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Behold, Middlearth

Bad Animal is proud to bring to market rare and one-of-a-kind works from Middlearth Editions and its earlier incarnation, Middle Earth Books (archived by Temple University). Middle Earth began as a bookstore in Philadelphia founded by Sam and Sims Amico in 1969 and became a truly exceptional fine press imprint produced mainly in Santa Cruz, where Sam still lives and creates.

In the beginning, the bookstore dealt Whole Earth Catalogs and academic books, though it evolved into a site for performances and reading. That led to the promotional broadsides which led to journals (Lip, Contact, which led to the metamorphosis of Sam Amico, who went from bookseller to printer, poet, visual artist, and full-time visionary. Describing the purpose of the bookstore, Sam writes,

"In a blind act of love, hoping to reconcile private and public life Middle Earth Books was born in a basement bookshop in 1969. Ideas surfaced; concepts equidistant from ‘Tolkien’ and ‘The Whole Earth Catalog.’ From an underground philosophical position, ‘guerrilla warfare’ could be waged on the dominant media culture. Somewhere behind the scenes was the motivation to bring visual and conceptual information together. Eclecticism/Juxtaposition/Pataphysics."

In the years after the store closed, Sam's war against dominant media culture raged on, and we have the art to prove it. We'll be showcasing Middlearth material in the coming months with individual posts dedicated to Amico's prints and publications. Rare, limited, and signed works by Patti Smith (pictured above at Middle Earth Books), John Wieners, Robert Creeley, Gary Snyder, Tom Pickard, Sarant Pansamurs, and others.

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