Long Shot made its debut in early 1982, but the idea and planning of the first issue took place in 1980. Cofounders Eliot Katz and Danny Shot were just out of college (Rutgers University) and saw the need for a raw, fresh, and thoroughly exuberant forum for writers who did not fit into the literary mold of the early 1980's. Shot was living in San Francisco and Katz had recently attended a summer session at Naropa Institute. They shared a desire to publish some of the young, exciting writers they had recently been reading and meeting. In addition, Shot remembers personally feeling a level of frustration from the lack of accessibility to literary magazines of the time: "I was just looking at another rejection slip from some magazine I desperately wanted to be published in when the thought came into my head - we can do it, and we can do it better," Shot recalls thinking.
A short-lived but impressive literary journal out of Boulder called New Blood offered a model of how things might look – a perfect-bound literary magazine mixing younger writers with more well-known ones, and taking care to include a selection of local poets. The money for Long Shot Volume 1 came largely from the generosity of poet Allen Ginsberg, with whom Katz had studied at Naropa. To help Long Shot get off the ground, Allen came down to Rutgers to read with the two young poet-editors and donated half his usual reading fee to this new literary project. Production expenses were kept to a minimum. Katz got a job at a print shop, and along with a few sympathetic co-workers printed the first issue on a few small offset printing presses. The volume was typeset by members of the Rutgers Targum (school newspaper) for the generous price of $8.00 an hour. Text and captions were cut out with exacto knives and pasted down. Katz and Shot collated the loose pages and brought the magazines to Brooklyn where they were bound. Long Shot #1 opens with a poem by Shot which begins "Drink liquor until your liver swells to the size of a football."
Long Shot #1 features poetry by Susie Timmons, Alicia Ostriker, Richard Hell, Eileen Myles, Kevin Hayes, James Ruggia, Allen Ginsberg, as well as Long Shot regulars Andy Clausen, Katz, Shot, and Robert Press. The famous Long Shot horses made their debut with this first volume. Dan Shot and Joanne Lanciotti cut horses out of a Sports Illustrated article on horse racing and pasted them down on the title page. Over the next twelve years as they were reproduced repeatedly, these horses morphed into creatures more resembling dachshunds and dalmations than racehorses. The oddest thing about Long Shot #1 is its cover. It was supposed to be a photo of a guy standing in front of a wall that was spray painted with graffiti "REAL TACKY." For some reason, Eliot panicked as he approached the printing process and got the photographer's permission to paste a picture of a ballerina sideways over the word "TACKY" – in the process cutting off most of the ballerina's legs and forgetting to ask Shot his opinion re this experimental collage. Danny still cannot comprehend what thought process went through Eliot's brain at the time.
Volume #2 came out a year later. After Volume #1 sold out of its initial run of 500 copies, Shot and Katz found themselves broke and trying to raise production expenses by selling ads to New Brunswick businesses including long time Long Shot patrons, The Court Tavern and Melody Bar. Long Shot 2 was put together in much the same way as #1. Vol. #2 featured original poetry by Amiri and Amina Baraka, Jim Carrol, Ray Bremser, Antler, Jeff Poniewaz, Janet Cannon, photos by Deborah Troeller, an interview with William Burroughs, more work by Katz, Shot, Clausen and Press, as well as the Long Shot debut of future editor Jack Wiler.
Long Shot #3 came out in 1984 with the financial help of friends and neighbors. Joanne Lanciotti, who had helped create Long Shot officially took on the title of Art Editor. Long Shot #3 features 7 drawings by Brandi Merolla, an artist who was a regular contributor to the early issues of Long Shot. Vol. 3 also featured unpublished poems by Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Tom Waits and up-to-then unpublished poems by Jack Kerouac. Long Shot #3 also marks the Long Shot debut of Charles Bukowski. Volume 3 opens up with 5 poems by Bukowski. The back cover is a reproduction of a letter from Buk that reads:
Hello Eliot Katz; Dan Shot;
Glad I got some poems by you. Take your time.
Ending 2nd bottle of wine, radio blasting Eric Coates –
All's Well. Everytime I get Drunk and figure I'm not in the tank, then,
That's a good night.
We invited Tom Waits to contribute to Long Shot by writing a letter to his record company, the address taken from the back of an album. Miracle of miracles, Waits generously responded. 1984 also saw the publication of Long Shot's first book, Andy Clausen's The Iron Curtain of Love, printed on a 20-year-old Multilith printing press in a Piscataway porch that was the home of Central Jersey's cooperative print shop. While the book looks rough by today's production standards, it was an effective way to circulate terrific poems by one of America's most powerful poets, and many people still ask for copies of this long-out-of-print work.
