Wednesday, July 21, 2004

There's a great used bookstore near the NuArt Theatre and Cinefile video store in West Los Angeles called Alias which stays open until 11 o’clock every night, a rarity in these parts. I always find something interesting or useful there, the prices are reasonable, and the Scandinavian brothers who run the place are great conversationalists. Recently I’ve been scouring the city for old literary journals (which are not so easy to find; those that read journals don’t often part with them and many used booksellers refuse to buy them) so I was pleased to find a few at Alias last week.

Caterpillar # 12 from July 1970, edited by Clayton Eshleman with a great cover collage by Robin Blaser. Contributors are Robin Blaser, Jack Spicer, and Stan Persky.

Barney #1 from 1981, edited by Jack Skelley with cover art by Eric Fisher. Billed “the Modern Stone Age Magazine” the premier issue has contributions from Bob Flanagan, Dennis Cooper, Elaine Equi, Jerome Sala, Benjamin Weissman, Amy Gerstler, Ron Padgett, Michael Silverblatt and others with whom I’m less familiar.

Transition Forty-Eight #1 from January 1948 edited by Georges Duthuit. The object of this journal, according to the editorial statement, is to “assemble for the English-speaking world the best of French art and thought, whatever the style and whatever the application.” The contributors to this issue include Jean-Paul Sartre, Rene Char, Antonin Artaud, and Georges Bataille. The issue begins with rambling post-Surrealist essay by Duthuit called “Sartre’s Last Class”, which begins, “A duel between men of letters, the last perhaps, for we are being watched, gentlemen, and not indulgently!"

Also picked up a Signature anthology of mostly UK writing which includes Samuel Beckett, Eva Figes, Aiden Higgens, and Eugene Ionesco, as well as Donald Barthelme's The Dead Father.

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