Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nude Arrivals



Today's new arrivals consist primarily of two volumes from bookartist Keith Smith, Text in the Book Format & Structure of the Visual Book. I had originally seen these at the Book Art Book Fair but as so many vendors were dealing only in cash, I had to prioritize, especially since these can be ordered very easily from Keith's website. They are hefty, beautiful tomes, even though they are paperbacks. Interestingly, you could also order these as folded & gathered sheets in addition to the Smythe-sewn paperback. I haven't had much time to dive in, but my immediate impression is that these will become indispensable. Part instruction manual, part history lesson, all riveting, it makes me wonder why it took me so long to find Keith Smith, but really I'm just glad now that I have.

Also, aPlod issue 2 made it's way into my hands, along with a couple appropriately selected pogs. This one, edited by Brad Flis, features work from Ray Hsu, Marie Buck & Brad himself along with some truly hot shit from Jon Link. I have met Jon before but didn't know his work very well at all, so was excited to see his inclusion, which delivered in every way. Brad has such a keen sense of design, & handles the task of design so deftly, packing in a maximum of material without ever once approaching discomfort for the recipient. The little booklet is a pleasure to hold in the hands.

Ron Silliman's post about issue 1 of President's Choice reminds me yet again that I have failed to record a great literary event on this blog. For some reason, a few of my favorite nights since coming here in January haven't gotten the treatment, who knows why. The reading at MOMA in March where I met Rob Fitterman, Caroline Bergvall, Kenneth Goldsmith & Kareem Estefan all in one night. The utterly badass Joel Kuszai/Wiston Curnow fully catered event at Saatchi & Saatchi. Back on Nov 3 there was a Prez Choice release party at Bar 169. The lineup was insanely good--definitely the best I'd ever been to in one place, & a perfect combination of deserving friends & bona-fide great poets. Friends such as Lauren Spohrer, Lawrence Giffin & Kareem Estefan read alongside sports heroes such as Rodrigo Toscano, Kim Rosenfield, Rob Fitterman & Brian Kim Stefans, who has a couple interesting books available on lulu right now. All of this MC'd by editor Steve Zultanski, with the perfect number of interludes. A few individual works remain in the fore of my mind, including Kareem's excellent, frantic Instant Message poem & Rob Fitterman's voyage through the nonpoetic asides & sayings of a poetry reading. You know, the shit they say before & between the poems. It was truly hilarious, & it didn't hurt that it was happy hour, which was of the buy-one-get-one variety. At one point, a bartender said to another that Fitterman's reading was unbearable, that he couldn't wait for it to be over. Then, Rob culminated with a sudden, moving, totally normal short pastoral poem, from what source if any I don't know. The effect was quite like Kenny Goldsmith at the end of a reading of Traffic, with Rob's version perhaps the more seamless. Finishing up the evening, bearded, perfect Lawrence Giffin totally won my heart as he does each & every time I engage with one of his works (I haven't figured out exactly how he continually accomplishes this). All these readings culminated with (I think) Vietnamese food & me being something of a beer hero.


* * *


Shed like Swatch


Asimov credits us with eras of concomitance
Happy to resolve the freight of having acted
Out of character, unless one were to budget
Sheer words over a week's length, what would we
Move from Ground Zero to Ground One?

He would have been more assertive in our calling
The injustices of institutions our little ones
So that life might continue

To pillory the sham of inexpugnable rewards.
Sadly enough, it is through these self-same theses
That you and I together, caught in our egg and spoon
Battalion, would hardly be at a loss of words
To describe the health of the economy.

Could it not then be said that a pencil sketch
Approximating the take down of a giraffe
By a pride of hungry lions in the bush, dragging
By its legs the carnivorous which it is feeding
Would be but one way to communicate

Our democratic presentiments?



----Bradley Flis


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bowery Whiskey Reading

The readers for the Single Malt Whiskey Poetry Sampling are:

