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Amsterdam: A Brief History of Ins & Outs Press
by Eddie Woods
When Eddie Woods & Jane Harvey left London in March 1978, heading initially for Amsterdam, what they had in mind was to once again go traveling, first around parts of Europe they had not yet sufficiently explored, then--depending on how 'things' turned out--possibly back to India or even (again) to lands beyond.
Amsterdam was a logical jumping-off point: Not only did Eddie want to finally see the fabled 'Kathmandu of the West'; he had also been asked by Max Handley, at that time chief editor of International Times (IT), to call upon Dutch writer Simon Vinkenoog, in hopes of getting an in-depth article from him on the Operation Julie LSD case, a lengthy police surveillance undertaking that culminated in an astonishing trial and long prison sentences-- up to 13 years--for most of the defendants. (Vinkenoog was also a well-known expert on psychedelic substances and a personal friend of David Solomon, an American writer who was among those charged and convicted. Eddie, moreover, had worked on IT with David's youngest daughter, Lin.).
Once in Amsterdam, Eddie took the opportunity to look up several other people, among them William Levy, a fellow expatriate American with whose literary work (The Virgin Sperm Dancer, Wet Dreams, etc.) Eddie was long familiar. He had Levy's telephone number from the English poet & playwright Heathcote Williams. (Along with Vinkenoog, (1) but to an even greater extent, Levy would become a pivotal figure in the development of Ins & Outs magazine. He and Eddie soon became close friends.)
As well as trotting about the city "interviewing people" (as Jane humorously put it), Eddie sat in their room in the Hotel Arrivé knocking off poems & stories on the manual typewriter he had borrowed from Simon. Jane, meanwhile, kept track of their finances (they were rapidly going broke) and checked out other Amsterdam attractions. She soon came upon, and more than once, an interesting 'Wanted' poster. Some unnamed person was looking for people to write for a new magazine. She went along to the address given, listened in, then came back and told Eddie. Eddie wasn't interested, but (after much urging) he went to a meeting anyway.
Salah Harharah was a Singapore-born Yemeni who ran a travel agency, Interjet. And it was he who wanted to start a magazine, for which he already had a name: Ins & Outs. But (apart from two staff members who in three months' time had accomplished nothing) a name was all he had. The model was obviously London's Time Out; what Salah had in mind, therefore, was an events periodical that would primarily cater both to Amsterdam's international community and its burgeoning tourist trade. He explained to Eddie that even though many other Amsterdam travel agents were 'sort of backing' the project, he couldn't actually pay either writers or editorial staff.
"What I need," Salah said, "are people who are willing to work for the love of it."
To which Eddie replied: "If I am going to work for love, then I've got to love what I'm doing. You don't want me."
But Salah did want Eddie. In fact, he wanted Eddie to edit his magazine, as he made abundantly clear in several visits to the Arrivé. Eddie clarified his position. He had nothing against an events magazine, it simply wasn't the sort of thing he cared to do just then. On the other hand, and for a reasonable fee, he would be willing to set up such a publication, run it for about a year, and then find someone else to take over as editor. Salah insisted he could not pay, even as Jane reminded Eddie that their options were now severely limited: they had enough money left to pay for exactly one more night at the hotel. The following morning the couple moved to the spacious office-cum-living quarters behind Salah's travel agency. Very soon afterwards Ins & Outs magazine was in the process of being born. But, as Salah would eventually come to realize, it was precisely the kind of magazine that Eddie loved. (2)
Quite suddenly, interesting people started showing up from everywhere. Mel Clay, formerly of The Living Theater (and now a confirmed & obviously talented writer), contributed a 'punk opera' to the first issue--which was on the newsstands and in the mail to dozens of people abroad by June 1st. As did Ira Cohen, whom Eddie & Jane had first met in Kathmandu in 1976. (Indeed, this issue of Ins & Outs would later be sent by Henry Miller to Irving Stettner in New York, suggesting that Ira's "Kathmandu Dream Piece" be reprinted in Stettner's own magazine, Stroker.) There was the science-fiction writer Rachel Pollack and the photographer/painter Marc Morrel, also Americans. Simon Vinkenoog jumped in with an Amsterdam column, while Dutch writers Hans Plomp and Steef Davidson were busy preparing manuscripts (all in English) for future numbers. Bill Levy, then on holiday in France (and from which he sent a poetic letter that appeared in the second issue), was watching carefully and getting ready to leap in. (3)
In part to maintain the pretense (for Salah's benefit) of Ins & Outs being an events publication, Eddie decided to lead with a piece on Amsterdam's famed Festival of Fools, which would be taking place at various indoor venues, as well as on the streets, for nearly three weeks in June. The pretense evaporated, however, when the cover story ("Fools Rush In," by Woodstock Jones)) was instead a quasi-magical account of the making of Jacques Katmor's cult film The Fool. (4) Events listings (particularly the kind that never really date) would always be a part of Ins & Outs, but right from the start it was a given that this was an entirely different sort of magazine than what Salah was hoping for.
Daily activities at the magazine's office further highlighted the difference. There was the editorial activity, which was always intense; and there was the 'scene.' The office flat behind the travel agency became a focal point for artists & writers who knew what was happening there, as well as for many others who were curious enough to walk in and find out. And there might well be something happening at any time of day or night. Debates raged, events were planned.
Occasionally, often to relieve the pressure, there were live (usually solo) musical performances. Now & then people 'camped out' there, including Ira Cohen for awhile. Before long Eddie & Jane abandoned the bedroom and starting sleeping on the floor in front of their desks. The telephone rang constantly. Mail started to pour in from at least half a dozen countries; among the batches were more good stories & poems than could ever be published. Kudos arrived from all quarters. Cherry Valley's Charles Plymell called Ins & Outs "the only exciting mag going in underground literary tradition." While Irving Stettner wrote that it had "more verve than all the American mags combined." After seeing the first issue, Allen Ginsberg sent the draft manuscript of what he considered his most major work since "Kaddish," namely "Plutonian Ode." The poem's first-ever publication was in the third issue of Ins & Outs. (5)
Despite all the acclaim for this vigorously new 'international literary & features periodical,' even by the time the second issue was in preparation, Salah Harharah was already nearing his wits' end over developments. It soon became clear that he was also withdrawing all but the most basic support for the project. As for his so-called backers, they'd opted out at the start. Although they had grudgingly accepted an invitation to attend the coming-out party heralding the publication of issue no. 1, within the first hour they walked out en masse and held a 'protest meeting' on the street. (6) Nor were the magazine's financial prospects made any better by Eddie having thrown out a full-page back cover advert (along with a 12-issue contract) from Avis Rent-A-Car, because he didn't like the looks of it, replacing it with an aesthetically more pleasing non- paying ad for Satino toilet tissue.
If Eddie himself found the second issue somewhat subdued (even while many others reckoned that Ins & Outs had really 'hit its stride' with that number), there was no doubt in anyone's mind that issue no. 3 was bound to be a blockbuster. The only trouble was, Eddie was refusing to do it. In Salah's eyes the office had become a madhouse, a surrealistic nightmare space into which he hardly ever ventured. He continued to provide food, lodging & a minimal amount of spending money for Eddie & Jane. When office supplies were needed, he came up with the cash. Somehow, before becoming totally disenchanted, he'd even managed to pay the two young art directors, who had signed on at the very beginning for a set fee. And when pressed for an answer, he always insisted that he was still one hundred percent behind Ins & Outs. In actual fact he was very much behind: the printers, it turned out, still hadn't been paid a penny for either of the first two issues. There was also a sizable arrears with one of the two typesetters. This was not good.
