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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Little Caesar Press (1976 – 1982), a checklist

Little Caesar Press (1976 – 1982)
Editor/publisher/designer/typesetter/distributor: Dennis Cooper
3373 Overland Avenue, #2
Los Angeles, California 90034

‘Dennis Cooper started Little Caesar Magazine in 1976 as a literary journal with an anarchist, punk rock spirit. From its humble beginnings as a skinny, low-tech zine dominated by poetry, it grew into a book sized magazine featuring poetry, fiction, portfolios of art and photography, essays, special theme issues, and interviews with a wide range of writers, artists, and pop culture figures (ranging from teen idol Leif Garrett to musicians like Johnny Rotten and Gram Parsons to porn director Toby Ross, to name but a few).

‘In 1978, Cooper started Little Caesar Press, which wound up publishing 24 books of poetry and fiction by young and established contemporary authors (Joe Brainard, Amy Gerstler, Eileen Myles, Peter Schjeldahl, Elaine Equi, Ronald Koertge, Gerard Malanga, Tom Clark, et. al.), as well as the first and only English language translation of Arthur Rimbaud’s final work, “Travels in Abyssinia”.

‘By the time the magazine ceased production after twelve issues in 1982, its contributors included such people as Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Nico, Debbie Harry, Brian Eno, and many others.

‘These days, issues of Little Caesar are highly sought after and have sold on the collector’s market for as much $800.’ — DC.net

 

Books

Dennis Cooper TIGER BEAT (1978)
poetry

Limited signed edition w/ art insert: 15 copies
1st edition: 500 copies
2nd edition: 350 copies
3rd edition: 500 copies

 

Gerard Malanga 100 YEARS HAVE PASSED (1978)
Cover photograph by the author
prose poems

Edition: 800 copies

 

Arthur Rimbaud TRAVELS IN ABYSSINIA AND THE HARAR (1979)
Translated by Scott Bell
previously unpublished non-fiction

1st edition: 1000 copies
2nd edition: 1500 copies

 

Tim Dlugos JE SUIS EIN AMERICANO (1979)
Cover photograph by Richard Elovich
poetry

Edition: 800 copies

 

Ron Koertge SEX OBJECT (1979)
poetry

Edition: 800

 

Oswell Blakeston JOURNEYS END IN YOUNG MAN’S MEETING (1979)
Cover photograph by Peter Warfield
prose poems

Editions: 800 copies

 

Dennis Cooper, editor COMING ATTRACTIONS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN POETS IN THEIR TWENTIES (1980)
Cover art by Duncan Hannah
featuring Charles Baxter, Donald Britton, Peter Cashorali, Kevin Jeffery Clarke, Joel Colten, Dennis Cooper, Tim Dlugos, Elaine Equi, Cheri Fein, Bob Flanagan, Brad Gooch, Steven Hall, Steve Hamilton, Wayne McNeill, Eileen Myles, Anne Pitrone, Jerome Sala, Jack Skelley, Stephen Spera, David Trinidad, Diane Ward, Bernard Welt

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Elaine Equi SHREWCRAZY (1981)
Drawings by Steven F. Giese
poetry

Edition: 800 copies

 

Joe Brainard NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT (1981)
Cover art by the author
poetry

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Donald Britton ITALY (1981)
Cover art by Trevor Winkfield
poetry

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Kirby Congdon FANTOCCINI: A LITTLE BOOK OF MEMORIES (1981)
Cover photograph by Nita Bernstein
prose poems

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Peter Schjeldahl THE BRUTE (1981)
Cover and drawings by Susan Rothenberg
poetry

1st edition: 1000 copies
2nd edition: 800 copies

 

Tim Dlugos ENTRE NOUS (1982)
Cover photograph by Rudy Burckhardt
poetry

1st edition: 1000 copies
2nd copies: 800 copies

 

Amy Gerstler YONDER (1982)
Cover photographs by Judith Spiegel
poetry

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Ron Koertge DIARY COWS (1982)
Cover art by Bill Womack
poetry

Edition: 1000 copies

 

James Krusoe JUNGLE GIRL (1982)
Cover art by Henri Rousseau
poetry

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Michael Lally HOLLYWOOD MAGIC (1982)
Cover photograph by Lynn Goldsmith
poetry and prose poems

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Lewis MacAdams AFRICA AND THE MARRIAGE OF WALT WHITMAN AND MARILYN MONROE (1982)
Cover art and fold-out poster by Henk Elenga
poetry & prose poems

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Eileen Myles SAPPHOS BOAT (1982)
Cover art by the author
poetry

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Jack Skelley MONSTERS (1982)
Cover designed by Stephen Spera and Sheree Rose
poetry and prose poems

Edition: 1000 copies

 

