Floating Bear and Sinking Bear

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Floating Bear and Sinking Bear

9,500.00

Edited by Diane di Prima and LeRoi Jones, The Floating Bear was a free literary newsletter which ran 1961 to 1971, and featured a wide section of American poets and visual artists. Among the pages of its 37 issues one finds works by Ray Johnson, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Ed Dorn, Barbara Guest, Wallace Berman, Frank O’hara, Brion Gysin, and William S. Burroughs. One of the most important and far reaching of the 1960s early mimeo magazines, it was affiliated with no one particular camp, but rather drew poets from across the various factions of the poetic avant-garde of that time, including The New York School, Black Mountain, and the San Francisco Renaissance, as well as members of the Downtown New York art scene.

 

In 1962 Diane Di Prima—who would shortly become the primary editor of Floating Bear—briefly left New York for California, subletting her room to Soren Angenoux, a playwright, artist, drug enthusiast, forger, and an ephemeral figure of the New York demi-monde, who would later become a co-editor of Warhol’s magazine interview. Having left the 24th issue unfinished at her time of departure, Di Prima made it a condition of the sublet that Angenoux finish the printing; Angenoux, however, had other plans, and after using a portion of the money left to him by Di Prima to print about half of the proposed 1000 magazines (half of which were subsequently lost), he turned to his own project, a playfully antagonistic parody of the work he had been meant to print.

 

Thus began the saga of The Sinking Bear, a series of small mimeo publications which featured a revolving cast of characters including Ray Johnson, Andy Warhol, Gerard Malanga, and Joe Brainard. As elusive and hard to pin-down as its editor, this chatty, roving publication, became infamous for its insider jokes, its transcription of humorous conversations and quotations, its playful vitriol, and its extreme scarcity. A black swan of the book-trade, there are no complete runs of The Sinking Bear at any library worldwide, and only one known of in private hands.

 

In 2013 Boo-Hooray and Division Leap held an exhibition of The Sinking Bear, which was subsequently collected in a catalogue (The sinking Bear: A Newsletter, edited by Johan Kugelberg and Adam Davis, 2013). This lot features twenty-nine original issues of The Floating Bear, and eight original issues of The Sinking Bear (missing only issue 6), as well as the aforementioned catalogue containing a facsimile of Floating Bear. An exceedingly rare offering of two of the most influential publications of the 1960s, and a window into several of New York’s overlapping avant-garde scenes.

 

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #2, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 8 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten addressed to Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Light foxing on front and back covers. Small tear in center top and center bottom of pages. Contributors include Frank O’hara, Robert Creeley, and Leroi Jones.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #3, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staples on top left corner and top center. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith with handwritten change of address on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Very good condition. Issue number three is comprised of the long poem by Edward Dorn, The Landscapes Below, which would appear in revised version in Dorn’s Hands Up! In 1964.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #4, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 8 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Tear in top center throughout from removed staple. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page with handwritten change of address. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Very light foxing commensurate with age. Small unintended ink spotting on bottom of front cover. With works by Barbara Guest and Joel Oppenheimer among others.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #5, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 6 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staples on top left corner and top center. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page with address crossed out. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Light vertical crease in middle of page from folding. Very good condition. Features two works by William Burroughs.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #6, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staples on top left corner and top center. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith with handwritten change of address. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Very good condition. With work by Leroi Jones, Robert Creeley, and Diane Di Prima.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #7, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Very good condition. With work by Bill Berkson and Charles Olson, among others.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #9, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten address for Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Small discolorations throughout. LeRoi Jones was arrested for the homoerotic content of his poem The System of Dante's Hell in this issue. Also features William Burrough’s Roosevelt After Inauguration, and a poem by Philip Whalen.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #10, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 16 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten address for Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Light horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Good condition. Light foxing throughout. Some of postmarked mirrored on bottom right of first page from rubbing. Features the poems of John Wieners.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #11, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 10 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten address for Michael Smith on first page. Stamped, but not postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Clipping on right side at crease. Small discoloration on front cover/first page. Small tear on last page. Small holes on top right corner throughout from removed staple. With works by Charles Olson, Robert Kelly, Denise Levertov, Larry Eigner, and more.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #12, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten address for Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Fading and overprint on sixth printed page. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Clipping on center left of first page, near crease. Small tear on bottom right of first page. Discoloration on bottom of first three sheets. Small light foxing on bottom right of back cover and last two sheets. Light discoloration near edges, commensurate with age. Includes work of John Ashberry, among others.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #13, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten address for Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Foxing on right side of first page. Discoloration on bottom of last page. Small holes in center top and center bottom from removed staple.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #15, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Small holes in bottom center of page from removed staple. Includes work by Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’hara, among others.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #16, 1961. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Small holes in bottom center of page from removed staple. Foxing on top right corner throughout. Includes work by Charles Olson, Marian Zazeela, Ron Loewinsohn, and Gilbert Sorrentino

