Thursday, July 5, 2007

United Artists: Explorations

Investigation of the complete run of United Artists magazine, Bernadette Mayer & Lewis Warsh's magazine that ran from the late 70s thru the early 80s--18 issues in all--has begun. Today I made a talley of how many times people appeared in the mag, & though they're just notes at this point, there are many interesting facets to the contributors & life of United Artists. For instance, Hannah Weiner only appears one time, in a late issue. Anne Waldman doesn't appear in the magazine herself until the last few issues, where she has 3 appearances in addition to a collaboration with Edwin Denby.

Not surprisingly, Bernadette & Lewis led the way in appearances, Mayer tallying 19 while Warsh totals 18 (there is one collaboration between the two in addition). The next most popular contributor is somewhat surprising--Clark Coolidge. Perhaps it's the MA connection, as that was where the magazine was located, & Clark as well at the time. Nevertheless, he appears 13 times. The first six issues all feature consecutive appearances from Coolidge all from the same work, Weathers, also referred to as "the long prose", which is said to number something like 1000 pages, & remains unpublished.

Next is less surprising: Alice Notley & Ted Berrigan. My count for Notley is at 10 while Berrigan appeared 9 times as an individual; Berrigan also had a collaboration with Tom Clark & another with Allen Ginsberg. Also, there is a neer total paucity of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets: excluding Coolidge, who was as much a precursor to as he was a participant in the movement, & who inhabited neither SF nor NYC, there are only two appearances by Langpos, Ted Greenwald in a later issue preceeded by Barret Watten nearer to the beginning of the mag's run, in a collaboration with Bill Berkson (Berkson appears 7 times individually).

There are also some appearances by notable prose writers of the time, including Russell Banks & Paul Metcalf, who were each given substantial room in the magazine--the former appearing 6 times, the latter, 3. I know Metcalf & Coolidge exchanged letters in the early part of Clark's career (if not continually), & that they lived in the same area, so perhaps that was Metcalf's connection to the magazine. Or, perhaps he was known enough on his own, & didn't need an in. I don't know enough about Russell Banks to comment on his inclusion, but it is reminiscent of Bernadette's work with Vito Acconci in 0 To 9, which they ran before United Artists had its run. 0 To 9 featured more than a fair amount of prose within its pages, with particular attention to various Native songs & myths, work that is not unlike, say, Amos Tutuola.

Also warranting attention are the unknown names &/or the names that appear only once--Susan Keith Noel, Reed Bye, John Koethe, Gary Lenhart, Helena Hughes (who actually has another appearance, a collab with James Schuyler, in the same issue).

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