Mary Jo Bang
Monica de la Torre
Diana Hamilton
Bob Holman
Patrick Lovelace

+ special guests

Sunday, 12/9, 5-7 PM @ Bowery Poetry Club

$20 / 5 whiskies ($15 w/ copy of this email invitation)
$5 without whiskey

Monday, December 3, 2007

Nov. Recap 1: Halpern/Brady


The new Taylor Brady/Rob Halpern title out from Atticus/Finch, Snow Sensitive Skin, billed as a chapbook, is hardly so. Of the wide variety of items I purchased in November, this, at a modest $10, remains the most luscious title inside & out. The book is perfectbound, not stapled, with a nearly-removable, beautiful dustjacket over the paperback, which features thick, unpaginated leaves within. Like the recent Mel Nichols chapbook out from Edge, the slightest negative arises with just how susceptible the cover material is to wear. Within 15 or so minutes (& yes this is my fault) my copy was irrevocably smeared with some sort of table gunk, perhaps syrup. But the nice crusty stain really isn't all that bad, I just have to buy another copy or two. It is that good of a book, wonderfully conceived & delivered by Michael Cross, the 11th in the Atticus/Finch series. Of course the collaboration of Brady & Halpern delivers as well--the book, broken into 7 sections (with titles such as "Theater of Mortal Terror" & "Lines Against The Blades") presents, among other things, strong meditations on world & war status in the Middle East. The book is thus timely but not gaudily so, more "Lebanon" than "Iraq" though never limited to either. Front matter contextualizes the inspirations & sources & directions of the book. Sometimes boxes surround somewhat large pieces of text. Prevalent throughout, small pieces of italicized text break up, comment upon, & extend the discussion presented in the core stanzas.


NOW ALL THAT'S alien to what the time commands
Miming in the breaks, what plays the disruption
Being the continuity of measure, death becoming


..............-- audible, as if for the first time





......................Sonic identity of the mechanized war machine itself --


......................................................................................'Get in line'




The ensemble is elements
Falling out where fallout was
Once a stolen march on time
Lapsed dream of the graceful
Arch, double dutch or this
Step skipped to bridge


............................-- as if a stone

............................
Producing incremental units
............................Shorter intervals
............................Until there's nothing

.......................................-- opposed to what's immeasurable

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Robbin' Mel


I finally caught a ride on this season's Segue train with the Mel Nichols/Rob Fitterman reading yesterday afternoon. Mel was a very nice surprise, since I was only slightly aware of her work, which is rich & excellent & funny (naughty). She had a chapbook put out by Edge a couple years ago, Day Poems, the cover of which resembles the crossroads of the cosmos rendered as poo-streaked pubes. But to be totally serious, Mel rocked. [Then Rob rocked, reading from the forthcoming Sprawl.] Day Poems was not available for purchase, but a new, even better thing was, The Beginning of Beauty, Part I: hottest new ringtones, mnichol6. This thing is so great I had to buy 3 copies. First of all, it is limited to 150 copies. Then, there are many various photo covers to choose from. There were a few of the same, but at least 8 or 10 different ones, perhaps more. The fun is far from over: each copy has a piece of trash, such as a gum wrapper, squished into a transparant envelope which is bound into the back matter, & a handwritten title-label of the photograph also laid/bound in. One is "It's a Small World After All"--the cover photo is of a small balled up blue piece of paper, maybe tape, maybe dense with paint...maybe the cover photo corresponds to the unique trash selection in the back?. The only problem, though it is not entirely negative, is that the transparant material which encases the book is quite susceptible to finger prints & hand damage.

Rob read from Sprawl, which is the first time I'd heard exclusively from this forthcoming text, though some bits had been included in his momentous MOMA reading from earlier in the year. He had previously described Sprawl as maybe being part of the Metropolis series & maybe not, but word is that it is, in my opinion rightfully so, as it corresponds to & extends that series nicely. There were no new Fitterman book items for sale, though I think I dreamed of a strange chapbook last night, which I can't recall the name of. There were, though, ultra glitzy photos on slideshow behind Rob as he read, accompanied with full soundtrack, replete with occasional & repeated artificial applause.

Afterwards there was a gathering at James Sherry's nearby pad, & good fun was had by all. I had a nice little convo with James about my forthcoming publishing efforts, hung out with new friend Kareem Estefan, & chatted several times with Dirk Rowntree about design prospects. I shook hands with Gary Sullivan, & met Rodrigo Toscano & Laura Elrick. Mel Nichols signed each copy of her magnificent book, I met Rod Smith & told him about attacking Bridge Street, & Julie Patton told me I shouldn't really go with Kenny Goldsmith's name for my press, but should go with something more personal. A digital, Mac Low-esque search using the old name as the seed returned Packed Rat--which could be the answer after all. But aren't I supposed to just know? Isn't it supposed to be love at first sight? I bought a bag of Brach's Mellowcreme Pumpkins, along with a toothbrush, toothpaste & mouthwash earlier. My hotel room smells like popcorn, but there isn't any.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Doin Thangs



Atlas Press has just announced new publications:

WAR FOR CHRISTMAS! Our version of Guy Debord's "Game of War" is now published. £17 until the end of November. Apologies for the postal charges on this book, which is a substantial item.