It was two years before Long Shot #4 appeared in 1986. Progress was slowed by Shot's insistence on having a personal life, marrying artist Caroline Doncourt in 1985. Eliot Katz and Robert Press served as co-best-men. Shot also began working as a high school teacher in New York City. Volume 4 featured an all-star cast including: Amiri Baraka, Charles Bukowski, Marianne Faithful, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Hell, Alicia Ostriker, Mary Shanley, Tom Waits as well as the Long Shot debut of Pedro Pietri. Volume 4 also contains 8 drawings by Brandi Merolla. Volume 4 also represented a friendly parting of the ways: after this issue, Katz left his editorial post to pursue political activist interests.
Shot edited Volume 5 by himself. Volume 5 featured the ill conceived double front cover (one right-side up, the other upside down). Why ill conceived? Because way back in 1987, bookstores would rip the covers off unsold magazines and books and return them to the distributors for credit. Needless to say, the temptation to return 2 covers for each magazine was too strong to resist for many bookstores. What saved Volume 5 and Long Shot from an early demise was the poetry of actor Sean Penn. Shot had read an article in The N.Y. Daily News poking fun at Sean Penn's attempts at writing poetry. Shot looked at the poems in the paper and liked what he saw. Through an actress friend (Karen Young), Shot found Sean Penn's address and wrote to him. Penn responded warmly and favorably, sending a batch of poems. Of course, lawyers got involved, contracts were signed, agreements made, but subsequently Long Shot Vol. 5 begins with 7 poems by Sean Penn. #5 also features work by Bukowski, Diane Wakoski, Eileen Myles, and Cookie Mueller.
Volume 6 brought much needed editorial assistance from Caren Lee Michaelson who joined the staff of one. Volume 6 features the now regrettable back cover photo of Shot sitting naked in a tree after being caught skinny dipping in the Hudson by a passing Circle Line boat. Volume #6 features poetry by June Jordan, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Antler, Lorri Jackson and Leaping Lanny Poffo, "the Poet Laureate of Wrestling." And sure enough his poems are about wrestling. Volume 6 also brought Michael Cote into the fold. Cote worked as computer whiz and production manager since that time.
Volume 7 contains Shot's favorite Long Shot cover, predictably a cover designed by him. The cover consists of black and white photo booth pictures pasted together to form a grid. If you look, you'll see Lamont Steptoe, Antler, Eileen Myles, Mary Shanley, Jack Wiler, Caren Lee Michaelson, Jeff Poniewaz, Robert Press, Lorri Jackson, Linda Harper, and Shot giving the finger to the world right there on the front cover. This same idea (photo booth photos placed together to form a grid) appeared on various album covers, and magazine spreads during the next year, but I swear, we did it first. Volume 7 features even more Bukowski, Anne Waldman and Eileen Myles.
Volume 8, published early in 1989 is the first Volume to bear Long Shot's Hoboken address. It marked the return of Sean Penn to our pages and the L.S. debuts of Tuli Kupferberg and Jack Micheline, as well as poems by Janine Pommy Vega and Bob Rosenthal. This issue also contains a selection of poems by Ted Berrigan put together by Joel Lewis. Surrounding the publication of Sean Penn's poems came a new round of publicity from the national media. Writers and artists who Shot had looked up to as heroes were becoming friends, associates and drinking buddies. The last page of this issue contains an ad for Long Shot featuring a full size photo of a naked baby apparently floating in outer space – with the caption Long Shot: The Voice of a New Generation. The naked baby is Shot's first son Casey who made his public debut into the world in November, 1988, as the issue was getting ready for print. The back cover is a cartoon created by syndicated cartoonist Jim Ryan expressly for Long Shot.
Volume 9 brought Jack Wiler into the fold as an editor. This 1990 issue featured a poetic tribute to Abbie Hoffman who had recently died as well as an interview with him by two Rutgers activists. This issue also featured artwork by Robert Press and Jack Micheline as well as poems and stories by Bukowski, Ginsberg, Baraka, Micheline, Julia Vinograd, Martin Atkins, Paul Beatty, Danielle Willis, David Lerner, Bruce Isaacson, Bana Witt and Jennifer Blowdryer. This issue marked the beginning of Shot's "Editor's Notes" column.
