilles did perform. Charming I’m sure.
In nearby Virginia Beach in 2011, Pat Robertson appeared at a Mitt Romney fundraiser. Now that is what I call entertainment.
Lost in the Shuffle
Before there was Andrew Hoyem at Auerhahn Press, there was Jay McIlroy. Hoyem bought out McIlroy in 1961 to become a partner in the press. McIlroy was a printer who helped Dave Haselwood out in the print room and became a partner. It should be remembered that at the start of Auerhahn Haselwood had only a “high school knowledge of printing” (from Printing from the Edge). McIlroy showed Haselwood the ropes and got those early books, like Self Portrait, From Another Direction (handset and printed on a Hartford letterpress in 1959), out into the world.
Haselwood makes this clear in his interview with Alastair Johnston (available from Cuneiform Press in Hanging Quotes): “[McIlroy] really knew how to print and taught me how to print . . . He was an extremely fine person and really was heavily responsible for the good things that happened at Auerhahn and he’s never given any credit . . . He was a typical South Side of Philadelphia, not educated beyond high school, talked with a wonderful working-class Philadelphia accent, no pretensions, but just loved this poetry, and wanted to work on it. Quite a strange thing actually. He really was the one who got it off the ground. I don’t think I could have ever printed this. For instance in Ekstasis there are all these shaped poems.”
“[N]o pretensions, but just loved this poetry, and wanted to work with it.” Compare this with Andrew Hoyem, which was about “exquisite productions.” How much was the early aesthetic of Auerhahn influenced by Jay McIlroy and his simple sense of style?
In the interview, Haselwood acknowledges that he lost track of McIlroy and I can find little on him at all. The above business card locks him into place in the day-to-day activities of Auerhahn as a business partner and into its history.
Before McIlroy, Haselwood states that there was “[a] man who’s name I don’t even remember, who worked as a ship’s printer on Lurline, obtained some type for me that they were selling off the ship and then showed me how to set type and operate the Hartford letterpress. He just volunteered and came in and helped.” There is no business card for this Man from Portlock who altered the course of Auerhahn. He is lost to history. For example in the introduction to Printing from the Edge Exhibit on California broadsides, this unknown man is merged into the person of McIlroy.
“An interior/personal piece”
This is from an unsewn sheet of Michael McClure’s Dark Brown, published by Auerhahn in 1961. McClure submitted the poems to Olympia Press for consideration but Dave Haselwood got there first. “A Long Poem of Spiritual Revolution and Sexuality” of which Ginsberg wrote in Big Table, “I don’t know anyone else who has gone so far & I think the McClure poem is a landmark . . . It is the moment of breakthru for him and anyone after him.” Kerouac writes gushingly of “Pat McLear” in Big Sur and has similar praise for Dark Brown.
This project with Robert Duncan was on again and off again. This publication is from when it was a go. There could be a documentary about the trials and tribulations about publishing Duncan.
Auerhahn X 4
It’s round midnight and I have had a few Pabst Blue Ribbons but I do not see Auerhahn Auerhahn Auerhahn Auerhahn in the Johnston bibliography. It is probably in there. Sue me. I still have my wits about me enough to realize that this is quite the item. A piece like this is why ephemera is where it is at. And flipping through the bibliography there is a ton of ephemera in the Auerhahn catalog. It is with these small details that the history of Auerhahn was written.
The Business of the Alternative Press
When it comes to the Mimeo Revolution, I am naive and romantic. This is art for art’s sake, creation of a community, life as art, and all that crap, but alternative publishing was also a commercial enterprise. The intertwining of capitalism, entrepeneurial spirit, and the counterculture is so in-your-face in something like the Ed Sanders/Peace Eye catalogs that it cannot be ignored.
That is why it is important to study the alternative press as a business model. How does the alternative press market itself, how does it distribute its product, how does it advertise, how does it interact with customers? I have become interested in this in part because of my experiences with putting out and distributing Mimeo Mimeo and because of my relationships with small presses as a collector. Publishing Mimeo Mimeo, I have been forced to realize what I always knew but suppressed. The design and contents of the little magazines that I see as pure in some artistic or creative way are often dictated by a brutally mundane monetary bottom lines. Let’s face it people used the mimeograph because it was cheap not out of some higher calling.