Eddie started pushing Salah hard to pay up. Salah's stock reply was "No problem." But there was a problem. Although the printers were willing to wait "awhile longer" on the amount already owing, they refused to do any work whatever on the next issue unless they were paid for it--in cash, in full, and in advance. Salah refused, insisting his credit was good. He even suggested finding another printer. For Eddie that was the final straw. The issue was half edited. Some preliminary layout work had been done, but Eddie told the art directors to stop. He then announced to all & sundry that there would be no third issue. He was quitting.
Salah protested, though not much. But serious objections did come, and from a rather surprising neck of the woods. A few local businessmen, among them a British import-export merchant, as well as the Israeli owners of the vegetarian restaurant Mushroom 22, had taken a special liking to Ins & Outs and didn't want to see it fold. Dealing directly with Eddie, they offered to collectively finance the third issue. Eddie accepted, on the condition that they merely put up the money and then backed off. They would have no say whatever on the contents of the magazine. The new patrons agreed. Ins & Outs was once more 'in business.' And, from very shortly after issue no. 3 rolled off the presses, in another kind of deep trouble. Or so it seemed for the first few days.
Amsterdam had long been recognized as a free-press haven. Prior to the American War of Independence, John Adams went there to publish tracts which couldn't see the light of day in the Colonies. (Ironically, Adams even lived for a time only a few doors up from the eventual Ins & Outs Press offices.) Over the next two centuries any number of foreign-language books and magazines were produced there and in other Dutch cities, simply because there were no other places where they could even be printed. As William Levy pointed out in his short essay "The Limits of Freedom," (7) such publications ranged from the 18th-century Leyden Gazette (a French-language journal of radical political commentary) to Suck magazine in the 1970s. But while both explicit sex and politics fell easily within the compass of Dutch intellectual tolerance, combining the two--especially when the Crown was also involved-- could prove problematic.
One group that had recently started testing those limits was the Amsterdam Palette Union, a small consortium of (mostly well-known) Dutch painters, more or less headed by Aat Veldhoen. The Palette Union's forte was raw visual satire, mainly in the form of pornographic caricatures. Typical of these black & white drawings was one depicting then-Queen Juliana being sexually penetrated by the NATO bear while her husband, Prince Bernard, smiles in the foreground and American missiles loom overhead. Police response to the public dissemination of this work, usually in the form of mass-produced posters and handbills, was to first confiscate it, then later on return it--before charges had to be pressed and the case come to court, a case which the prosecution might well lose.
But when, in the summer of 1978, the authorities moved forcefully against a very public exhibition (across from a police station!) of several large oil canvases created jointly by all the Palette Union's members, Aat Veldhoen was introduced to Eddie, with an eye toward an eventual magazine article, one which would also present some of the group's work. For while the media had always covered both the confiscations and the occasional (but very short-lived) arrests, no newspaper, magazine or television station dared to show even a single painting or drawing. Nor had any of the work ever been seen outside of the Netherlands. Issue no. 3 of Ins & Outs changed all that. (8)
Before the issue even hit the bookshops and newsstands, let alone got sent abroad, Eddie was busted (mostly due to a police misunderstanding), spent 12 hours in solitary confinement, and found himself on the verge of being charged with lèse majesty. (Eddie wrote at amusing length about this bust, in a piece entitled "Contrary To Myth: The Ins & Outs of a Porn Bust in Holland.") Indeed, at least two national newspapers immediately carried the story, while the prestigious NRC Handelsblad made it the lead item on their front page (and also followed this with a very long editorial). But it was the School of Journalism in Utrecht that finally put paid to any notion the Ministry of Justice might have had to formally prosecute. Not only did their official journal interview Eddie; the editors also took the bold step of themselves publishing three of the Palette Union's strongest pornographic drawings. Furthermore, the police had managed to confiscate only one copy of the magazine, as the entire print run of 2500 had been carefully hidden within hours of Eddie's arrest.
Issue no. 3 sold out very quickly. In Holland, mainly because of the Palette Union brouhaha, coupled with coverage of P78, the first of Benn Posset's eventually-legendary One World Poetry festivals. (9) Abroad (primarily Britain and the United States), in great part due to the presence of such literary heavyweights as Allen Ginsberg, Heathcote Williams with an abridged version of his latest play, The Immortalist, Ira Cohen, Bill Levy, once again Rachel Pollack, and others. But even as Ins & Outs magazine was truly making its mark, its first incarnation was also rapidly drawing to a close. Ins & Outs Press was still to be conceived. Yet before the birth-cum-rebirth, there would be a hiatus.
Salah Harharah had finally had it. He was a travel agent, not a magazine publisher. And Ins & Outs, though an international literary success, was neither putting money in his pocket nor furthering the aims of his primary business interests. Curiously enough, issue no. 3 had actually managed to pay for itself (at least on paper), and from advertising alone. But whatever revenue came in immediately went back out, mainly to cover Eddie & Jane's day-to day living expenses, buy office supplies, and pay a few pressing bills. The printers, however, still did not get paid, other than for the third issue. Salah's main move was to rent out the magazine's office space as a flat (to a paying tenant!) and move the magazine into an end corner of the travel agency, cordoned off by a clapboard wall. Although he'd effectively pulled out, and cut off all further funding, he was reluctant to tell people to leave. Especially Eddie & Jane, who had nowhere else to go.
Publications work, of a sort, stumbled on for awhile. People showed up for daily meetings, ideas were kicked around, vague plans were made or at least discussed. Once the poetry festival ended, some of the poets who were still in town stopped by with books, and to chat, and also to make long-distance telephone calls--on Salah's bill! Eddie & Jane occasionally found places to crash, sometimes for several days, more often for only a night or two. Otherwise they slept on the floor in the minuscule office. The thrill and momentum of the first few months was clearly gone.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, a national radio station (KRO, in Hilversum), commissioned Eddie and Hans Plomp to compile and narrate an hour-long documentary on P78. The program was aired in late October, and both presenters were handsomely remunerated. Now that Eddie & Jane had some cash in their pockets, it was decision time. If they stayed in Amsterdam, with no lodgings and no income, endlessly discussing publications projects that were bound to go nowhere, they would very soon be stone-broke. A few of the regular hangers-on had also managed to score some money (doing readings, from patrons, or with the odd dubious scam), but none were willing to part with a penny, not even for postage stamps. Eddie & Jane decided to split. (10)
From Friday night till late Sunday afternoon (November 3rd-5th), the couple worked at carefully organizing and packing the magazine files. They wrote out a list of instructions (where things were, who to contact about what, etc.), and made another list of suggestions...both of which they left, along with a goodbye note, in the flat where they'd been staying, knowing it would be another two days before the girl whose place it was returned to find any of it. They wished everyone luck, but said nothing about where they might be heading. They themselves knew only their first stop. On November 5th they took the midnight bus to Paris.
