SEMINA (Berman, Wallace)

Nos. 1-9 (all publ.) Los Angeles / San Francisco, 1955-1964. Each no. different size varying between (h/w): 28 x 23 cm and 14 x 8 cm.

- No. 1. Red-brown envelope of heavy stock (19,2 x 10,2 cm) with photograph (11,7 x 9,8 cm) by
Wallace Berman (with his signature) glued to the front. 150 Copies, first and final printing (this being one of the very few remaining copies after the confiscation by the police of practically the whole edition). Envelope well preserved,but has some closed tears to the left lower corner. The contents (fine) are 10 inserts of printed poems on various stock in different colours, photographs and drawings: the colophon-insert, a drawing by
Cameron which led to the arrest of Wallace Berman is fine (glued to a piece of carton), a poem by E.I. Alexander, "The Detective" by Jean Cocteau, "An unpublished letter to some lost relatives" by David Meltzer, "To a toccata by Bach" by Herman Hesse, "Two poems" by Peder Carr, a poem by Marion Grogan, a photograph glued to a piece of carton signed on the back by
Walter Hopps, a photograph "Homer" signed on the back by
Charles Brittin.

- No. 2. Booklet (21,5 x 14 cm) with light-brown cardboard covers and 28 pages of light-brown stock. Poems and illustrations of varying sizes glued onto the pages. Photograph on the cover by
Charles Brittin (as is handwritten in ink by Berman (?) on the inside back cover . 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 by Pantale Xantos (= pseudonym of Wallace Berman), 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". Glued to back-cover is the rare 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.

- No. 3. "Peyote Poem". 200 Copies. Very slight soilage to the front and expert repairs to small marginal tears and spine. Photograph glued to brown folded sheet (28 x 23). Inside a long folded sheet (56 x 16 cm) with a poem by Mike McClure. On the bottom an ink notation: "This copy for Brian Kirby … Michael McClure".

- No. 4. San Francisco, 1959. "Type handset on beat 5 x 8 Excelsior handpress … Art is Love is God". Sheet of heavy brown stock, folded in the spine (24 x 20,2 cm) with on the cover photograph "Wife" by
Wallace Berman. Inside, kept in a pocket glued to the cover, are 23 inserts of printed poems, photographs and drawings, all in different size and colour: a poem by John Wieners, a poem by Charles Foster, "Dear People" by Robt. Kaufman, photograph by
Chas. Stark with poem by John Reed written on it, "cat digging walls" by Ray Bremser, a poem by Michael McClure, "Oil And Blood" by W. B. Yeats, a poem by Ron Loewinsohn, "To God" by Wm. Blake, "excerpt from Pantapon Rose:" by William S. Burroughs, a poemby Stuart Perkoff, "To Lindsay" by Allen Ginsberg, a poem by Chas. Guenther, "Sur un Mystere" by Pierre Jean Jouve, a poem by Beverly Collins, "The Point Encased" by I.E. Alexander, a poem by Jules Supervielle, "Talking Buddhism With My Lawyer" by John Chance, a poem by Philip Lamantia, "Sampson Agonistes" by David Meltzer, "A Thimble Of Goodbye" by Idell T. Romero, a poem by Pantale Xantos (= Wallace Berman), a folded sheet with 9 photographical illustrations "Excerpts from a film now in progress entitled 'Semina' by
W. Berman".

- No. 5. Folded cover sheet, the "Mexican Issue" , the front cover featuring a Charles Brittin photograph of a Mayan stone phallus.
Charles Brittin (18,7 x 12,3 cm). No place or date. 350 Copies. Mint condition. Inside, kept in a pocket glued to the cover, are 18 inserts of printed poems, photographs and drawings, all different in size and colour: a photograph by
Anne McKeever, "From Compass" by Ruth Weiss, a poem by Christofer Maclaine, "Sister Juana Ines Of The Cross" by Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz (Mexico's first poet 1651-1695), "I Mexico After Artaud" by Kirby Doyle, "Floridas" by John Hoffman, "How I Died" by John Chance, a poem by Robt. Kaufman, "Rockets" by Larry Jordan, "Memoria" by Philip Lamantia, a folded sheet with a poem and a drawing by
John Reed, a poem by David Meltzer, "excerpt from 'Le Mexique et la Civilization' by Antonin Artaud, "Peyote Poem" by John Wieners (with original pencil drawing), "Morning" by Wm. Margolis, a photograph by
Pantale Xantos (Wallace Berman) 9.8.59, a handwritten poem by Michael McClure, a drawing by
Sanzen Bach.