For whatever reason, Auerhahn Press provides an opportunity to collect great examples of the everyday activities of a working press. Business cards, invoices, letterhead, prospectuses, annoucements, catalogs. Sooner or later all this material will come under scholarly attention in order to get a fuller picture of how the alternative press worked on a day by day basis and how the works they produced came to the light of day.
That said, take a look at the Dave Haselwood business card. It is all business, but that essence of Auerhahn design shows through. This business card symbolizes the interplay of creativity and economic bottom line that dictated not only the output and aesthetic of Auerhahn Press, but all the presses of the Mimeo Revolution.
The Auerhahn Menu
The Auerhahn when cooked tastes like turpentine. Dave Haselwood never published the cooked, only the raw. Here is the menu to the Auerhahn Press buffet from 1962. These selections are three-star Michelin (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”) all the way.
“A yellow book by a diabolical devout”
It has become a commonplace that Edward Marshall is a forgotten poet. Canonized in Don Allen’s New American Poetry anthology with the printing of the single longest poem included, “Leave the Word Alone,” which was earlier published in Black Mountain Review, Marshall was then cast out in The Postmoderns: The New American Poetry Revised). Marshall has generally been left alone, fading out of view since the heady days of the 1960 anthology, and now remembered primarily because the poet and his work have slipped out of memory.
His Nowhere Man status may be because he was seemingly everywhere. At the time of his inclusion in the Allen anthology, Marshall had ties with the Boston Renaissance, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beats (Ginsberg stated he relied on “Leave the Word Alone” as a source for the structure of “Kaddish”) the New York scene, and Black Mountain. He is included in the catch-all fifth category in the anthology with those poets of “no geographical defintion.” One of the easiest ways to get yourself lost in the shuffle is to be tough to label and pin down. Marshall is a mercurial poet in that sense.
Hellan Hellan, Marshall’s first slim book of nine poems, links Marshall with yet another geographical hotspot: Kansas. Robert Ronnie Branaman did the cover art. The poem on the Auerhahn flyer does not appear in the collection, so the flyer is a separate publication as well as an announcement.
A must for Edward Marshall collectors. There is not much to collect. Marshall appeared sporadically in periodicals: Black Mountain Review, Measure, Yugen, and The Great Society. Seven poems appeared in Mulch in 1971, which was his last appearence in print according to George Butterick’s biography of Marshall in 1983. Marshall read with Michael Rumaker at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s in 1975. Jargon 31 includes Marshall in a collection of 14 poets and 1 artist from 1958.
A second book of poems, Transit Glory, appeared in 1967 from Carp & Whitefish. This was a short-lived printing venture by Irving Rosenthal, who edited Buroughs in Chicago Review and wrote Sheeper. The only other book of the Press is Philip Whalen’s Invention of the Letter. Here is Rosenthal: “The Marshall book was a fancy little contraption with a drawstring that pulled the pages up from a pocket. It was to sell for a dollar, and I was hoping to distribute fifty or a hundred copies to each of the half-dozen or so bookstores in New York City that specialized in modern poetry. As I was planning to move to San Francisco, either temporarily or permanently, I was eager to unload as many books as possible in the East before I left. But the first (supposedly hip) bookstore I approached placed so miniscule an order, that I resolved to sell the book on the streets myself, and bought a two-dollar City of New York Peddler’s License. But I was too busy collating and binding the Whalen book to sell the Marshall book.” Marshall’s second book has completed disappeared. No copies on Abebooks. The usual suspects like Buffalo, of course have a copy. Charles Olson possessed a copy in his library (Maud calls it Transit Gloria). Olson greatly admired “Leave the Word Alone,” particularly its form. The Pequod Press reissued “Leave the Word Alone” in 1979, with an introduction by Ginsberg.
Hellan, Hellan is a good starter for an Auerhahn collection. Mainly because it is one of the cheapest of the entire Press, but again, like Marshall, Hellan Hellan is a bit out of place. The book has that early Auerhahn feel, but Branaman’s comix cover art is a bit ahead of its time. To my mind, that alone makes the book visually interesting but it is not a defining or classic Auerhahn design, maybe in part because Branaman’s infernos were printed in the purgatory marking the transition from the McIlroy to the Hoyem period of the Press.