Planned but never published

Steven Hall NEW AND IMPROVED (1983)
Cover photography and design by Sheree Levine
poetry

Brad Gooch JAILBAIT AND OTHER STORIES (1983)
Cover photography by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
stories

Anne Pitrone THE POVERTY JOURNAL (1983)
Cover art by the author
fiction

 

Little Caesar Press Catalog (1982)
Cover art and design by Henk Elenga

Edition: 1500 copies

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. Author/musician/d.l. Jeff Jackson recently kind of suggested that I make a post about Little Caesar Press, the little publishing house I ran in the late 70s and early 80s. So here it is. I don’t have copies of the books here with me or any illustrative evidence, so the post is pretty bare boned. But maybe it’ll be of interest if any of you are curious to see what the press put out during its short existence. And feel more than free to ask me anything about the press or the individual books if you want. As I don’t have copies of Little Caesar Magazine and would need to have them here or do research that I can’t at the moment to represent them adequately, I’ll save that for a future post about the magazine itself. Anyway, hope there’s something here for you. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Disturbing about your high school friend. I think the fact that porn could only be watched in a theater where one had no control over the manner of its presentation in those days made all the difference. And that context suggested that porn could try to compete artistically with non-porn films. Viewers allowed the porn to go off in narrative or experimental directions and accepted them because they had no choice. There are some very indie, experimental porns being made out there in the margins, and it wasn’t that long ago that there were a few ambitious porn makers like the Czech company Man’s Best who made huge, elaborate, multi-part historical costume epics starring young street hustlers, but it does feel like a lifetime ago now. ** Armando, Hi. The multi-posted comment didn’t bother me in the slightest. I only mentioned it because commenters often can’t see their own comments here so you would know that happened. You can relate whatever you want to me. if you don’t want me to respond honestly to something you write, just let me know. I hope your mood and the world around you have improved or will ASAP. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Ha ha, weirdly, weirdly even to me, I read the Guattari book under recently lockdown and it totally hit the spot. Don’t know why, yeah. Aw, good on you guys for rescuing the poor hedgehog. Paris has this really great pigeon rescue group that collects injured or ill pigeons when you alert them and nurse them back to heath. Considering the general disdain for pigeons, that’s pretty cool of them. ** John Christopher, Hi. Oh, wow, that’s a curious Bresson to start with. Interesting. It’s a fave of mine. No, Bresson’s performers are always only in one film. He wanted the performers to always be unknown and unfamiliar so viewers would watch the films with no outside associations or foreknowledge that they were going to be watching an actor act. None of his performers were trained actors. The main guy in ‘FNoaD’ I met and spent an evening talking with him about 10 years ago. He’s a physicist. Extremely nice guy. That was his only acting gig ever, although he did stay close with Bresson and work behind the scenes with him on later films. Happy you’ve had your first Bresson experience! ** Misanthrope, Well, yeah. You know me: I personally find no value whatsoever in trying to understand or assess someone using the filtering of preset categories, generalisations, collective identifiers, and so on. For me that approach is the enemy of true understanding of people and what they do, but that’s just me. Ha ha, yes, I say go Horshack while you’re still young enough to pull it off. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Hope this post fills the bill even in a rudimentary way. It’s a terrific book — the Guattari — if you’re ever in the mood. Also, he’s kind of hilarious. Ah, I think I remember you telling me about those filmmakers you know when you were here. I’ll go try to hunt down other works by them, and maybe I’ll get lucky and meet them here somehow. Because of the COVID thing, Jeremy’s Klossowski book was delayed and isn’t out yet. I actually made a trip last week to After8 specifically to buy it, and they said copies won’t be available until the beginning of June. You can preorder it now. ** Steve Erickson, I know about the Evangelion film, but I haven’t seen it yet. Yeah, I’ve heard it’s fascinating. I’m waiting/looking for an opportunity. Uh, I have no idea whether that happened for MUBI Europe. Wow, I’ll go check. That would be amazing. Thanks for the alert. ** Okay. Little Caesar Press is your blog meal today if you’re hungry for it. See you tomorrow.

17 Comments

  1. Hey,

    “You can relate whatever you want to me.”

    ^ Thank you very much; really. Same here from me to you.

    Great Post Today! Thank You! I’m gonna have to check it out later because I literally just found out about it and I’m going to try to go to sleep now (it’s 03:36 here now) and I want to see it and revise it as thoroughly as possible.

    The “Doomsayers” post was excellent, btw. Thank you.

    Do you have a favorite place/spot in Paris, whatever it is? Obviously it doesn’t have to be a touristy place at all. A bookstore, a café, a road/street, a house, a park, a historical site?

    Left you a little, very quick question via fb (remember I’m there under another name). Hope you can check it out and answer it.

    Any specific plans for today?

