The People, an alternative indie-publishing canon, by Richard Peabody
In March of 1980, Michael Martone did something extraordinary — inviting a motley crew of indie press folks up to Johns Hopkins University. Martone, a student at the Sems, had begun a subversive mag with fellow Hoosier Michael Wilkerson, which they dubbed Indiana Mon Amour. The conceit? You had to write about Indiana to be eligible for inclusion. The concept a chippy response to the workshop lip service to “place” and very much in keeping with those two madcap zealots. Their zine experience plugged them directly into the indie mindset, which may or may not have been prevalent on the Homewood campus at that time.
I thank them both for the invitation to be part of their “People’s Republic of Reading Series.” Because we were a bunch of non-university affiliated long-haired bearded freaks (save for John Elsberg who worked as a book editor for the US Army and who we all mistakenly thought was British) gathered together in that huge auditorium. Sprawling? That’s how I remember it. Eager students as far as the eye could see. We were an alternative to the Canon, a strange and heady brew. And I don’t believe any of us had ever read our work in a university setting before…
Read the full essay at Eckleburg
Richard Peabodyis the author of a novella, three short story collections, and seven poetry books. He is a native Washingtonian and has taught fiction writing at Johns Hopkins University, where he received the Faculty Awards for Distinguished Professional Achievement and Teaching Excellence. He is also the Beyond the Margins Above and Beyond 2013 Award winner for his outstanding service to the Washington, D.C. literary community, and he is Eckleburg‘s Patron Saint of Indie. He is the founder and co-editor of Gargoyle Magazine and editor of twenty-one anthologies including Mondo Barbie. His collection of short stories, Blue Suburban Skies, is out from Main Street Rag Press. Read “Maraschino Cherries,” an excerpt from his collection, Speed Enforced by Aircraft (The Broadkill River Press, 2012). His Newest book is The Richard Peabody Reader is a compendium of the author’s best poems, stories, and drama available from ASP.