Likewise, Konrad Bayer's the sixth sense is also now available, the signed edition will be ready in November.

Imminently available (and we are accepting orders for these):

Michel Leiris Mirror of Tauromachy.

Alfred Jarry Three Early Novels (Absolute Love, Days and Nights, Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician).
This is volume II of the Collected Works.

And from the LIP to mark the centenary of Alfred Jarry's death on 1 November:
Alfred Jarry Necrologies, texts by Apollinaire, Rachilde, Saltas and his doctor: first-hand accounts of his last days.


Looking back, this has been quite an active year for Atlas, whose productivity should be applauded. Support is in order, whether for the interactive Debord title (which is similar to several College de 'Pataphysique items I recently acquired) or the more fundamental & essential volume of Jarry's early novels.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cortazar: Autonauts of the Cosmoroute


There is a new Cortazar title to be released this month from the excellent Archipelago Books, providers of recent titles from Duras, Musil, Michaux, among myriad others. Archipelago also released Cortazar's slim Diary of Andres Fava in 2005, which is a companion-book to Final Exam, somewhat similar to the way 62: A Model Kit functions in relation to Hopscotch. This new book, Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, is described as "a love story, an irreverent travelogue of elaborate tales and snapshots detailing Julio Cort├ízar and Carol Dunlop’s thirty-three-day voyage on the Paris-Marseilles freeway in 1982." The most exciting detail here is that the book clocks in at 350 pages, which is quite a gift to Cortazar readers operating only in English. It seems like Autonauts may resemble the hodgepodge style of Around the World in 80 Days, though it will probably be more unified, given the format of that volume. Anne McLean handles the translation here, continuing her earlier work on Diary of Andres Fava; McLean's other major work of translation was partial duty on Ignacio Padilla's novel Shadow Without a Name. Another appealing detail of the description is that this book was written under two years before Cortazar's death, & insight into this later portion of his life & career is welcome, given the rumors, sensationalism & nastiness that has tended to surround the accounts & commentary of that era.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Triune, Troika, Ternion


President's Choice #1 has landed. Featuring new work from Marie Buck, Craig Dworkin, Rob Fitterman, Rodrigo Toscano, Bhanu Kapil, Laura Elrick, & Paper Rad. Edited by Steven Zultanski. One of the great features of the magazine is that ample space is given to all contributors, sometimes up to 10 pages of work, in the case of Ms Buck. Marie's poems here range from somewhat controlled pieces (from a work called Whole Foods) such as "Cheese," "Authenticity," & "The Seaweed That Thickens" to some really exciting, all-over-the-page works like "Starlet Bang" & "19 I Just Pissed Out Disaster". This last one is especially great, ending with a stanza-sea of celeb names ("Jen's Katie Tom Corey Abdul Holmes Jennifer Paula Aniston...") followed by another of stray numbers & pieces of punctuation ("32 - 32 -- 36 ! 38 ? 40 ! -- ! ://. :-/;....").

Toscano's first work, "Great Awakening", is probably my favorite of his, since it so reminds me of the most convoluted portions of Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman, replete with cop-on-civilian tongue-&-brain twisters.

A: Average poetry readings reveal much.

B: I Improve...when the content is based on some other kind of--contract.

A: Respect for The Lord! Respect for Cable Coppersmooth, Cinnamon Face,
and all verifiable accomplishments, in tow.

B: The local is pushed out. Amen?

A: Amen! This re-flavoring of certain...distinctions. Other bitterness's applied lightly to the rippled surface. Property mud bars for the whole family!

B: Audit the flow--incoming. Admit the lord. You're were about to This Very
Moaning In Private Seems Necessary. What's the immediate effect?

A: Piety, double-digit snide, "bilk bilk".

B: What's the immediat goal?

A: Light up the mall.

B: And the lonely shark around the cage?

A: Amen. The people are--poking back--at it.

Craig Dworkin turns things even more conceptual, entering perhaps into Goldsmith territory. His first piece, "Noun Compound Roman Numeral period" begins "In the sentence 'Write the book that pleases you best,' what is the subject of 'pleases?' Perhaps you may ask the question in the usual way, 'What pleases?' Answer, 'the book.' But this is not right. marks of quotation Noun marks of quotation present tense third person singular appositive verb definite article Noun genitive pronoun marks of quotation noun period marks of quotation" & happily continues thus. Laura Elrick's "Diagram (III)" is perhaps the best single work in the issue, clocking in at 6 pages. It begins:

At a dinner party or forum I rip hair out of my leg with a special machine.
At a dinner party (or forum) I rip hair out of my leg with a special machine.
At a dinner party or forum I - RIP - IT - OUT with a special machine.
At reception: opening their suits a dress collapsing shoes turn up at odds, strange.
And walking says it would be drinks and eats its head of their legs with a
Special machine.