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #17, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.). 14 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Small hole in bottom center of page from removed staple. Final sheet (last two printed pages) detached; bottom half of sheet discolored and clipping/tearing on edges. Creasing on top of first page. Light foxing on first, second, and third printed pages. Glue residue on left center edge of twelfth printed page. Postmark rubbing on bottom right of front page. With work by Joel Oppenheimer, Hubert Selby Jr., Charles Olson, Paul Metcalf, and more.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #18, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 10 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Small holes in top center and bottom center of page from removed staple. Some creasing throughout. Light foxing on top right of first two sheets. Spots of discoloration on third sheet. Postmark rubbing on bottom right of first page. With works by Charles Olson, Leroi Jones, David Meltzer, and George Brecht.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #20, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith on first page. Stamped and postmarked. Discoloration commensurate with age on small tape used for shipping the newsletter at center top and center bottom of first page. With Paul Blackburn, Bertold brecht translated by Anselm Hollo, and poems by Ed Dorn and Diane Di Prima.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #21, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 13 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Typed sticker addressed to Michael Smith. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Third and fourth sheets bound with staples on top left and right corners, and bottom right. Light foxing on first page. Holes in center top and bottom from removed staple. With poems by Diane Di Prima and an essay by Charles Olson.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #22, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 10 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten sticker addressed to Michael Smith. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Holes in center top and bottom from removed staple. Good condition.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #23, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner.  Handwritten sticker addressed to Michael Smith. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Holes in center top and bottom from removed staple. Creasing and tearing on right side of final page.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #25, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 9 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten addressed to Michael Smith. Stamped and postmarked. Stamped “return to sender.” Back of last page annotated, “Please let me know if your address has changed.” Final page in publisher's advertisement. With contributions by Lew Welch and Robert Creeley, among others.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #26, 1962. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, William Linich (later known as Billy Name) ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 10 pp. Mimeograph. Handwritten addressed to Michael Smith.  Bound with staple on top left corner. Stamped and postmarked. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding.  Stamped “return to sender.” Floating Bear return address stamped in top left corner of front page. Tear in center top of pages from removed staple. Issue 26 marks the resignation of Leroi Jones as an editor.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #27, 1963. Diane di Prima, ed. This issue featured William Linich (later known as Billy Name) as guest editor, identified as “maneuvateur.” 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 34 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Handwritten addressed to Michael Smith. Horizontal crease inmiddle of page from folding. Stamped and postmarked Small holes on center top and bottom from removed staple. Bottom right corner of first page missing from tear. First issue printed without LeRoi Jones identified as co-editor. With contributions by Lew Welch, Ray Johnson, Michael Rumaker on Creeley, and more.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #28, 1963. Diane di Prima, ed. This issue featured William Linich (later known as Billy Name) as guest editor, identified as “maneuvateur.” 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 16 pp. Cover designed by Al Leslie. Mimeograph. Bound with two staples on left side. Light horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Small spot of foxing on back cover. Cover features a drawing by Al Leslie of Santa Claus on the toilet reading Leroi Jones’ The Blues People. With Gregory Corso, Jack Smith, Leroi Jones, John Wieners, and Frank O’hara.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #29, 1964. Diane di Prima, ed. This issue featured William Linich (later known as Billy Name) as guest editor, identified as “maneuvateur.” 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 20 pp. Cover designed by George Herms. Mimeograph. Bound with two staples on left side. Light horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Contributors include Julien Beck, Gerard Malanga, and Frank O’hara.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #30, 1964. Diane di Prima, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 20 pp. Cover designed by Jeanne Marlowe. Mimeograph. Bound with two staples on left side. Light horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Final page detached from top staple. Some clipping on left side of front cover. Contributers include Allan Kaprow, Diane Di Prima, and Herbert Huncke.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #34, 1967. Diane di Prima, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 26 pp. Cover on purple sheet, designed by Michael Bowen. Mimeograph. Bound with two staples on left side. Light horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Back cover handwritten sticker addressed to Michael Smith. Stamped and postmarked. Contributers include Jack Kerouac, Philip Lamantia, and Jack Spicer.