Marshall is a religious poet, a man of “psychoreligious fervor,” as described by Butterick. Butterick continues on “Leave the Word Alone, “In structure and style, the poem itself is like preaching on Boston Commons.” Marshall from that poem: “Leave the Bible alone it is dangerous.”
An Ending and a Beginning
This first book of poems by Bill Deemer happens to be the last book of the Haselwood/Hoyem partnership. I must admit that I am fascinated by this book if for no other reason than Deemer was only 19 years old when the book came out. I can not get over teenagers making accomplished literary statements. Rimbaud is the Dark Prince in this regard. Absolutely amazing, his sophistication at such an early age. At that age, I was briefly and tangentially involved with a college literary magazine entitled Queen’s Head and Artichoke, named after two pubs in London. To be honest, I was spending more time drinking the sweet nectar that was Kappy’s beer than the crisp waters from the Hippocrene Spring. Visionary that he was, Rimbaud, perhaps taking a page from Baudelaire (Get drunk! Stay drunk! On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!), merged these two activities: poetic inspiration as a prolonged derangement of the senses. Strangely when I am confronted with the work of young poets like Deemer and Rimbaud, I am always sobered and left wondering what I did with my misspent youth. Certainly not profitably wasting all my free time on literary pursuits.
Taking Care of Business
In “this economy” sometimes you just have to pay the bills and leave out the frills. Here is another Auerhahn commission. In this case a bookseller’s catalog for a dealer out of La Jolla.
Fly By Night to Flying High
Here is another Dave Haselwood production from 1967: Philip Whalen’s T/O. Paper cut outs on the cover; only 80 copies sewn into wrappers. Like Wieners’ Chinoiserie (100 copies), T/O has a straight to the archive feel to it. This book was designed for book collectors and bibliophiles, not your everyday readers of poetry.
Haselwood talks about wanting to go in a different direction than Hoyem. For Auerhahn Press, it was about selling books for a $1 so “everyone could have one.” Beautifully produced and designed books but at low cost and at 750 to 1000 copies, truly available to everyone. Titles like T/O reveal that when Haselwood parted with Hoyem and started the Haselwood imprint he did not leave Hoyem and his business model behind.
For collectors, publications like T/O are irresistable. Flies drawn to the spider’s web. Today, copies are rather high end at around $500.
The Auerhahn equivalent of carpet bombing the reading and collecting public with advertising. Hoyem’s The Wake highlights Auerhahn Press’s split personality. The 750 trade copies were designed for the “everyone” that Haselwood sees as the Auerhahn audience. You can get a copy of one of these for around $15 right now. Not bad at all. Very democratic. The limited edition on Hammer & Anvil, handbound at the Schuberth bindery with quarter Oasis leather and Japanese Cloud paper over boards is another story. Ars Hoyem, this edition was immediately snatched up by collectors as evidenced by the increased limited run. This is fine press nonsense at its best.
It is Suede not Coarse
Haselwood Books doing Lew Welch. Now there is a back story to this that I am only dimly aware of involving a suppressed edition, a Clifford Burke reprint, and a secret stash of goodies. I just got off the phone with Jason Davis and he could no doubt fill me in, but it is dinner time. I’ll check in with him tomorrow. In the meantime enjoy the brown suede covers because it is quite simply suede and who the fuck by Dave Haselwood Books does that.
Mark My Words
For my money, this could be one of the cooler pieces of Auerhahn ephemera: a simple bookmark. Maybe it is just that bookmarks are on my mind give that in each issue of Mimeo Mimeo #6 there is a Cracker Jack prize or two to be found including Manufact Hologram: A Notesbook by Robert Strong, printed letterpress by Ugly Duckling Presse. My Mom plans on heading out to the University of South Florida to engage in the process and read the work in progress.
