In 1920, William Carlos Williams encountered Robert McAlmon at a party and what resulted out of this meeting was Contact. According to Williams, McAlmon principally funded the magazine, although it was uncertain where or how he received his funds; it was rumored he slept on the New York harbor and worked part time as a nude model. Regardless, the men scrapped together enough funds to publish the magazine themselves.
Contact originates from Williams imagist background with the
focus being on the immediate object and McAlmon’s experience as
a pilot: “Contact!
was the command word used by pilots to denote the start of the enginge
and subsequent flight” (Tashjian 75).
The magazine’s title
represents Williams and McAlmon’s belief that personal experience
and locale should influence art. In order to accomplish this vision, a
move away from European literary traditions proved
necessary in order for a true American art form to appear. Williams in
particular wanted the magazine to expose promising American experimental
writers to the public and to each other. However, Williams clearly states
in the opening issue that the magazine encourages foreign contributions.
Last Update 12/04