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Sun & Moon Press Archive
MSS 0224  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Historical Background
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • OFF-SITE STORAGE
  • Publication Rights
  • Restrictions

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Sun & Moon Press Archive
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0224
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: English
    Physical Description: 108.2 Linear feet (165 archives boxes, 42 records cartons boxes, and 2 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1939-2003 (bulk 1984-2000)
    Abstract: Archives of the Sun & Moon Press, Douglas Messerli's "alternative" publishing venture, dedicated to experimental poetry, fiction and drama. Sun & Moon Press was founded in 1976 in College Park, Maryland, and later relocated to Los Angeles. The bulk of the materials document Sun & Moon's publishing activities from 1984-2000 and include correspondence, manuscripts, publishing materials, and biographical information on writers and artists.
    Creator: Messerli, Douglas, 1947-
    Creator: Sun & Moon Press.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Archives of the Sun & Moon Press, dedicated to experimental poetry, fiction and drama. Sun & Moon Press was founded by Douglas Messerli in 1976 in College Park, Maryland, and later relocated to Los Angeles. The bulk of the materials document Sun & Moon's publishing activities from 1984-2000 and include correspondence, manuscripts, publishing materials, and biographical information on writers and artists.
    Arranged in four series: 1) ADMINISTRATIVE AND PRODUCTION FILES, 2) FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY: A NEW AMERICAN POETRY, 3) GERTRUDE STEIN AWARDS, and 4) ADMINISTRATIVE AND PRODUCTION FILES.

    Historical Background

    In the winter of 1976 in an apartment in College Park, Maryland, Douglas Messerli founded the Sun & Moon Press (supported by the Contemporary Arts Education Project, Inc.) and began the publication of the internationally recognized magazine Sun & Moon, co-edited by his longtime partner, Howard Fox. In the magazine, Messerli and Fox published conceptual and language poetry, mixed-media art, and the work of the New York Poets. During this time, as well, Messerli began publishing Là-bas, a mimeographed, stapled "newsletter" of experimental poetry and poetics. Together, the magazines exhibited the work of writers such as Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Russell Banks, Susan Howe, Ray DiPalma, Ted Greenwald, Bernadette Mayer, Barrett Watten, Hannah Weiner, Tina Darragh, P. Inman, and others. Là-bas ceased publication in 1978; Sun & Moon ran until 1986.
    In the late 1970s, Sun & Moon published chapbooks by Bernstein, DiPalma, and David Antin. By 1982 the small publishing house had come into its own with the publication of Djuna Barnes' Smoke and Other Early Stories, Russell Banks' The Relation of My Imprisonment, and an important anthology of contemporary American fiction with selections written by Walter Abish, Steve Katz, Leslie Scalapino, and Gilbert Sorrentino, to mention just a few.
    Messerli, a writer in his own right, resigned his post as assistant professor of English at Temple University in 1983 to devote himself full time to the press, which moved during the mid-1980s to its present Los Angeles location on Wilshire Boulevard in the Gertrude Stein Plaza. To date, Sun & Moon has published more than 125 major works of drama, fiction and poetry and has distributed another 400. Sun and Moon Press was awarded the prestigious Carey-Thomas Award for Creative Publishing in 1987 and has been awarded a number of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.
    In 1986, Messerli also initiated the Sun & Moon Classics series dedicated to the production of major texts in English and in translation. The Classics series has published the work of Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, David Antin, Fanny Howe, the Flemish modernist Stijn Streuvels, Norwegian novelist Tarjei Vesaas, Austrian writers Arthur Schnitzler and Heimito von Doderer, and has another fifty books projected for publication in the years ahead. Throughout the 1990s, Sun & Moon Press continued to publish individual innovative writers, such as Tarjei Vesaas and Lyn Hejinian, as well as comprehensive anthologies of poetry and drama such as From the Other Side of the Century, Volumes I and II, in 1994 and 1998, respectively. Green Integer Press, begun in 1997 and also founded and edited by Messerli succeeded Sun & Moon Press in 2004, ending a nearly three decade long publishing project. However, Green Integer, in many ways, picks up where Sun & Moon left off, publishing a number of the same authors and with a similar investment in innovative, international poets and writers. Both presses reflect Messerli's commitment to recognizing significant, yet often overlooked writers and works.

    Preferred Citation

    Sun & Moon Press Archive, MSS 0224. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1992, 1995, and 2000.

    OFF-SITE STORAGE

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Restrictions

    Personally identifiable information is restricted.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Abish, Walter -- Correspondence
    Acker, Kathy, 1948-1997 -- Correspondence
    Andrews, Bruce, 1948- -- Correspondence
    Antin, David -- Correspondence
    Armantrout, Rae, 1947- -- Correspondence
    Auster, Paul, 1947- -- Correspondence
    Barnes, Djuna -- Correspondence
    Bernstein, Charles, 1950- -- Correspondence
    Brownstein, Michael, 1943- -- Correspondence
    Davidson, Michael, 1944- -- Correspondence
    DiPalma, Ray -- Correspondence
    Greenwald, Ted -- Correspondence
    Guest, Barbara -- Correspondence
    Hejinian, Lyn -- Correspondence
    Howe, Fanny -- Correspondence
    Howe, Susan, 1937- -- Correspondence
    Major, Clarence -- Correspondence
    Messerli, Douglas, 1947- -- Archives
    Sherry, James -- Correspondence
    Silliman, Ronald, 1946- -- Correspondence
    Sun & Moon Press. -- Archives
    Taggart, John, 1942- -- Correspondence
    Waldrop, Rosmarie -- Correspondence
    American poetry -- 20th century
    Publishers and publishing -- United States