Volume 10/11 was a double issue featuring once again the ill-conceived reversible front covers: As we've always said in my family, you can't fool a Shot more than twice. Volume 10 edited by Shot and Mary Shanley, with assistance and an introduction by Jim Fouratt, focused on the theme of AIDS in America. It featured a cover photograph of a man carrying a sign that reads "MEN Use Condoms Or Beat It!" Included in this section is work by Lou Reed, Roy LaRose, Phil Zwickler, Tim Dlugos, David West, Kevin Hayes and others. (Looking back, I'm saddened by the number of contributors who are no longer with us.) The idea for this issue came to Shot as he sat at a memorial service for Cookie Mueller, a writer Shot had deeply admired. Profits from this issue were donated to ACT-UP, a militant activist organization, which was doing the important work of alerting the political establishment as well as the citizenry to the dangers of apathy in the face of the AIDS crisis.
Volume 11 includes work by Quincy Troupe, Paul Beatty, Alicia Ostriker, Alice Notley, Jack Hirschman, Vampyre Mike Kassel, and mourns the passing of Lorri Jackson who died of a drug overdose at age 29. On a positive note, Vol. 11 marks the L.S. debut of a longtime hero of N.J. poetics, Herschel Silverman.
Volume 12 (1991) brought more editorial changes. New editors Jessica Chosid and Tom Pulhamus joined the force. Jack Wiler became Editor-in-Chief. This volume featured outstanding artwork by the likes of Leon Golub, Judy Siegel, Ron English, Artfux as well as one of our most controversial covers featuring a photo of a 1950's bathing beauty in a watermelon patch, holding two juicy watermelons in front of her breasts. Writers featured in this issue include Bukowski, Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Miguel Algarin, Nancy Mercado, Eve Packer and Denise Duhamel. A number of poems in this issue were written in response to the Gulf War (remember that?).
Volume #13 features art by Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, Komar and Melamid, Yael Bloom, Kathe Burkhart, Lynne Breitfeller and a photo essay entitled "Wildgirl's Go-Go-Rama." Strong (and sometimes controversial) artwork was becoming a trademark by this time. Writers contributing to this issue included Bukowski, Baraka, Paul Beatty, Eileen Myles, Peter Orlovsky, The Cars' Ric Ocasek, Gillian McCain, and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (featuring Michael Franti). At this time (1991) Jack Wiler came up with the slogan: Writing for the Real World! Note: today you'll see this phrase applied to any number of things, ie, "Banking for the Real World!!!" But take it from me: We invented the slogan. Under the leadership of Wiler, Long Shot printed t-shirts carrying the "Writing for the Real World" motto along with a handsome illustration by Jessica Chosid.
Long Shot #14 brought a new editor into the fold, if just for one issue. Erik LaPrade had put together an issue of poems for the magazine Poetry Australia, subtitled "The Greatest Underground Poets in The United States During the Past Decade," or something like that. However, Poetry Australia either folded or got cold feet and reneged on their offer. Shot saw the value of LaPrade's work and used much of it to comprise over half the issue of Long Shot. Included from LaPrade's original manuscript were Laura Conway, David Lerner, Alan Kaufman, Margaret Casey, Carol Wierzbicki, Kathleen Wood, Bruce Isaacson, David Gollub, Deborah Pintonelli, Eli Coppola, Bana Witt, Carl Watson, Michael Carter, and Eve Packer. Added to the mix were a healthy dose of Long Shot regulars as well as new poems by Peter Orlovsky, Charles Bukowski, John Wieners, Lyn Lifshin and Jack Hirschman. Not to mention Shot's personal favorite poem by Jack Wiler, For Levi, which was written on the occasion of Shot's second son. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this issue is the caliber of the artists included. A striking front and back cover, as well as inside photo spread by Life magazine photographer Harold Feinstein of photos taken at Coney Island during the 1950's set the tone of Vol.14. Artwork by Joseph Beuys, Ida Applebroog, Larry Poons, Brice Marden and Diego Rios lend an air of sophistication to the otherwise down and dirty Long Shot. At this point in time, 5 distributors were spreading Long Shot to bookstores throughout the country.
Long Shot Vol.15 saw the addition of a new editor, Nancy Mercado, who supplied us with a needed shot of energy as well as the keys to a poetry world we had mostly been observers to, but not real participants in – The Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Under the influence of Mercado, Long Shot 15 featured work by Miguel Algarin, Piri Thomas, Pedro Pietri, Sandra Maria Esteves, Bob Holman, David Henderson, Tracie Morris, reg E. gaines, Tony Medina, Ras Baraka, Edwin Torres and Latin Empire. Long Shot 15 also featured written work by Bukowski, Kathy Price, Gerry Gomez Pearlberg, Jack Micheline, Tsaurah Litsky and Rebecca Fransway. Artists included Larry Rivers, Robert DeNiro (the actor's father), June Leaf, Lynne Breitfeller, Cindy Sherman, an amazing series of photos by Allen Ginsberg complete with captions, and a what-would-become a classic shot of Jack Micheline standing arms folded like the king of the world in his moment of glory in front of Charles Mingus playing that huge stand up bass. The front cover (and an inside spread) was given over to Larry Clark photos of kids on skateboards.
