The following list identifies the one hundred individuals who donated their blood to Eleanor Antin’s Blood of a Poet Box 1965–8 (Tate T14882).
The names of the donors are listed twice in the work itself: as a handwritten list of names pasted inside the box’s lid, and on labels affixed to each slide (with the exception of slides 18 and 84). The slide labels also feature the date on which the blood sample was taken, given in the format month/day/year. These dates are included in the list below in square brackets and have been written out in full to avoid confusion between the UK and US date format. Where a day or month is not fully clear on the label, a question mark is included next to it in the list below; where a number is present but not at all legible, this is indicated with an X. Life dates are also included for each individual in round brackets, where known.
The biographical details given here are not intended to provide comprehensive life profiles; rather, they focus on individuals’ circumstances around the time that Blood of a Poet Box was made, and their relations with Eleanor and David Antin and others represented in the work. Where biographies mention other poets featured in the box, their slide number is given in round brackets after their name, for ease of cross-reference.
1. David Antin (1932–2016) [22 April 1965]
Eleanor Antin’s first subject was her husband David, the poet, translator, editor of the poetry journal Some/thing, and prominent art critic. The two met at the City College of New York (he graduated in 1955, she in 1958) and they married in December 1960. From 1959 David published extensively in the little magazines and mimeographed journals that shaped the 1960s scene, and performed his poetry in New York and internationally. His book of poetry Definitions was published as a chapbook (a small pamphlet) by Clayton Eshleman’s (75) Caterpillar Press in 1967. By 1965, when Eleanor started Blood of a Poet Box, David had also made his name as an art critic, writing routinely for Kulchur magazine, among others, on the work of artists such as Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Robert Morris, Sol LeWitt and Carl Andre.
2. Diane Wakoski (born 1937) [22 April 1965]
Following her arrival in New York from California in 1960, Wakoski became involved in the East Side Scene, though she was also associated with the Beat movement. Her first collection of poetry, Coins and Coffins, was published by Hawk’s Well Press, which had been founded by Jerome Rothenberg (4), Diane Rothenberg and David Antin (1). In 1965, inspired by Eleanor Antin’s Blood of a Poet Box, Waskoski wrote ‘A Long Poem for Eleanor Who Collects the Blood of Poets’.1 Her work was included in Allen De Loach’s volume The East Side Scene (An Anthology of a Time and a Place)2 and Paul Carroll’s The Young American Poets,3 both published in 1968. Wakoski was married to Shepard Sherbell (51) from 1965 to 1967.
3. Wesley Day (born 1935) [22 April 1965]
Poet and friend of Diane Wakoski (2). His book of poems, On To Me Now, was published in 1959. In 1969 Day was included in the anthology In a Time of Revolution: Poems from our Third World, edited by Walter Lowenfels (59).
4. Jerome Rothenberg (born 1931) [2 May 1965]
Poet, editor, anthologist and translator of German poetry. Rothenberg met David Antin (1) at the City College of New York in the late 1940s, and Eleanor just a few years later. Rothenberg and David Antin collaborated on several writing and translation projects and in 1959 the two co-founded Hawk’s Well Press with David Witt. Under that imprint, Rothenberg published the early work of Armand Schwerner (27) and Rochelle Owens (8), as well as his own first book White Sun Black Sun (1960). He edited the journal Poems from the Floating World (1959–63), and in 1965 co-founded the journal Some/thing with David Antin.
5. Durward Collins [Jr] (born 1937) [15 June 1965]
African American poet who won the Hopwood Prize for Poetry at the University of Michigan in 1959. His best-known works include ‘Temperate Belt: Reflections on the Mother of Emmett Till’ (1962).
6. Allen Katzman (died 1985) [27 June 1965]
Poet (often publishing as Allan Katzman) and founder in October 1965 of the East Village Other, which published monthly, then fortnightly, then weekly. Katzman also ran open readings at various East Village coffeehouses, including Les Deux Mégots and Café Le Metro.
7. George Economou (born 1934) [27 June 1965]
Poet, translator, founding editor of the Chelsea Review (1957–60) and co-founder with Robert Kelly of the poetry magazine Trobar (1960–4), which published work by David Antin (1), Jerome Rothenberg (4), Clayton Eshleman (75), Frank Kuenstler (18) and others. From 1962 Economou was married to Rochelle Owens (8), whose name appears next in Antin’s Blood of a Poet Box.
8. Rochelle Owens (born 1936) [27 June 1965]
A poet and playwright, Owens was a regular contributor to the St Mark’s Poetry Project and Les Deux Mégots, and a key figure in New York’s off-off-Broadway theatre movement. In the mid-1960s her plays premiered at Judson Poets’ Theater and Café La Mama, among other venues, and her poetry was published in Trobar and Kulchur, and by Black Sparrow Press. Owens appears in both Blood of a Poet Box and Antin’s Portraits of Eight New York Women 1970. From 1962 she was married to George Economou (7).
9. Leonard [Lenny] Neufeld [27 June 1965]
While still a student at Brooklyn College, Neufeld co-edited (with peers Harry Lewis (19) and Robert Shatkin) the one-off poetry journal Pogamoggan. They were encouraged by the poet Jerome Rothenberg (4).4 Neufeld’s wife, the artist Martha Rosler, served as the publication’s art editor. He and Rosler left New York for California in 1968.
