Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hugh Fox Remembers Small Press Legend Len Fulton

I asked my old pal Hugh Fox to write a piece for Len Fulton, the founder of the Small Press Review, who died at 77, July 24, 2011 in Paradise, CA.

(Hugh Fox)

(Len Fulton)

Hugh Fox remembers legendary small press publisher/writer Len Fulton

Like saying goodbye to Debussy or Hemingway or H.G. Wells. I
first met Fulton in Berkeley in 1968 when we founded COSMEP, a small press org. that had yearly conventions here, there and everywhere: St. Paul, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, you name it. And everyone would be there, all the editors of small presses and lit mags. And poets and other writers. Always reading-shows, and I'd always read.

I got to know EVERYONE in the literary scene. And visited Fulton up in
his place in Paradise, California, way in the middle of nowhere, or everywhere, if what you loved was California wilderness.

Tall dark-haired, a little moustache, always bright, on the ball, kind of Harvard professorish, but at the same time a kind of exploratory cowboy explorer always moving further into the essence of Nature itself. For years, two or three times a year I'd get a huge envelope filled with books and literary reviews to review for SMALL PRESS REVIEW, and he slowly turned me into a kind of central writer for the mag. Which I loved. Sadly COSMEP slowly disappeared over the years. Run by Richard Morris in San Francisco, it's a book in itself that would go through the slow decapitations of all our dreams and hopes. But Morris died from cancer and COSMEP kind of died with him.There's a huge file over in Special Collections at the Michigan State University library dealing with my connections with the death of COSMEP.

A couple of years back Fulton turned SPR into an on-line mag, which I wasn't crazy about. But he'd always send me a printed copy too, and I've got this huge file in my bookcases, years and years and years of copies with my reviews in them.

In the last few years he became increasingly solitary.
Suffering from lung cancer, but not aware that was what was going
on. When I recently told him that I'm dying from cancer, he wrote a
beautiful letter back and mentioned he wasn't "quite up to it" either.
But I don't think he was aware it was lung cancer.

He was/is a central figure in the development of literary
culture in the U.S. He published an INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORY OF LITTLE MAGAZINES AND SMALL PRESSES which I always found of central importance in finding publishers for my books and articles. An odd name for a press -- Dustbooks. Always aware of the transience of life and everything surrounding him/us. Always SeƱor High Concentration, High Seriousness. I couldn't believe the size of the library in his Paradise ranchhouse. I asked him "Any of my stuff here?," and he walked over the showed me volume after volume after volume, almost everything I'd ever written, the whole library a veritable treasure house of literary treasures.

His death is a huge loss. Will his son, Tim, continue the
SMALL PRESS REVIEW and all the rest of it?
No words from him.

Hard to believe Fulton is really "gone." I always
thought of him, and still think of him, as an IMMORTAL.

*Hugh Fox is a founding editor of the Pushcart Prize, and has been widely published in the small press.


  1. It's fitting that Hugh Fox write this tribute to Len Fulton. Both Len and Hugh are GIANTS on the small press literary scene. I met Hugh first when he so generously blurbed my collection. Then I had the honor of reviewing Hugh's stunning book "Revoir" for SPR. Len sent me the print version of my review which I will always treasure. Thanks Foxy Hugh for your beautiful words on Len. Lots of Love, Susan

  2. What a beautiful write-up about Len. Hugh, your writing about him is so special. We all have lost someone so special and what he did for the small press is amazing. So many of Cervena Barva Press books were reviewed in SPR and Hugh, you are responsible for so many. I have a special place in my heart for Len and for you.
    I always looked forward to the directories and to reading SPR. What a gift Len gave us for so many years!!!!!.

  3. Sheila Murphy10:23 PM

    Thank you, Hugh, for this fine tribute to a wonderful individual who has made such a huge and positive difference for our culture. I will miss Len greatly,and am saddened by his passing. I indeed believed that he would live forever. We were very lucky to have Len while he was here.


  4. Unfortunately, I just found out that Len died when I emailed Hugh and got a reply from his wife Bernadete that Hugh died in Sept. A great loss. I established my The Spirit That Moves Us Press in 1975 with HUGE amounts of info./guidance/inspiration from both of them.

  5. Anonymous11:19 AM

    Looking for contact with Richard Morris, who introduced me to the Small Press Review in the 1970s. Would you have an email address for him?