Academic journal article The Review of Contemporary Fiction

Ed Sanders and Black Sparrow Press

Academic journal article The Review of Contemporary Fiction

Ed Sanders and Black Sparrow Press

Article excerpt

As a longtime friend of both John Martin of Black Sparrow and Ed Sanders, I was happy to be able to bring the two together some five years ago in what seemed at the time, and still seems, if not exactly a marriage of true minds, at least an appropriate conjunction of attitude and purpose, both men being committed to an art founded on realism and speaking directly from the heart to as many intelligent people as will listen.

John is a canny veteran of the publishing game who also happens to know his own mind and makes decisions, in most cases, pretty much on the basis of an instinctive hunch that takes in at the same time his very specific aesthetic tastes and his absolute understanding of the bottom line. John is of the old school, too few of whose graduates are left. His decisions are quick, clear, and unequivocal. He considers over a thousand book proposals every year. When I told him I wanted him to look at an Ed Sanders collection--the book that became Hymn to the Rebel Cafe--he replied on the spot that he would do the book as long as Sanders was willing to include the poem "By Pont Neuf," a memorable "meditation on bad blood" which Martin had recently seen in a little magazine. When I told John that the poem was indeed included in the manuscript, he responded that he would do the book. Hymn was soon out with a collage cover by Barbara Martin that perfectly captured the book's hippie-period tone, its atmosphere of tragicomic socialist revolution. …

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