Mimeo Revolution Archives

Reports from the Bibliographic Bunker

Jed Birmingham on William S. Burroughs Collecting

During the polar vortex, a pipe froze in a room full of books at my house. Such a chilling prospect gets your mental motor running to thoughts of summer and looking for adventure and whatever comes your way. When bibliomaniacs run wild, they do not riot in the streets or storm the beaches; they get lost in the stacks. So supposing you are a literary obsessive and you have some spare time this summer, forget about channeling your inner Hemingway and running with the bulls in Pamplona or having a drink at Les Deux Magots in Paris. Instead, flip through a copy of Dan Saxon’s Poems from Les Deux Megots at SUNY Buffalo or celebrate the life and legacy of Amiri Baraka in exotic Bloomington, Indiana by digging into the Floating Bear archive at the Lilly. Looking for culture? Skip the Tate, the Pompidou or MOMA and head over to Columbia University and experience the wonders of the Kulchur Foundation / Kulchur Press archives.

The Bibliographic Bunker is excited to provide a literary Baedeker for a dream summer vacation: a list of URLs to library archives relating to the publications of the Mimeo Revolution. Who wants to go to a museum and stand in front of a boring painting or sculpture (so Modern, yet so passé) when you can enter into an archive (the collected past as future)? Collecting, installing, storing and sorting are taking over the museum and gallery anyway. They are striving to be archives. Why not experience an archive firsthand?

As I mentioned in a recent post, the library is fun. Some may say it is a mausoleum for print but I say it is an amusement park. Get lost in the funhouse. In terms of the Mimeo Revolution, the time is ripe for some serious play. Yet unlike contemporary art movements which made archiving and self-documentation part of their practice, I suspect the Mimeo Revolution archives will prove in many cases to be ephemeral and almost non-existent. Many publishers and participants of the Mimeo Revolution cared little for documenting their activities. Despite a strong and financially important tie to private and institutional collectors, they were largely of the moment, merging everyday life with literature, and operating outside the established publishing system, unlike many of the allegedly alternative spaces documented in Gwen Allen’s book on artist’s magazines. Are magazines related to Conceptual art and Minimalism, such as Avalanche, really outside established markets and institutions? Open for debate to be sure. Given the Mimeo Revolution’s relative insouciance towards self-preservation, a researcher will be shifting through fragments and ruins, so the idea of constructing a complete, fully documented history of the Mimeo Revolution is even more of a quixotic quest than usually expected. But the time has come to see what remains have been buried in the archive, since the time for further preservation may have passed archivists by.  

In the face of a fragmented and haphazard archive (or one that is merely exceptionally so, since such is the nature of all archives), the resulting history of the Mimeo Revolution may prove to be a speculative or creative one. This is the job, not of academics trained in traditional scholarly practices, but of contemporary poets and artists working with databases, storage devices, and installations. The proper venue for such work would not be an academic journal, but a DIY publication, an alternative art space, or an electronic device. I like that. Personally, I find it exciting to interact with and become a part of the Mimeo Revolution on an everyday basis. To live within a library or archive. Others choose to vacation there. If you happen to be such a traveler and you get a chance, consider some of these Mimeo Revolution getaways. And please send RealityStudio photos and postcards from your journey.

Little Magazine and Small Press Collections

0 to 9

Bernadette Mayer

Adventures in Poetry

Larry Fagin


Jerome Rothenberg

Alternative Press


Angel Hair

Anne Waldman

Lewis Warsh

The Ant’s Forefoot

Arif Press

Artists’ Workshop

John Sinclair

Asylum’s Press

Charles Bernstein


Auerhahn Press

Big Sky

Bill Berkson

Big Table

Chicago Review

Paul Carroll

Irving Rosenthal

Black Mountain Review

Robert Creeley

Black Sparrow Press

Charles Bukowski

Seamus Cooney

John Martin

Boke Press

Joe Brainard

Broadside Press

Richard Long

Burning Deck

C Press / C Magazine

Ted Berrigan

Camels Coming

Capra Press

Cassiopeia / Ephermis

David Schaff


Clayton Eshleman


Carol Berge

Cherry Valley Editions

Charles Plymell

City Lights

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Contact Press

Corinth Press

Elias Wilentz

Coyote Journal

James Koller

da levy

The Difficulties

Doones Press

El Corno Emplumado

Evergreen Review / Grove Press

Barney Rosset

Donald Allen

Floating Bear

Diane di Prima

Amiri Baraka


Daisy Aldan

Four Seasons Foundation

Donald Allen

Free Lance Press

Russell Atkins

Frontier Press

Fuck You Press

Ed Sanders

Gay Sunshine Press

Goliard Press

Grey Fox Press

Donald Allen

Hawk’s Well Press

Jerome Rothenberg


Kathleen Fraser

Insect Trust Gazette



Jack Spicer

Jargon Society

Jonathan Williams


Clark Coolidge


Will Inman




Kulchur Foundation

Kulchur Press

Amiri Baraka


Charles Bernstein


Aram Saroyan

Little Caesar

Dennis Cooper

Mag City


John Taggert


My Own Mag

Jeff Nuttall

Naked Ear/Suck Egg Mule/Taos

Judson Crews

New Directions

James Laughlin

New Wilderness

Jerome Rothenberg

Niagara Frontier Review

O Books

Lesilie Scalapino

Once – A One-Shot Magazine


Cid Corman



Oyez Press

Poems from the Floating World

Jerome Rothenberg

Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Bern Porter

Rocky Ledge

Anne Waldman

San Francisco Earthquake/Nova Broadcast

Jan Herman

Sand Dollar


Wallace Berman

Shameless Hussy Press


Jerome Rothenberg

Something Else Press

Dick Higgins


Clayton Eshleman

Sun Moon Press

Telegraph Books


Maureen Owen


Tibor di Nagy

Toothpaste Press/Coffee House Press

Totem Press

Hettie Cohen

Trigram Press

Truck Press

Turtle Island Press

Tuumba Press

Lyn Hejinian

United Artists

Bernadette Mayer

Lewis Warsh

Untide Press

White Dove Review

Ron Padgett

Wild Dog


Hettie Cohen

Amiri Baraka

Z Press

Kenward Elmslie

Written by Jed Birmingham and published by RealityStudio on 19 Jan 2014.

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