I inaugurated my press by publishing my long poem “American Baby” in 1983; having taught myself bookbinding out of a book, I hand-made 100 copies, most of which I gave away. I typeset Melisande Potter’s play “On the Ball” at Zuckermann Harpsichords and put the Fast Books name on it although Dan Potter did all the rest of the work. My poem sequence “A Sojourn in Paris” made a sweet little chapbook; I wish I had made more of them. I have published two books of poems by friends, Dan Potter’s “Up Scaffolding” and Gary Zarr’s “The Flight of the Great Red Bird,” a long sequence of haiku in memory of his brother.
My experimental novel “Near the End” is the first book that was professionally designed, printed, and bound; the cover is the George Washington stamp Johnny Dodd used for his lost collage mural in my apartment on West Third Street in Greenwich Village; the book turned out beautifully, except the designer neglected to remind me to put anything on the back cover, which came out blank white. I made 500 copies and recently recycled several boxes of them.
Production has picked up in recent years. John Labovitz designed “Automatic Vaudeville,” “Yes Poetry,” “Jesse & Elvis,” and “Azúcar, Tabaco y Café,” and and made many substantial and continuing contributions to the development of the press. I have designed subsequent books myself. In May 2012 Fast Books published “Chain,” a remarkable, great novel by the late Ronald Tavel.
In 2013 we (that is, I) published “My Dear, Sweet Self: A Hot Peach Life,” Jimmy Camicia’s entertaining and provocative memoir of his legendary theatre company, Hot Peaches. I published my own “Rhapsodic Photography: Selected Poems 1964-2012,” lest they be forgotten. Marya Ursin’s charming book of yoga tales, “A Bowlful of Ladoo,” with paintings by Daniel Potter, reveals the connection between myths and specific yoga poses (asanas). Marya and Dan followed up with “Sky Tails,” a selection of Native American stories dramatized for the Mystic Paper Beasts, their indefatigably inventive theatre company.
A major but sporadically visible part of my own oeuvre is my plays, which like most new plays vanished into thin air after a few performances. Believing in them as literature as well as scripts for acting, I published a collection of the main ones in 2013—22 plays in two volumes.
My short novel “A Cat’s Life” was released as an ebook, downloadable from Amazon.
This flurry of vanity publishing continued with “Names and Events: Winter 1965-66,” an intimate 24/7 diary I kept while I was writing for The Village Voice and engulfed in a seething bohemian Greenwich Village art scene, at the brief, exhilarating peak of the legendary sixties.
“Having Loved,” a new collection of eloquently direct poems by the great Judith Malina, founder of the Living Theatre and a personal hero, came out in time for her to enjoy it while she was still alive.
I seem to be publishing books by people who have died. Niel Hancock’s “Old Dime Box Stories” is a colorful transcontinental picaresque and a touching revelation of the author’s determined recovery from the Vietnam War. Ronald Tavel’s sharp-witted “Andy Warhol’s Ridiculous Screenplays” recovers the complex human comedy of Warhol’s infamous Factory at its height. I also put out a generous collection of my output as a theatre critic, “Theatre Journal: Reviews from The Village Voice, 1960-74.”
Our newest title is “Ecuador Journal” by Bill Hart. In the works is “25 Plays by Robert Heide,” hopefully to appear by late summer 2016.
Details of these and our other books are at http://fastbookspress.com.
Fast Books may be ordered direct from the publisher. For packaging and postage, please add $5 for the first book, plus $4 for each additional book. Since 2008, most of our books have appeared in the Ingram catalogue and can be ordered from your favorite bookstore or online bookseller.
P. O. Box 1268
Silverton, OR 97381
American Baby, poem by Michael Smith (1983 )*
On the Ball, play by Melisande Potter (1984) *
A Sojourn in Paris, poems by Michael Smith (1985) *
Up Scaffolding, poems by Daniel Potter (1989) *
Near the End, novel by Michael Smith (1995); 126 pages; $10
The Flight of the Great Red Bird, poems by Gary Zarr (2002) *
Automatic Vaudeville, dream narrative by Michael Smith (2005); 136 pages; $12
Yes Poetry, anthology of poets associated with the Silverton Poetry Festival, coedited with Ruth Hudgens, published in partnership with the Silverton Poetry Association (2007); 92 pages; $10
Jesse & Elvis, novel by Vere McCarty (2008); 120 pages; $14
Every Day Arising, blog poems 2005-10 by Michael Smith (2010); 753 pages; $25
Azúcar, Tabaco y Café: Visions of Cuba, images and text by Ignacio José Fernández Morales (2010); 130 pages; $45
H. M. Koutoukas, 1937-2010, Remembered by His Friends, edited by Magie Dominic & Michael Smith (2010); 79 pages; illustrated with photos; $12
Johnny!, memoir-biography of John P. Dodd by Michael Smith (2011);137 pages; illustrated with photos; $14
Chain, novel by Ronald Tavel (2012); 316 pages; $20
My Dear, Sweet Self: A Hot Peach Life, memoir by Jimmy Camicia (2013); 215 pages; $16
Rhapsodic Photography: Selected Poems 1964-2012 by Michael Smith (2013); 136 pages; $20
A Cat’s Tale, novel by Michael Smith; published on Kindle, accessible on most ereaders; c. 145 pages; $3.99. Order online from Amazon.
A Bowlful of Ladoo: Tales of Yogic Myth and Form by Marya Ursin, with illustrations by Daniel Potter (2013); 42 pages; $12
Michael Smith Plays I by Michael Townsend Smith (2013); 308 pages; $25
Michael Smith Plays II by Michael Townsend Smith (2013); 377 pages; $25
Sky Tales by Marya Ursin, with illustrations by Daniel Potter and Marya Ursin (2014); 50 pages; $12
Names and Events: New York, Winter 1965-66, annotated diary by Michael Townsend Smith (2014); 93 pages; $20
Having Loved, new poems by Judith Malina (2015); 98 pages; $14
Old Dime Box Stories by Niel Hancock (2015); 240 pages; $15
Theatre Journal: Reviews from The Village Voice, 1960–1974 by Michael Townsend Smith (2015); 340 pages; $16
Six Stories by Michael Smith (2015); 248 pages; edition of 100; NFS
Andy Warhol’s Ridiculous Screenplays by Ronald Tavel (2015); 200 pages; $15
Ecuador Journal by Bill Hart (2016), 46 pages, $10
How to Be Funny by Michael Townsend Smith (2017), 108 pages, $12
25 Plays by Robert Heide (2017), 406 pages, $30
Play Work by Michael Townsend Smith (2017), 131 pages, $14
- Out of print.