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The Mimeo Revolution

The “Mimeo Revolution” was a period stretching from the early 1960s through the mid-1980s when small-press publishing proliferated. Many poets started their own presses, producing small books and magazines that ranged from letterpress publications to mimeographed and photocopied pamphlets.

In the late 1960s, I “published” my own “underground” newspaper, The New Times, photocopied covertly on the Xerox machine at my after-school job and distributed by hand at my high school and to friends.

Handmade books, self-publishing and publishing others who had few opportunities to be published in the mainstream presses. Some of the poets of the period include LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) and Hettie Jones, co-founders of Totem Press, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights.

The avant-garde Mimeo Revolution fostered diverse literary communities and gave new voices a national and occasionally international platform.

Poets House in New York has one of the most comprehensive and various chapbook collections in the United States. You can find out more about this period in publishing that helped foster many poets in their digital collection of chapbooks. One example that you can read online is Diane di Prima’s 1973 Loba Part 1 from Capra Press.

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