From Paris and a first encounter with George Whitman and his somewhat eccentric version of the famous Shakespeare & Co. bookshop, (11) the two made their way down to the Côte d' Azur and Marseille, and ended up--their funds now depleted--in Barcelona. It was an interesting if difficult winter. Eddie passed long hours in cafés writing, Jane got a job teaching English, both of them sold their small hordes of foreign coins & banknotes at the Sunday market on the Plaza Real, along with the few pop badges (or buttons) they had stuffed in their shoulder bags for just such an emergency. (12) They also hung out with Harold Norse (and his then-lover David Wentworth), who had gone to Barcelona from Amsterdam and was staying in a Plaza Real hotel, still writing his memoirs while working on a new set of poems ("Life & Death in the Plaza Real"). (13)
Sometime in January (1979), tiring of a financial situation that continued to veer along a very precipitous edge, Eddie phoned his Israeli restaurateur friends in Amsterdam to see if they could help out. They proffered some advice and wired money. The advice concerned certain business possibilities that awaited were Eddie to return to Amsterdam. The money enabled the pair to breathe more easily, eat heartier meals, and included enough for the return bus fare. By this time rent was no longer a problem, as a young Spanish couple (friends of friends in Amsterdam) had provided them with a spare room in their small but comfortable flat, at no charge. Eddie & Jane mulled over their very few options and made a choice. Jane would stay in Barcelona awhile longer and continue teaching English, Eddie would go back to Holland. He made the 24-hour journey on February 8th.
The following three months set the tone for things to come. Eddie plunged into giving readings almost from the moment he arrived back in Amsterdam. (14) He arranged for a series of places to stay, while seeing which way the wind would blow. And, in conjunction with friends, he began organizing various business ventures. (15) He soon realized, as well, that editing and publishing had become very dear to him. As had Ins & Outs.
For one thing, everywhere he went (or so it seemed), someone was handing him a manuscript. While very many more, along with photographs, drawings and other artworks--sent from all over the world by writers & visual artists who wanted to appear in Ins & Outs--had piled up at the former magazine office (which is to say, at Interjet Travel Agency) on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, in times only recently gone by Amsterdam's Fleet Street. And these, along with the main magazine files, were now stored on somebody's houseboat, as Salah Harharah had also left town on a new venture of his own.
Eddie immediately secured a post office box, for himself and for 'Ins & Outs Press.' And just as immediately arranged that all mail addressed to himself or the magazine at N.Z. Voorburgwal 123 be indefinitely forwarded to the p.o. box, rather than for the usual three months. (The arrangement exists to this day, and every now & then a letter or packet still arrives via that route.) The files took a little longer to get hold of, due to the instructions Salah had given the houseboat owner. Until one day in March or April a letter arrived from Salah, postmarked Malaysia, saying that if Eddie should ever reappear, the files were his for the asking.
Meanwhile, over the winter (and of course unbeknownst to Eddie till after his return), the American poet Ronald Sauer, mainly with the assistance of Ira Cohen, using both manuscripts from the files and newly-solicited material, had edited a poetry anthology to be issued with an Ins & Outs (magazine) imprint. Titled Crippled Warlords, it was dedicated to Eddie Woods & Jane Harvey, and included the "Eddie Woods Memorial Poem" (16) --which had many readers, most notably Janine Pommy Vega, believing that Eddie had passed away. And yet Eddie had also contributed a poem ("At Fascist Hands," in a handwritten version) only one day before the issue went to press.
Jane, who had made one previous trip up, returned from Barcelona in early April, by which time Eddie was back into the full swing of Amsterdam literary life. He had recently written, by special commission, a long prose poem about the momentous final night of P78. (17) He was doing readings and other performances. He was renewing old contacts and establishing others. Having taken over the distribution, in Holland and abroad, of Crippled Warlords, he was also following up on the remaining sales and accounts receivable of the first three issue of Ins & Outs magazine. And he continued to collect manuscripts for an eventual fourth number. There was even talk of opening a bookshop.
But Jane had serious misgivings about staying in Amsterdam, mainly because she'd already seen too many relationships go on the rocks there. Although very laid back in certain respects, it was also a city of abrupt personal changes. Putting matters into the hands of the gods, so to speak (and counting, in part, on Amsterdam's severe shortage of low-rent housing), she told Eddie-- midway through April--that unless they'd found affordable accommodations within two weeks, she was moving on and he could decide whether to accompany her. On the last day of the month, a casual acquaintance called to Eddie on the street and asked if he'd like to take over his garret walk-up in the heart of the red-light district. Eddie said he certainly would. He and Jane moved in the following afternoon. (18)
The magazine files were soon transferred, unpacked and neatly arranged, giving part of the small flat the air of an office. Concurrent with making plans for some sort of Ins & Outs revival, Eddie took on the job of putting together a regular Amsterdam section for London's International Times, now being edited by Chris Sanders. Compensation for this work came in the form of a quantity of free copies of the newspaper, which Eddie & Jane could then sell in the Netherlands. Around this time, Eddie was asked to present, at the Milky Way multimedia center, a Soyo Productions performance evening built around William Burroughs...a packed-house event that included the Dutch rock star Herman Brood reciting poems to the foot-tapping accompaniment of a small band of local Hell's Angels. While the evening proved a smashing success, and gave Eddie and William an initial opportunity to really get to know one another, (19) it also provided the occasion for the first real crack to develop in Eddie and Benn Posset's professional as well as personal relationship.
What specifically occurred is almost too picayune to warrant repeating here. It involved a somewhat public dispute over whether to call an intermission halfway through, but at its heart lay a one-sided power struggle that seemed determined to grow. Ever since P78, Benn had been progressively setting out to establish an umbrella organization for poetry events in Amsterdam. What Eddie now realized was that Soyo Productions/One World Poetry was equally intent on becoming a monopoly. Further confrontations ensued, the bitterest of which saw Benn usurp two prearranged Milky Way evenings, practically at the last minute, from Ronald Sauer, and Eddie eventually staging those events himself on different dates in the name of Other World Poetry. (20) Apart from very occasional readings in small cafés scattered about the city, these were the last independent poetry events (i.e., not under the auspices of Soyo Productions) to be put on in Amsterdam for several years. Eddie's predictions were coming true, even as he was penning his infamous Other World Poetry Newsletter.
Infamous? Eddie has always insisted that he wrote the newsletter (again using the pseudonym Woodstock Jones) in hopes of initiating a dialogue with Benn. "I was trying to talk to him, he wasn't listening, so I had to speak louder," he said. Instead, its publication--in the summer of 1979, only weeks before P79 was set to begin--instantly caused a rift of mammoth proportions. This, even though Eddie phoned Benn the night before the newsletter went to press, to tell him what was about to occur and why. Benn's response was, that no matter what the newsletter pertained to or said, it didn't seem like a good idea. It was a very long time before Benn viewed the matter in anything but a totally negative light.
[Eddie has now written an essay on the politics of poetry that puts his turbulent relationship with Benn Posset in clear and proper perspective. As regards that relationship, one immediate consequence of the newsletter's publication was that Benn did not speak to Eddie for two years--until the ever- canny Brion Gysin successfully contrived to put the two on speaking terms again.
What is more, Eddie was blackballed from directly participating in any paying poetry events, in & around Amsterdam, for a considerable spell. Indeed, although he and Benn frequently did business together, and even though Benn later on secured many sizable sponsorship donations from Eddie, it was not until 1993--the year before Benn's death--that Eddie was once again invited, by Benn himself (rather than via the 'back door' and not get paid for it), to perform for Soyo Productions. Nonetheless, Eddie wrote and delivered the eulogy at Benn's funeral.]
