Hard Press 1976-1987

“Revenge of the Pleasure Seekers” by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

“Homage to Baudelaire” by Kathy Acker

“telephone booth number 190” by Pedro Pietri

“The Origin of Hai Ku” by Maureen Owen

Poetry on postcards

After moving to New York City in 1976 I began attending poetry readings and workshops at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. My first workshop was with Ted Berrigan who was very encouraging. He suggested that everybody begin a small mimeo press like he had done with C Magazine and several people did.

I wanted to produce something that might reach a larger audience for poetry, as well as pay for itself, so I began Hard Press in 1977 to produce postcards.

I took advantage of the Print Center and worked with Bob Hershon and Frank Murphy. I bought custom paper from Gem Paper which was located on Broadway at the time and stretched all the way through the block to Crosby Street. I commissioned art for some of the cards and designed most of them myself. The cards were sold at book fairs as well as in Soho at Untitled Postcards and New Morning Books (thanks to manager Ron Kolm).

Over the course of the next decade I produced 26 different series of cards, representing the work of over a hundred poets and artists.

In addition to the cards, Hard Press also published three books. My own Employment of the Apes came first. Next was Obeying the Chemicals by Barbara Barg. And then, with design and printing help from my brothers Scott and Keith, and with Elinor Nauen as a co-editor, I published Three Zero, Turning Thirty. This anthology is about becoming thirty years old and features most of the Third Generation New York School, including Alice Notley, Bob Holman, Eileen Myles, Greg Masters, and myself. It has an introduction by Andrei Codrescu.

Hard Press lasted until I began Cover Magazine, the Underground National, in 1987.