Summary Information
Title: The Ant's Forefoot Archive
Collection Number: SC.1976.01

Collection Dates: 1967-1977
Extent: 5.0 linear feet (7 boxes)

Language: English

Abstract:
The Ant’s Forefoot was founded by David Rosenberg and other American expatriates living in Canada. Published by Coach House Press, the Ant’s Forefoot Archive is a unique literary collection documenting experimental Collage Poetry. The Ant’s Forefoot Archive is composed of correspondence, manuscripts, printed materials, and associated works of art created and maintained for the production of The Ant’s Forefoot poetry magazine. The collection is comprised primarily of an extensive series of correspondence from contributors to The Ant’s Forefoot such as Lewis Warsh, Diane Wakoski and Gerald Malanga.
Publisher:

ULS Special Collections Department
University of Pittsburgh Library System
Hillman Library, Room 363
3960 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
412-648-8190
uls-specialcollections@mail.pitt.edu
Date Published:

November 2008
Author:

Finding aid prepared by Jonah McAllister-Erickson.
History

The Ant's Forefoot was founded in 1967 by David Rosenberg and other American expatriates living in Canada. The magazine takes its names from a line in The Cantos of Ezra Pound: "when the mind swings by a grass blade / an ant's forefoot shall save you." The Ant's Forefoot was conceived to create a community of writers who collaborated on poetry as part of an experiment that involved expanding the aesthetic implications of their work to their actual lifestyles. The precise nature of the experiment was described as ‘collage,’ which the poet, Jack Spicer, called “a binding together of reality.” The Ant’s Forefoot ‘collage’ brought together several of the aesthetic movements related to poetry in the late sixties, such as Concrete Poetry, and Found Poetry, along with the “Black Mountain School,” or Projectivist Poetry, and finally on recycling poems in what David Rosenberg and Annabel Levitt described as “a communal need for recycling materials and elimination of wasteful posturing.”

The editorial policy of The Ant’s Forefoot was to profile the range and depth of a particular writer’s experiment or the works they were producing. This policy had three major impacts on the collection. First was that many of the contributors to The Ant’s Forefoot appear in multiple issues, and second often works that were not considered by their author to be their most important or best work were published in the magazine, and finally the process of soliciting the widest possible range of materials from each contributor generated a considerable amount of correspondence.

The Ant’s Forefoot was one of a few magazines to make the work of young avant-garde American, English, and Canadian writers available to a North American audience. Although avant-garde magazines like Angle Hair and C published many of the same poets, they primarily focused on a writers most recent works. The Ant’s Forefoot published works without regard to the chronology of their creation.

The facilities of Coach House Press, a Toronto publisher and printer founded in 1965, were used to produce The Ant’s Forefoot numbers 1-9 the last three issues were published in New York City. David Rosenberg the principle editor of The Ant’s Forefoot was initially on the faculty of York University of Toronto where he utilized the English Department’s facilities. However no monetary support was given by York University to the project. The fiscal support for the first two issues came almost entirely from Rosenberg’s personal finances and the material contributions of Coach House Press. After the sixth issue the Canada Council was subsidizing the cost of production.

In 1972 David Rosenberg had returned to the New York City permanently. Although he continued to edit and publish the last three issues of The Ant’s Forefoot, Rosenberg and his contributors believed that the “uniqueness of time and place had passed on” and production of The Ant’s Forefoot ceased in 1974.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

The Ant’s Forefoot Archive is composed of the correspondence, manuscripts, printed materials, and associated works of art created and maintained for the production of The Ant’s Forefoot poetry magazine and associated monographs.

The first series includes correspondence, two unpublished manuscripts, and several associated works of art. The correspondence files, 1967-1973, represents the bulk of the collection and contains over five hundred individual items including; letters, postcards, poems, and manuscripts. In addition to the correspondence and other printed materials the collection includes two unpublished manuscripts. The Mandarin by Thomas M. Disch the renowned science-fiction author and poet, and Making a living: for a girl kisst 15 years ago by Peter Huse author of Prairie Poems.

The second series includes several editor and printer proofs, unpublished materials, some original artwork and audio-visual materials. The editors proofs for The Ant’s Forefoot issues 3, and 4, and the printer proofs for volume 11. The unpublished submissions appear to represent a wide range of issues. The original art work and audio-visual materials include photographs, drawings, and collages, and a cassette recording of, the poet and installation artist, Vito Acconci.