10. David Ignatow (1914–1997) [27 June 1965]
When Eleanor Antin approached Ignatow to participate in Blood of a Poet Box, he had already published several books of poetry, including Poems (1948), The Gentle Weightlifter (1955), Say Pardon (1962) and Figures of the Human (1964), although the latter was the first that garnered significant critical praise. Inspired by William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane and Walt Whitman, Ignatow was known for his treatment of subjects drawn from ordinary life and for his economy of language.5 He also had a significant career as an editor, including as associate editor for American Scene magazine (1935–7), co-editor for Beloit Poetry Journal (1949–59), poetry editor for the Nation (1962–3) and consulting editor for Chelsea magazine (1969–71).
11. Mary [E.] Mayo [27 June 1965]
Mayo performed her poetry regularly at Les Deux Mégots and was also associated with the Tenth Street Coffee House group along with Diane Wakoski (2). Her poems appeared in Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, among other publications.
12. Gail [Baugher] Kuenstler [27 June 1965]
Writer and visual artist, married to Frank Kuenstler (18). Her writing was published in the Eventorium Muse, and her artwork appeared on the journal’s cover. In 1972 excerpts from ‘The Journal of Gail Kuenstler’ were broadcast by the listener-sponsored New York radio station WBAI (Pacifica Radio) as part of The Diary Series, which was dedicated to women’s writing.6
13. Susan Sherman (born 1939) [27 June 1965]
Poet, playwright, community activist and founder in 1965 of IKON, a multicultural magazine of poetry and visual art, which published work by Yvonne Rainer (42), Margaret Randall (22), Anselm Hollo (58) and Ishmael Reed (76), among others. Sherman’s first book, Areas of Silence, was published in 1963 by Hespiridian Press and Hardware Poets Theater. The latter also premiered Sherman’s plays. Her poems appeared in the Nation, El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn and the Judson Review.
14. Paul Blackburn (1926–1971) [27 June 1965]
Poet and translator of Spanish literature and poetry. Several of his poems were published in Black Mountain Review, via which Blackburn became associated with the Black Mountain Poets, and he was included in Donald Allen’s 1960 anthology The New American Poetry, 1945–1960. In many ways, Blackburn epitomises the cultural networks that are embodied in Antin’s Blood of a Poet Box: he was a central figure in New York’s Lower East Side poetry scene, organising important readings at Café Le Metro, Les Deux Mégots, Max’s Kansas City, and the St Mark’s Poetry Project, which he had helped to establish. He made extensive recordings of the poetry scene, which are housed in his archive at the University of California, San Diego.7 In 1964–5, Blackburn hosted his own radio show, ‘Contemporary Poetry’, on New York station WBAI, which introduced listeners to the scene via readings, conversations and interviews with key contemporary poets.
15. David Franks (1948–2010) [27 June 1965]
Baltimore-based poet, writer, artist and editor of Magazine, a poetry journal published in the East Village in six issues between 1965 and 1967, each jacketed in contemporaneous pages of the New York Times. It featured, among other poets and artists, the work of Diane Wakoski (2), Wesley Day (3), Paul Blackburn (14), Ed Sanders (87) and Franks himself.
16. Jackson Mac Low (1922–2004) [27 June 1965]
Poet, composer and artist associated with the Fluxus group. In 1963 he co-published, with La Monte Young, the Anthology of Chance Operations, and from 1964 he participated in the Annual Festivals of the Avant-Garde in New York. Mac Low published several books of poems throughout the 1960s.
17. Seymour Faust (1924?–2017?) [27 June 1965]
Faust knew David Antin (1) when he was at the City College of New York, and his book The Lovely Quarry was published by Jerome Rothenberg (4) and David Antin’s Hawk’s Well Press in 1958.8 His poems also appeared in Trobar, Origin and other poetry journals.
18. Frank Kuenstler (1928–1996) [no label affixed to the slide]
Poet, assemblage artist and filmmaker, married to Gail Kuenstler (12). He taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York, edited the little magazines Bread& and Airplane, and was a founding member of The Eventorium, an arts collective on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, in whose quarterly journal, the Eventorium Muse, Kuenstler’s poetry was first published in 1964. Kuenstler’s first book LENS was published by Film Culture the same year.
19. Harry Lewis (1901–1985) [27 June 1965]
Probably a reference to the American communist poet Harold Harwell [H.H.] Lewis, who came to prominence in the 1930s with writing that focused on the plight of ordinary farmers and sharecroppers. Lewis was a friend of William Carlos Williams.
20. Harvey Bialy (born 1945) [2? August 1965]
Poet and biochemist: he studied the former at Bard College under Robert Kelley, and the latter at the University of California, Berkeley.
21. George Oppen (1908–1984) [26 September 1965]
In Paris in the 1920s, Oppen worked as a poetry editor, publishing work by William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound, among others. On returning to the United States in 1932, he co-founded The Objectivist Press, with which he published his first book, Discrete Series, in 1934. The press closed shortly afterwards, and Oppen would not write poetry again until the late 1950s. Instead he turned to communist politics and was forced to flee to Mexico in 1950 when investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee.9 Two books marked his re-entry into poetry: The Materials (1962) and This in Which (1965), both published by New Directions. Of Being Numerous (1968) won him the Pulitzer Prize.
