New York: Hardware Poets, 1964. First Edition, First Printing. 8vo (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 pages; 217 x 140 mm), 16 mimeographed, unstapled pages (the four sheets laid in to one another). The scarce first issue of a newsletter issued to support the activities of the Hardware Poets Theatre, an Off Off Broadway venture featuring plays, poetry readings, films, and music. The theatre was located in a drafty loft above a hardware store on West 54th Street. The founders were Peter Levin, Audrey Davis, and Jerry and Elaine Bloedow, who subsidized the running costs. (For more on this group, as well as other Off Off Broadway companies, see the invaluable "Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement," by Stephen J. Bottoms, The University of Michigan Press, 2006.) Contributors include Audrey Davis, who tells what the theatre has been up to in recent months, as well as publicity for three plays by Susan Sherman. The poet Diane Wakoski, who is listed as "Software Editor," asks, in a rather roundabout way, for poetry contributions. There's also an article by Peter Levin on how HPP differs from Broadway. "God keep us from the pros who always come through and try nothing new," he writes. Not surprisingly for a venture that operated on a shoestring, there are requests for money. This copy was mailed to the great photographer Fred McDarrah at the Village Voice; his contact details appear on the lower wrapper. A scarce bit of ephemera from an exciting time in the Off Off Broadway and New York poetry scene. There were no other copies in commerce as of September 1, 2019. SCARCE. Item #2051
CONDITION: Vertical crease from mailing, some soiling to wrappers, sticker and postmark to lower wrapper, fading of the mimeographed contents of a number of pages but still readable. About Very Good.