Piero Heliczer (1937–93) was one of the most important and ubiquitous protagonists of the underground of the 1960s and ’70s. Born in Italy, Heliczer lived between London, Paris, New York and Amsterdam; a poet, publisher and filmmaker, he took an active part in Andy Warhol’s Factory, filmed the Velvet Underground, and helped Jack Smith on the production of Flaming Creatures. The founder of the Dead Language Press in Paris in the late 1950s, he published Beat poets such as Gregory Corso, as well as the works of Angus MacLise, and was a close friend and collaborator to Tom Raworth, Anselm Hollo and Gerard Malanga.
However, Heliczer’s work eludes easy classification and stable forms. He preferred the circulation and dissemination of his poetry in broadsheets, little magazines such as Outburst, Locus Solus and The World, and at public readings, in accord with his nomadic, nonconformist life. Piero Heliczer: ‘Poems & Documents’ retraces his oeuvre, revealing its vital energy and experimental drive through the poems Heliczer published in magazines and periodicals between 1959 and 1979. The poems are presented as facsimile pages from the original magazines, accompanied by reproductions of documents and ephemera, to further highlight the singular printed culture of an era, and the fervent community it nourished.