Tuesday, April 28, 2015

These Days by Lee Lally (1972)

These Days
Lee Lally
Some of Us Press
Washington, DC

I wrote this about this 'infamous' chapbook in July 2013 on my chapbook Facebook page: "Publishing pettifoggery: not everyone is on the level.

Back in 1972 Lee Lally published "These Days" with Some of Us Press, a press that she was personally involved with. The way that SOUP worked was that any profit from one book might earn would be used to publish the next book. Pay it forward.

Unfortunately, Lee's book became the best seller that SOUP would ever have and the Diana Press of Baltimore decided, without contacting Lally or anyone AT Some of Us Press, that IT would bring out ITS OWN version of the chapbook with the discreet proviso "Diana Press FOR Some of Us Press" on the publisher's page. However, no money was ever sent to SOUP nor to Lally.

All this happened 40 years ago - still, pretty underhanded, if you ask me."

Here is the cover image of that pirated copy. Some of Us Press was a collective. The proceeds from one book went toward publishing the next book. This chapbook was their best seller. Their best known. Their own pirated one as well. One of the people to whom this collection was dedicated to is Tina Darragh and Tina told me about the strife that the pirated copy caused within SOUP (the press's working initialized title). Lee was upset to the point of crying over this sorted affair. Diana Press did not pay Lally or SOUP a dime in compensation. How nice of you, Diana Press, may you sit on a poisoned quiver.

I don't know if Joan Hanor was part of SOUP or of Diana. She is credited with the back cover image which I have seen on other SOUP chapbooks. This is a 36 page, staple-bound chapbook. Chronically, it was one of the earliest chapbooks published by SOUP. As the chapbooks were brought out, they listed those previously published ones as well as those forthcoming.

This is an important collection in feminist writing. I will share with you one of the poems in this collection:


The woman will miss the typewriter.
The fence will miss the cold of steel and cash.
The junkie is on the street again
and the poems are harder
like a bad vein
every minute.

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