22. Margaret Randall (born 1936) [14 October 1965]
Poet, translator and co-founder (with her husband Sergio Mondragón (23) and Harvey Wolin) of the bilingual Spanish/English quarterly poetry journal El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn. This was published from Mexico City and ran from 1962 to 1969, publishing the work of US and Latin American authors.10 It is likely that Randall first came into contact with David Antin (1) when he submitted his poetry for consideration in 1963.11 Randall also published work by Paul Blackburn (14), Harvey Bialy (20) and Clayton Eshleman (75). The journal was forced to close on account of its support of Mexico’s 1968 Student Movement, as a result of which Randall herself was forced underground in mid-1969.12
23. Sergio Mondragón (born 1935) [14 October 1965]
Mexican poet associated with the Beat movement and co-founder with Margaret Randall (22) of the bilingual Spanish/English quarterly poetry journal El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn. Early publications include Yo soy el otro (1964) and the anthology Poesía en movimiento: México 1915–1966 (1966). Mondragón’s strident editorial on the violent repression of the student movement in Mexico City appeared in El Corno Emplumado in October 1968,13 which also featured George Cohen’s photographs of the 1967 Pentagon protests in the US. Mondragón’s support of the Mexican student movement precipitated his departure to the United States shortly afterwards.
24. Allen Planz (1937–2010) [14 October 1965]
Poet, fisherman and poetry editor at the Nation from 1969 to 1973. His book A Night for Rioting was published in 1969, and Wildcraft appeared in 1975.
25. Hannah Weiner (1928–1997) [14 October 1965]
Poet whose visual approach to language positioned her at the centre of the confluence of poetry, performance and art in 1960s New York, where she organised poetry events at Max’s Kansas City, among other venues. In 1969, with Les Levine, Eduardo Costa and John Perreault, she organised The Fashion Show Poetry Event, a collaboration between poets and artists held at the Center for Inter-American Relations on Park Avenue. The following year, she invited an audience to observe her at work designing ladies’ underwear, in a performance entitled Hannah Weiner at Her Job.14 In the 1970s she began writing clairvoyance or ‘clair-style’ journalistic poetry that reproduced the hallucinated words she saw written on her body, face, clothing and the walls around her. Weiner is one of the subjects of Antin’s later series Portraits of Eight New York Women 1970.
26. George Dowden (born 1933) [14 October 1965]
Poet whose book Flight from America was published by Mandarin Books in 1954. In 1966 he wrote the book-length poem Renew Jerusalem, inspired by William Blake along with Dr Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg (61), Bob Dylan, Ed Sanders (87) and Michael McClure. It was published by Smyrna Press, New York, in 1969. Dowden was also the compiler of a comprehensive bibliography of the poetry and prose of Ginsberg published before 1 July 1967, a project that brought him into correspondence with Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (90), Gerard Malanga (86) and Gary Snyder, among others.15
27. Armand Schwerner (1927–1999) [14 October 1965]
Belgian-born poet associated with the New York scene of which David Antin (1) was a part. His early collections of poetry include The Lightfall (1963), (if personal) (1968) and Seaweed (1969). Schwerner’s best-known work was the long-term project The Tablets, which appeared in five volumes between 1968 and 1989, and performances for which he became well known in New York.
28. Murray Mednick (born 1939) [14 October 1965]
Poet and playwright who was involved with the off-off-Broadway theatre company Theatre Genesis, which was based in St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Attracted initially by the theatre’s staging of work by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (90), Mednick became a resident playwright there, and was appointed co-artistic director in 1970.16 Mednick was also a regular at the St Mark’s Poetry Project.
29. Spencer Holst (1926–2001) [14 October 1965]
Writer, storyteller, fabulist and translator who became known for his performances in venues including Max’s Kansas City and Judson Memorial Church, and on New York radio station WBAI. Holst’s first books were self-published. They included Thirteen Essays/Sixty Drawings (1960), a collaboration with Holst’s wife, the artist Beatte Wheeler, who also illustrated many of his other books. Later collections of writing were published by McCall, Horizon and Station Hill Press, the latter co-founded by fellow poet George Quasha (95).
30. Marguerite Harris (1899–1978) [14 October 1965]
Poet, publisher and conductor of poetry workshops, founder of the poetry journal Wand and director of the annual Woodstock Poetry Festival in 1964.
31. Alfredo de Palchi (born 1926) [12 December 1965]
An Italian poet and translator, de Palchi moved to New York in 1956. From 1960 he co-edited with his wife Sonia Raiziss (32) the biannual literary magazine Chelsea, co-founded two years earlier by George Economou (7).
32. Sonia Raiziss (1906–1994) [12 December 1965]
Poet, critic, translator and editor of Chelsea from 1960. Raiziss’s first poems were published while she was still a high school pupil and her first collection, Through a Glass Darkly, was published in 1932 when she was a student at the Sorbonne in Paris.
33. Ted [Theodore] Enslin (1925–2011) [5 January 1966]
Enslin’s first book, The Work Proposed, was published by Origin Press in 1958. Enslin never lived in New York; when Eleanor Antin solicited his blood for her box, he was living in Temple, Maine. Although he was not often at poetry readings, especially during the winter months, he was in close communication with some of the New York scene’s main protagonists, and corresponded regularly with Eleanor and David Antin (1) at this time.17
34. Art Berger [5 January 1966]
Poet whose Blow the Man Down was published in 1962.