Arrangement

Series I. Ant’s Forefoot Correspondence, manuscripts, and associated works of art, 1967-1973

Series II. Proofs, unpublished submissions and original works of art, 1969, 1972


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Canadian poetry -- 20th century -- Periodicals
  • Canadian poetry -- Ontario -- Toronto
  • Poetry -- Authorship -- Collaboration
  • Poetry -- Editing
  • Poetry -- Publishing

Corporate Names
  • Coach House Press.

Personal Names
  • Blazek, Douglas, 1941-
  • Chaloner, David
  • Clark, Tom, 1941-
  • Coleman, Victor, 1944-
  • Crozier, Andrew
  • Dine, Jim , 1935-
  • Disch, Thomas M.
  • Elmslie, Kenward
  • Harwood, Lee
  • Hollo, Anselm
  • Malanga, Gerard
  • Padgett, Ron, 1942-
  • Purdy, Al , 1918-2000
  • Raworth, Tom
  • Riley, Peter
  • Rosenberg, David, 1943-
  • Wakoski, Diane
  • Waldman, Anne, 1945-
  • Warsh, Lewis

Genres/Forms
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts (Document genre)
  • Monographs
  • Periodicals

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Purchased from Gotham Book Mart and Gallery, Inc. on October 20, 1976.

Custodial History:

Although the collection was formally purchased on October 20, 1976, some materials remained in the custody of David Rosenberg until as late as February 1977. The last transfer included miscellaneous non-inventoried correspondence and art work, but also informed the Special Collections Department that several manuscripts were lost in the transfer from Coach House Press.

Preferred Citation:

The Ant's Forefoot Archives, 1967-1977, SC.1976.01, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Jonah McAllister-Erickson in September 2008.

Copyright:

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Related Material:

Additional materials related to The Ant's Forefoot Archive collection that can be found in the Hillman Library Special Collections department include.

The Ant’s Forefoot. (Toronto: Coach House Press.) Volume 1, 1967 – Volume 12, 1974.

David Rosenberg, Night School (Wivenhoe Park, Essex : Voiceprint, 1970) Ant's forefoot, Eleventh finger, Voiceprint edition.

Guillaume Apollinaire, The Song of the ILL-Beloved trans. Jonathan Cott (Wivenhoe Park, Essex : Voiceprint, 1970) Ant's forefoot, Eleventh finger, Voiceprint edition.

Tom Clark, The No Book (Wivenhoe Park, Essex: Voiceprint, 1971) Ant's Forefoot, Eleventh Finger, Voiceprint edition.

David Rosenberg, A Star in My Hair (Toronto: Weed-Flower Press, 1971)

Victor Coleman, America (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1971)

Tom Clark, Neil Young (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1971)

Lewis Warsh, Part of My History (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1972)

Gerry Gilbert, Lease (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1972)

Separated Material:
Bound volumes, and periodicals have been removed from the collection and stored separately from the correspondence and manuscript materials. The Ant's Forefoot poetry magazine has been integrated into the Special Collections Departments periodicals collection. The Coach House Press and Ant's Forefoot Eleventh Finger monographs have been integrated into the Special Collections rare books collection. There is also an index, both the handwritten original and transcribed copy available for review in the special collections department.

Bibliography:

  • Inkster, Time. The Coach House Press. (Guelph, Ont.: Alive Press: 1974).
  • Levitt, Annabel and David Rosenberg. A History of A Legendary Serial of the Sixties: The Ant's Forefoot. (The Ant's Forefoot 1975).
  • McKnight, David. New Wave Canada: The Coach House Press and the small press movement in English Canada in the 1960s. (Ottawa : National Library of Canada 1996).


Collection Inventory

Series I. Ant's Forefoot Correspondence, 1967-1973

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains the correspondence created and maintained in the process of producing The Ant’s Forefoot poetry magazine and associated monographs. The series also contains two unpublished manuscripts, voluminous amounts of poetry and related items, such as drawings on envelopes and found items. The unpublished manuscripts by Peter Huse and Thomas M. Disch, are located in the 1971 and 1972 correspondence files, respectively.