Long Shot 16 featured new poetry by Gregory Corso, Ted Joans, Quincy Troupe, Alicia Ostriker, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Katherine Arnoldi, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, Hal Sirowitz, Ernie Hilbert, Saint Teresa Stone, Rafael Alvarado,and Scott Wannberg. What distinguished this issue was a section devoted to jazz entitled Brilliant Corners, edited by Zoe Anglesey for Long Shot. Included in this section are poems by Paul Beatty, Lamont Steptoe, John Farris, Herschel Silverman, Hettie Jones, David Henderson, Steve Cannon, Jack Micheline, Yuko Otomo, Pedro Pietri, Al Aronowitz, Steve Dalachinsky, Quincy Troupe and Archie Shepp. Also featured were drawings made by John Coltrane for musicians working with him that make sense to people who understand Music. Volume 16 mourned the passing of Charles Bukowski, a writer who was an inspiration and a building block to many issues of Long Shot. A drawing by Bukowski at the back of the issue was the last work of his that would appear in the pages of Long Shot. His loss is still felt.
1995 proved a watershed year for Long Shot. Jack Wiler resigned his post for a bunch of reasons but before he left Wiler brought aboard a new editor, recent Columbia U. graduate Mike Kramer. Lynne Breitfeller permanently took the position of Art Editor, and with her came a whole new attitude to the role of art in the pages of Long Shot. Note: To this day Shot and Wiler remain the best of friends. Volume 17 was a theme issue, the theme being: It's The Jews! subtitled: A Celebration of New Jewish Visions. This special issue of Long Shot weighed in at robust 224 pages and was edited by Shot, Alan Kaufman, and Herschel Silverman. This issue featured many surprises including a poem by Abbie Hoffman, poetry by reg E. gaines, Charles Dumas, Andy Clausen, Luis J. Rodriguez, George Tirado, Michael Castro, Yitzhak Katzenelson, Bob Rosenthal, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Holman, Eliot Katz, Willard Gellis, Hal Sirowitz, Amy Gerstler, Stuart Z. Perkoff, Jack Hirschman, Sparrow, Jack Micheline, Hettie Jones, Marge Piercy, Antler, Steve Richmond, Douglas Goodwin, Lyn Lifshin, Pete Smith, Tuli Kupferberg Alicia Ostriker, and Adrienne Rich. Not too mention truly terrific stories by Tony Medina, Josh Kornbluth and Gloria Frym, and artwork by the likes of Larry Rivers, George Segal, Eva Hesse, Wallace Berman, Eleanor Antin, Komar and Melamid, and Hugo Bastidas. However the piece of artwork that stands out is Arlene Gottfried's front cover photograph of a Hasid posing hand in jacket a la Napoleon next to a totally naked muscleman on Brooklyn's Brighton Beach. Long Shot 17 sold out and a second print run also sold out. To this day Long Shot Volume 17, remains the most requested Long Shot of them all.
Volume 18, brought new changes to the overall look of Long Shot, in large part due to Lynne Breitfeller's sense of design. The hobo lettering of the Long Shot title was retired and the title page horses were put out to pasture. Long Shot #18 (1996) featured poetry by Willie Perdomo, Sonia Sanchez, Ishmael Reed, Miguel Algarin, Reg E. Gaines, Bobby Miller, Rebecca Fransway, Scott Holstad, and Nicole Panter. Volume #18 featured outstanding fiction by Maggie Estep, Paul Drexel, Fritz Hamilton, Carol Lazare and Ina Roy. Artistically speaking this issue featured artwork by Diego Rios, Eric Drooker, Elizabeth Murray, and yes the one and only Yoko Ono. Most striking of all however is the photography of Shelby Lee Adams. Adams contributed the cover photograph, as well as a photo essay entitled "Hooterville" because believe it or not, that was the name of the town where the photos were taken.
