SEMINA (Berman, Wallace)

Number 2. Los Angeles [and Jackson Street, San Francisco]: Wallace Berman / Stone Brothers Printing, 1957. Slim octavo; brown sheets, with variously-sized hand-printed papers tipped-in, saddle-stapled into cardboard covers with printed sheet applied to front wrapper; [28pp]; illus. Light wear along spine fold and extremities, faint stress creasing at right edge of rear wrapper, occasional light offsetting from applied papers onto each other, with author's statement lacking from rear panel, but supplied in facsimile.
Second issue of the most fundamental and groundbreaking periodical in American art and literature of the post-war period, in particular Beat and Underground. It was published as an assemblage and distributed by the visual artist Wallace Berman (1926-1976). Its circulation never exceeded a few hundred copies, it was not for sale but sent to an inner circle of writers and artists which Berman considered his friends and the reflection of his personal identity. 'Semina was a cult magazine' (Robert Duncan); "the magazine depicts the emerging subculture's aesthetics and its values" (Rebecca Solnit). It was thus at the same time an early example of 'mail-art'. Berman himself contributed under the pseudonym Pantale Xantos. Contains: "The bead game" by Hermann Hesse, "Patience" by Paul Eluard, "Poem for Alice" by Jack Anderson, a poem by Mike McClure, a drawing by
Jean Cocteau, a poem by Zack Walsh, "Incompatible" by Eric Cashen, a poem and, two photographs by
Wallace Berman, "Its Living Now" by J.B. May, "Tomb Of A Cursed Poet" by Charles Baudelaire, "Does a ghost have thighs" by Judson Crews, "Poem" by John Reed, a photograph by
Walter Hopps, "From "Cain's Book" 1957" by Alexander Trocchi, "Mine" by Charles Bukowski, a poem by Peder Carr, a drawing by
J. Altoon (signed on verso), "Circus" by Marcia Jacobs, a poem by Lynn Trocchi, "Incident" by Idell T. Romero, a photo-composition ("night and day") by
Lewis Carroll, a poem by David Meltzer, a poem by Marion Grogan, "The Sylph" by Paul Valery, "Excerpt from work in progress:" by Cameron, "His road" by Rabindranath Tagore, "Art is love is God" by Wallace Berman, "handset with miscellaneous available type & papers". Pasted onto back cover is a facsimile (replacing the missing original) of the manifesto, dated Los Angeles, Dec. 1957, by Wallace Berman on his arrest and conviction and the confiscation of Semina no. 1 because it "displayed lewd matter" in an exhibition at the Ferus Art Gallery. "I will continue to print Semina from locations other than this city of degenerate angels. "

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