Mimeo Revolution

“Stretching from the early 1960s through the early 1980s, many dozens of small presses sprang up across North America (and beyond) during what has now come to be known as the Mimeo Revolution. This typographical upheaval gathered energy around members of the Beat movement, as well as former faculty and alumni of the wildly influential North Carolina arts college, Black Mountain, but it soon attracted a much broader spectrum of writers, artists, and amateur printers, including those of the Black Arts Movement, the New York School, and other movements. ‘Direct access to mimeograph machines, letterpress, and inexpensive offset made these publishing ventures possible, putting the means of production in the hands of the poet,’ wrote Steve Clay and Rodney Phillips, in their indispensable bibliographical history A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing, 1960-1980. This ‘underground economy of poets,’ as Jerome Rothenberg put it in the preface to A Secret Location, designed, printed, and distributed a massive and vastly diverse body of countercultural, often ephemeral literature that circulated internationally. DIY book production had already begun to bubble up during the years after World War II. Donald Allen’s seminal 1960 anthology The New American Poetry had its raison d’etre in promoting this expanding, subterranean network of marginal writers, whose work ‘has shown one common characteristic,’ he argues in the book’s introduction: ‘a total rejection of all those qualities typical of academic verse.’ Further, Allen emphasized, ‘these poets have already created their own tradition, their own press, and their public.’ However, the anthology’s lopsided selection of poets reinforced the biases of its age: of 44 contributors, LeRoi Jones is the only black person; Helen Adam, Madeline Gleason, Barbara Guest, and Denise Levertov are the only women. …”
Digital Collections
National Geographic on the Mimeo Revolution
Women of the Mimeo Revolution: Diane DiPrima & Anne Waldman
W – Mimeo Revolution

The Madison Poems by D.A. Levy (1969)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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