Paul Buck

Big Deal #4

Barbara Baracks, ed.

Big Deal was one of those distinct magazines that appeared in the 1970s, coming out of New York, that brought together writers, artists, prose-writing poets and a few composers who also aimed words at the page, like John Cage and Philip Corner. Only five issues appeared. I have two.


To head #3, the editor Barbara Baracks, wrote: ‘I’ve recently become interested in narration, and put BIG DEAL 3 together with that in mind. Some of this issue’s contributors may claim no interest in the subject themselves. But my own fascination with evidence, causality, continuity did shape the gist of the matter (the magazine).’ It was a magazine like Big Deal that confirmed my own line with Curtains, particularly the idea of long extracts from works and the communion of the different forms. Here we see Robert Smithson, Philip Corner, Jackson Mac Low, Jerome Rothenberg, Jasper Johns, Fielding Dawson, Peter Hutchinson, Larry Eigner (prose), Hannah Weiner, David Antin … to take the first 70 pages, half the issue.


With #4, the following year (1976), prose writing was clearly still the editor’s interest, alongside contributions from others like Carl Andre, Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, Lee Breuer … as well as Michel Camus’ essay, Priape au Serpent, in a translation that is different from the version I ran in Split Curtains, a text that, though advertised (for Obliques), never appeared in French.



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