Doc Chat Episode Five: Poetry and Revolution on the Lower East Side

By Julie Golia, Associate Director, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books and Charles J. Liebman Curator of Manuscripts
October 26, 2020
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Revolution was in the air on October 8, 2020, when the Doc Chat community traveled back in time to New York City in the 1960s to learn about the vibrant radical literary culture of the Lower East Side.  

Pow Wow

Pow wow: a gathering of the tribes for a human be-in, 1967, NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 57281762.

An ongoing series from NYPL's Center for Research in the Humanities, Doc Chat pairs a NYPL curator or specialist and a scholar to discuss evocative digitized items from the Library's collections and brainstorm innovative ways of teaching with them. In Episode Five, NYPL’s Ian Fowler and Mary Catherine Kinniburgh of Granary Books explored digital resources related to the small press and mimeograph revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.

Doc Chat Episode 5: Poetry and Revolution on the Lower East Side from The New York Public Library on Vimeo.

A transcript of this event is available here.

Below are some handy links to materials and sources suggested in the episode. 

Episode Five: NYPL Featured Collections

Ian and Mary Catherine analyzed two images accessible in NYPL's Digital Collections: 

Pow wow: a gathering of the tribes for a human be-in (1967)

F*** You: The Talk of the Town (1962)

Episode Five: Additional Resources

Ian and Mary Catherine also recommended many other resources, some accessible via NYPL, some not affiliated with the library. 

From A Secret Location: A digital compendium to and expansion of the print book, A Secret Location on the Lower East Side by Granary Books. 

UBUWEB: Primarily documents the trajectory of visual and concrete poetry, from the sixteenth century through the 1970s.

Eclipse Archive: A free online archive focusing on digital facsimiles of the most radical small press writing from the last quarter century.

Poets House Digital Collections: Over 70,000 items in the organization's poetry library, including a number of rare print mterials.

Nick Sturm's Blog: Where the poet, scholar, and educator chronicles his research, work, and the ephemera he creates. 

POBA: A groundbreaking online arts hub that celebrates and features the works of a broad range of exceptional artists who have died without recognition of the full measure of their talents or creative legacies. See in particular this chronicle of the poet and artist Eli Waldron.

Independent Voices: An open access digital collection of alternative press newspapers, magazines, and journals, drawn from the special collections of participating libraries. Mary Catherine and Ian discussed Little Magazine specifically. >

RealityStudio: an online resource maintained by William S. Burroughs collectorJed Birmingham, with complete digitized editions of magazines like The Floating Bear.

Interference Archive: A grassroots archive committed to documenting the relationship between cultural production and social movements.

The Art of the Mimeograph International Conference

Page Mothers Conference tapes: Online Archive of California holds video and audiotapes of a 1999 conference on innovative writing by American women.

PennSound: A project of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing that is committed to producing new audio recordings and preserving existing audio archives.

Naropa University Audio Archive: Archival recordings from the Jack Kerouac School stretching back to the 1970s.

Paul Blackburn Audio Collection: A collection of sound recordings of poetry performances created by poet, translator, editor, and teacher Paul Blackburn, who made extensive recordings of the avant-garde New York poetry scene between 1960 and 1971.

Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative: Publishes unexpected, genre-bending works by important 20th century writers.

The Marijuana Newsletter and F*** You: A Magazine of the Arts: from the William S. Burroughs manuscripts at The Ohio State University. 

University of Michigan: The Labadie Collection of Political Posters includes one from the 1972 Poetry Benefit for Farm Workers and the 1968 Poetry is Revolution.

The Ed Sanders Archive: Currently in the care of the poet, the collection is represented by Granary Books. A complete illustrated prospectus of the archive is available here. A complementary collection can be found in UConn's Archives and Special Collections.

BeatBooks: Specialists in the Beats, Sixties CounterCulture and the Avant-Gardes.

The Lesbian Herstory Archives: A community collective that gathers and preserves a large array of materials by and about lesbians and their communities. Their holdings include many materials related to New York City poetry, including the papers of Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich. 

Join the Doc Chat Conversation 

Doc Chat takes place on Zoom every Thursday at 3:30 PM.  This fall, we are covering a range of topics, from Malcolm X, to protest photography, to LGBTQ+ activism around prison opposition. Check them out on NYPL's calendar,  and make sure you don't miss an episode by signing up for NYPL's Research newsletter, which will include links to register. A video of each episode will be posted here on the NYPL blog shortly after the program, so be sure to check back regularly to keep on top of the Doc Chat conversation.