It is a work that is simultaneously elusive & highly visible, a formula that makes for enthralling reading.

Next comes Bhanu Kapil, someone I'm entirely unfamiliar with. Bhanu's work (from "Humanimal") features numbered paragraphs, some of which have a slightly larger font size. For some reason I find the work almost indescribable, though there are elements of magic, mystery, narrative & a folkloric sense throughout. I cannot get past how pleasing the syntax of this phrase, near the beginning of the work, is to me: "When it started to rain, the banyan tree outside the girl's room, where she lay in a profound coma, shook."

Next comes Paper Rad. Though I had known of their visual work prior, I wasn't aware that they also worked in text. The work is full of jokes & eschews capitals. All but one of the works features a clash in the title, such as "DJ Cyber Knife vs Cool Cafe" or "Jim Morrison vs Poetry," which commences

god is like love, love is like god
what is this? AARP card?
don't say a word
that's what she said
who said that?
beyonce?


The last feature in the magazine belongs to Robert Fitterman. Here we get two works from the upcoming Sprawl: "Big Box (Category Killer)" & "BISQUICKMARK, an afterward." Fitterman is firing on all cylinders here, the first work featuring a straightforward form of prose-stanza-blocks that Rob is able to make surprising despite their simplicty of form. The work is similar to some of his Metropolis series, focusing on combinations of corporate language, tv language, family language, advertising language. His 2nd & the final piece in the magazine quilts the present & history of Bisquick (originally intended for making biscuits very quickly) with the history/legend of Otto von Bismarck, that Prussia/Germany dude, to delightful effect.

The issue itself is immaculately put together. There is, correctly, no contributor's notes. There are few adornments, next to no info on the title pages, thus the look & contents are allowed to speak for themselves. There is, in the end, only one flaw, which is that the cover paper is of such quality that it retains your grubby fingerprints, should you, like me, take your reading in a more interactive manner: meals, subways, journeys.

Thus the threesome is consummated: Model Homes, The Physical Poets, President's Choice.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Speech with Humans


There is a new Coolidge title out from Arc Publications, situated in the UK. From the description here, it seems like the project is similar to the Coolidge/Philip Guston book Baffling Means. There is also something reminiscent (I'm judging by the cover) of Ted Berrigan's work with George Schneeman. 80 pages. Exchange rate blows, but probably worth it.

Coolidge, Depositions


I recently acquired this interesting Coolidge piece, Smithsonian Depositions & Subject to a Film, a dual book published in 1980 by Vehicle Editions (Annabel Levitt). It is a beautiful, smallish book, noteworthy for several reasons. The most overt being that the second piece, Subject to a Film, is ostensibly a poem about the movie Jaws. While such a concept is pretty interesting in & of itself, it makes for an especially interesting move from Coolidge, given his marked move toward using films as sources in his work from the 90s, mostly collected in the On the Nameways volumes. It is also quite unlike any other of his works I've read, featuring significantly less surface pomp than the major works of the time [between Own Face & Mine: The One That Enters The Stories]. So, where exactly did this Jaws-poem surface from?

I haven't familiarized myself as much with the first section of the book, Smithsonian Depositions, but the interesting thing there is that while the text is more similar to the above-mentioned major works of the era, Coolidge feels compelled to list his sources. The list includes some potentially expected names such as William Carlos Williams, Jack Kerouac, Bernadette Mayer, Alain Robbe-Grillet, JG Ballard, Arthur Conan Doyle. But there are others which perhaps warrant further investigation, including Yvon Chouinard, Don Judd, Raymond Ditmars, Frederick A Lucas, Frederick Law Olmstead. Do all of these writers (& the books listed) even exist?

