Same as It Ever Was (Look Where My Hand Was)

NB: Paper Cut Flophouse was a group blog that ran in the late aughts. Most posts were written by two contributors: me, using the pseudonym Roman Briton, and my friend Pompeston, the mastermind of the endeavor. This is a cross-posting of a post I originally wrote for PCFH; here’s a link to the original.

The blogging revolution is the desktop publishing revolution is the photocopier revolution is the mimeo revolution is the typewriter-and-carbons is letterpress is surely some other democratizing technology of reproduction not lodged in my all-too-short historical memory (is the telephone? is the telegraph? is the Gutenberg?):

I’ve never liked mimeo. Sure, it’s fast and it’s cheap but it doesn’t look like a book. If you can do it yourself, why bother? […] Somebody once described mimeo publication as “punk publishing” and that made it work for me for a while. But not really. […] I like these shiny books: they look commercial, real, they look American. If only the stupid publishers and the brilliant poets could get together. Mimeo skirts all that so the publisher is the poet’s best friend or even the poet and that’s that. Your family won’t believe it’s a book but so what. They also are unable to read your poems. So I have only set my hand once to mimeo publishing but it was an act of revenge in my heart—we did an anthology of poems ourselves in response to another slicker inferior one. Mimeo was effective in this case—fast & cheap. It wasn’t like killing someone, it was like throwing a beer in their face.

—Eileen Myles, in The Poetry Project Newsletter, March 1982; from A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing, 1960 – 1980: A Sourcebook of Information, Steven Clay and Rodney Phillips.