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This report is taken from PN Review 21, Volume 8 Number 1, September - October 1981.

The Priapus Press John Cotton
Priapus Press has long been a feature of the English poetry world. We asked JOHN COTTON to outline its origins, its history and objectives.

The Priapus Press started with the first issue of Priapus, a magazine of Poetry and Art which Ted Walker and I began in the autumn of 1963. The purpose of the magazine was to provide a vehicle for new poets writing, at the time, what the editor judged to be the genuine article. Established poets were published also in order to set the newcomers alongside their peers. The magazine's critical stance was to be manifest in the poetry it published. It ran for twenty-three issues before it ceased publication in 1972, and during that time it published the first or very early poems by John Birtwhistle, Miles Burrows, Freda Downie, Peter Jay, Wes Magee, Gerda Mayer, John Mole, Sally Purcell, Peter Scupham, D. M. Thomas, Ted Walker and many others. It was ended because it had achieved its original purpose, and because it seemed well to end it while the magazine was still successful rather than let it run on until it began to flag. The last issue was celebrated by a reading and gathering of contributors at The Poetry Society in December 1972.

There was, however, another reason for the winding up of the magazine: the idea that hand-printing and publishing small collections would be a better way of offering a platform to new poetry and poets. It was an idea that ...


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