SEBASTIAN QUILL was a small press literary magazine edited by James Mitchell
and published by the Hoddypoll Press in San Francisco from 1970 to 1973. Its goal was to provide a journal for gay writers, poets, artists and photographers living and working in the Bay Area, in the spirit of the Gay Liberation movement which awakened and flourished in the late 1960’s. It was the first gay‐themed literary magazine appearing locally and perhaps also the first in the United States. In the course of its three issues, it brought gay‐themed works by such well‐known writers as Allen Ginsberg, Thom Gunn, Robert Glück, Bruce Boone, Paul Mariah and Richard Tagett. The first issue in 1970 appeared very much in the samizdat or Underground publishing style of the times. Since male homosexuality was in most places then illegal and considered a psychiatric illness, there was no expectation that Sebastian Quill could be sold in bookshops or carried by national book distributors or acquired by libraries. About 500 copies were run off during a planned break‐in in a downtown office building on a Sunday afternoon, and because no bookstore could be found to sell it, most of the copies were handed out free at local meetings of the Gay Liberation Front. The financial exigencies of underground small press publishing, which operated on a shoestring and was given over mainly to political discussion or to psychedelics analysis, made professional typesetting impossibly expensive. The best one could hope for was a text prepared on an IBM Selectric typewriter, which served as the industry standard at the time. Composition and corrections were extremely laborious, and photo copy machines were not yet commonly available. Cataloguers would describe most such materials as “mimeographed ephemera.” Contributions for our first issue were gathered from artists and authors who were also personal friends. I prepared everything for production, and with the assistance of Paul Von Steinmann and Phil Tutt ran off copies on a photo offset printing machine in a downtown office building dedicated on weekdays to the service of a maritime insurance agency. Writers and artists in the first issue included Bruce Boone, Bob Clark, James Devina, Geoff Eisen, Giles, Patrick Kelly, Nick Kouninos, James Mitchell and Bob Rivera. James Mitchell March 18, 2011
First issue of the San Francisco gay literary magazine SEBASTIAN QUILL, from Fall, 1970.