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Asa Benveniste

Asa Benveniste

American writer
Asa Benveniste
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American writer
Was Poet
From United States of America
Type Literature
Gender male
Birth 1925
Death 1990 (aged 65 years)
The details


Asa Benveniste (August 25, 1925–April 13, 1990) was an American-born poet, typographer and publisher.

Early years

Benveniste was born in New York and settled in England in the 1950s.


After World War II Benveniste, at this time known as Albert, lived in Paris and in 1948 co-founded the Zero Press with George Solomos (who was then known as Thermistocles Hoetis). Their first publication in spring 1949 was Zero Magazine. One of the poets they published was Lionel Ziprin, whose recollections of Benveniste appeared in Jewish Quarterly: "'He was a Turkish Jew; he had a very good poetry magazine, called The Trigram. I knew him in college; he went into the army. Later, he stayed in Paris. ...He and a guy called Themistocles Hoetis, this guy George Solomos, published a magazine called Zero; George came to New York, and he said: Give us what you got. So I gave them “Math Glass”, and he published it and somehow T. S. Eliot got a part of it, and wrote me a nice little letter about it.’"

Following the second issue of Zero, which featured work by Paul Bowles, James Baldwin and Matta, Benveniste moved to London, then later Cornwall and Kent where he wrote a full length radio play "Tangier for the Traveller" for the BBC Home Service.

Besides being a poet, he also worked as a printer, a typographer, and as a book designer. In London during 1965, he co-founded and managed the pioneering Trigram Press, which published work by George Barker, Tom Raworth, Jack Hirschman, J. H. Prynne, David Meltzer, B. S. Johnson, Jim Dine, Jeff Nuttall, Gavin Ewart, Ivor Cutler, Anselm Hollo, and Lee Harwood, among others.

In the 1980s Benveniste and his second partner Agnetha Falk moved to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, where they operated a secondhand bookshop. When he died in 1990, Benveniste was buried in the graveyard of Heptonstall church, with a gravestone that reads: "Foolish Enough to Have Been a Poet". He was both pleased and amused that his grave was to be within speaking distance of Sylvia Plath's own gravestone a few feet away.

The artist Pip (Penelope) Benveniste, Asa's first wife, was also his partner in the Trigram Press project and provided the funds for its establishment. Pip's middle son (and Asa's stepson) Paul Vaughan was the highly skilled printer at Trigram Press, operating the classic Gutenberg Printing Press to a very high standard and developing groundbreaking results with silkscreen images for books, limited edition prints and other outlets. Pip died on August 30, 2010 (see Guardian obituary, September 16, 2010); she is now recognised as an important post-war British modernist painter. One aspect of her work - designs for hand-woven rugs - was launched by her youngest son, Mark Vaughan, with her blessing, in 2012 (see www.landrugs.com).

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 10 Aug 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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