LITERARY ORGANIZATIONS ISSUE
Some Of Us Press
"SOUPing Up the Washington Poetry
by William Niederkorn
for The Washington Post, June 27, 1973
Some Of Us Press (SOUP) is the deliberately
innocuous name of a non-profit corporation created in December by a
group of Washington poets. Since then, it has published seven books—financing
the first with a benefit concert and the rest with profits from sales—that
celebrate among their pages the cities of Washington and South Orange,
NJ, the politics of lesbianism and the non-competitiveness of poetry
The editors, who plan to put out a book a month, started by publishing
Boning Up, by Terence Winch and Blocks by Ed Cox have definite local appeal. "What There Is To Say," which
opens Winch's book, immortalizes the Dupont Circle fountain and P Street
Beach, among other things. And in his poem "Rats" he mentions
several Connecticut Avenue restaurants:
In the Crystal City I sit with
pretending to be drinking coffee.
In the Dupont Villa I listen to you
making believe I am listening to you.
In the Golden Temple you announce a change.
I lead you to believe I understand.
Cox, who was born in Washington, sings out about the impersonality of
the city in a poem called "Evening News":
Washington. Third day
of humid weather.
Stoops lined with young men
and women who drink wine
from brown paper bags,
.....................sip on Cokes.
Drone of air-conditioners.
Screen doors shut.
Michael Lally's book tells a lot about his young adult
life in South Orange, NJ. It was the press's first book because he has
a fairly well-established reputation, with poems in over 200 little
magazines. The other poets had very limited audiences before their books
These Days by Lee Lally (she and Michael are
legally married) is clearly the most successful. The first edition was
sold out in a month. A speaker for the lesbian feminist movement, she
writes "to make a political statement nine times out of 10"
and identifies with "the crest of the wave of feminism and changing
Lee Lally is the only member of the staff who can state her social views
easily. Yet these writers consider themselves to be involved in some
kind of social movement. After tedious searching for a satisfactory
name, Cox and Lee and Michael Lally finally agreed to calling it "a
human movement which doesn't oppress anybody."
The ideas here are key to the innocuous label "Some Of Us,"
which carefully avoids the suggestion of competition between these poets
SOUP recently published three books by writers outside the editorial
staff: Edge by Bruce Andrews, Scar Tissue
by Leonard Randolph and She's a Jim-Dandy
by Sue Baker. Three more books, again by writers outside
the staff, are presently "in the works" at the press which
operates out of 4110 Emery Place NW.
The corporation's economics are simple. The cost of each book is about
$150 for an edition of 500 copies. After the benefit concert in December,
which financed the first publication, each subsequent book has been
financed by sales from the books preceding it, with some help from small
private contributions. The books retail for $1 each and are distributed
to area bookstores. The income also has to cover mailing costs and miscellaneous
in Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 2010.