Washington DC: [ca. 1975-1980]. 25 audio cassettes, representing approximately as many hours and some 40+ readers. Generally very good overall. A preliminary digitization of all recordings is available. WITH: over 65 original flyers for these and other readings in the Folio Series, as well as around DC. Flyers generally near fine. All housed together in archival box. Item #22829
"What created such excitement and incredible energy during the 1970s in Washington was the fact that recognition and validation did not require endorsements from the established literary world. It was available through our own resources” (Doug Lang, “DC in the 1970s”). While the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E communities in New York City and San Francisco during the 1970s may be better known, Washington D.C. had a thriving scene as well — anchored in the latter half of the decade by Doug Lang's reading series at Folio Books. The so-called "Mass Transit" poets (which included Terence Winch, Tina Darraugh, Tim Dlugos, Michael Lally, Phyllis Rosenzweig, and Diane Ward) were in many ways the third outpost (after NYC and the Bay Area) of the movement. As Ann Vickery has written in LEAVING LINES OF GENDER: A Feminist Genealogy of Language Writing (Wesleyan, 2000): “Language writing emerged out of quite distinct community formations in San Francisco, New York, and Washington.” Lang, who managed the Dupoint Circle shop, hosted his series from approximately Jan. 1976 to June 1978 and booked a variety of regional poets (Winch, Lally, Ward, Rosenzweig, P. Inman, Chris Mason, Kirby Malone, Anselm Hollo, Bernard Welt), typically paired with a visiting prominent out-of-town poet. Joan Retallack, a member of the scene, described it thusly: “Discount Books [...] held the geographical locus along with the Pyramid Gallery, where a number of readings took place [...], until the opening of Folio Books and the emergence of Doug Lang as a guiding spirit, organizer, and mentor to a new poetry circle [...] with a very different (invitational) format. Local poets met for works-in-progress readings at Folio, put together two issues of a magazine called DOG CITY, and read in a series paired with out-of-town writers including John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Fielding Dawson, Tom Raworth, Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, and many others. This was one of the most energetic reading series Washington has ever had. Doug Lang arranged over eighty-five readings in a period of four [sic] years. For those who attended regularly it was an education in new American poetries” (“About Mass Transit: The Dupont Circle Circle"). The archive here offered, which originates with Lang, represents his personal documentation of this scene over 25 audio cassettes and more than 60 reading flyers. Recorded readings include: Alice Notley, Bruce Andrews, Ann Lauterbach, Charles Bernstein, Tony Towle, Tom Clark, Ted Greenwald, Susan Howe, Kenward Elmslie, as well as numerous DC figures. A rare and significant documentation of this influential but still-under-appreciated scene, whose precarious position is perfectly captured by Vickery: “…the Washington community’s marginality and relative independence from New York and San Francisco […] left many of its writers ‘pretty low on the horizon.’ While a political center of power, Washington has often been lost between the equal signs of Language writing maps” (36).