Poetry is Indispensable by Stefan Themerson

Poetry is Indispensable by Stefan Themerson

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Author: Stefan Themerson

Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2020)

In 1971, giving opening remarks at the Little Press Book Fair in London, Stefan Themerson of Gaberbocchus spoke of “the concrete objects created by Little Presses” as “poetic events, poetic happenings in their own right.”

The book fair was organized by ALP (Association of Little Presses), an advocacy organization founded in 1966 by Bob Cobbing of Writers Forum and Stuart Montgomery of Fulcrum Press.

In 1972, part of Themerson’s address was published in the “ORGS” issue of Small Press Review (#12), edited by Len Fulton, who, in 1968, had helped to establish COSMEP (Committee of Small Magazine Editors and Publishers), a grassroots union with a mission similar to that of ALP and other small press associations formed in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

This tri-fold broadsheet, or mini-poster, with an excerpt of Themerson’s remarks, was printed at the UDP studio—in a combination of letterpress and digital-mimeo—in the spring of 2020, at the time of the COVID-19 crisis in New York, as a reminder of the “poetic happenings” given us by small presses of the past which continue to inspire our own work.

The purchase of this broadsheet supports the publication of what Jean Cocteau called “indispensable” poetry… “If only we knew for what!”