35. Robert Newman (1927–2018) [5 January 1966]
Poet and director of the studio gallery Gain Ground Gallery at 246 West 80th Street, where Eleanor Antin first showed her series California Lives in 1970. Newman was closely involved with the concrete poetry scene, and gave readings of his work at the St Mark’s Poetry Project and other East Village venues.
36. Jack Anderson (born 1935) [13 January 1966]
A poet and dance critic, Anderson moved to New York in 1964 to work as an editor of Dance Magazine, a position that he held until 1970. His important reviews of New York’s experimental dance scene of the 1960s also appeared in Ballet Review and the New York Times, among other venues. His first books of poems, The Hurricane Lamp and The Invention of New Jersey, were published in 1969.
37. Carol Rubenstein [13 January 1966]
A poet whose works draw on anthropology and mythology, Rubenstein was an active participant in the New York poetry scene and associated with ethnopoetics.
38. Edwin Denby (1903–1983) [13 January 1966]
Poet and dance critic. Denby was, according to the poet and essayist Mary Maxwell, ‘a seminal and a cohesive figure, sparking and then linking several generations of American composers, performers, poets, and painters’.18 He counted among his friends Frank O’Hara, Ted Berrigan (53) and John Ashbery.
39. Michael Silverton [2? February? 1966]
Poet and chronicler for radio of the New York poetry scene. In 1966 Silverton produced an avant-garde poetry programme for New York radio station WNYC, including readings and interviews.19 Further recordings for radio station WBAI in 1967 (broadcast in 1968) included a reading by David Antin (1).20 In summer 1968 Silverton’s poetry was included in David Antin’s journal Some/thing.
40. Elaine Kraf (born 1946) [1X February 1966]
Poet and writer who published four novels between 1969 and 1979. Her first, I Am Clarence, was published by the New York-based press Doubleday in 1969. They would also publish The House of Madelaine in 1971. The formally experimental novel Find Him! was published by the small, non-profit East Village press Fiction Collective in 1977.21 The Princess of 72nd Street was published by New Directions in 1979.
41. Carolee Schneemann (1939–2019) [13 February 1966]
Painter, poet, dancer and creator of ‘kinetic theater’, Schneemann moved to New York in 1962. She quickly became a central figure in the avant-garde dance and happenings scenes that centred around Greenwich Village, via her involvement in the Judson Dance Theater. In 1964 Schneemann created one of her most well-known performances, Meat Joy, at the Judson Memorial Church. In 1965 her writing appeared in Some/thing, edited by David Antin (1) and Jerome Rothenberg (4), with whose poetry Schneemann herself identified correspondences.22 In her 1972 artist’s book Parts of a Body House Book, Schneemann would list both Eleanor and David Antin as among those ‘poets who understood best first what I made’.23
42. Yvonne Rainer (born 1934) [26 February 1966]
A dancer and choreographer, Rainer was a founder member of the Judson Dance Theater, which was established at the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square in Greenwich Village in 1962, and which numbered among its many associates Eleanor and David Antin (1).24
43. Jack Marshall (born 1936) [10 March 1966]
Poet whose first book, The Darkest Continent, was published by For Now Press in 1967. He was included in Paul Carroll’s The Young American Poets, published in 1968.
44. Kathleen Fraser (born 1937) [10 March 1966]
Poet and writer influenced by Black Mountain, New York School and Objectivist poets, including Frank O’Hara, Barbara Guest (89) and George Oppen (21). Fraser moved to New York City following her 1959 graduation from Occidental College, Los Angeles. She worked as an editorial assistant at Mademoiselle magazine, while studying at The New School and The 92nd St Y Poetry Center, where she was featured in the first Young Poets series. In 1964 she won the Frank O’Hara Poetry Prize and the American Academy’s Discovery Award. Her first book, Change of Address, was published by Kayak in 1968.
45. Toby Olson (born 1937) [10 March 1966]
Poet and novelist who moved to New York after completing a degree in English and Philosophy at Occidental College, Los Angeles. Olson taught at the Aspen Writers’ Workshop, which he co-founded in 1964, and at the New School for Social Research and Long Island University. He regularly read his work at New York’s many poetry venues.25
46. [Charles] Chuck Stein (born 1944) [10 March 1966]
Poet and translator. In 1966 Stein published several poetry books, including The Virgo Poem: Ouspensky Addresses a Congress of Virgoes and Provisional Measures, published by Gnomon Press.26 A key member of New York’s poetry scene, Stein also undertook significant collaborations with Harvey Bialy (20) and George Quasha (95).
47. Tuli Kupferberg (1923–2010) [10 March 1966]
Greenwich Village poet and co-founder of the satirical rock group The Fugs with Ed Sanders (87), whom Kupferberg met at Café Le Metro.27 Kupferberg was involved with the experimental Free University of New York, founded in 1965, and in 1958 founded the magazine Birth.
48. John Harriman (1940–2005) [10 March 1966]
In the early 1960s, Harriman was associated with the experimental troupe The Living Theater, travelling with them extensively throughout Europe. In New York, where he had grown up, he gave regular readings at the coffeehouses and poetry projects frequented by Eleanor and David Antin (1), including Max’s Kansas City and Les Deux Mégots.28
49. Frank Lima (1939–2013) [11 March 1966]
Poet associated with the second generation of New York School poets, although he was as reluctant to be categorised as such and was known as a Latino poet.29 In particular, Lima was friends with Frank O’Hara, with whom he collaborated in 1964 on a play, Love on the Hoof, intended for an unrealised film by Andy Warhol. Lima led workshops at the St Mark’s Poetry Project, and his poetry collection Inventory was published in 1964.
