Sun & Moon Press

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Historical Background

In the winter of 1976 in an apartment in College Park, Maryland, Douglas Messerli founded the Sun & Moon Press (supported by the Contemporary Arts Education Project, Inc.) and began the publication of the internationally recognized magazine SUN & MOON, co-edited by his longtime partner, Howard Fox. In the magazine, Messerli and Fox published conceptual and language poetry, mixed-media art, and the work of the New York Poets. During this time, as well, Messerli began publishing Là-bas, a mimeographed, stapled "newsletter" of experimental poetry and poetics. Together, the magazines exhibited the work of writers such as Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Russell Banks, Susan Howe, Ray diPalma, Ted Greenwald, Bernadette Mayer, Barrett Watten, Hannah Weiner, Tina Darragh, P. Inman, and others. Là-bas ceased publication in 1978; Sun & Moon ran until 1981.

In the late 1970s, Sun & Moon published chapbooks by Bernstein, diPalma, and David Antin. By 1982 the small publishing house had come into its own with the publication of Djuna Barnes' Smoke and Other Early Stories, Russell Banks' The Relation of My Imprisonment, and an important anthology of contemporary American fiction with selections written by Walter Abish, Steve Katz, Leslie Scalapino, and Gilbert Sorrentino, to mention just a few.

Messerli, a writer in his own right, resigned his post as assistant professor of English at Temple University in 1983 to devote himself fulltime to the press, which moved during the mid-1980s to its present Los Angeles location on Wilshire Boulevard in the Gertrude Stein Plaza. To date, Sun & Moon has published more than 125 major works of drama, fiction and poetry and has distributed another 400. Sun and Moon Press was awarded the prestigious Carey-Thomas Award for Creative Publishing in 1987 and has been awarded a number of National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.

In 1986, Messerli also initiated the Sun & Moon Classics series dedicated to the production of major texts in English and in translation. The Classics series has published the work of Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, David Antin, Fanny Howe, the Flemish modernist Stijn Streuvels, Norweigan novelist Tarjei Vesaas, Austrian writers Arthur Schnitzler and Heimito von Doderer, and has another fifty books projected for publication in the years ahead.

Throughout the 1990s, Sun & Moon Press continued to publish individual innovative writers, such as Tarjei Vessaas and Lyn Hejinian, as well as comprehensive anthologies of poetry and drama such as FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY, VOLUMES I and II, in 1994 and 1998, respectively. Green Integer Press, begun in 1997 and also founded and edited by Messerli succeeded Sun & Moon Press in 2004, ending a nearly three decade long publishing project. However, Green Integer, in many ways, picks up where Sun & Moon left off, publishing a number of the same authors and with a similar investment in innovative, international poets and writers. Both presses reflect Messerli's commitment to recognizing significant, yet often overlooked writers and works.

From the guide to the Sun & Moon Press Archive, 1976-2002, (University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Paul Vangelisti Papers, 1970-2009 Mandeville Special Collections Library
creatorOf Sun & Moon Press Archive, 1976-2002 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn New Directions Publishing records Houghton Library
creatorOf Vangelisti, Paul. Paul Vangelisti Papers, 1970-2009. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Abish, Walter person
correspondedWith Acker, Kathy, 1948- person
correspondedWith Andrews, Bruce, 1948- person
correspondedWith Antin, David person
correspondedWith Armantrout, Rae, 1947- person
correspondedWith Auster, Paul, 1947- person
correspondedWith Barnes, Djuna person
correspondedWith Bernstein, Charles, 1950- person
correspondedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902- person
correspondedWith Brownstein, Michael, 1943- person
correspondedWith Davidson, Michael, 1944- person
correspondedWith DiPalma, Ray person
correspondedWith Greenwald, Ted person
correspondedWith Guest, Barbara person
correspondedWith Hejinian, Lyn person
correspondedWith Howe, Fanny person
correspondedWith Howe, Susan, 1937- person
correspondedWith Major, Clarence person
associatedWith Messerli, Douglas, 1947- person
associatedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
correspondedWith Sherry, James person
correspondedWith Silliman, Ronald, 1946- person
correspondedWith Taggart, John, 1942- person
associatedWith Vangelisti, Paul person
associatedWith Vangelisti, Paul. person
correspondedWith Waldrop, Rosmarie person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Publishers and publishing
American poetry

Corporate Body

Active 1970

Active 2009



Ark ID: w6bw3hm9

SNAC ID: 25941574