Scope and Content of Collection
Sun & Moon Press
Title: Sun & Moon Press Archive,
Date (inclusive): 1976-2002
108.20 linear feet
(165 archives boxes, 42 records cartons boxes, and 2 oversize folders)
Abstract: Archives of the Sun & Moon Press, Douglas Messerli's "alternative" publishing venture, dedicated to experimental poetry, fiction
and drama, begun in 1976 in College Park, Maryland, and later located in Los Angeles. The collection documents the publishing
history of the press throughout most of its 28 years of operation and maps the literary careers and, in some cases, the personal
lives of numerous American and international literary figures and artists. The bulk of the materials documents Sun & Moon's
publishing activities from 1991-2002. The collection is a compilation of literary correspondence, both to and from Messerli,
of Press production materials (manuscripts, typescripts, publishing proofs), and of various documents related to Sun & Moon's
business activities (financial records, trade catalogues, and advertising materials). Biographical materials for various writers
and artists, interviews, designs, collages, broadsides and postcards are scattered throughout the collection as well. Materials
feature, for instance: proofs of work by David Antin, Susan and Fanny Howe, and Gertrude Stein; Sara Garden Armstrong's battery-driven
art book designs and collages done by Lou Horvath and Nick Piombino; interviews with Michael Palmer, Allan Kaprow and Linda
Montano (interviewed by Moira Roth); materials from the artist Claudia Delmonte, architect Allan Greenberg, sculptor Lawrence
McCabe, country western songwriter Chuck Rosenberg, who studied with the well known writer John Ashbery, to mention just a
few. Also included are production materials for the anthology FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY: A NEW AMERICAN POETRY 1960-1990
and THE GERTRUDE STEIN AWARDS IN INNOVATIVE NORTH AMERICAN POETRY: 1993. Throughout the 1990s the press published several
titles whose authors were selected as annual winners by the National Poetry Series and published the collection: 50: A CELEBRATION
OF SUN & MOON CLASSICS (1995). Messerli's Green Integer succeeds Sun & Moon Press (after its closure in 2004) as the current
venue for both celebrated and emerging poets and writers.
University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Collection number: MSS 0224
Language of Material:
Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research
Sun & Moon Press Archive, MSS 0224. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
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 1981.
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 fulltime 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, Norweigan 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 Vessaas 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
Scope and Content of Collection
Accession Processed in 1993
The Sun & Moon Press Archives documents the publishing history of the press and incidentally informs the literary careers
and, in some cases, the personal lives of numerous American and international literary figures and artists. Because original
office files contained a variety of materials, including letters to and from Douglas Messerli, letters regarding the texts
of individuals named on folder tabs (see, for example, "Zola, Emile"), occasional artwork and photographs, and a wide array
of production materials, related but originally separate manuscripts, typescripts and proofs have been interfiled with these
office files by author's name, resulting in the collection's organization in a single alphabetical series: ADMINISTRATIVE
AND PRODUCTION FILES.
The bulk of the Sun & Moon Press Archives is a compilation of literary correspondence, both to and from Douglas Messerli (and
occasionally to and from Howard Fox), of Sun & Moon Press production materials, such as manuscripts, typescripts and publishing
proofs, and of various documents related to Sun & Moon's business activities (financial records, trade catalogues, advertising
In addition, the collection is scattered with a wide array of materials associated with Messerli's life and work, and with
the lives and work of writers and artists, both the relatively unfamiliar and the celebrated, from the last 25 years: for
example, letters and drawings from Messerli's foster children in Thailand, Somsong and Ko Chinnaphorn; numerous broadsides
and art postcards; Sara Garden Armstrong's battery-driven art book (see: "Silverberg, Ira"); designs and collages, such as
those done by Lou Horvath and Nick Piombino; biographical material for many writers and artists; interviews with the likes
of Michael Palmer, Allan Kaprow and Linda Montano (interviewed by Moira Roth); letters and cards from an infinitely eclectic
population beyond the writer's world, including, for example, materials from the artist Claudia Delmonte, architect Allan
Greenberg, sculptor Lawrence McCabe, country western songwriter Chuck Rosenberg, who studied with the well known writer John
Ashbery, to mention just a few.
As a whole, the Sun & Moon Press Archives is an important collection not only because it details the history of Douglas Messerli's
"alternative" publishing venture, bringing experimental poetry, fiction and drama to the American marketplace, but it also
situates a community of writers and artists in relation to that marketplace and beyond over the last 25 years.
Accession Processed in 1996
The accession contains production materials for the Sun & Moon Press publication of FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY: A
NEW AMERICAN POETRY, 1960-1990, an anthology edited by Douglas Messerli and THE GERTRUDE STEIN AWARDS IN INNOVATIVE NORTH
AMERICAN POETRY: 1993. The accession is arranged in two series: 1) FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY and 2) GERTRUDE
SERIES 1: FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY
This series is arranged in two subseries: A) Correspondence and B) Book Production Materials. The Correspondence subseries
contains correspondence and submissions from contributors to the anthology. The Book Production Materials subseries comprises
drafts, galleys and page proofs of the anthology.
SERIES 2: GERTRUDE STEIN AWARDS
The GERTRUDE STEIN AWARDS series contains letters of permission for poems published in the book.
Accession Processed in 2004
This accession contains literary correspondence and administrative and production files for Sun & Moon Press publications
from 1991-2002. The accession is arranged alphabetically in a single series entitled ADIMISTRATIVE AND PRODUCTION FILES.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Messerli, Douglas, 1947- -- Archives
Sun & Moon Press -- Archives
American poetry -- 20th century
Publishers and publishing -- United States
Abish, Walter, -- correspondent
Acker, Kathy, 1948- , -- correspondent
Andrews, Bruce, 1948- , -- correspondent
Antin, David, -- correspondent
Armantrout, Rae, 1947- , -- correspondent
Auster, Paul, 1947- , -- correspondent
Barnes, Djuna, -- correspondent
Bernstein, Charles, 1950- , -- correspondent
Boyle, Kay, 1902- , -- correspondent
Brownstein, Michael, 1943- , -- correspondent
Davidson, Michael, 1944- , -- correspondent
DiPalma, Ray, -- correspondent
Greenwald, Ted, -- correspondent
Guest, Barbara, -- correspondent
Hejinian, Lyn, -- correspondent
Howe, Fanny, -- correspondent
Howe, Susan, 1937- -- correspondent
Major, Clarence, -- correspondent
Sherry, James, -- correspondent
Silliman, Ronald, 1946- , -- correspondent
Taggart, John, 1942- , -- correspondent
Waldrop, Rosmarie, -- correspondent
Messerli, Douglas, 1947-