Modeled on magazines like Cid Corman’s Origin, Tom Beckett’s THE DIFFICULTIES derived its title from an observation made by Charles Olson during a 1962 talk at Cortland, New York, “You know, we live in a time which is very easy itself,” and a line from the third of his Songs of Maximus: “the blessing/ that difficulties are once more.” Six numbers were published by Viscerally Press (Kent, Ohio) between 1980 and 1989.
The first number, edited by Beckett and Earel Neikirk, measured 17.5 x 21 cm; the second measured 20.25 x 27.5 cm; issues 2:1, 3:1, and 3:2 each measured 21.5 x 27 cm, with issue 2:2 slightly oversized at 21.5 x 28 cm. The first number included a small packet of Tom Raworth’s “loose alphabet,” containing a few dried alphabet soup noodles, glued in (the packet is missing from the copy scanned here). The second number featured a textured three-color cover with artwork by Frank Fecko; subsequent numbers featured black-and-white author photos in a cover design by Barbara Bakos. All numbers glue-bound.