50. John Perreault (1937–2015) [11 March 1966]
A critic and visual artist, Perreault was editorial associate for ARTnews throughout the 1960s; from 1966 to 1974 he served as art critic for Greenwich Village periodical the Village Voice. Perreault was closely integrated into the New York art world of the 1960s, and was an early proponent of minimalism and land art.
51. Shephard [sic: Shepard] Sherbell (1944–2018) [17 February 1966]
In February 1966 Sherbell published the first and only issue of the poetry magazine East Side Review, which featured the work of Allen Ginsberg (61), Norman Mailer, Michael McClure, Peter Orlovsky (63), Gary Snyder and others. From 1965 to 1967 Sherbell was married to Diane Wakoski (2).
52. Joseph Ceravolo (1934–1988) [11 March 1966]
Poet and hydraulics engineer. Ceravolo began writing poetry in 1957, while stationed in Germany to complete army training, and later studied poetry at the New School for Social Research in addition to his degree in engineering. His book Fits of Dawn was published in 1965 by Ted Berrigan’s (53) C Press. Wild Flowers Out of Gas appeared two years later, and in 1968 his collection Spring in This World of Poor Mutts won the first Frank O’Hara Award for poetry.
53. Ted Berrigan (1934–1983) [11 March 1966]
A poet and editor who was considered part of the second generation of New York School poets. In 1964 he founded C magazine and also began publishing books under the C Press imprint. That year he self-published his collection The Sonnets, which was reissued by Grove Press in 1966. He was closely associated with the St Mark’s Poetry Project from its founding in 1966; the project was situated near to his home on New York’s Lower East Side.
54. Jim Brodey (1942–1993) [11 March 1966]
Brodey studied poetry with Frank O’Hara at The New School in New York. He was editor of the poetry journal Clothesline, which appeared in just two issues in 1965 and 1970. Under the imprint Jim Brodey Books, he also published small staplebound books, including his own, Fleeing Madly South, which appeared in 1967. Like many others included in Blood of a Poet Box, Brodey was involved with the St Mark’s Poetry Project. Among many other things, he organised an event at which Allen Ginsberg’s (61) Howl was recited in numerous languages simultaneously while Brodey directed proceedings in a red plastic raincoat.30
55. David Shapiro (born 1947) [11 March 1966]
Violinist, writer and poet whose first collection of poems, January, was published in 1965, when Shapiro was just eighteen. Though young, he was associated with the New York School both stylistically and as a frequent presence at poetry readings.
56. Sotère Torregian (born 1941) [11 March 1966]
At the time of Antin’s project, Torregian was mostly associated with the New York School of poets, though he also self-identified as a surrealist. He frequented Café Le Metro, where he attended readings with Paul Blackburn (14), Joseph Ceravolo (52) and David Shapiro (55), the latter two of whom donated blood to Antin on the same occasion as Torregian. He published his poems in Art and Literature, Paris Review and C, the magazine edited by Ted Berrigan (53). Torregian taught at the experimental Free University of New York and at Stanford University, where he helped establish the African American studies programme in 1969.
57. Philip Corner (born 1933) [15 March 1966]
A composer and musician who was intimately involved in New York’s avant-garde scene in the 1960s, Corner was a founding member of the Fluxus group from 1961 and resident composer and musician with the Judson Dance Theater from 1962 to 1964. His experimental compositions were performed at Judson, The Living Theater and other venues that also hosted poetry readings, happenings and experimental theatre and dance.
58. Anselm Hollo (1934–2013) [1X March 1966]
Finnish poet and translator who worked for the BBC European Services, and was also involved in the small press poetry movement in England. Hollo moved to the United States from London in 1967, so Antin must have requested his blood sample while he was visiting New York the previous year.
59. Walter Lowenfels (1897–1976) [7? April 1966]
Belonging to an older generation who came of age as poets during the 1930s, Lowenfels was active in the emerging labour and civil rights movements. In the 1950s Lowenfels became known as a poetry editor and anthologist; his books included the anthology of anti-war poetry Where is Vietnam? (1967) and In a Time of Revolution: Poems from Our Third World (1969).
60. Harold Dicker [7 April 1966]
A key member of the New York poetry avant-garde, Dicker was involved in the fight to prevent coffeehouses from being subjected to stringent licensing regulations, forming a committee with Ed Sanders (87), Jackson Mac Low (16) and Paul Blackburn (14) to lobby the city on behalf of non-commercial poetry readings.31 He gave readings at Les Deux Mégots and at St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery both before and after the founding of the Poetry Project at the latter venue. In 1966, like many others included in Blood of a Poet Box, Dicker took part in poetry read-ins in protest against the American Vietnam War.
61. Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) [7 April 1966]
Renowned Beat poet and writer Ginsberg attained infamy when his poem Howl was seized by US customs on the grounds of obscenity; the resulting arrest of his publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti (90) led to one of the most notorious censorship trials of the post-war decades. In 1961 Ginsberg published Kaddish and Other Poems. Although he did not live in New York when Antin approached him at a poetry reading, he was nonetheless closely involved in the poetry scene there throughout the decade.
