Wednesday 29 February 2012
Further to your obituary of Barney Rosset (28 February), Evergreen Review and Grove Press were oases in the deserts of Dullsville in the late 1950s, as far as international publications featuring avant-garde writing were concerned, writes Michael Horovitz. I particularly valued Rosset's championing of Samuel Beckett some time before he became a household name. And it was in an early Evergreen Review that I was delighted to discover the then still unknown student Pete Brown's first minimal poems, near-haiku with a Cockney music-hall punchline, which he had simply sent in on spec.
This led to our meeting soon after and going on the road with a jazz-poetry bardmobile still going strong today. I had already met and collaborated with most of the Beat Generation writers Rosset helped introduce, and New Departures (dubbed in 1960 by the TLS as "The most substantial avant-garde magazine in Great Britain) was and remains probably the closest UK-Europewide counterpart to Evergreen and Grove. It was nice to have my own poems appearing in Evergreen over the years, and when I got to touring the States, passing Grove's offices near New York University was always enhanced by the pleasant sight of a giant photograph of Beckett across the front.
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