It was back to a theme issue for 1997's POLITICS (Volume 19) issue. Eliot Katz returned to the scene of the crime to serve as Guest Editor. Long Shot always had a political bent to it. Shot always admired and consciously tried to emulate Lena Wertmuller's successful blend of sex and politics. This issue of Long Shot was devoted entirely to politics. Along with poetry and artwork, Long Shot tried something new: articles. Actually, the first two issues of Long Shot contained one article each: important pieces on nuclear testing in the Pacific islands and practical information about water pollution. But in this issue, for the first time, articles play a prominent role. Alongside the lit you'll find essays by Francis Fox Piven, Stephen Bronner, and Clarence Lusane; a speech by Winona LaDuke; an interview with Noam Chomsky; and a powerful introduction by Eliot Katz. Poets featured in this issue include: Jack Hirschman, Amiri Baraka, Pedro Pietri, Adrienne Rich. Tuli Kupferberg, Jayne Cortez, Sparrow, Allen Ginsberg, Luis J. Rodriguez, and Nellie Wong. Artists include Amiri Baraka (drawings), Ida Applebroog, Hannah Wilke, Komar and Melamid, Eric Drooker and Tuli Kupferberg (a framed original of Republican Witches Brew hangs in Shot's office). This issue features the most visually stunning of Long Shot's covers: an illustration by renowned artist Sue Coe entitled The West Meets the Rest which pictures a muscular dog wearing a top hat voraciously gnawing on a leg of something as other dogs square off across a divide ready for conflict, a flicker of envy in their eyes. Solid high contrast black and white graphic design reminiscent of New Masses (1930's) covers highlight this cover. Under the leadership of Katz, the editorial staff collectively and painstakingly assembled this important issue of Long Shot. Shot and Katz had great expectations for this issue. Unsurprisingly, a number of the reviews have been negative in tone, whining about the incompatibility of art and politics.
1997 also saw the publication of L.S.'s 2nd book, Jack Wiler's aptly titled I Have No Clue. Alicia Ostriker says the following about Wiler's verse: "When I read the inimitable Jack Wiler, I can't tell if I'm laughing or crying, or being punched in the teeth by the Zeitgeist. Here is true grit, true rage, true fear and lust, true language. If you hate your job, read this book. Read it anyway. . ."
Long Shot Vol. 20 sadly and fondly offers tribute to poet Allen Ginsberg who had passed away months before. Poets paying tribute include Katz, Silverman, Shot, gaines, Quincy Troupe, Papoleto Melendez, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Also featured in this issue are Ray Bremser, Sandra Maria Esteves and an interview with Exene Cervenkova. Artists represented include Duane Michals, Patt Blue, Charles Henri Ford, Ira Cohen and Gerald Slota.
Long Shot Vol. 21 (Nov. 98) features original poetry by Wanda Coleman, Allen Ginsberg, a tribute to Jack Micheline (deceased 2/98), Ira Cohen, and a stunning cover featuring H.R. Giger's Bullet Baby. At this point in time the editorial staff consists of Shot, Mercado, Breitfeller, Andy Clausen, Ernie Hilbert and David Stack. 1998 also saw the inception of the official Long Shot website www.longshot.org created and maintained by technowiz David Vanadia and Lynne Breitfeller.
1998 was a busy year for Long Shot with the publication of 2 issues of Long Shot as well as 2 books of poetry. The first book of poetry published in February was the original buckwheat by reg E. gaines. Gaines is known for his appearances on MTV Unplugged and as the writer of the Broadway musical Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk, as well as being a former Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion. Tony Medina's book (September 1998) Sermons From the Smell of a Carcass Condemned to Begging offers the reader urgent poems written from the perspective of a homeless man by the name of Broke.
It must be emphasized that throughout the years Long Shot existed without the benefit of grants, choosing to succeed the old fashioned way; by selling enough magazines to go on to the next issue. Plus the generosity of various rock and roll bands, singers, musicians, poets, and friends who have donated time and effort in playing at benefits and fundraisers for a worthy cause. The cause being a truly independent arts and literary magazine that remains unhampered by the need to appeal to either a government funded or corporate overseer. Long Shot remains "Writing for the real World."
1999 was a good year for Long Shot. In March, we partied into the morning at the Limelight in New York, thanks in part to the generosity of Les Barany, the Limelight staff, and Tanqueray Vodka for extending the open bar to 3 hours. Of course none of this would have been possible if it wasn't for H.R. Giger, who supplied us with the cover image for Long Shot 21, and whose association with the Limelight opened the doors of the V.I.P. Lounge (also known as the Giger Room) to us. Long Shot founder Eliot Katz, Editor Nancy Mercado, and Inspirational Leader Reverend Pedro Pietri delighted the noisy vodka soaked crowd with their poems.
September 1999 saw the publication of Long Shot 22 which in a way was a return to our roots of presenting raw, graphic, exuberant, poetry devoid of pretense (within reason). This issue features a front cover and artwork by J.K. Potter and, a back cover by Sandy Skoglund. While the two artists' visions are quite unique, there is something about the juxtaposition of images on the front and back covers that makes their respective works go well together. Writers featured in this issue include Sherman Alexie, Diane diPrima, Quincy Troupe, Alicia Ostriker, U Sam Oer, Janine Pommy Vega, Penny Arcade, Bob Holman, Edwin Torres, Ray Bremser, and Tuli Kupferberg. Andy Clausen edited a section featuring young, talented poets whom he believed deserve attention.