The copy in & of itself is special as well: it is signed twice by Coolidge, once on the title page, once on the FFEP. Also, there is a notecard laid in with a quote from Beckett, seemingly in Coolidge's hand: "The task of the artist now is to find a form to accommodate the mess." Coolidge in fact uses this quote, though the order of the phrases is reversed, in several of his works. It surfaces in his section (From Notebooks 1976-1982) of the Code of Signals anthology edited by Michael Palmer, & also in his talk "Arrangement" from the Talking Poetics from Naropa Institute (1978) volume.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

YJABGAVTRFYCJUBCUTUVAJ,

A complete google image voyage, to explicate & celebrate the arrival of the reprint of d.a.levy's ukanhavyrfuckinciti bak. in a new edition of 400, from Russell Salamon:




































Saturday, September 29, 2007

NYArtBookFair


Yesterday (Friday) I took in the first day of this year's NYArtBookFair with pal Lawrence Giffin. The thing is like a high-end, poopless AWP. The rate of interesting people per square foot is also significantly higher than that of AWP (which is in turn way higher than any ol' place). I ran into friend Thomas Evans & chatted nicely while looking at a one-of-a-kind Ian Hamilton Finlay piece. Thomas mentioned that he had heard about a long lost (or something like that) Clark Coolidge piece that featured pages rolled up inside of a shoe. At the Information as Material booth, I met both Nick Thurston & Jarrod Fowler, picking up Thurston's lastest, Historia Abscondita, a treatment of a certain portion of Nietzsche's The Gay Science. Jarrod alerted me that there may be a possible reprint on the way to get the cover colors just right, which may make the version I scooped rare in the future, which tickles me all over. At another table I scored Partially Built Woodshed, which is an attractive, smallish volume on Robert Smithson printed on blue, uncut pages. The fetching operator of the Semiotext(e)/Autonomedia booth had to be told twice that I was a pushover & would buy anything recommended me. I emerged with a Science Fiction anthology with a mechanical peepee flipbook built in to the lower edges of each page, a work from the Midnight Notes Collective entitled Midnight Oil: Work, Energy, War 1973-1992, Richard Kempton's Provo: Amsterdam's Anarchist Revolt, along with the Critical Art Ensemble's Flesh Machine: Cyborgs, Designer Babies, and New Eugenic Consciousness & finally Pure War from Virilio & Lotringer.


Other finds include Jeremy Shaw's DMT art/experiment/experience book-o'-the-substance courtesy of the Presentation House Gallery & Projectile Publishing. The book is all black & (mostly) white & I can already see the future fingersmudgeprints that will decorate it's covers & pages. Rounding out the acquisitions are Scott McCarney's Index to The Encyclopedia, a handsome red-leathery, gold-stampy thing from Smart Books, & a small colorful duct-tape-bound volume State of the Union also by McCarney. The edition of 100 accompanies anagrams of its title along with close-up still images of the speaker, from the 2003 address.



After the fair promptly ended at 7 (there were suited men with walkie talkies telling us to scram) Lawrence & I accompanied Jarrod, Nick, Rob Fitterman & new friends Karriem & Ammiel (sorry, no last names for now) for Korean dindin & then we were joined by Kenny Goldsmith for drinks at a posh place called Keens Chophouse. Rob told us that it was at Keens where Abe Lincoln hung out a day or two before he caught a bad one.

Latinos need not be frightened by the canyon


Everyone is happy & swimming buh-cause a new Rodefer item found it's way home, this a three way joint project (similar to Writing Out of Character) with Geoff Ward & Ian Patterson. Translations of Rilke. Elegies. It is limited to 200 copies & curiously features no binding. It seems ripe for staples but I must say that I applaud the nude decision.


The first is by Geoff, the fourth by Ian, the sixth by Stephen. Published by Peter Riley, printed by Michael Coles.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New VS: EoD


Happily, there is a new Viktor Shklovsky title out from Dalky Archive: Energy of Delusion. & while it is true that not each of Viktor's works is as magically affective as Third Factory, this volume seems more than a little promising, as Dalkey reports that V worked on it for about, oh, three decades, a timeframe similar to William Gass's magnum The Tunnel.


This is, like Theory of Prose, a critical work, but the Dalkey description uses the good phrase "writing that roams" when describing the book, which should turn any Shklovsky fan on something nice. This is the first time the book will be published in English; it is somewhat confounding but not-that-confounding when you realize that a sizable chunk of VS' work has yet to make it out of the mothertongue. The text focuses of the works of Tolstoy, but if we're lucky that will be only half the battle, & Viktor shall shine like the halogen of the future he never saw. Also, perhaps this new publication indicates that Dalkey is on track after all, despite the recent Review of Contemporary Fiction hijinks.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Massacre @ Bridge Street Books


Today, for the first time in my life, I visited Bridge Street Books, which is located in Washington, DC. The store is affiliated with Rod Smith, who the clerk said was the manager; Rod is no doubt responsible for what is probably the best poetry section in any new book store I've ever seen. Not surprisingly many of the best finds feature DC-affiliated poets & publishers such as Mark Wallace, Buck Downs, Tom Orange, a super Greg Fuchs find, & Smith himself, along with an entire shelf dedicated to Edge books.

