Ashley BarnettMichael SowderEnglish 43502 May 2016Kupferberg’s YeahMagazineUtah State’s Art Book Room, as part of the library’s Special Collections, houses a treasure trove of Beat literature and original publications. Shelves upon shelves are dedicated to the numerous little magazines published during the 1960s, by notable Beat writers, or with works, poets, and themes popular during this literary movement. One of these publications is the Yeah magazine. Although these few, small issues hide between larger authors and magazines in the Art Book Room, they reveal volumes about the writers and poetry of the time period.Yeahmagazine was first introduced in 1961, and the following four years witnessed ten issues of Yeah from the New York City publisher Birth Press. Naphtali Kupferberg (known betterby his publishing and stage nickname, “Tuli”) and his wife, Sylvia Topp, created the magazine and worked together to publish and sell the issues: “The booklets were printed locally and then assembled at their home … They distributed them directly to local bookstores and also sold copies on the street” (Lopez). Although the number of printed copies for each issue is unknown, a subscription to the magazine was only “$1 for the next 4 issues or until the end of the world (whichever is shorter)” (Yeah inside front cover). The USU library owns only four editions (issues 1, 3, 4, and 6) in the series, and these beginning magazines show the initial work and identify the progression of the magazine.Tuli Kupferberg’s life is worth studying in order to fully understand his Yeahmagazine series because he was much more than the editor; the magazine often featured his own work. In
Barnett 2addition, he seemed to incorporate poetry pieces with themes that he considered important in the current social and political worlds. Kupferberg was born in 1923 and grew up in a Jewish, Yiddish-speaking home on the Lower East Side of New York. He attended Brooklyn College, graduating in 1944, where he became involved with aggressive political factions that influenced him as a songwriter, poet, and activist. As a noted Beat poet, Kupferberg frequently wrote poems with innovative styles or radical topics: “for decades he was a frequent sight in Lower Manhattan, selling his cartoons on the street and serving as a grandfather figure for generations of nonconformists” (Sisario). Throughout the 1950s, his work was published in literary journals, most prominently in The Beat Scene anthology in 1960. His Yeah magazine did not include any works from the most commemorated Beat canon, such as Ginsberg or Kerouac, but Kupferberg did have several connections with these writers; for example, his first magazine publication, titled Birth, featured work from Allen Ginsberg, Diane Di Prima, and LeRoi Jones.