 

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #35, 1968. Diane di Prima, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 24 pp. Cover on blue sheet, designed by unidentified. Mimeograph. Bound with two staples on left side. Light horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Final page detached. Back cover handwritten sticker addressed to Michael Smith. Stamped and postmarked. Nineteenth page printed upside down. Foxing and discoloration on front and back covers. With poems by Philip Lamantia and Leroi Jones, among others.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #36, 1969. Diane di Prima, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 22 pp. Guest editor, this issue, Bill Berkson. Cover on orange sheet, designed by Ray Johnson. Mimeograph. Bound with two staples on left side. Light vertical crease in middle of page from folding. Final page detached. Back cover handwritten sticker addressed to Michael Smith. Stamped and postmarked. Nineteenth page printed upside down. Some foxing and discoloration on front and back covers. With Blaise Cendrars translated by Ron Padgett, Clark Coolidge, John Ashberry, Kenneth Koch, Bill Berkson, Diane Di Prima, and more.

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #37, 1969. Diane di Prima, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 22 pp. Cover mimeograph on white sheet, designed by Wallace Berman, and featuring his iconic radio collages. Mimeograph. Bound with two staples on left side. Bound with two front covers. With Leroi Jones, Gary Snyder, Diane Di Prima, Michael McClure, Janine Pomy-Vega

 

The Floating Bear, Issue #38 (The Intrepid-Bear Issue), 1971. Allen De Loach, Diane di Prima, ed. Intrepid Press. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 130 pp. Cover on green cloth, designed by Brion Gysin. Mimeograph. Bound with three staples on left side. Includes torn sheet (3 x 8 ½ in.) revising several misprints in the issue. Previous bookseller's pencil notations on title page. Light shelf wear commensurate with age.

 

The Floating Bear: a newsletter - Numbers 1-37, 1961-1969, 1973. Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones, ed.  Laurence McGilvery, pub. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) Hardcover. 578 pp. Without dust jacket, as issued. Signed on title page by Laurence McGilvery to Johan Kugelberg. Introduction and notes adapted from interviews with Diane di Prima.

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 1, 1963. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 4 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Horizontal creases from folding page into thirds. Back cover stamped and postmarked with handwritten address. Several small spots of foxing on front cover.

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 2, 1963. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 8 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. First sheet and final two sheets detached. Creasing and two small tears on left side of first page. Tear in middle left side of first page. Tear on upper left corner of first page from detachment. Small tears/holes from detachment on final two sheets. Small tear in top center of final sheet.

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 3, 1963. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 9 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Good condition. Contains mimeograph illustrations. Light foxing on first page. Final page mimeograph on yellow paper. First issue identifying Soren Agenoux as editor. Also identifies Al Hansen as “editor extraordinary” and Walter Dainwood as “special collaborating editor.”

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 4, 1963. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8 vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 12 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Contains mimeograph illustrations. Horizontal crease in middle of page from folding. Al Hansen identified as “sooper editor.” Final sheet detached.

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 5, 1964. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 11 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Final four sheets detached. Contains mimeograph illustrations. Some foxing throughout. Light clipping on middle right edge of first page. Ray Johnson identified as “Flying Ed.” and Al Hansen as “Sooper Ed.” This is the first issue of Sinking Bear which Ray Johnson collaborated on.

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 7, 1964. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 11 in.) 7 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. Front and back cover printed on blue paper. Back cover addressed, stamped and postmarked. Horizontal creasing from folding into thirds. Final page detached. Light creasing on right side of first page. Ray Johnson identied as “Baby Ed.” Andrew Sherwood identified as “Landlady Ed.” Bob Olivo identified as “Beloved Ondine Ed.” Billy Linich identified as “Sinking Back.” Contains printed illustrations on front and back covers as well as page 4.

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 8, 1964. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 14 in.) 20 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with staple on top left corner. This issue includes both legal sized (8 ½ x 14 in.) and letter sized (8 ½ x 11 in.) paper. Contains mimeographed illustrations. First and last sheets detached. Cites various artists as editors and other roles, many satirically. Some foxing and clipping throughout.

 

The Sinking Bear, No. 9, 1964. Soren Agenoux, ed. 8vo. (8 ½ x 14 in.) 43 pp. Mimeograph. Bound with several staples on top left corner. This issue includes both legal sized (8 ½ x 14 in.) and letter sized (8 ½ x 11 in.) paper of various colors. Several pages printed upside down Contains mimeographed illustrations. Cites various artists as editors and other roles, many satirically. Pencil annotation of previous owner's name on first page.

 

The Sinking Bear, 2013. Soren Agenoux, ed. Boo-Hooray & Circadian Press. Softcover. 4to. (11 x 14 in.) 162 pp. Risograph. Screenprint cover. Produced on the occasion of exhibition at the 2013 MoMA P.S. 1 New York Art Book Fair. Introductions by Johan Kugelberg and Adam Davis.

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