- No. 6. Larkspur Calif. 1960. Folded sheet with 5 photographical illustrations by
Wallace Berman (21,6 x 15,4 cm). 355 Copies printed. Inside, kept in a pocket glued to the back of the cover "The Clown" a poem by David Meltzer (13 pp. text and 1 pp. an illustration by
Wallace Berman). With handwritten dedication "4.6.68 - For Brian and Lauraine".

- No. 7.
"ALEPH / a gesture involving photographs drawings & text by Wallace Berman". 200 Copies. Larkspur Calif. 1961.
"For Shirley & Tosh. I love you". Folded sheet (20 x 14 cm) with photograph glued to the front. Inside, kept in a pocket glued to the back cover are 18 inserts of printed poems, photographs and drawings, all different in size and colour by
Wallace Berman: a 'postcard' to David Meltzer with a photograph of John W., a poem called "First & last fearpoem, a poem called "Fairytale for Tosh, a photograph "For John Birch & Karl Marx" signed with
P. Xantos (Wallace Berman), a poem called "Opos", 7 photo compositions with the 'aleph' on them: "Bird 1920-1955", "Patricia J.", "Jarry H. Mill Valley", "Tosh - Larkspur 1960", marihuana leafs, etc., 1 photograph with poem, "Some easy-rider titles by Rohmer..", a poem "Rapist & voicethrower" which consists of numbers only, a poem called "Boxed city", a drawing with text to Goerge Herms, a paper strip imprinted "Art is love is God".

- No. 8. Los Angeles, 1963. Small portfolio (18 x 14 cm) made of 2 heavy pieces of cardboard and cloth spine (with the original closing-rope still present). Photograph (12,6 x 10,2 cm) glued to front cover. Inside, kept in a pocket glued to the back cover are 16 inserts of printed poems, photographs (some glued to piece of paper) and drawings, all different in size and colour and signed with initials only: a poem with small photograph signed L.F. (L.R.), a poem with photograph signed A. A., a photomontage, a drawing glued to a piece of brown paper "Fongmother", a poem "Le Chariot" by J. W. with small photomontage signed W., a photocollage signed W., a poem by Z. W. with glued photograph, a glued photograph signed W., a photograph with boxing scene signed W., a drawing of a womans head with a poem dated June 2 1962 signed
Cameron, a poem with photograph of hand 'giving the finger' signed J.K., a poem called "Ghost Tantra" with glued photograph signed M. M., a poem with glued photograph signed I. T. R., "Motorcycle Poem" signed K. D., a poem called "Increasing" signed R. D. with a glued photograph signed W., a drawing signed W. H.

- No. 9. 1964. Small brown envelope (numbered 6/26) with glued photograph showing the assasination of Lee Harvey Oswald, it was actually sent through the mail with a 5 cent postage stamp obliterated by the Los Angeles Post Office, addressed and delivered to Richard Brantigan, General delivery, Bolinas, Calif., signed W. B. Inside a poem by McClure (Double Murder!).
Ultra rare complete set of one of the most fundamental and groundbreaking periodicals 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.
The first issue formed an integrated part of Berman's first art exhibit, at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1957. The exhibit was raided by the L.A.-police and it resulted in his arrest for exhibiting 'lewd and lascivious pornographic art'. He was found guilty and jailed by the same judge who found Henry Miller guilty on similar charges. The entire edition of the first issue was confiscated and destroyed. The copy present in this set is one of the very few surviving ones, and includes the photographic reproduction of the Cameron artwork, which was the cause of the legal action. Berman moved to San Francisco and No. 2 holds the rare little manifesto (present in the set) with the statement: "I will continue to print Semina from other locations that this city of degenerate angels"
Contributors included were: Hermann Hesse, Jean Cocteau, W.B.Yeats, Paul Eluard, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Valery, William S. Burroughs, Michael McClure, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Lamantia, David Meltzer, e.i.alexander,Bob Kaufman, and others. Photographs by Berman, Walter Hopps, a.o. (Ref.:Clay/Phillips)

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