Catholic Worker

Catholic Worker

36 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003


A social justice newspaper founded by activist Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker building (which also housed a soup kitchen) was located near the future site of CBGB.


Ed Sanders Moves to New York City


Ed Sanders grew up in western Missouri, in the small farm town of Blue Springs. After briefly attending the University of Missouri, he hitchhiked to the East Coast in 1958 to attend New York University. “I soon was enmeshed in the culture of the Beats,” Sanders recalled, “as found in Greenwich Village bookstores, in the poetry readings in coffeehouses on MacDougal Street, in New York City art and jazz, and in the milieu of pot and counterculture that was rising.” He also began volunteering at the Catholic Worker, a newspaper founded by activist Dorothy Day that was dedicated to social justice. In 1962, the political poet decided to publish his irreverent mimeographed zine, Fuck You/A Magazine of the Arts, after a transformative experience viewing Jonas Mekas’s film Guns of the Trees, which featured Sanders’s literary hero Allen Gins­berg. The next day, in a fever of inspiration, he typed the first issue of Fuck You on a Catholic Worker typewriter using mimeograph stencils and colored paper that he “borrowed” from the newspaper. Day was furious when she found out, so Sanders then produced an issue of Fuck You using equipment found at the Living Theatre, a place where provocative aesthetics and left-wing politics aligned. “I went down to DC with the Living Theater to be a part of the Great March on Washington on August 28, 1963,” Sanders said. “I brought along my Bell & Howell [movie camera], plus a satchel of the freshly published issue of my magazine.”

From Chapter 5 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore