Vancouver Poetry Conference of 1963 was a whirlwind for me, caught up in the New American Poets pantheon of Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Phillip Whalen, Robert Creeley and Charles Olson for a couple weeks and when I got back home in Placitas, New Mexico, I got a used Rex-Rotary mimeo machine that some nuns had owned and I typed stencils and cranked out a book-mag of Ron Bayes who Id palled around with up in Vancouver. The pantheon up there talked about the angel, muse and duende, Duncan specifically talking of Federico Garcia Lorcas 1930 lecture on the Theory of the Duende. And living in a largely Spanish speaking state and already drawn to the earth spirits, I took that for the name of my mimeo press. So people from Vancouver Id met became the first duendes, Bayes History of the Turtle, Book 1, with his beautiful melodic ear, then A Fredric Franklyns Virgules and Deja Vu, a Los Angeles poet and critic, and then Richard Watsons Cockcrossing Olson had liked. So each issue was devoted to one poet in that I firmly believed we need space to present our work rather than snippet-room. Ken Irby was living in Albuquerque then and, prompted by Creeley, I knocked on his door and was swept up in the strength of his Roadrunner Poem and published it as duende #4.
The nice thing about printing a mag for $25 and then mailing it out for another $25 was the exchanges received back. The address list I got from Amira Baraka, then LeRoi Jones, and Paul Blackburn helped me get the 100 or so copies out to people interested. And the wonderful El Corno Emplumado received in exchange from Margaret Randall from Mexico City led to her Small Sounds from a Bass Fiddle (duende #5). Bobbie Louise Hawkens (then Bobbie Creeley) was generous enough to do covers and some artwork for the mag. Heck, the Creeleys were my village neighbors.
There followed Larry Eigners The Reception, a play, with his wonderful set design for the stage drawn on his typewriter (duende #6) and Robert Kellys Lectiones (#7), friend of Irbys and our direct contemporary. I did another Irby, Movements/Sequences, with a note by Bob Creeley and another Ron Bayes, his History of the Turtle Book 4. Then came writers in Albuquerque such as the African-American Frederic Ward, Poems, 1966 ( #11), William Dodds Se Marier (#9), a story of marriage. And since William Harris and David Franks were in Placitas, and in Albuquerque involved with the University of New Mexico and Creeley, David Franks updated Touch appeared from duende press (#13) and Latif William Harris Poems/1965 (duende #12). We became such trusted friends that Latif edited my first book which came out as duende #14, Cycles.
I did a one-shot mimeod Oriental Bue Streak in 68, with work by 16 poets and a couple artists, four diverse Fervent Valleys (a couple of which I offset printed) with many contributors, and a few books like Bill Pearlmans 60's novel Inzorbital, and Judson Crews The Noose, A Retrospective: 4 Decades (with John Brandis Tooth of Time Press) in 1980, and duende press trailed off.......
So a very modest duende was launched thanks to the helping hand of poets and interconnectedness of magazines like Wilddog, Desert Review , Coyotes Journal, Weed/Flower, Matter, From a Window, Mother, Bluegrass, Island, Interim, Joglars, Open Letter, Trobar, Imago, Grande Ronde Review, Tish, Sum, Tampa Poetry Review, Kayak, Wormwood Review, Yugen, Camels Coming, Mile High Underground, Illuminations, The World, Open Space, Grist, El Corno Emplumado, Kulchur, Caterpillar and many more of the 60's. Thanks to the Yale Street Grasshopper, which became the Living Batch Bookstore where I worked off and on for many years, we had a reading place and place of encouragement, and thanks to the Davidson offset press I got from Pat Bolles, I learned to print offset and stepped out of mimeo.
But the beauty of the mimeo revolution for the poet-as-publisher in those days was that you could do the whole thing at the kitchen table if need be. Typing the stencils, printing from the stencils on usually absorbent paper like Twiltone, and then collating and stapling, then mailing and that was that. With offset printing I had to take the typed copy to a service to have plates burned, tho I could do the typing and printing myself. And then the collated copy had to go to a bindery. With Xerox I could never afford a machine or printing costs and that required trips to and trust in Kinkos to do a photo-copy booklet. With Pearlmans Characters of the Sacred, I sent the photo-ready copy off to a Michigan press which I believe is still the prevailing current practice these days for small-press publishers. But for me putting a book out entirely myself, thats the ideal. The only workable reality for many of us poets who have somehow escaped "adventurous publishers" is Live Performance, Online Publishing, and Publish On Demand (like Lulu). The Poet-As-Publisher movement just as vital today!
larry goodell, placitas, new mexico, 06/2007
(This piece of information was published in Beatitude, Golden Anniversary 1959-2009, 580 pp. Latif Harris, San Francisco)
Musing Backwards to Duende