Hundreds of copies of the newsletter--which was at once an insider's history of P78 and an impassioned critique of One World Poetry--were straightaway sent to poets, periodicals and libraries the world over. Poets arriving for P79 came to the Milky Way clutching copies they'd brought with them and asking whoever might have an answer just what was going on. Others wrote back, or telephoned, and gave their own views. One letter, from Brion Gysin, all but giggled with delight. Eddie attended the festival, on the strength of a press pass. But when Benn let it be known that he wanted to personally vet any article Eddie might write, Gregory Corso used Eddie's retort ("That's censorship!") as an excuse for mischievously spreading the rumor that Eddie had called Benn 'a fascist.' And this very nearly got Eddie punched out by another poet. Still, it was a great festival, as were all those that followed. For Benn Posset, whatever his faults, certainly knew how to organize.
Other World Poetry Newsletter, written and laid out in the small flat on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, was the first publication to carry the imprint of Ins & Outs Press. And who printed it? Mekka: precisely the same two enthusiastic Dutch fellows who had printed the first three issues of Ins & Outs magazine, and who would eventually print all of Ins & Outs Press' offset productions. But no, they were never paid for the first two numbers. As they saw it, that was Salah's debt; when Eddie offered an arrangement to pay the entire arrears in installments, they said it had already been written off against their taxes. But they never again allowed the name Mekka (the Dutch spelling of Mecca) to be officially associated with Ins & Outs. (21)
One of the acquaintances that Eddie had renewed after returning from Barcelona was with Henk van der Does, who was still working as a shop assistant at the Real Free Press, for very many years not only Holland's, but possibly all of Western Europe's, premier comic book emporium. Henk had studied the intricacies of the book trade at university and desperately wanted to start his own bookshop. He had some money put aside, as well, and quickly agreed to invest a portion of it in Eddie's budding business ventures. Henk also apprised both Eddie & Jane of the benefits of having a registered foundation (a peculiarly common practice in the Netherlands for all sorts of enterprises, but especially cultural endeavors), and expressed his willingness to become a member. And he outlined his ideas for a bookshop, explaining how it could go hand in hand with a small literary press (yes, à la San Francisco's City Lights). Eddie & Jane agreed, a notary was consulted, and the search for a suitable shop premises got underway.
After rejecting a couple of possible locations, Eddie & Jane saw, while on an afternoon stroll, that an attractive storefront which had housed an Indian boutique was now empty and for rent. It appeared to have an office space directly above; and better yet, it was just down the canal road from their flat, i.e. 'on the quiet fringe of the red-light district.' The building itself (typically narrow, with five and a half stories) was one of Amsterdam's oldest, was next door to an equally old church, and more than two centuries earlier had been part of a monastery complex. The couple showed it to Henk, who liked what he saw, and all three got in touch with the landlord.
Ins & Outs Bookstore, with Henk as manager, opened for business in January 1980, by which time Foundation Ins & Outs was also a legally registered entity. The shop specialized in small press publications, comix, posters, badges, postcards and underground (or alternative) media. And, from early on, it started importing and distributing S-Press spoken-word cassettes from (West) Germany, along with a number of British and American specialty periodicals (e.g. the animal-rights magazine The Beast) that were hitherto unavailable on the Continent. Henk also moved (on his own account, at Eddie & Jane's insistence!) to acquire the exclusive Lowlands distribution rights for John Martin's Black Sparrow Press, a concession he held onto--as part of his own Small Press Distribution organization--until well into the 1990s.
In the meantime, working both at the flat and in the office above the bookstore, Eddie & Jane were busy editing a fourth issue of Ins & Outs magazine. Further impetus had been given to the project when Mel Clay phoned from California suggesting that he and Neeli Cherkovski guest edit a San Francisco section. Mel additionally proposed that Eddie should fly to America, mainly for a Bay Area reading tour, the highlight of which would be a gala Ins & Outs benefit evening at the Grand Piano in the Haight, to be organized by Mel and poet Steve Abbott (longtime editor of Poetry Flash). This Eddie did, within a month of publication, stopping off and spending time in New York on both sides of his three-week San Francisco sojourn. He was preceded by hundreds of copies of the magazine, for distribution on the West Coast by Androgyne Press (separate sales agreements having been made for the rest of the United States). As a highly-successful follow-up to the first three groundbreaking issues of Ins & Outs magazine, the fourth number definitely secured Ins & Outs Press a place in the history of small-press publishing, just as future productions served to reaffirm its position.
The following seven years were reasonably productive, with a pronounced emphasis on quality rather than quantity. A postcard series was launched soon after the appearance of the fourth (and, as it transpired, final) issue of the magazine. So, too, was the limited-edition series of Kirke Wilson silkscreen prints, a project which continued until late 1993. What mostly grew, however, was Eddie's personal and editorial correspondence with all sorts of writers, editors, and visual artists, from the likes of Paul Bowles, Charles Henri Ford, Gerard Malanga and Ira Cohen to Eddie's longtime friend Xaviera Hollander, formerly the famed Happy Hooker and now a writer and celebrated hostess. And manuscripts continued to pour in, among them many of book length. In the period 1980-81, Eddie also edited a series of bilingual poetry books for another publisher, Uitgeverij 261 in Heerlen, the Netherlands.
The Ins & Outs Bookstore, meanwhile, was doing very well. Too well, according to Eddie, who had originally envisioned it as a lively extension of the Press and not an independent entity moving in its own direction. By the end of 1981, he and Henk had agreed on an amicable business divorce: Foundation Ins & Outs would sell all of the shop inventory to Henk, who would in turn resign from the foundation and open his own bookstore in another part of town. (22) Now the Press would have an office entirely to itself, and something much more to Eddie & Jane's liking downstairs--a casual art gallery and a poetry-performance space.
Coincidental with this major change, the building's other tenants had started moving out, giving Eddie/Ins & Outs Press the opportunity to progressively take over and renovate each of the three and a half floors above the office. One of these was converted into a graphics studio; the rest became Eddie's private living quarters. (23) For some years the premises vibrated with energy, as exhibitions opened, readings were held, and all manner of people-- from different parts of the world, but especially from America--came to call. William Burroughs visited, as did Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. First Jack Micheline and then Harold Norse stayed in the finished guest attic, both giving enormously well-attended readings that were recorded and later released as spoken-word cassettes. Ins & Outs Press acquired the rights to the Grand Piano recording from Kush of Cloud House, who had also emceed the event; in time, the original reel-to-reel taping was edited by Eddie and Huib Schippers (24) to produce a two-volume cassette edition. In 1987, Eddie and Benn Posset joined financial forces to bring Herbert Huncke to Europe for a Benelux tour, which of course included a recorded reading at Ins & Outs; and resulted, as well, in an astonishingly beautiful Kirke Wilson silkscreen portrait. (25)
In 1981, after publication of his book Sale or Return, Eddie spent a week as poet-in-residence at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris. That same year he gave a series of readings in Düsseldorf at the behest of Nikolaus Einhorn of S- Press Tonband Verlag. He went to Paris--one of his favorite cities--at least two more times in the early 1980s, on one of those occasions interviewing the painter Claude Ponsot. (26) After which he refrained from again leaving the Netherlands until late 1992 (when he was invited to Berlin for a week by his then Russian lover). This mainly because his other business interests were beginning to occupy more and more of his time and energy. He continued to write, and to publish in various literary periodicals; he conducted interviews with Jack Micheline, Michael McClure and Max Scherr (founder of the Berkeley Barb); he amassed a collection of hundreds of his own photographs, from spontaneous portraits to unique 'insider shots' of Amsterdam's red-light district; and he outlined plans for future Ins & Outs projects. But by 1988, the combination of sudden business setbacks, health problems and a particularly difficult personal relationship had conspired, as it were, to move him into a prolonged period of intense seclusion. During this 'hibernation,' Eddie continued the practice, begun a couple of years earlier, of obsessively taping his telephone conversations, many of them with literary figures who, until then, had never been recorded in such an unguarded context. (27)
Toward the end of 1991, along with 're-entering the world' personally, Eddie made a professional performance comeback. Although this was both successful and ongoing (right up to the present date), and while his health was now better than ever, further business reversals--coupled with a series of bitter court battles with his landlord--had left him totally broke. In June 1992 he was forced to leave the Ins & Outs building. All of the archives (on which some initial sorting work had actually commenced) were packed up and put into the kind of storage where they could not even be got at. For the first two years, Eddie himself survived (until he managed to 'regroup') by selling off most of his enormous library. Or, as he likes to put it, he ate his books.
