“Metaphors Be with You” — Peter Shneidre’s Illuminati Press

Sunday, November 7, 2021

In the 1980s, bumper stickers were still fashionable enough that one could market a clever one and make a little money. I have no idea of whether poet and publisher Peter Shneidre made any significant profit on my favorite bumper sticker of that period: “Metaphors Be with You.” Given his hand-to-mouth existence as a West Coast independent press publisher, even a tiny profit would have been helpful. In any case, not many bumper stickers from forty or so years ago still have a shelf life. Several years ago, however, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center appropriated Peter Shneidre’s wistful aphorism for a T-shirt, so someone at L.A. leading literary arts center must have believed in its continuing pertinacity. Although the cinematic catch-phrase it is based on has begun to recede into a cultural footnote, Shneidre’s benediction still has a poignant caress lingering in its intonation and I am pleased to see it still in circulation. It would be nice if he got credit for it.

Of all the poet-editors in Los Angeles since World War II, Peter Shneidre has probably received the least critical attention. I would have loved to have given Illuminati Press more attention in HOLDOUTS: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992, but the University of Iowa Press insisted that I cut one-fourth of the manuscript after it had been assessed and provisionally approved by two outside readers. Fortunately, one can at least point future scholars toward a cache of archival material that will deserve extensive quotation in any literary history of Los Angeles poetry that will provide a more comprehensive account of late 20th century endeavors. Here, for the Academy’s consideration, is a list of some of the titles and authors that Shneidre published:

Laurel Ann Bogen — Do Iguanas Dance in the Moonlight (Photo by Lisa Powers) — copyright 1982, 84, 87 — $7.95 — 49 pages, 32 poemsl, including “The Night Grows Teeth”; “I Eat Lunch with a Schizophrenic”; “The VW Guide to Rock Collecting”; “Guarding the Fire” (For Anya Cronin); “Three Years Later I Still Send Anonymous Postcards to You” (Pages 15-16); “Last Postcard to Harley” (Page 37)
LAUREL ANN BOGEN – “The Projects” (Although Laurel Ann Bogen is primarily known as a poet, “The Projects” is nine prose pieces.) 1987

Kate Braverman – Hurricane Warnings – 1987 – 39 –poems – 87 pages

Tom Clark – Property – June, 1984

Michael C. Ford — Goddess Latitudes – The Great American Grab-Bag of 1945 – 2 American Plays

Laurie Fox – Sweeping Beauty, or Notes on Cinderella (1982, 1984, 1986)

Janet Gray – “I Hate Men” – 1984 and 1987 – 4 pages – 3rd edition
Janet Gray – Flaming Tail Out of Ground near Your Farm – 1987– 40 poems

James Krusoe — ABCD – September, 1984 — 225 copies
Jim Krusoe – HOTEL DE DREAM — August 2, 1988
(This was Jim Krusoe’s final published book of poems. From this point forward, he concentrated on novels and short stories. It was around this time that he founded the SANTA MONICA REVIEW, which has become one of the best known literary magazines in the country. The current editor is Andrew Tonkovich.)

Greg Kuzma – A Horse of a Different Color – 1983 (all prose poems) – 62 pages

Lyn Lifshin – Raw Opals – 1987 – 51 pages – 37 poems

Suzanne Lummis– “Idiosyncracies”

Nichola Manning – All Down to a River — 62 pages – 1984 — $4.95

Herbert Morris — Afghanistan – (1984) 225 copies, May, 1984

F.A. Nettlebeck — Americruiser 1983 – 50 pages

William Pillin — To the End of Time – 1980 – 43 pages
William Pillin – Another Dawn — 1984

Jerry Ratch — Lenin’s Paintings — – 10 pages –

Tall Tales chapbooks
Laurel Ann Bogen
Jascha Kessler
Laurie Fox
Charles Webb
David Trinidad
Jack Skelley
Gerald Locklin
Amy Gerstler
Richard Meltzer

In addition to literary magazines such as MARILYN and ORPHEUS, Peter Shneirdre also published three issues of a magazine with a name meant to echo a famous New York literary publishing house.

NUDE ERECTIONS — #1 – 1984
NIchola Manning, Bill Mohr, Robin Carr, Richard Meltzer, Amy Gerstler, Gerald Locklin, Bob Flanagan, Jack Skelley, Janet Gray
Janet Gray, Douglas Goodwin, Henry Rollins, Nichola Manning,
NUDE ERECTIONS — #3 – 1986
Charles Bukowski, Dave Alvin, Nichola Manning, janet Gray, LA Bogen, Doug Kbott, Kenneth Funsten, Steve Richmond

Finally, it should be noted that Peter was a fine poet whose work appeared in many magazines and outlets, including Exquisite Corpse, Santa Monica Review, Paris Review, Antioch Review, Shenandoah, Western Humanities Review, and Rolling Stone. His poems also appeared in my anthology, “POETRY LOVES POETRY” (Momentum Press, 1985).

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