New York: The Floating Bear, 1961-1968. 29 separate numbers of this mimeographed publication, varying pagination; each item 8-1/2 X 11 in., stapled, as issued, and folded for mailing. General soil and occasional staining; good copies, intact and without tears. Item #206052
A substantial run of one of the most consequential and elusive periodicals of the later Beat era. Floating Bear was founded by Di Prima and Jones (later Amiri Baraka), who edited it together through 1963; Di Prima carried on after Jones's departure. This set includes issue numbers 1-23 complete, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, and 35. Floating Bear was not sold, but was sent to a small group of subscribers. This set belonged to original subscriber, the poet Russell Edson, to whom 25 of the numbers are addressed, either by label or by hand. The roster of contributors to Floating Bear includes most of the major figures of the downtown poetry scene: Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Michael McClure, Frank O'Hara, Charles Olson, Joel Oppenheimer, Philip Whalen, Bill Berkson, Denise Levertov, John Ashbery, A.B. Spellman, and many more. Issue #9 was the subject of a famous obscenity case generated by William Burroughs's "Roosevelt After Inauguration" and Jones's "System of Dante's Hell." Issue #16 includes Gilbert Sorrentino's review of Sonny Rollins's first gig returning from his two year hiatus on the Williamsburg Bridge. Fragile, ephemeral, and not produced with any intention of long-term survival, issues of Floating Bear are uncommon, and extended runs are exceptionally scarce.