Even though there were two further productions in the 1990s, both of them Kirke Wilson silkscreen prints, Ins & Outs Press effectively went into ‘suspended animation’ for more than a decade. While for close to three years from late 1995 Eddie, who was mainly focused on writing, additionally busied himself presenting an exciting series of monthly poetry readings at a workingman’s café in Amsterdam’s Jordaan quarter. Then, in mid-1998, he abruptly relocated to Devon, England, to live with Jenny Brookes (and her three children); a lady he’d first met in India in 1975, but until they finally became lovers in May of 1998 he hadn’t seen in 18 years. Their relationship, which ended in the autumn of 2004 (when Eddie also returned to Amsterdam), eventually became the theme of his book Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle. Published in 2005, it was one of three Ins & Outs Press productions to appear in the first decade of the 21st century. The others were Eddie’s poetry CD Dangerous Precipice (2004) and the CD version of Tsunami of Love (2007).
Yet something else momentous occurred in 1998. The (Dutch-born) American writer and radio disc jockey Bart Plantenga, with whom Eddie had reconnected two years earlier (they’d first met in Amsterdam in 1978) urged Eddie to finally put his huge literary archive together and said he would gladly help. As this coincided with a suitable work space becoming available, the project got underway almost immediately and took five years to complete, with Eddie flying back to Holland for extended stays at least twice annually. The Eddie Woods Archive was sold to Stanford in July 2003.
Albeit in a ‘relaxed sort of way,’ Ins & Outs Press remained alive & well and looking forward to the future as the new millennium progressed. In 2010, the audio recording of Harold Norse’s 1984 Ins & Outs reading, Harold Norse Of Course, was re-released on both CD and LP in San Francisco, as a joint production with Unrequited Records. In other words, it is well worth staying tuned!
1. As Allen Ginsberg's Dutch translator, Vinkenoog was already well connected to the contemporary American literary scene.
2. A somewhat surrealistic account of the genesis of Ins & Outs magazine, "Incestuous Amsterdam," appeared in issue no. 3.
3. Levy, who leapt in with a bang in issue no. 3 ("Why I Don't Know Dutch"), would later refer to Eddie as "one of the few people in Europe who knows how to make a magazine."
4. Born in Egypt, Katmor had long before established a reputation as one of Israel's leading artistic lights. He had also co-founded Tel Aviv's first multimedia center, The Third Eye.
5. Issue no. 3 also saw the publication of Ira Cohen's "Mirror Poem for Allen Ginsberg," which put Allen in the interesting position of having to promote a magazine which included a poem that was more or less attacking him. This Allen did, at once efficiently and with grace & dignity. And there were other such 'inherent conflicts' purposely built into that issue.
6. A story about this party alone would be perfect for High Times magazine.
7. Ins & Outs no. 3.
8. See "The Political Awareness of the Amsterdam Palette Union," (Ins & Outs, no. 3, pp. 10-14).
9. Eddie also appeared at P78, in a closing-night program that included William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Patti Smith, Anne Waldman, Jessica Hagedorn, Ted Berrigan, Harold Norse and many others. (Although there was a festival the year before [P77, in Venice], 1978 is generally regarded as the starting date for Soyo Productions' long impresarial run.)
10. "Splitting is a word that has no direct object. It was very popular in the Sixties," Robert Sabbag had written in his cult-classic novel Snowblind. Eddie left a handmade poster, with these very words writ large, on the wall behind his empty desk chair. It was three days before anyone caught on.
11. The original Shakespeare & Co. was, of course, owned and run by Sylvia Beach, and in a different location.
12. During the early 1980's, when these badges were at the height of their popularity, Eddie & Jane supplemented their income by importing, making & distributing a wide variety of them. Close to 500 different sorts are filed in the business section of the Ins & Outs archives.
13. Norse later drastically revised his views of Eddie and his work (as related by Woodstock Jones in the original Other World Poetry Newsletter), heralding him as a "latter-day Cendrars."
14. This was strange. No one knew Eddie was returning. His Israeli friends had left Amsterdam soon after wiring the money, and had said nothing to anyone. Nor had Eddie indicated he was coming back. Yet his name was on the program for a Soyo Productions event at the Melkweg (Milky Way) multimedia center for that evening.
15. These ventures mainly involved Asian artifacts and gemstones, both of which Eddie had previous experience dealing in. Combined with paying performances, the badge business with Jane, the odd writing & editing assignment, and continued support from a handful of patrons, they allowed for a respectable personal income for more than a decade.
16. By Mel Clay, Ira Cohen & Ronald Sauer (Crippled Warlords, pp. 54 & 55).
17. "Poetry & The Punks: An Apocalyptic Confrontation" (P78 Anthology, In De Knipscher, Haarlem; 1979).
18. Jane's misgivings proved well-founded. After more than eight years together, the couple separated in November 1981. They continued to work together, however, and still remain the closest of friends.
19. Mainly during a leisurely dinner preceding the event, followed by a long walk together to the Milky Way.
20. Many years later, there was another 'usurpation' when Louis Behre adopted the name Other World Productions for his organization, which for a short while overlapped the activities of Soyo Productions. In time, Louis' Crossing Border (literary-cum-music) festivals far outstripped, if only in terms of size and corporate financing, even the biggest One World Poetry events.
21. Which is why issue no. 4/5 of Ins & Outs magazine (July 1980) purports to be 'Printed in Arabia.'
22. Island International Bookstore, in the Jordaan quarter, opened in 1982.
23. Eddie still kept the flat up the road, and moved back into it (for two years) in the summer of 1992, after his private fortunes had collapsed. Jane-- who had already embarked on a fulfilling career in Indian music & musicology- -moved to an apartment of her own.
24. Ins & Outs' regular recording technician; also a sitarist, musicologist and biographer of Ali Akbar Khan. For several years he & Jane Harvey co-edited the internationally-acclaimed Indian Music Newsletter.
25. From a photograph by Dutch writer & visual artist Peter Edel.
26. At the time, Ponsot was also the chairman of the Fine Arts Department of St. John's University. He & Eddie had been close friends since 1957; while his ex-wife, the poet Marie Ponsot, was one of Eddie's early mentors.