The correspondence from 1967-1968 includes a number of letters between David Rosenberg, The Ant’s Forefoot primary editor and Victor Coleman, author and poet, about the Ant’s Forefoot as a literary and social project. The 1970-1971 correspondence has several letters from the filmmaker, photographer, poet, and curator, Gerard Malanga, who is perhaps best know outside of the arts community for his collaborations with Andy Warhol. The letters from Malanga discuss his disappointment with issues 4 and 5 of The Ant’s Forefoot and his acceptance of Rosenberg’s offer to edit half of issues 6 and 7. The 1972 correspondence includes several signed letters written by Lewis Warsh discussing his recently published monograph A Part of My Life. Throughout the collection there are letters, and poems by well known poet Diane Wakoski.

The series also contains signed poems or letter from Andrew Crozier, Diane Wakoski, Gerard Malanga, Peter Huse, and Donald Hall. In addition there are poems by: Lee Harwood, Stephen Jonas, Tom Raworth, Robin Eichele, Sam Abrams, Joe Rosenblatt, Donald Hall, David Cunliffe, Bill Wyatt, Konstantinos Lardas, Tom Clark, Al Young, David Chaloner, Victor Coleman, Lewis Warsh, Anne Waldman, Ted Berrigan, Fred Buck, Mike Doyle, Ants Reigo, Anselm Hollo, Paul Green, Bonnie Birtwistle, Susan Landell, Al Purdy, Asa Beneviste, Ray DiPalma, Ian White, George Bowering, Victor Bockris, Steve Osterlund, David Chaloner, Greg Weatherby, Patrick White, Melodie Corrigall, Paul Gagarty. Rick Friedman, Nathaniel Parn, Maria Gitin, Anne Waldman, Peter Schjeldahl, Vaughn L. Duhamel, and David Rosenberg, Wayne Padgett, Michael Dymond, and J.B. Thompson.


Box 1
Folder 1 Abrams, Sam to Cunliffe, David, 1967
Folder 2 Eichele, Robin to Kimball, George, 1967
Folder 3 Lardas, Konstantinos to Wyatt, Bill, 1967
Folder 4 Baoering, George to Crump, Raymond, 1968
Folder 5 Eichele, Robine to Patterson, Ian, 1968
Folder 6 Raworth, Tom to Young, Al, 1968

Box 2
Folder 1 Anson, Peter to Evans, Ronald, 1969
Folder 2 Fagin, Larry to Landall, Susan, 1969
Folder 3 Mackay, Richard to Wakoski, Diane, 1969

Box 3
Folder 1 Arthur, Cathy to Crozier, Andrew, 1970
Folder 2 Dine, Dine to Huse, Peter, 1970
Folder 3 James, John to Purdy, All, 1970
Folder 4 Raworth, Tom to White, Patrick, 1970
Folder 5 Unidentified, 1970

Box 4
Folder 1 Allum, Bryan to Gogarty, Paul, 1971
Folder 2 Huse, Peter to White, Patrick, 1971
Folder 3 Angus, ian to Violi, Paul 1972
Folder 4 Waldman, Anne to Wright, Francis, 1972
Folder 5 Bissett, Bill to keiser, Irvine, 1973
Folder 6 Malanga, Gerard to Zazatsky, Bill, 1973

Series II. Proofs, unpublished submissions and original works of art, 1969-1972

Scope and Content Notes:

This Series contains the editor and printers proofs for issues 3, 4, 9, 11 of The Ant's Forefoot, along with a small selection of poems that were rejected for publication which include poems by Jerome Badanes, Nelson Ball, Gerard Malanga, David Mc Fadden, Diane Wakoski, Ted Berrigan, Joe Rosenblatt, Rebecca Brown, Harris Schiff, Rochelle Ratner, and Robert Lincoln. The original works of art included, drawing, photographs, and collages that were published in the The Ant’s Forefoot.


Box 5
Folder 1 Issue 3 Editor's Proofs, 1969
Folder 2 Issue 4 Editor's Proofs, 1969
Folder 3 Issue 4 Printer's Proof, 1969
Folder 4 Unpublished Submissions

Box 6
Folder 1 Issue 11 Printer's Proofs, 1972
Folder 2 Works of Art and Photographs used in The Ant's Forefoot, 1972
Folder 3 Audio Cassette Recording of Vito Acconci

Box 7
Folder 1 Supplementary materials