The new millennium saw the publication of Cheryl Boyce Taylor's book; Night When Moon Follows. This 96 page volume of poetry got off to a rousing start at St. Mark's Poetry Project. Cheryl was joined by poets reg E. gaines, Tony Medina, Jack Wiler and Dan Shot in a kickoff literary event that welcomed her into the Long Shot canon. Volume 23 arrived in the early summer and featured work by Janine Pommy Vega, Nicholasa Mohr, reg E. gaines, Willie Perdomo, Kimiko Hahn, and Eileen Myles. This issue was highlighted by a section in which established poets introduced younger poets to Long Shot readers. Among the participating poets were Keith Roach/felice bell, Jack Hirschman/Ashley Chambers, Alicia Ostriker/Daisy Fried, Anne Waldman/Lisa Jarnot, Eileen Myles/Kathe Izzo, Steve Cannon/Patrick Kosiewicz, Pedro Pietri/Roderigo Ortiz III, Bob Holman/John Rodriguez/Laurel Barclay. This issue also included fantastic (literally and figuratively) art by Joe Coleman and David Hochbaum.
The year 2000 also saw Nancy Mercado take on the responsibility of Editor-in-Chief. Volume 23 was the first issue of Long Shot with Nancy in charge. The year also saw the publication of Mercado's new book of poetry It Concerns the Madness. Also noteworthy, was the addition of Emmett Wieting to the world. Emmett is the bouncing baby son of Art Editor Lynne Breitfeller and Webmeister Greg Wieting. Maybe we'll start seeing some more naked baby photos in the pages of Long Shot (see issues 8, 9, &14). Volume #24 will hit the stores in the spring of 2001. Sadly, it pays tribute to another Beat Legend who passed away – poet Gregory Corso. A special section edited by Andy Clausen presents poetry, prose, and artwork by and about Gregory Corso from those who knew him best including: Diane Di Prima, David Amram, Anne Waldman, Ken Babbs, Ira Cohen, Sheri Langerman, and Janine Pommy Vega, to name a few. Of course the other half of the issue is the usual rollicking roller coaster ride of high and low brow art and literature, featuring among others: Mike Topp translating Neruda, Everett Hoagland, Bruce Isaacson and Nellie Wong.
Obviously, the year 2001 proved to be a year unlike any we lived through. The September 11th terror attacks stopped us in our tracks and it wasn't until 2002 that things began to regain a sense of normalcy. February 2002 saw us christen Bob Holman's not quite ready for prime time Bowery Poetry Club. We huddled together in the candle lit raw space to celebrate the life and work of Gregory Corso. While the temperature inside was frigid (and windy), the climate was warm and inebriated as m.c. Andy Clausen kept the show rolling. As I remarked on the occasion, the Bowery Poetry Club would never ever feel the same and indeed it hasn't. It has metamorphosized into a luxurious poetry club that is as comfortable as it is inviting. If you're out on the town, pay them a visit at 308 Bowery (between Bleecker and Houston), NYC or visit the web site www.bowerypoetry.com.
April 2002 also saw the publication of LIFT-OFF: New and Selected Poems of Herschel Silverman 1961-2001. As the title suggests, this collection offers a career retrospective of a uniquely talented poet's work. We published this book as a joint venture with Water Row Books, but the collaboration had a larger scope than that. In April 2001, a group of Mr. Silverman's fans agreed to purchase the book in advance, sort of like when you were in grade school and bought Scholastic Books and paid in advance. It was with this money that we built momentum for this must read book of poetry.
As way of update, I give you an abridged version of the Editor's Notes appearing in the back of Long Shot 25 which made its formal public debut on May 13, 2002 at the Bowery Poetry Club. We have a number of events planned to commemorate our 20th birthday. Please visit our events page to keep abreast.
Volume 25 marks our 20th year in operation. We originally were going to make a big deal out of it, but after the September 11th terror attacks it didn’t seem all that important. Nevertheless, we have put together a terrific issue for your viewing and reading pleasure. You’ll find the first 60 or so pages devoted to poets’ responses to the events of September 11th. Initially, we weren’t sure how to proceed concerning events that so many people (including us) felt strongly about. My two sons and I watched in disbelief from our vantage point at Sinatra Park on the Hudson River as the twin towers collapsed. Our small city of Hoboken lost more people than any municipality other than NYC. Pretty much everyone around here was touched by the hand of terror. My good friend Eliot Katz reminded me of what I already knew: "Without a section on 9/11, the next issue might seem irrelevant." One of the reasons we have managed to survive as an independent press for 20 years is because we are, have been, and will continue to be relevent. Irreverent? Maybe. Irrelevent? Hell no!
