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Susan Howe & The Women's Distribution Group (1977)



In retrospect, second wave feminism and gay rights initiatives are synchronous with independent publishing enterprises and printed ephemera. These efforts are marked by the advent of sophisticated and affordable printing technology.

This 1977 recording is of a conversation between Susan Howe and a circle of New York City-based independent female publishers. The guests in conversation were all a part of a collective called The Women's Distribution Group. Their effort was simple: to coalesce together to further their outreach and readership for their individual publications.

Howe is joined by Barbara Baracks, Maureen Owen, Fran Winant, Roberta Gould, and Marty Pottinger. Each of their respected publications focused on varying topics, such as politics, art, and gay and lesbian liberation. The majority of them solicited the writings of women only; however, a couple did not reject the submissions of men. Together they discussed the inception of and public funding for the Group. They lamented their struggles to further readership beyond New York City and questioned conventional large press business models.

Their conversation represents a shift in means of mass communication. Without the technologies afforded to the common citizen their union launched an essential approach towards the distribution of ideas and values that would eventually define their era.

American poet and critic, Susan Howe (born 1937) is known for her work having often having been infused with historical and mythical references. She is often linked with the Postmodern Language poets. Howe has been awarded with numerous awards, such as two American Book Awards and a Guggenheim fellowship. She has taught at universities across the United States. Her published works include; Hinge Picture (1974), Articulation of Sound Forms in Time (1987), The Birth-Mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History (1993), and Frolic Architecture (2011).