Poetry News

Poets House Digitizes Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution

By Harriet Staff

This week, Poets House launched its digital collection with a vast array of chapbooks from the Mimeo Revolution (early 1960s to early 1980s). In a recent email, Poets House writes: "As Poets House continues to build its poetry library—now at 70,000 items—we’re beginning to digitize select rare print materials. Among the first are items from the Mimeo Revolution, a period from the early 1960s through the mid-1980s when small presses proliferated and chapbooks contained some of the most innovative poetry of the time. We will be posting new digitized chapbooks from the era with related essays and multimedia once a month." From Poets House's Mimeo Revolution page: 

Offering one of the most comprehensive and various chapbook collections in the United States, Poets House has important holdings of chapbooks from the “Mimeo Revolution,” a period stretching from the early 1960s through the mid-1980s when small-press publishing proliferated. During this time, poets across the country and beyond started their own presses, producing small books and magazines that ranged from letterpress publications to photocopied pamphlets. For many young poets, the handmade book became a rallying cry for poetic revolution in response to the conservative and materialist culture of the postwar McCarthy era.

Leading lights of the Mimeo Revolution included LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) and Hettie Jones, co-founders of Totem Press; Dudley Randall of Broadside Press; Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books; and Margaret Randall and Sergio Mondragon of El Corno Emplumado. These are just a few of the many important figures whose publishing activity fostered diverse literary communities, brought new voices to the national and international stage, and cultivated a new, multifarious, and deeply influential avant-garde.

Read even more at Poets House

Originally Published: January 21st, 2019
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