You’ll discover in our on 9/11 section fresh vital voices responding to the tragic events of September 11th and its aftermath. What you won’t find is the usual stale assortment of professional handwringers, obfuscators, and village explainers (favored by corporate endowed foundations, arts organizations, and university writing programs) who serve as our national conscience. There’s a lot of good poems about the events of September 11th and its aftermath out there. And a lot of bad ones. Hopefully, we chose wisely. I hope you find our opening section engaging, heartfelt, and thought provoking.
Of course two thirds of this issue is a regular rollicking ole Long Shot rife with sex, sin, politics, pain, alienation, open wounds, the scream of the marginalized soul, and ecstatic embrace of all that is living. I tend to view each volume of Long Shot holistically; by that I mean I view each issue as a whole organic entity, with each piece of art and writing complimenting the others, sort of like organic chemistry. I guess. There’s a hell of a lot to chew on in this volume, so I’ll let you discover
your personal favorites on your own. As always, I am particularly proud of the artwork contained herein. Many thank yous go to the Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Gallery in NYC for helping us out once again. At the risk of sounding self indulgent, I’d like to tell you about a project I’ve been working on which appears in these pages. It’s called Cafeteria and it’s a graphic novel that has been created in collaboration with artist Cliff Tisdell. He draws the pictures, I write the words, mostly. We have big plans for Cafeteria, but I figured what better place to debut our creation than in the pages of Long Shot. We offer you the first four of many panels as a way of introduction.
Let me tell you about our staff. As always we are in a state of flux. Nancy Mercado is studying at SUNY Binghampton working on her PhD. But thanks to the magic of electronics, Nancy is still able to meaningfully contribute to the shaping of our magazine. Andy Clausen is happy in his cabin in Woodstock, though he has been known to grumble about the arduous trek to work in the outer reaches of the outer boros of NYC. Lynne Breitfeller and Greg Wieting’s boy Emmett is a beautiful good natured little boy who will be two years old in September. Magdalena Alagna married the fierce looking, but extremely amiable Roderick in December. And, Koyuki Smith is engaged to marry her beloved Loy sometime in August. As for me, I’m enjoying the hell out of my sabbatical (from teaching). My wife Caroline, and boys Casey and Levi, are doing A-OK and actually seem to like having their slacker Dad around. With all the comings and goings, with so many editors having so much going on in their lives, its a wonder we get anything done at all. But we do, and I thank each one for their contributions to, and influence over, the tone, look, and content of this volume.
Looking back at our accomplishments over the past twenty years, I am simultaneously filled with pride and humility. I am proud that a rag-tag group of poets with no real source of capital has managed to produce a magazine that gives a forum to voices who were previously marginalized. Recently, I read a review that referred to us as venerable Long Shot, and I had to laugh because I thought back to our punk rock roots (and our rather dubious means of raising cash for our earliest self-printed volumes) and I knew that our Long Shot bet had come in. I am humbled to have worked with so many great people over the years, notably Eliot Katz (co-founder), Robert Press, Joanne Lanciotti, Caren Lee Michaelson, Jack Wiler, Jessica Chosid, Tom Pulhamus, Ernie Hilbert, David Stack, Mike Cote, and of course our current staff of editors. I look forward to creating memorable issues of Long Shot for years to come. See you in Volume 26. Enjoy!
