Black Sparrow Press

1960s: Days of Rage

Sparrow 1 (October 1972)

“Perhaps the most familiar of all the literary small presses, Black Sparrow began life with the money John Martin got from selling (for $50,000) his collection of modern literature, which he had purchased over a period of fifteen years (primarily through trading the collection of more classical books he had inherited from his father). The first six publications of the press were broadsides (five of them by Charles Bukowski, who was published by the press until its closure in 2002). The first book was Ron Loewinsohn’s L’Autre. In an essay included in Brad Morrow and Seamus Cooney’s Bibliography of the Publications of the Black Sparrow Press (1981), poet Robert Kelly assesses the press that printed so much of his own work: ‘How much of these past two decades is represented in the Black Sparrow checklist? How much of it is still in print? What are…

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