Assembling was an annual compendium of “otherwise unpublishable” avant-garde art and literature compiled by Richard Kostelanetz and others between 1970 and 1982. Contributors were invited to send in up to four pages of 1,000 copies of 8 ½ x 11 pages, which were assembled alphabetically and bound into books.
I can recall taking my contributions to several editions of Assembling to Hanging Loose Press’s Bob Hershon at downtown Brooklyn’s Print Center, used by many artists and writers in those days before cheap copying.
My first few were prose experiments, but for 1979’s A Critical (Ninth) Assembling, I wrote a piece called “Some Young Writers I Admire” about ten people, several of whom were friends.
Three of the ten I lost touch with; I’m pretty sure they’ve stopped writing. There are a lot of casualties in literature.
I’d like to post about some of the others in the coming days, people still around, writing and publishing, like me, after more than 30 years.
The one pick you’ve probably heard of was then a poet. I praised his chapbooks Tiger Beat (Little Caesar Press, 1978) and Idols (The SeaHorse Press, 1979) and the little magazine he edited, Little Caesar, which I subscribed to. At the time I wrote the piece, he was the director of programming at Venice’s Beyond Baroque center, which had published several of my stories in their literary magazine.
I did not mention that once he had sent me a folded-over piece of paper on the outside of which he’d scrawled: Prepare to meet thy God. Inside, when I opened it, I found a rare colored Xerox photo of Leif Garrett.
The poet and editor I admired is famous today as a novelist: Dennis Cooper.
More of my admired no-longer-young writers in coming days.