japonisme: yellow silk @ 30

13 September 2011

yellow silk @ 30

thirty years ago today i came home with cartons and cartons of the first issue of my new magazine, yellow silk. cartons and cartons would be piled into my car then unloaded into the middle of my (fortunately large) second bedroom which served as my office. as would become a habit, we threw a fundraiser to pay the printer; harry the baker made a cake that looked like a magazine cover, and bunches of poets came to read their work from the magazine. since the first issue was all women (they responded to a cal for manuscripts more quickly than the guys did), we had the reading at a local women's bar, the long-gone bacchanal. the place has been called britt-marie's for years now, and they've kept the old 'stained glass' B over the door.

a funny thing happened last night. i was reading over the excerpts from the magazine that i had put online long ago, and an amazing thing happened -- i felt really proud. i hadn't read that poetry for years, i guess, and it was like it was all new to me, and i loved it, and i wanted to share it with you, despite the fact that i saw the million typos for the first time too!

so please enjoy some little bits from the 15 years that it lasted.

there are many stories, ask if you want. i just might answer you.

or go see more. Yellow Silk

by the way, please don't order anything on the website. also, to progress from page to page, the easiest way is to start on any given issue. click on any word that is underlined. this will take you to another page with work from the same issue. on that second page, in eensy tiny letters, it will say, 'go to next issue' (or something like that. if there is no underlined word, the 'go to next issue' will be on that table of contents page.

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Blogger balsamfir said...

Didn't know you were behind Yellow Silk. I have the "Best of..." and wished the times and the way of thinking still continued. It is something to be proud of. Congratulations.

13 September, 2011 14:24  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you, balsamfir--that's really cool! i know what you mean about the times. i'm not always sure, though, if things are that different (they rarely are, i think), or if i'm just enough older that i don't understand the new language, verbal or symbolic, anymore.

13 September, 2011 15:23  
Blogger namastenancy said...

That was such a beautiful magazine. I'm glad that it's on line so that we can remember the pleasure of reading each issue. I'm sorry that the magazine is no more - one of the causalities of our digital age and more's the pity.

13 September, 2011 18:38  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

well, just tidbits online. it's not really a casuality of the digital age, more a slight redirection in the heart of me.

thank you, nancy

13 September, 2011 18:51  
Anonymous evan said...

ah, yes...Yellow Silk. I remember seeing it for the first time, & my disappointment when it stopped appearing. And I confess, I bought it mostly for the art (when I could find it).

Middle age is weird (I had no idea). I'd say that one of the bigger changes I've seen culturally is the speed at which things happen. Kids develop (girls, anyway) much more quickly, which in turn leads to behavior occurring when they are much younger (than certain behavior when I was the same age). I'd say vulgarity is bigger & louder & more mainstream, to the point where magazines like Yellow Silk, which had some real artistic content & a little subtlety, might seem a little staid by what you can find on the internet with just a few clicks (or what passes for programming- reality TV, a new circle of hell-on TV these days). It's not that in middle-age we don't get it- I think it's we don't want to get it...as the saying goes- If it looks like shit, smells like shit & tastes like shit, put it down, it's probably shit. S'cuse the language.

16 September, 2011 08:49  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

well i'm amazed and happy to learn many of you knew the magazine.

believe me, evan, many thought it was too staid in the 80s too -- in fact there were at least 2-3 people who started doing their own journals who said in their 'mission statements' that they were going where yellow silk would never go. after all, my 'editorial policy' was 'all persuasions, no brutality.'

i went to a conference once that was held during the meese commission; the conference was looking at ways to make media more sex-positive, though truthfully, i think maybe 'sex-positive' would never have been a good label for the mag.

there are two women in town (this was in san francisco) who are totally self-identified as s&m dykes, leather vests, spiked dog collars & all. they really let me have it, with, i think, a mix of fury and hurt.

they were being descriminated against, they said. i said, it's my magazine and i can publish what i want.

their viewpoint has made great headway in the intervening years, and while i think i could have acknowleged their frustration, i would still today make the same decisions about publishing.

you see it here all the time.

16 September, 2011 11:22  
Anonymous evan said...

Everybody has an opinion about something. Healthy people are satisfied if they feel that their opinion gets heard, but I think the majority of people aren't happy they've shoved their opinion down your throat & made you change your mind & adapt THEIR opinion as your own.

And there are too many people happy to coat-tail on some one else's success. If your particular brand of sexuality doesn't involve whips & chains & doesn't fit into your vision for YOUR publication it isn't discrimination- you're entitled to your aesthete. Let them publish their own if they want to put their leather-clad sexuality out there.

Too often an exchange of opinions isn't an exchange of ideas, but a power play. I don't want you to think like you do. I want you to think like I do.

17 September, 2011 14:22  

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