Dennis Cooper started Little Caesar Magazine in 1976 as a literary journal with an anarchist, punk rock spirit. From its humble beginnings as a skinny, low-tech zine dominated by poetry, it grew into a book sized magazine featuring poetry, fiction, portfolios of art and photography, essays, special theme issues, and interviews with a wide range of writers, artists, and pop culture figures (ranging from teen idol Leif Garrett to musicians like Johnny Rotten and Gram Parsons to porn director Toby Ross, to name but a few).
In 1978, Cooper started Little Caesar Press, which wound up publishing 24 books of poetry and fiction by young and established contemporary authors (Joe Brainard, Amy Gerstler, Eileen Myles, Peter Schjeldahl, Elaine Equi, Ronald Koertge, Gerard Malanga, Tom Clark, et. al.), as well as the first and only English language translation of Arthur Rimbaud's final work, "Travels in Abyssinia".
By the time the magazine ceased production after twelve issues in 1982, its contributors included such people as Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Nico, Debbie Harry, Brian Eno, and many others.
These days, issues of Little Caesar are highly sought after and have sold on the collector's market for as much $800.
Extracted from the introduction to LC #1:
"Maybe we're crazy but we think there can be a literary that's loved and powerful. We want a magazine that's read by poetry fans, the rock culture, the Hari Krishnas, the Dodgers. We think it can be done, and that's what we're aiming at.
I have this dream where writers are mobbed everywhere they go, like rock stars and actors. A predilection? You never know. People like Patti Smith are subtly forcing their audiences to become literate, introducing them to Rimbaud, Breton, Burroughs and others. Poetry sales are higher than they've been in fifteen years. In Paris ten year old boys clutching well worn copies of Apollonaire's ALCOOLS put their hands over their mouths in amazement before paintings by Renoir and Monet. Bruce Lee movies close in three days. This could happen here.
Let us introduce ourselves. We're not fifty year old patrons of the arts. We're young punks just like you, and just because Kenneth Rexroth's got a name in some crowds doesn't mean a wink's gonna get his rickety old crap in here. He comes through the back door like everyone else".
- Dennis Cooper, 1978
Have a look through the Little Caesar Press catalogue (available as downloadable PDF files) at the 24 books published. Featuring works by such notable authors as Joe Brainard, Amy Gerstler, Eileen Miles, Gerard Malanga as well as Dennis Cooper himself.
Click here to view three ultra-rare LC posters