KAYAK
AT THE CONFLUENCE
  

KAYAK PRESS EXHIBITION

We were proud to host the first full public exhibition of all 64 issues of Kayak, the ground-breaking journal published by George Hitchcock and his Kayak Press between 1964-1984.

Other Kayak Press editions on display include: 

 

>What the Grass Says -- Charles Simic's signed, first edition of his first book

>Pioneers of Modern Poetry -- A collection of found poems by 
                                                   George Hitchcock and Robert L. Peters

>The Intussusception of Miss Mary America -- William Harmon
                                                                         Illustrations by collagist Douglas McClellan

>A Japanese Journal -- John Tagliabue

>Maps 
>Fables and Transfigurations, 
>Longjaunes His Periplus  -- Howard McCord, all 3 on loan from the author

>Jean Varda Print Portfolio:
Very rare showing of a 1966 print portfolio printed by George Hitchcock of the work of his good friend, internationallly-known artist and collagist, Jean Varda.  (Hitchcock wrote his poem "For Jean Varda" for this artist.)  Set on loan from Varda's daughter Vagadu Varda, and grand-daughter, Joui Turandot.

Books by George Hitchcock:
Turns & Returns
The Counterfeit Rose 
Tactics of Survival
Piano Beneath the Skin
The Racquet" (novel)
Another Shore" (novel)
The Devil Comes to Wittenberg (play)

Photographs of George Hitchcock, including those  from the early seventies done by Jim Hair and Gary Griggs in Santa Cruz appearing with permission.  

The very first issue:  Autumn 1964.
 

      
Famous "Banner quote" from Kayak                           Issue #1: Table of Contents


        
Cover of Kayak #1                                                            First two poems to appear.                                                                        
 
 
Guests at the party......

Kayak's first female contributor appeared in the second issue.  Somebody named Margaret Atwood with "This is a Photograph of Me."  
 


Kayak 37 features an almost "jaw-dropping" Table of Contents -- a stunning list of poets all in one place, plus the first ever translation of Boris Pasternak's poetry into English, "despite Zhivago, Omar Shariff and the Nobel Prize," observes co-translator, Mark Rudman. 



 

And while we're on the topic of "jaw-dropping" -- one of the most visually striking "Table of Contents" pages in all of Kayak.




The Very Last Issue, May 1984.






KAYAK PRESS BOOK PUBLICATIONS

Charles Simic's first book of poetry, "What the Grass Says," published by George Hitchcock and kayak press in 1967.  Prints by Joan Abelson.  Simic was then an editorial assistant for the photography magazine, "Aperture."  Hitchcock also published his second book, "Somewhere Among Us a Stone is Taking Notes." (1969).





 





Virtually an "art book" now, Simic was less enamoured of it when it came out.

"Kayak was a poetry magazine in Santa Cruz, California, that published poets who more or less wrote like the surrealists. Its editor, George Hitchcock, was a theater actor and a poet influenced by Breton and Péret. After publishing many poems in the magazine over two or three years, he asked me to do a book. I was, of course, delighted. Even though it was cheaply produced, Kayak was widely read and respected. "What the Grass Says" came out in 1967 and was the second book the magazine published. The day it arrived, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was happy to have a book and at the same time astonished by how ugly it was. It embarrassed me to show it to anyone. The joke is that book made me known. It was distributed by City Lights, the same publisher that distributed Ginsberg’s best-seller Howl, so it got around. I had a number of reviews, most of them favorable. Every other poet in the country seemed to have read it, so I did another book with Hitchcock, "Somewhere Among Us a Stone Is Taking Notes." It was a bit better looking, though still amateurishly produced, but, as I said, my name became known."                  

                                                                 --  Charles Simic (Interviewed by Mark Ford) on his two first books, by Kayak Press.  From The Paris Review, "The Art of Poetry No. 90",  Spring 2005, No. 173.


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