– Danny Shot, Editor
Editor's Notes Volume 26: After 20 plus years at the helm, I am leaving Long Shot. It’s been a good run, but now it’s time to move on. I leave with feelings of relief (Thank God, I can finally get on with my life and attend to other projects), regret (it’s hard to quit on a good thing), and honor (for having had the opportunity to work with so many talented and wonderful people). Besides, rejecting the poetic outpourings of half the English speaking world has surely taken its karmic toll upon my being. Long Shot was originally a young man’s dream (2 young men actually), and alas, I am a middle aged man. And that is good. Perhaps fresher and younger dreamers will forge a new path to build a haven for the marginalized, under-appreciated, and left out; as well as provide a space (literally) where different writers from diverse backgrounds and interests can comfortably hang out together. This has been Long Shot’s mission, and I believe we succeeded admirably. Hopefully, a new generation of editors will be able to pursue our mission without compromising their integrity; in other words, without selling out. I leave with bittersweet memories, but also a deep sense of honor for having had the privilege of working with so many outstanding people. First the Long Shot stalwarts: Eliot Katz, Robert Press, Andy Clausen, Nancy Mercado, Mike Cote, Lynne Breitfeller, Greg Wieting, Magdalena Alagna, Jack Wiler, Caren Lee Michaelson, Alicia Ostriker, Ernie Hilbert, reg E. gaines, Tony Medina, Amiri Baraka, Pedro Pietri, Miguel Algarin, Tsaurah Litzky, Erik LaPrade, Eve Packer, Herschel Silverman, Steve Dalachinsky, Paul Beatty, Janine Pommy Vega, Edwin Torres, Hal Sirowitz, Lamont Steptoe, Jack Hirschman, Bruce Isaacson, Brandi Merolla, Pili & Javier, Bob Holman and many more who helped make our small independent magazine a player in the American poetry scene. And those who’ve left us behind: Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski, Gregory Corso, Jack Micheline, Ray Bremser, June Jordan, Cookie Mueller, Lorri Jackson, Charles Henri Ford. THANK YOU for gracing our pages. Now that I’ve sucked the air out of the room, let me tell you the good news: This is an outstanding, if slightly quirky and somewhat uneven issue of Long Shot. You’ll find unpublished work by the late great William Burroughs as well as an informative essay by Vojo Sindolic about Willie B’s time in Dubrovnik. You’ll catch a glimpse of John Ranard’s photo exploration of the sprawling Russian prison system. Check out the beautiful nightmare photos of Joel Peter Witkin. You’ll see continued evidence of the artistic evolution of poets reg E. gaines, Jack Wiler and Eliot Katz. You’ll read spirited exultations of being human and alive by Cristin Aptowicz, Yolanda Wilkinson, Latasha Natasha Diggs, Robert Press, Tsaurah Litzky and Tony Gloeggler among others. Damn, this is a good issue. And there’s so much more. Who knows, maybe I’ll just take an extended sabbatical (just kidding). Oh yeah, that reminds me, we are proud to be publishing Tsaurah Litzky’s new book of poems BABY ON THE WATER: New and Selected Poems which will be available in April available for only $12. That said, our new issue will be out in February. Order it from us or from better bookstores everywhere. It is well worth the $8. cover price. If you are interested, please send a check for $8. to the above address. We also have 2 events planned for March, entitled Long Shot’s Last Stand: Celebrate the Birth of Long Shot 26 at the Bowery Poetry Club on Sunday March 2, from 3-6 p.m. and at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on Wednesday March 12, from 7 - 9 p.m. Check out our events section for details.
Editor’s Notes Volume 27: This is it, the last issue of Long Shot. And what better way to go out than with a Beat Bush issue? Our Guest Editor, Eliot Katz has worked tirelessly in assembling this issue and it was wonderful working with him again. Thank You Eliot. For me, this is an extremely satisfying way for Long Shot to bow out. We received many outstanding submissions for this particular issue; it was a pity we couldn’t include more. But at 224 pages, Volume 27 weighs in heavy enough as it is. Thank you for your generosity of work, time, and spirit to all our contributors who appear within these pages and within our consciousness. We mourn the loss of Enid Dame who passed away this winter. Pedro Pietri, a friend and inspiration, left us in March. You’re with us in spirit, amigo.
Admittedly, I’ve been in a state of denial these past 3-1/2 years about George W. Bush even getting to be President. After all, it’s not like he won the election. It was hard for me to get over the sense of abandonment and disillusionment that people weren’t more outraged over the hijacking of the 2000 Presidential election by the Supreme Court. Then the terrorist attacks of September 11th happened and everything changed. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we pulled together as a nation, as well we should have. But our new found sense of purpose began to unravel rather quickly as our Prez’s attention deficit syndrome led us into a war with Iraq before we had completed the mission of diffusing the real terror threat posed by Al Qaeda.
Now it’s 2004 and we need a new 44th President (Bushism intended) of the United States. George W. Bush has come up on the wrong side of virtually every issue that is important to me (us?): the economy, foreign policy, fighting terrorism, civil liberties, civil rights, education, reproductive rights, the environment, the list goes on and on. Long Shot tries to deal with these issues (read the essays as well as the poems) because how we approach them as a nation will affect how we and our children will be living our lives for decades to come.
Clearly, it’s past time for a change, and maybe just maybe W. can be replaced. It is not a foregone conclusion (I think) that the 2004 Presidential election is in the bag, so please exercise your right to vote. There are a number of ways we can make our voices heard, but it all starts with pulling a lever, pushing a button, marking an X, or punching a chad (l.o.l.) in November. Can Bush be beaten? Hopefully. Maybe this time we can make a difference. Enjoy!
Long Shot Magazine