A Memoir of Graham Mackintosh (1935-2015)

The great printer Graham Mackintosh has left us. On Poltroon Press’ site Alastair M. Johnston has published a memorial piece worth reading for anyone interested in Bay Area poetry & poetics — and the days when books were actually typeset. I am reproducing the opening paras below, for the full article (& examples of Mackintosh’s work) click here.

Mackintosh on press. Photo by Ann Charters, San Francisco, 1968. From OYEZ The Authorized Checklist
Mackintosh on press. Photo by Ann Charters, San Francisco, 1968. From OYEZ The Authorized Checklist

Pity the writer or artist with a Bad Boswell. I am thinking of someone like Lord Byron who left his reputation in the hands of his friend Thomas Moore. Moore’s first act as trustee was to burn Byron’s journals so there would be no challenging Moore’s own account of the poet’s life. Then he mixed in some salaciousness, rehashing some of the well-known scandals of Byron’s life but adding asterisks instead of people’s names. One of the more egregious examples occurs in a footnote on page 558: “P.S. Oh! the anecdote! ****************.” For 200 years the world has looked at this passage and shook its head, saying “What a prat!”

I had a 45-year friendship with Graham Mackintosh, printer and publisher of White Rabbit Press, and while his death on May 10th at age 80 was not a surprise (he had been in declining health since the death of his wife Janet a year ago), I didn’t have a potted obituary in my “morgue” of papers, just a few notes from him, some photos, and three archival boxes stuffed with the productions of his creativity as a printer and book designer. I had an email exchange with fellow printer Eric Holub and between us we put together some biographical facts in an ad hoc way.

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