    Take care,

    Good day, good luck,

    Love and Hugs,

    a.

  2. “if you don’t want me to respond honestly to something you write, just let me know.”

    ^ Oh, no, *NEVER*. I value honesty and sincerity way, way waaaayyy too much.

  3. Hi D

    I hope alls well with you? I keep meaning to jump back in the comments here but my attention span is shot with all the weirdness.
    This is great 🙂 and also that’s my pic up top 😉 think I have 7 of the series & one Issue of the magazine. Nice to have a complete list to peruse.
    I bet you have seen Mubi just got 20 times better with the library feature. I think it’s changes depending on my country your in? Thankfully a few things I’ve missed are back for viewing.

    Jx
    Ps. Have you read Harry Dodges book?

  4. De-Lovely trip down Memory Lane. Alas, so many of the artists referenced here died of AIDS.

    Regarding gay porn one of my faves is Centurion of Rome. It was the most elaborate and expensive ever made, financed by the infamous Brinks armored car robbery. I do believe it was confiscated by the Fed as it was “evidence” in that crime. It starred “George Payne” who was quite the deal back in the day

  5. What a fantastic subject matter for a blog today. It brings back great memories of going to Papa Bach Bookstore in West Los Angeles, and purchasing most of the books that you put out. The LC 12, was a very influential publication for me. In a wonderful manner, your blog is still doing the job of giving notice to writers who would not or couldn’t get a notice from the mainstream press. One time or another, I had the entire run of LC. And I believe I still have copies, but they are all hidden between books, or even inside a book in my library. I really appreciate you putting out your press at that specific time. For sure, it gave me thoughts on working with my own publications through TamTam Books.

  6. Hey Dennis, hope you’re ok? I’ve checked this comments section sporadically to hear how things have been in Paris during this time. I’m happy for today’s post. I bought Coming Attractions last year, because it’s one of the cheapest and most frequent Little Caesar items to be found online, and it has brought me a lot of joy, it’s so rich. I lost my ID last year, because I had unconsciously used it as a bookmark, then I finally found it after five months between the Bob Flanagan poem Driving Into The World, which made that text more personal for me. I really appreciate the Tim Dlugos titles your press published. I have the A Fast Life collected book, I got the impression you two were really close. What was it like to work with him, editing Coming Attractions and then publishing his books? His poems give a very appealing impression of him as a delicate person with a whole-hearted and sentimental voice. Having read some comments you’ve made here regarding your new novel, I’m thinking if I Wished will go towards a somewhat similar direction with its tone? The title of it is already really raw and emotional for me, I can’t wait to be able to enter the form and structure you’ve composed for it.

  7. Hey Dennis – Thanks for putting together this Little Caesar day. It’s a huge treat to see all these titles and the cool covers. I really dig the designs and how varied they are. I didn’t know you did that. Seems like it must have been an incredible amount of work to do everything on it, but man, what an impressive run!

    I found a site dedicated to LC Press (“From a Secret Location on the Lower East Side” website) which listed these books, but had the Gooch and Pitrone as having been published. I turned in my poetry article earlier this week and should probably run a few things by you factcheck-wise, if that’s okay?

    Were any of these books ever reprinted by other publishers (apart from being included in ‘Collected Poems’ etc.)? Are there any that titles you feel are particularly overdue for rediscovery?

    That Rimbaud book looks particularly interesting, didn’t know it existed. What’s it like? Always been curious about Peter Schjeldahl’s poetry. I’m guessing you saw that essay he wrote in the NYer a few months back about his terminal cancer? He discusses his poetry some in that.

    Ah, totally makes sense about Jeremy’s Klossowski book. I’ll preorder it then. After 8 Books is so great. Been having a few dreams about Paris lately.

  8. LC Press looks to have been a wild ride! Lots of joy and some sadness coming through in this snaphot.

    Happy today to receive Bless This Acid House, a signed print by Jeremy Deller with proceeds going towards COVID-related charities.

  9. Wow, this is an amazing checklist. I’m a Ron Koertge fan, but that’s not how I imagined him at all. It’s going to color all my future Koertge reading experiences, haha. And by “bareboned”, I’m sure you’re not referring to that Oswell Blakeston cover. Once our bookstores open properly, I’ll have to go hunt for some of these items.

    So did the “planned but never published” items get nixed because you stopped running Little Caesar? I see Brad Gooch’s Jailbait ended up on a different press, and fetches significant sums these days (except for dubious offerings based in India).

    I really like your comments on how porn used to be presented and viewed. Such a different experience after VCRs, fastforward button and all.