27. All those so recorded were subsequently informed of the fact. After awhile, people were phoning Eddie hoping to be recorded.
Ins & Outs PUBLICATIONS
* Ins & Outs magazine, issues no. 1, 2 & 3
*Crippled Warlords poetry special (Ronald Sauer, editor)
* Ins & Outs magazine no. 4/5
* Ins & Outs postcard series launched (includes Ira Cohen’s Bandaged Poets)
*Das Bauen Im Neuen Reich Jules Deelder bandaged-poet image, first in a limited-edition series (Kirke Wilson silkscreen print)
*Manifesto: Cosa Nostra di Poesia (Ronald F. Sauer)
*Sale or Return (Eddie Woods)
*Natural Jewboy (William Levy)
* JACK MICHELINE in Amsterdam Live reading at Ins & Outs, 1982 (audio cassette)
*HAROLD NORSE Of Course Live reading at Ins & Outs, 1984 (audio cassette)
* William Burroughs (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print
*HONOR THY WOOF: The Snuffie Memorial Exhibition (photography/Kali, Inc.)
*Herbert Huncke (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print (with Soyo Productions)
*Snuffie (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print
*Allen Ginsberg (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print (with Turret Books, London)
*Xaviera Hollander (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print
*Dangerous Precipice (Eddie Woods) poetry CD
*Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle (Eddie Woods)
*Tsunami of Love CD (Eddie Woods reciting the entire poems cycle)
*HAROLD NORSE Of Course CD and LP (with Unrequited Records, San Francisco)
*Ins & Outs At the Grand Piano (San Francisco 1980) CD
*HERBERT HUNCKE Guilty of Everything (Amsterdam 1987) CD
EDDIE WOODS TIMELINE
May 8th 1940
Born New York City, to Italian-American parents.
Lives, studies, works mainly in NYC, but also New England & Adirondack Mountains. Starts writing prose at age 12, poetry at 15. Works as short-order cook, then IBM computer programmer. [In late teens, develops long-lasting friendship with poet & translator Marie Ponsot, painter Claude Ponsot.]
Joins United States Air Force.
November 1960 - November 1963
Stationed in Germany. [Some diaries from this period still exist.]
Separated from USAF, after tour of duty in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
September 1964 - late 1968
Lives in Germany, travels widely in central Europe. Works in Germany & France (later briefly in Malta) as salesman, first mutual funds (IOS), then encyclopedias.
I call him the Ginkgo
slender & strange
he walked a long time in
with his .45 & his dog &
then he saw that America
smoked by blacks
The remnants were inside
like a seldom drunk
with two German wives,
definitely a weird number
fairly cushy with a mouth
he changed from matador to
a veteran of basic,
always ready for open fire.
Flies to Hong Kong (via Athens, Bombay, Bangkok).
Lives in Hong Kong (and, for three months, Okinawa). Sells encyclopedias to US Navy (Seventh Fleet) personnel in Wanchai, teaches English, works briefly as call girl dispatcher, then as manager of steak house. Founds Wanchai Bar & Restaurant Association. Edits & writes for notorious traveler’s magazine Robert’s Purple Mirror.
Sails for Yokohama aboard Soviet steamship. Flies from Tokyo to Manila.
Travels in Philippines. Flies to Bangkok, where he launches Atlanta Hotel as (eventually renowned) budget travelers’ haunt.
Hitchhikes through Thailand & Malaysia to Singapore.
March - June 1970
Lives with/is kept by drag-queen prostitute lover (Kim). Returns to Bangkok by train.
June 1970 - March 1972
Lives in Bangkok. Feature writer, food & drink editor, etc. for the Bangkok Post. Stringer for the New York Times, the Review (Melbourne), several other newspapers & magazines. Thailand correspondent for ABC Radio News. Disc jockey & news reader on Radio Thailand (English language service). Co-founds & manages news-feature service, Dateline Asia. Opens first gay bar in Pattaya. First foreign journalist in five years to interview, for Insight (Hong Kong), Thai strongman Gen. Prapas Charusitia. Writes & publishes definitive political & economic profile of Singapore. Meets & interviews numerous political figures (e.g. Lee Kwan Yew), as well as entertainment & literary personalities: Bob Hope, Morey Amsterdam, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, et al. Hangs out & travels, over three-month period, with Tennessee Williams, including to Singapore (where they both visit Kim). Makes frequent journeys to Laos during Vietnam War. Gives several public poetry readings, mostly with jazz accompaniment. Has guest poets on his Sunday variety radio program.
First LSD trips.
Late March 1972
Abruptly leaves Thailand after his news coverage, for ABC & the Review, of bloodless coup d’état & subsequent public execution (of an accused murderer) dangerously angers General Prapas.
March 27th 1972
Arrives in Bali (after stopover in Singapore & another visit with Kim).
April - September 1972
Lives in Bali (Den Pasar & Kuta Beach). Known variously as ‘Mushroom Ed’ & ‘Durian Ed.’ Burns all MSS, letters, etc. in a personal ‘renunciation rite.’ [Some early poems survive; copies later found in sister’s attic in New Hyde Park, NY.]
September 26th 1972
Leaves Bali (via Singaradja to Banjuwangi).
Till October 10th 1972
Travels by foot, bus & train through Java.
October 16th 1972
Flies to Colombo (from Djakarta).
October 1972 - March 1973
Travels extensively in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), finally settling for three months at the Island Hermitage (Buddhist) near Dodanduwa. [Later learns that former visitors/ temporary residents include Thomas Merton & R.D. Laing.]
Returns to Europe. Flies Colombo-Frankfurt (with three-day stopover in Moscow).
Late March - mid May 1973
Travels (occasionally by train, but mainly hitchhiking) around central & southern Germany, France, Spain, Morocco. Works only once, as a carnival ‘bullfighter’ in Saarbrücken.
Mid May 1973
Hitchhikes from Munich to London.
Mid May - late December 1973
Lives & works in London. Contributes more than two dozen ‘expert’ articles to Edward de Bono’s illustrated history of inventions, Eureka! (Thames & Hudson). [In June 1973 meets Jane Harvey: girlfriend, wife, ex-wife; traveling companion, closest professional colleague, constant friend.]
December 29th 1973
Leaves London with Jane, heading East.
January & February 1974
Travels through Europe & Turkey to Iran.
February - April 1974
First sojourn in Tehran. Works as freelance feature writer for the Tehran Journal. (Jane works as a proofreader.)
Late April - late June 1974
After leaving Iran, travels through & around parts of Afghanistan & Pakistan and then into India, staying one month in Dharamsala.
Late June 1974
Commences solitary walk through Himachal Pradesh. (Jane returns to England overland.)
Late July 1974
Arrives Chandigarh, by bus from Himachal border. Proceeds by foot, bus & train to Delhi, from there by train to Bombay.
Bombay & Goa. (Shortly after arriving in Bombay, last money is stolen. Spends interesting week living on the streets, penniless during heaviest part of monsoon. Has unusual first meeting with S.N. Goenka, the well-known Vipassana meditation teacher.)
[NOTE: From Tehran onwards, extensive journals & travel diaries exist. These, as well as dozens of letters to & from Jane during times when they were apart, have been carefully transcribed by Jane Harvey and are earmarked for eventual publication. The journals in particular continue into the early Ins & Outs years (Amsterdam, 1978-79), and along with the letters include USA & later London periods (Summer 1976 - Autumn 1977).]
