Friday, August 22, 2014


Storyville IV by Mayumi Oda
 In Issue One, these images were black & white. On newsprint. Self-cover. Yellow. That was it, yellow and black. Though I remember the thrill at seeing the first printed copy, I now kinda cringe when I look at it.

I remember arguing with the typesetters. Though they'd never heard of such a thing (and rightly so), I had carefully gone through, poem by poem, story by story, and picked the typeface I could most feel went with the piece. That meant a minimum of fifteen different typefaces!

Added to Mayumi's lovely pieces, many of the pages were festooned with what today we call "clipart," but in those days we had Dover books with copyright-free drawings on many subjects and from many sources. I had carefully gone through my stack of dover books for the most perfect image for every item, seashells, medieval bacchanal, and even, I see now, inexplicably, two Roman women standing alongside a mausoleum!

Sunset by Mayumi Oda
Many of the writers in Issue One became regulars in the magazine: Mary Mackey (the "unpublished erotic poetry" thereof), Arlene Stone ("Nocturne" starring "Svengahli Mendlessohn, son of a great composer of Labia chords").

Susan Griffin lent an excerpt from her newly released Pornography and Silence entitled, "Eros, the Meaning of Desire"; her sister Johanna, who owned the women's bar where I had seen Ntozake's performance, had a selection from her poem suite "Dancing." At a reading, standing on a stage in front of a darkened room, she complained that the type size I had used for her page was too small to read. Now, with eyes 33 years older, it's clear she was right.

(Learn more about Mayumi Oda's series of images from Storyville here.)

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