62. Ron Connally [7 April 1966]
Poet and translator of Latin American poetry, whose work appeared in the poetry journal El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn and in Americas magazine. Connally edited the publication A Magazine for Cronopios from Washington, D.C.
63. Peter Orlovsky (1933–2010) [7 April 1966]
Poet and actor, who started writing poetry in 1957. His work appeared in Yugen and Outsider, among other magazines, and was included in The New American Poetry, 1945–1960 (1960) and The Beatitude Anthology (1965). He appeared in Robert Frank’s film Pull My Daisy (1959) and Andy Warhol’s film Couch (1965). Orlovsky was the long-time companion of Allen Ginsberg (61), whom he met in 1954. Antin approached the two for their participation in her work on the same occasion.
64. George Kimball (1943–2011) [7 April 1966]
Writer and editor of the Midwestern magazine Grist. Upon his arrival in New York, Kimball was involved in the poetry scene that coalesced around St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, while also working at the Scott Meredith literary agency. His work appeared in the Paris Review, Village Voice, Rolling Stone and other publications. He lived in the city until 1970.
65. Robert Nichols (1919–2010) [7 April 1966]
Poet whose first book, Slow Newsreel of Man Riding Train, was published by City Lights Press in 1962. Nichols was also a landscape architect with a construction business that had a storefront on the Lower East Side.
66. Erik Kiviat [7 April 1966]
Poet and publisher of the mimeograph chapbook poetry series Head, which appeared in six issues, each pairing an author and illustrator. His own poems and drawings comprised the third issue. Kiviat also produced a number of other mimeographed publications, including Yowl, Blue Beat, Cold Mountain Review and Museum of Memnon. Kiviat later became an ecologist and environmentalist.
67. [Carl] Fernbach-Flarsheim (1921–1996) [15 April 1966]
Concrete and visual poet whose publications included Uncomputable Poem for Compiler and Poem for Compiler: Version 2 (both 1966) and the loose-leaf collection of poetry and prose fragments From the Designer’s Sketchbook (1967). In January 1968 Fernbach-Flarsheim was the subject of a work by Jackson Mac Low (16) that comprised words only made up of letters from his name. It was manifested in black ink on white paper, published as an offset edition, and was also the source of what Mac Low described as a ‘verbal musical performance’.32
68. Allan Kaprow (1927–2006) [15 April 1966]
A leading proponent of the happenings movement that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Kaprow’s environments and happenings were staged at several venues in New York, including the Judson Gallery, Reuben Gallery and Smolin Gallery. In 1965 he published the book Assemblage, Environments & Happenings, a seminal collection of essays, statements and scores. In August 1966, a few months after she took Kaprow’s blood for inclusion in her work, Eleanor Antin participated in his happening Gas at the Montauk Bluffs in East Hampton.33
69. Wolf Vostell (1932–1998) [15 April 1966]
German artist and co-founder of the Fluxus movement who was involved in happenings in Europe and New York. He was also known as an early proponent of installation, technology and video art, including in his work 6 TV Dé-coll/age shown at the Smolin Gallery in New York in 1963.
70. Bici [Forbes] Hendricks (born 1932) [15 April 1966]
A poet and artist associated with the Fluxus group, Hendricks showed her word boxes, found object installations and event scores in several exhibitions at the Judson Gallery and Judson Poets’ Theater between 1966 and 1968.34 She later took the name Nye Ffarrabas.
71. Emmett Williams (1925–2007) [15 April 1966]
Poet and visual artist. Williams edited An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, published in 1967 by Something Else Press, where he served as editor-in-chief from the mid-1960s.
72. Alison Knowles (born 1933) [15 April 1966]
A visual artist known for her events, performances and publications, Knowles was associated with Fluxus, the experimental intermedia group founded in 1962. Under the auspices of Fluxus, Knowles produced a series of events and performances, such as Make a Salad (1962), that were based on minimal instructional scores. She worked with composer John Cage to produce Notations (1969), a book of experimental compositions. In 1963 she published the first of her book objects, Bean Rolls, which consisted of a can of texts and beans.
73. Charles Tomlinson (1927–2015) [17 April 1966]
English poet, editor and translator, whose books include Relations and Contraries (1951), A Peopled Landscape (1963) and American Scenes and Other Poems (published in 1966, the year that Antin involved him in Blood of a Poet Box). Though based in England, Tomlinson had a long and close relationship with American culture and poetry, remarking in an interview with the Paris Review that he ‘came to America at a period when the New York School had shifted attention from Paris to that city’.35
74. Harvey Shapiro (1924–2013) [17 April 1966]
Poet whose published collections include The Eye (1953) and Battle Report: Selected Poems (1966, the year Antin approached him to participate in her work). Shapiro was poetry editor at the Village Voice and in 1957 joined the staff of the New York Times, where in 1963 he would make a suggestion that resulted in the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s famous ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, never published in the Times but reprinted to profound effect in numerous other places.