Late August - early September 1974
Travels from Bombay to Amritsar, then (by bus, hitchhiking, train) through Pakistan to southern Iran (Zahedan), and from there to Tehran (where he & Jane meet up).
Autumn 1974 - Spring 1975
Tehran. Sports & night editor of Tehran Journal. (Jane is the paper’s Business Editor.)
May 4th 1975
Early May - mid October 1975
Iran (east of Tehran)-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India. Includes ‘rough journey’ over north of Afghanistan, two months in Kabul (June & July), sojourn in ‘lawless region’ of Swat & Kalam valleys, Vipassana course with S.N. Goenka in Dalhousie, then on to Benares (Varanasi). [During meditation course, meets Jenny Brookes. Twenty-three years later, he will move to England to be with her (see Appendix).]
October 23rd 1975
Eddie & Jane buy (ordinary Hero) bicycles in Benares.
Late October 1975 - mid January 1976
Cycle from Benares through Bihar & West Bengal (where they stay one month in Calcutta), then down to Kanarak & Puri (in Orissa).
January 13th 1976
Sell bicycles in Puri (after a two-week stay), proceed to Madras by train.
Mid January - late February 1976
Madras for several weeks, then back to Calcutta (train).
February 28th 1976
Eddie & Jane fly to Kathmandu.
March & (most of) April 1976
Lives, writes, gives poetry readings in Kathmandu. [Jane flies to Bangkok on March 28th.] Meets Ira Cohen, Roberto Valenza, Angus MacLise (ex-Velvet Underground) & others...some of whom will feature significantly in International Times and Ins & Outs periods.
Late April - mid June 1976
Bangkok-Hong Kong-Taipei-Seoul-San Francisco. Includes more than two weeks traveling to various parts of Taiwan (with several days’ stay at Ch’an temple in Sun Moon Lake). Arrival in San Francisco--via Honolulu & Los Angeles--marks first return to USA in 12 years. [Jane, who had been traveling in Thailand before she & Eddie met up in Bangkok, flies to London on May 13th. The two would be apart for six months.]
Mid June - late August 1976
Lives in San Francisco. Freelances for the Berkeley Barb, Bystander (Haight), other newspapers & magazines. Gives poetry readings. Does odd jobs; also street-sells gemstones & artifacts collected in Asia.
August 28th 1976
Leaves San Francisco (to drive with an old friend to Tucson, Arizona). [Fails in attempt to meet with Henry Miller in Los Angeles. (Letter from Miller--who much later becomes an avid reader of Ins & Outs magazine--eventually catches up with Eddie).]
September 7th 1976
Leaves Tucson (after one-week stay). September 10th 1976
Arrives New Orleans (after hitchhiking through New Mexico & Texas). Stays one week in the Big Easy.
September 26th 1976
Arrives New York (after hitchhiking from New Orleans to Philadelphia, and from there by train). [Has finally circumnavigated the globe.]
Late September - late October 1976
New York. Gives poetry readings, lectures at Queens College. Sees mother (as well as her second husband, Philip Moran, whom Eddie very much liked) for last time. (Father died in 1973.) [Discovers that extensive diary, kept from ages 16- 20, plus filed carbon copies of nearly all outgoing correspondence, have mysteriously disappeared.]
October 21st 1976
Flies to London.
Late October 1976 - mid March 1978
Lives in London (except for summer 1977, spent knocking about parts of England & Wales, following the free music festivals from Glastonbury to Meigen Fayre, living rough with the ‘tipi people’). Intense writing period. Publishes in numerous literary magazines in Great Britain & America. Works with/writes for International Times (IT) & Libertine. [Professional-cum-social circle includes author Max Handley, poet & playwright Heathcote Williams, et al.]
Ides of March 1978
London - Amsterdam (together with Jane).
Mid April - early November 1978
Creates & edits Ins & Outs magazine. Together with Jane Harvey, produces three issues (June, July, August/September); also oversees a vibrant literary & artistic scene. Makes national headlines when arrested (but not formally charged) for lese majesty following publication of issue no. 3 (which also includes first-ever publication of Allen Ginsberg’s “Plutonian Ode”). Performs widely. Appears at P78 One World Poetry Festival (with William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Patti Smith, Harold Norse, Anne Waldman, Lewis MacAdams, et al.). With Hans Plomp, scripts & narrates poetry documentary for Radio KRO. [Ins & Outs colleagues include Ira Cohen, Mel Clay, William Levy & Simon Vinkenoog.]
November 5th 1978
Leaves Amsterdam (secretly & abruptly, after he & Jane carefully organize & pack magazine files for eventual storage).
Paris-Côte d’ Azur-Marseille-Barcelona.
December 1978 & January 1979
Lives in Barcelona. Bumps into/hangs out with Harold Norse. (Jane teaches English.)
February 8th 1979
Returns to Amsterdam. (Jane follows two months later.)
[NOTE: During the winter of 1978-79, Ronald Sauer & Ira Cohen produce Crippled Warlords poetry anthology, dedicated to Eddie & Jane. Ins & Outs imprint.]
May 1st 1979
Moves into flat in Amsterdam’s red light district (de Walletjes).
Organizes literary events & performs at various Amsterdam venues. Compères William Burroughs evening at Milky Way multimedia center (de Melkweg). Writes (under the name Woodstock Jones) & publishes Other World Poetry Newsletter (Ins & Outs Press). Writes for & edits (till ca. 1982) Amsterdam section of IT. Continues to publish in various literary magazines (till ca. mid-1980s).
*Foundation Ins & Outs registered (Directors: Eddie Woods, Jane Harvey, Henk van der Does).
*Ins & Outs Press formally launched.
*Ins & Outs Bookstore opened.
*Issue no. 4/5 of Ins & Outs magazine. Contributors include Paul Bowles, Bert Schierbeek, Diana Blok, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jan Kerouac, Neeli Cherkovski, Steve Abbott, Jack Hirschman, Bob Kaufman, Akbar del Piombo (Norman Rubington), Charles Henri Ford, Charles Gatewood, Gerard Malanga, Derek Pell, John Wilcock (& many more).
Flies to New York City & San Francisco for reading tour, mainly Ins & Outs gala benefit evening at Grand Piano, SF (recorded). In NYC meets with Irving Stettner of Stoker, Norman Rubington, Bart Plantenga & others. *Ins & Outs postcard series launched.
*Kirke Wilson limited-edition silkscreen prints series launched (with Jules Deelder ‘bandaged-poet’ image, Das Bauen Im Neuen Reich).
*Manifesto: Cosa Nostra di Poesia (Ronald F. Sauer) published.
*Sale or Return (Eddie Woods) published.
*Natural Jewboy (William Levy) published.
Gives poetry readings in Düsseldorf. Reads (& resides for one week) at Paris’ famed Shakespeare & Co. bookshop. [Eddie & Jane separate in November; they remain colleagues & friends, even as Jane embarks on an independent career in Indian music & musicology.]
*Ins & Outs Bookstore closed; replaced by performance space & casual art gallery.
*Jack Micheline reading (recorded).
*JACK MICHELINE in Amsterdam audio cassette released.