The Ugly Spirit
In the interim between Auerhahn Press and Dave Haselwood Books, there was Auerhahn Society. Hoyem went all out with Olson’s Human Universe, “parchment spine and elaborate colored linoleum prints for the front and back papers.” I think the above is the announcement for the book. Apparently there was a dispute between Hoyem and Oyez Press about issuing this publication. The Johnston interview discusses this as the end of Auerhahn as a viable commercial press and Haselwood disses the Grove reprint as “pretty much a rip-off of it, done ugly style.”
I have to agree with that. I have never been that impressed with the look of the Grove Press books. For example, the run of Burroughs titles from Naked Lunch through the cut-up trilogy are definitely ugly style. The Olympia Press titles are much better and paperback to boot, which is nice. Both Minutes to Go and The Exterminator are great. The Yage Letters not so much. Personally I love Calder’s Dead Fingers Talk. But enough of that, we can talk Burroughs all day and this is Olson’s Universe.
Wait There’s More
This is from Dave Haselwood Books circa 1966, limited for sure at around 100 copies. I am going to go out on a limb and say this is a tough one. No copies on Abebooks right now. From what I can gather this is a companion piece to Jonathan Williams’ Paean To Dvorak, Deemer & McClure, which again is another toughie to get.
This isn’t really to my taste but I have to admit that I like the colors. I might have to qualify my initial take that collecting Auerhahn press is a bargain. That may be true for early Auerhahn titles but the later Haselwood stuff shades into book art and it just plain rare to boot. In my opinion the expense is worth it and the challenge of finding the material makes it worthwhile.
And This Is How You Repay Me?
In 1963, Auerhahn printed Diane Di Prima’s The New Handbook of Heaven. Haselwood got burned on the printing costs, and then further burned when Di Prima bootlegged the book on her own Poets Press imprint. Nice.
There were a 1000 copies of the Auerhahn soft cover and those are floating about online, but Haselwood also had Schuberth bookbindery do a hardcover edition of 30 copies on Arches (see above) and these copies are tough as hell to get a hold of.
Requiem for a Dream
The Auerhahn Six Poets Reading occurred just days after the Kennedy assassination. As such the reading eulogizes the death of a young Sixties in the process of being born. To be sure one of the great myths of the Kennedy Era was that it was a peaceful, hopeful time. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the bombing of Birmingham Church, the Feminine Mystique, to list three events symptomatic of the simmering violence and despair associated with the Cold War, Civil Rights and the Women’s Movement, suggest the opposite. Yet for many, the events in Dallas signaled a decisive shift.
Allen Ginsberg’s poem Nov. 23, 1963: Alone, written at 1403 Gough Street in San Francisco, highlights this belief. Again a naive view. On October 28, 1963, Madame Nhu arrived in San Francisco and faced a protest demonstration, the first Ginsberg ever attended. Camelot was doomed before Kennedy died. Despite this fact, looking at Alone as marking yet another traumatic shift for Ginsberg, The Change: Kyoto-Tokyo Express was written just four months earlier, and for the nation in general has become a standard reading. For me this reading rings true but for different reasons. The poem is one of the best documents of the pre-hype (read pre-hippie) San Francisco scene that I know of. A series of Robert Frank-style snapshots. As such it marks a dramatic shift. Likewise the Six Poets Reading was the highwater mark of Auerhahn Press; it would be on the path to destruction soon after, with the Press dissolving roughly a year later with the publication of Bill Deemer’s Poems.
The Reading took place at the International Music Hall at 2226A Fillmore. On November 26, 1963, for a buck you could hear six poets read from the backlist of the Auerhahn Press. The location, like Ginsberg’s poem, captured the spirit of the Auerhahn Press and head San Francisco. The Batman Gallery was next door. 1403 Gough Street was in the neighborhood, as was the Hotel Wentley (1214 Polk), Foster’s Cafeteria (1200 Polk), one time apartments of Robert Duncan and Jess (1350 Franklin) and the McClures (2324 Fillmore). The East-West House (2273 California) offered a space for quiet contemplation. A few years later, if you wanted a little more action, sister venues to the International Music Hall, the Avalon Ballroom (1268 Sutter), the Fillmore (1805-1807 Geary), and the Winterland (1725 Steiner), sprung up nearby.