75. Clayton Eshleman (born 1935) [25 May 1966]
Poet, translator and founder in 1967 of the literary review and imprint Caterpillar, which produced twenty issues, with the last appearing in 1973.36 Eshleman regularly published the work of David Antin (1) (although the two men would later fall out over poetic differences),37 Robert Duncan, Margaret Randall (22), Paul Blackburn (14), Cid Corman, Diane Wakoski (2) and Jerome Rothenberg (4). Several artists also appeared in Caterpillar, including Carolee Schneemann (41), Nancy Spero and Leon Golub. Eshleman lived in New York from 1966 to 1970.
76. Ishmael Reed (born 1938) [13 June 1966]
A poet, novelist, playwright and activist, Reed was co-founder of the countercultural newspaper the East Village Other in October 1965. He was a member of the Umbra Writers’ Workshop, writing with what he termed an ‘Afro-American aesthetic’.38 His research into and advocacy for the history of black Americans paralleled the rise of the black arts movement, though he was not a direct participant in that movement.39 His first novel, The Free-lance Pallbearers, was published in 1967.
77. Carol Bergé (1928–2006) [19 June 1966]
A central organiser and documenter of the Lower East Side poetry scene in the 1960s, Bergé counted among her close circle Paul Blackburn (14), Jackson Mac Low (16), Carolee Schneemann (41) and Diane Wakoski (2). Her poetry appeared in El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn, Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, the Nation and other small journals, as well as featuring in Amiri Baraka’s (LeRoi Jones’s) 1962 anthology Four Young Lady Poets. Her first collection, The Vulnerable Island, was published in 1964; Poems Made of Skin followed in 1968.
78. [Elazar] Larry Freifeld (born 1941) [28 June 1966]
A Jewish poet born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Freifeld gave his first poetry readings at St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery in around 1965.40 He was closely associated with Tuli Kupferberg (47), Jackson Mac Low (16), Paul Blackburn (14), Jerome Rothenberg (4), and others included in Antin’s box.
79. David Gallatin [7 July 1966]
The pseudonym of poet David Cumberland, who also used the name David Johnson. His book Machines and Illusions was published in 1960.
80. Ed Blair (1909–1967) [7 July 1966]
Poet, linguist and actor who performed in off-off-Broadway productions at the Judson Memorial Church and other venues in New York’s Greenwich Village and East Village. He was involved in a series of open air poetry readings at Gansevoort Pier, just below 13th Street.41
81. Will Inman (1923–2009) [7 July 1966]
Hailing from North Carolina, Inman was a poet, activist and editor from 1964 of the mimeographed poetry magazine Kauri.
82. Charles Rotenberg [7 July 1966]
The poet and photographer Charles Rotenberg frequented New York’s literary gathering places, including the Cedar Street Bar, the Five Spot, the Eighth Street Bookshop and Café Le Metro. He was involved, alongside Harold Dicker (60), Allen Ginsberg (61) and others, in the movement to challenge stringent licensing regulations for poetry salons in Greenwich Village. His poetry was included in the 1968 volume The East Side Scene (An Anthology of a Time and a Place). Rotenberg also photographed some of Greenwich Village’s avant-garde performances at venues such as the Judson Dance Theater, including Carolee Schneemann’s (41) performance Meat Joy 1964.
83. Dave Rasey [7 July 1966; date also appears crossed out on the list in the box lid]
Poet whose book Subways was published by Renegade Press, Cleveland, in 1964, the same year that his work featured in the Renegade anthology The Silver Cesspool, alongside that of Will Inman (81), Ted Berrigan (53) and others. Hailling from the Midwest, Rasey lived in New York in an apartment on East 12th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, near to St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery.42
84. D. Alexander [no date recorded on slide label]
Poet who regularly read in New York venues including the St Mark’s Poetry Project and Café Le Metro. In 1971 Alexander was included alongside David Antin (1), Harvey Bialy (20), Paul Blackburn (14), Jackson Mac Low (16) and others in the promotional brochure The New American Poetry Circuit, which listed poets available for public readings in other parts of the country.
85. Francisco Sainz (1923–1998) [18? August 1966]
Spanish painter who moved to New York shortly after the end of the Second World War and became associated with the New York School of artists. During the 1960s Sainz primarily showed his work with the Dorsky Gallery in Manhattan.
86. Gerard Malanga (born 1943) [19 September 1966]
In a letter to David Antin (1) dated 6 August 1965, poet, photographer and filmmaker Malanga provided the following biographical details to accompany the publication of one of his poems in the poetry journal Some/thing: ‘Gerard Malanga – associate of Andy Warhol’s on paintings and films since 1963. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Partisan Review, Lugano Review, Art & Literature, el corno emplumado, etc. This fall will assist Andy Warhol on art direction of Nathaniel West’s “Day of the Locust” to be filmed in Hollywood for Hogdon-Allen Productions.’43
87. Ed Sanders (born 1939) [26 October 1966]
Poet, musician, social activist, scholar and publisher. Sanders was founder of the mimeographed little magazine Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, which published thirteen issues at irregular intervals between 1962 and 1965, when Sanders was arrested for obscenity and the journal ceased publication. Sanders has described his editorial approach as favouring ‘joyful, satirical, freaky, and politically sensitive writing’.44 Indeed, he seemed to court controversy, with volumes produced under the associated Fuck You Press imprint including Bugger: An Anthology (1964), Despair: Poems to Come Down By (1964) and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s (90) To Fuck Is To Love Again (1965), and Sanders’s own volume Fuck God in the Ass (1967).45 Sanders was also founder and owner of the Peace Eye Bookstore, which he opened in a former Kosher meat store at 383 East 10th Street in 1964. It became an important venue for poets, writers, artists and the alternative press, and also hosted art shows. In the same year, Sanders co-founded the avant-garde musical group The Fugs with Tuli Kupferberg (47). On 1 January 1966, the Peace Eye Bookstore was raided by police, who again charged Sanders with obscenity, charges against which he was defended by the American Civil Liberties Union. The notoriety that the case brought led to his appearance on the cover of the 17 February 1967 issue of Life magazine, which proclaimed him ‘a leader of New York’s Other Culture’.