    And on VCRs, I skimmed V/H/S: Viral, a universally panned horror anthology movie. Mostly to see the Benson/Moorhead segment, which was a fun fluff piece (skateboarding boys doing their thing and fighting Mexican zombies, lots of GoPro style footage). The Vigalondo segment is also worth a glance, with kind of a Primer-esque take on over-the-top body horror. Otherwise pretty terrible. On effedupmovies.com if you’re incredibly bored and in the mood to see skateboarders GoPro-ing.

    Bill

  10. Hi! Thanks for this post – it’s so cool! I tried to get hold of a copy of Little Caesar magazine but they are rare and expensive…hopefully, one day I’ll get it.
    I actually have some questions too….how did you choose who/what to publish? What was the main idea when you started out ? Have you ever considered running an independent press again?

    By the way, I caught up on recent posts and the ‘cannibals’ one was super interesting…has any of these cases been an inspiration for ‘The Marbled Swarm’ ?
    best wishes,
    Julia Gloria

  11. Derek McCormack

    May 23, 2020 at 1:15 am

    Great great great day today. Loved the Guattari, too! Love, Derek

  12. Dennis:
    Is it right to assume that individual copyrights prevent the LC books from being reprinted?
    It would be so wonderful to have access to these via PDF.
    Hope you’re well,
    Dave

  13. I’ve long thought that in the ’70s, the homophobia of the mainstream film industry led to hardcore gay porn directors having a level of ambition that’s long vanished from the field. If you wanted to have the kind of career Todd Haynes or Gus van Sant has enjoyed, you really couldn’t as an openly gay director in the US back then, so it felt like many frustrated filmmakers were using porn when they really just wanted to make narrative films. And there was an idealism around sex then that’s long gone.

    The whole EVANGELION series is on Netflix, at least in the US. I’m sure it’s out on DVD and Blu-Ray too. I’ve also watched HAPPY DEATH DAY & its sequel. They have their charms, especially the first one, but they also hint at a conceptual brilliance they don’t deliver on. You’d probably find them enjoyable airplane viewing.

    I got my new AC today. It went really smoothly – the whole process from buying it to having it installed and the old one removed took about 3 hours. That’s a real relief.

    Has anyone approached you about a “Best of Little Caesar Magazine” anthology?

  14. Dennis, Ah, some Tim Dlugos love. That’s what I’m talking about. And was just listening to Leif Garrett’s “I Was Made for Dancin'” a week or so ago. My brother and I had the 45 and would play it over and over.

    Yeah, sometimes, it takes a while to figure out not to go into meeting new people with preconceived notions based on rather…arbitrary facets of them. I can’t count how many times, when younger, I’d expect a person to be a certain way only to have all my preconceived notions blown up right in my face.

    Hell, if I wait too long, I’ll end up looking more like Juan Epstein (who, btw, was my favorite character on Welcome Back, Kotter).

  15. Corey Heiferman

    May 23, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I and probably lots of folks would be interested to read about the nitty-gritty of running Little Caesar: getting off the ground; selection and editing; design and printing; business/strategy; gossip,; etc. I think it could be a great case study for people who run or are looking to run some kind of publishing operation.

    It seems like there’s a consensus that doing journalism is good for a writer: that whole pounding it out by a deadline aspect. But I think editing can be really good too. Or at least I hope it is, because I’ve been so busy with copy editing gigs lately that I’ve had less time for my own writing. There must be some useful muscle built up by ixing broken sentences over and over again, even if it’s for something unglamorous like a jargony engineering magazine or master’s thesis.

    How’s your weekend shaping up? I made sesame noodles and the heat wave’s over so I again extend an invitation to teleport over.

    Regarding narrative/porn I happily found a Richard Kern DVD set at the video store. I’m finding just about everything is 100% trope but there’s something droll about it that makes it work. I liked Father-knows-best parody in “You Killed Me First” (weird that I think that was the first time I saw David Wojnarowicz on screen).

  16. Hey Dennis — long time no speak!

    Just wanted to drop you a line as a friend mentioned the band Yellow Tears to me the other day and it got me thinking about the show review I wrote for the blog. I think it was a casualty of Google’s censorship in 2016, so I’ve just put it up on my personal site: http://joshfeola.com/blog/review-yellow-tears-broken-neck-austin-march-2011/

    I hope you’re doing well and staying safe. Very much looking forward to reading Wrong next month to help pass the quarantine time!

    -Josh

  17. Hi Dennis, Matthew Stadler here, in Rotterdam. I’ve got your “Tiger Beat,” Eileen’s “Sappho’s Boat,” Tim Dlugos’s two books, and an issue of Little Caesar with an excerpt from (I think) “What’s for Dinner?” (James Schuyler fiction, anyway), though only “Entre Nous” is in my hands here; the others are out of reach in the USA. Email me, and we can catch up. matthew.stadler@tutanota.com Thanks Dennis, love, Matthew

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