Locus Solus (journal)

“Now to look at Locus Solus, a magazine of poetry and prose edited by John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler from 1961–’62, and published by Harry Mathews in Lans-en-Vercors, France. All five issues of the publication are part of The Little Magazine Collection at DU. To me, the most compelling issue of Locus Solus is ‘New Poetry,’ a double issue (III–IV) edited by John Ashbery, published in Winter 1962. Within New Poetry one finds poetry by (among many others) Ashbery, Joseph Ceravolo, Diane di Prima, Barbara Guest, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler — writing crucial to the body of work that evolved from many of the aforementioned poets. For example, Schuyler’s ‘December‘ appears in the issue, as does Ceravolo’s ‘Water: How Weather Feels the Cotton Hotels,’ Ashbery’s ‘The New Realism,’ and a mindbendingly terrific LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) poem: ‘A Poem for Myself, The Fool.’ … In the first issue of Locus Solus, five of Guest’s poems range across thirteen pages; in the Ashbery-edited double issue are two of Guest’s poems and a collaboration with the Turkish poet Sa’di Koylan; and in the fifth issue of the magazine is Guest’s ‘Candies.’ While Guest was very much included in Locus Solus, the sentiments of the magazine’s editors are telling. In 1959, Schuyler sent Ashbery a letter secretly conveying Koch’s ‘belief that no one on the New York poetry scene had much to offer their new literary magazine … except for O’Hara, Schuyler, Ashbery, and himself.’ Schuyler later wrote to Guest in 1971 — not long after she was left out of Ron Padgett and David Shapiro’s An Anthology of New York Poets, in which Ashbery, Koch, Mathews, and Schuyler were included — and said, ‘They do not realize that the Founders of the NY school […] are not a trefoil, but a star, a five-pointed star, at the very least.’ …”
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