Harold Norse reading (recorded). [For some two weeks in November, Norse resides in apartments at Ins & Outs Press. He later remarks in Memoirs of a Bastard Angel that his stay there helped to break his writer’s block. (Eddie has been living at Ins & Outs since 1982, while continuing to maintain the red-light flat up the road).]
*HAROLD NORSE Of Course audio cassette released.
*William Burroughs (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print published. [Coincides with Burroughs’ first visit to Ins & Outs Press.]
*HONOR THY WOOF: The Snuffie Memorial Exhibition (Kali, Inc.) opens. *Herbert Huncke reading (recorded).
*Herbert Huncke (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print published (Ins & Outs Press/Soyo Productions).
*Snuffie (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print published.
[Allen Ginsberg pays first visit to Ins & Outs Press, accompanied by Peter Orlovsky & Benn Posset (Soyo Benn).]
Early 1988 - late 1991
Goes into period of intense seclusion. Continues to write & correspond, but for some years already has been rather obsessively taping telephone conversations (e.g. with Ira Cohen). To a great extent, this practice--which continues till ca. early 1992--supersedes written correspondence. Also records certain office gatherings (with William Burroughs, Herbert Huncke, Ira Cohen, et al.). [All such recordings preserved.]
Comes out of seclusion. At the urging of Louis Behre (eventual impresario of annual Crossing Border festivals), stages performance comeback as the Gangster Poet (sobriquet given him some years earlier by Harold Norse).
Writes & widely circulates New Year’s Letter announcing his ‘return to the world.’ Goes broke; loses Ins & Outs Press building & moves (for a two -year period) back to red-light flat. Continues to give readings at small, selective venues in Amsterdam. Appears with Kali Quartet (Eddie & Hans Plomp, poetry; Jane Harvey & Toss Levy, Indian music) at Zuiderstrand Festival near The Hague. Performs at North Sea Jazz Festival (with Jack Micheline, Jules Deelder, Hans Dulfer, Simon Vinkenoog, et al.). Travels outside the Netherlands for the first time since early 1980s, for a two-week sojourn in Berlin.
*Allen Ginsberg (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print published (Ins & Outs Press/ Turret Books, London).
*Xaviera Hollander (Kirke Wilson) silkscreen print published. Appears at (first) Crossing Border festival. Co-presents (with Johannes van Dam) & performs (with William Levy, Ira Cohen, Udo Breger, et al.) at William Burroughs Tribute Evening (Milky Way), the last major event organized by Benn Posset.
*Eddie’s The Faerie Princess (bilingual edition; trans. Hans Plomp, illustrated by Niels Hamel) published by Sala Communications, Amsterdam.
Leaves flat in red-light district for good. Moves to a friend’s house in the Jordaan area (where he stays for more than two years). [In October, Benn Posset--with whom Eddie had a long & often stormy professional relationship--dies of cancer. Eddie writes & delivers eulogy at the funeral.]
Starts organizing monthly performance evenings (poetry & music) at Café Co Meyer in the Jordaan. Events rapidly grow in popularity & attract wide media attention. Audiences, as well as guest poets, musicians & raconteurs (e.g. Xaviera Hollander, the famed Happy Hooker) come from all parts of the city & beyond. (Among the participants is Bart Plantenga, whom Eddie first met in Amsterdam in 1978 but had not seen since New York, 1980.) [Evenings continue for nearly three years, until Eddie announces he is leaving Amsterdam.]
Visits Budapest. Performs at the artists’-colony village of Ruigoord (just outside Amsterdam); also at Amsterdam’s Winston Kingdom.
Travels to North Friesland (with poets Jan Kal, Diana Ozon & Joke Kaviaar) to perform at the Joker Theater (Theater de Gaper). Visits Jenny Brookes in Devon, England for three weeks in May; relocates there in October.
While now residing in England, returns to Amsterdam regularly...to visit friends, occasionally to perform (i.e., do poetry readings), but mainly to work on his Archive (with Jane Harvey & Bart Plantenga). In November 1999, visits USA: first, briefly, his old neighborhood in Queens, NY; and then Florida for three weeks, mainly to see his elder half-sister and only sibling, Marguerite (Margie) Florio, the two not having met for more than 23 years.
Travels by train from Amsterdam (during one of his periodic return sojourns in the Netherlands) to Landshut, Bavaria, for a week-long stay, at last meeting his granddaughters Sarah, Hannah & Rebekka and seeing his daughter Monika (with whom he had always maintained more or less regular contact) for the first time in 28 years.
The Eddie Woods Archive purchased by Stanford University.
Eddie & Jenny Brookes decide to separate. Eddie returns to Amsterdam, where he again takes up residence.
Releases (as an Ins & Outs Press production) the spoken-word poetry compact disc Dangerous Precipice.
Publishes (using the Ins & Outs Press imprint) the poetry collection Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle. It was with the title poem (completed on the morning of his 65th birthday) that Eddie finally wrote himself out of a 4 -month long depression brought on by the emotional repercussions of his breakup with Jenny.
Releases Tsunami of Love on cd (Eddie reciting the entire collection, with a special spoken introduction added).
Is interviewed and photographed by well-known Dutch news presenter and photographer Sacha de Boer for her book Retour New York-Amsterdam (bilingual, English-Dutch), which is published in June.
Participates in major William Burroughs symposium in Paris, Naked Lunch@50. Where, among other things, he pays tribute to the late Harold Norse (d. June 8th 2009) in front of the old Beat Hotel on the rue Gît-le-Coeur.
Eddie married for the first time, in Germany, in late 1962. A daughter, Monika, was born to his wife Marianne (née Sedlmeier) on January 8th 1963. A second daughter, Cynthia, was born (to Sonya Köhler) on February 23rd 1967. Monika currently lives in southern Germany and has three daughters (see May 2001, above). The whereabouts of Cynthia--whom Eddie helped deliver, and then co- raised until he left Europe for Asia in late 1968--were unknown up till early 2009, when Eddie finally managed to locate and reunite with her. She lives in Brabant, the Netherlands, and has a daughter, Carolina.
Eddie & Jane Harvey married in November 1976 and were legally divorced in February 1999.
Subsequent to their first meeting in September 1975 (in Dalhousie, India), Eddie & Jenny Brookes met again (by ‘chance’) in April 1976, in Kathmandu. And yet again, in Amsterdam, in early 1979; after which they maintained a fairly steady correspondence. Prior to Eddie’s visit to Devon (in May 1998), the two had not seen one another since late 1980, in Amsterdam. Along with Jenny’s three children (a teenage daughter & two young boys), the two lived together for six years in a very rural setting.
Although he pursued university studies while in the Air Force (U. of Maryland, U. of Wyoming), Eddie holds no degrees. He is reasonably fluent in German, mildly so in Dutch.
To date, Eddie’s literary works (poetry, short stories, essays) have mostly been published in periodicals in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland & Holland, as well as online (e.g. in Exquisite Corpse, Parisiana, etc.). Several more books are now in preparation, among which The Journey Itself Is Home (travel journals, diaries, letters), Smugglers Train (short stories), Whores and Other Lovers (poetry & photographs) and Notes of a Native Alien (collected articles, essays, interviews, etc.).
Eddie’s parents were divorced in 1955. His father was married five times, his mother twice.
And all these many things
I have done in my life,
were they not all
(as they still are now)
a part of the growing process?
The drugs, the booze,
the travel, the seclusion...
eventually, the attempted suicide.
(from “The Poem I Am”)
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