Clock Radio #2: The Bukowski Issue

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From 1984–1987, I published the little magazine Clock Radio. Like many small (“little”) literary magazines of the day, this one was produced on a shoestring, with nothing more than donated time, a typewriter, a xerox machine, and cover art help from a couple of fine artists, notably Markus Größner. There were 8 issues in all.

This second issue was a breakthrough, of sorts, for I was able to attract submissions from Charles Bukowski, Tom Clark, Lyn Lifshin, Janet Gray, and Robert Peters—all established writers whose work I admired.*  There were, in fact, no unknown writers in this issue, and its publication, as a result, attracted considerable attention from libraries and other writers. After publication of the issue, submissions to the magazine started pouring in from around the world, creating quite an editorial headache for me, as I was essentially selecting all of the work for Clock Radio myself while trying to finish a graduate degree and teach classes. I remember one winter in particular, when I managed to take a two-week vacation away from snowy Connecticut in late December. When I returned, not only was my creaky car buried in snow, but when I went to pick up my mail from the post office, the counter clerk buried me with two huge mailbags stuffed full of submissions. I had never seen so much mail in my life.

In any case, over time I’ll try to reproduce most of the issues of Clock Radio right here. They probably, at least, hold some interest for followers of Bukowski, who generously sent me new poems for each issue I was working on. Bukowski knew I was interested in his work from a scholarly perspective. I had also corresponded with his publisher, John Martin, about the possibility of editing a Bukowski reader, and with his German translator, Carl Weissner, whom I later interviewed extensively in Mannheim, Germany.

* As an aside, to this day, I wonder what happened to Janet Gray. If anyone knows, please leave a comment. Gray was writing some of the most original and ambitious work of the time. The work of Open Arts Forum member Jess Kangas reminds me of Gray.