88. A.B. [Alfred Bennett] Spellman [Jr] (born 1935) [14 January 1967]
Poet and music critic. His first book of poems, The Beautiful Days, was published in 1965, and his seminal history of African American music, Four Lives in the Bebop Business, appeared in 1966. Much of his work fuses poetry, music and black culture, as in the poem ‘Did John’s Music Kill Him?’ (1969), an elegy to the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.46 Spellman was closely involved with the black arts movement alongside his former classmate Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), and undertook a national tour of historically black colleges with other African American poets in 1967. From 1968 to 1969 he worked as a political essayist and poet for Rhythm Magazine and in 1972 joined the faculty at Harvard to teach African American studies.
89. Barbara Guest (1920–2006) [27 January 1967]
In the 1950s Guest worked for the magazine ARTnews, but she came to be known as part of the first generation of the New York School poets, to whom she was introduced by the artist Tony Smith (indeed, she is the only woman poet usually included in this group). Her first collection of poems, The Location of Things, was published in 1960, and in the same year she was included in Donald Allen’s The New American Poetry, 1945–1960.
90. Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919) [27 January 1967]
Poet and founder in 1953 of City Lights booksellers and press in San Francisco. Both Ferlinghetti and City Lights were central to the North Beach Beat scene. In 1957 Ferlinghetti was put on trial for obscenity for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s (61) Howl and Other Poems.
91. Robert David Cohen (born 1945) [24 March 1967]
Active in the New York poetry scene of the 1960s, Cohen was also a performer in the New York version of Carolee Schneemann’s (41) Meat Joy in 1964. He moved to Mexico near the end of that decade, and married Margaret Randall (22), with whom he co-edited the bilingual journal El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn between 1968 and 1969.
92. Joanne Kyger (1934–2017) [13 May 1967]
Kyger was associated with the Beat and San Francisco Renaissance poets in California, including Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer and Gary Snyder. Despite this, she resisted these labels and also had social links to and stylistic affinities with other groupings, including the second generation of the New York School. Her first book, The Tapestry and the Web, was published in 1965. Antin’s work on Blood of a Poet Box coincided with the brief period in which Kyger lived in New York in 1966–7.
93. Leandro Katz (born 1938) [1 July 1967]
An Argentine-born artist and writer, Katz moved to New York in 1965. From 1976 he was also a prolific maker of experimental films.
94. Tony Weinberger [4 February 1967]
Poet who produced the slender publication Neon Orbit in 1960. This was intended as an offshoot of the journal Neon, although the latter folded shortly after.47
95. George Quasha (born 1942) [11 February 1968]
Poet, writer and editor of Stony Brook Magazine, in which both Eleanor Antin and David Antin (1) published work. In 1973 he co-edited the Open Poetry anthology with Ronald Gross, and in 1974 he co-edited, with Jerome Rothenberg (4), the anthology America, a Prophecy: A New Reading of American Poetry from Pre-Columbian Times to the Present.
96. Mike Heller (born 1937) [11 February 1968]
Poet, critic and essayist who, though living in Spain during the early 1960s, was nonetheless involved in the New York poetry scene during that decade. Heller was particularly interested in the Objectivist poets, and would write a series of essays on George Oppen (21). Heller wrote poetry as well as criticism, and his book Accidental Center was published in 1972.
97. Hugh Seidman (born 1940) [11 February 1968]
Poet whose first book, Collecting Evidence, was published by Yale University Press in 1970, winning the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition.
98. W.S. [William Stanley] Merwin (born 1927) [11 February 1968]
Poet and prolific translator. His first poetry collection, A Mask for Janus, was published in 1952, and he published several more books throughout the 1950s and 1960s, when his work expressed opposition to the American Vietnam War, most notably in The Lice (1967). From 1962 Merwin was poetry editor at the Nation. He moved to New York in 1968, and it is likely that Antin drew his blood just afterwards.
99. Howard Loeb [‘Howie’] Schulman [25 July 1967]
Poet and activist, member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York, and editor of the political poetry journal Pa’lante: Poetry Polity Prose of a New World, published by the League of Militant Poets in 1962. His connections with Cuba and perceived support of Fidel Castro drew attention from the FBI from 1961, and in 1963 Schulman was arrested in Morocco in connection with the murder of President John F. Kennedy, though this proved unfounded.48 Although housed in the box’s penultimate slot, the date indicates that this sample was taken earlier, so that it should have been placed 95th.
100. Hans Magnus Enzensberger (born 1929) [11 February 1968]
German poet, editor and translator whose first book of poetry, Verteidigung der Wölfe (Defence of the Wolves) was published in 1957, the year in which he first travelled to the United States. He had published four further books by the time he participated in Blood of a Poet Box.