Tho it took longer to checkout than to pull the books off the shelves (they practically jumped), the experience on the whole was supremely pleasant in every way. From new things like the spanking Torres title that marks the 29th volume in the Atelos series to 2 massive subpress titles to random unforeseen fun gem-items like a pair of titles from Object Editions/poetscoop from the mid 90s--much fun was had by all. Special thank to my shopping companion, whose first day of school is tomorrow.

A photo of the bounty:


Some closer-ups:



& the list:

Xing Ron Silliman, Meow Press, 1996 [1st printing]
Technology/art: 20 Brief Proposals for Seminars on Art & Technology
Andrews, Bernstein & Sherry, July 1984, Factory School, 2001 [reprint]
Agreement Peter Seaton, Asylum's Press, 1978
The Weather Kenneth Goldsmith, Make Now, 2005 [signed]
A Self-Guided Walk Kimberly J. Rosenfield, Object Editions/poetscoop, 1996
Adversities of Outerlife Judith Goldman, Object Editions, poetscoop, 1996
The 60s and 70s from 'The Theory of Subjectivity in Moby Dick' Deborah Meadows, Tinfish Press, 2003
Portraits and Maps Diane Ward & Michal C McMillen, NLF editions, 2000 [signed]
Black Dog Songs Lisa Jarnot, Flood Editions, 2003
Memory Play Carla Harryman, O Books, 1994
Reptile House Lisa Jarnot, Bookthug, 2005 [first edition]
Libretto marin Lisa Jarnot, Format Americain, 2000 [signed]
c.c. Tyrone Williams, krupskaya, 2002
25 poems Tom Orange, interrupting the cow, 2004 [100 signed copies]
The Monstrous Failure of Contemplation/Aquifer Mark Wallace & Kaia Sand, "a subpoetics project", 2001
The Lawless Man Mark Wallace, UPPER LIMIT MUSIC lower limit speech, 1996 [signed]
Cipher/Civilian Leslie Bumstead, Edge Books, 2005
Let's Eat Red for Fun/Pax Americana Hoa Nguyen & Dale Smith, Boog Literature, 2000 [100 copies]
Uma Ternura/nuno pontes Greg Fuchs, Canvas & Companhia, ???? [600 copies]
Complications From Standing In A Circle
Mark Wallace, leavebooks, 1993 [signed]
Day Poems Mel Nichols, Edge Books, 2005
Nothing Happened and Besides I Wasn't There Mark Wallace, Edge Books, 1997 [signed]
Once Upon a Neoliberal Rocket Badge Jules Boykoff, Edge Books, 2006
Every Day Is Most of My Time Mark Wallace, Texture Chapbook Series #15, 1994 [signed]
Crow ed Leslie Bumstead & Rod Smith, Edge Books, 20001
on your knees citizen: a collection of prayers for the public [schools] ed Rod Smith, Lee Ann Brown, & Mark Wallace, Edge Books, 1996
Tinfish 14 ed Susan M Schultz, 2004
fear the sky Rod Smith, Narrow House Recordings, 2005 [CD]
Poems from Ring of Fire Lisa Jarnot, 136-32 Productions/Bootstrap Productions, 2001 [CD]
The 3:15 Experiment Bernadette Mayer, Danika Dinsmore, Jen Hofer, Lee Anne Brown, The Owl Press, 2001
Give Em Enough Rope Bruce Andrews, Sun & Moon, 1987
Moebius Bruce Andrews, GENERATOR Press, 1993
Ex Why Zee Bruce Andrews, Roof, 1995
The Champagne of Concrete Kit Robinson, Potes & Poets, 1991
Furtherance JH Prynne, The Figures, 2004
Ted Berrigan On the Level Everyday: selected talks on poetry and the art of living ed Joel Lewis, Talisman, 1997
A Certain Slant of Sunlight, Ted Berrigan, O Books, 1988
A Poetics Charles Bernstein, Harvard, 1992 [signed]
World on Fire Charles Bernstein, Nomados, 2004 [signed]
With Strings Charles Bernstein, U of Chicago P, 2001 [signed]
Islets/Irritations Charles Bernstein, Roof, 1992 [signed]
The Church--The School--The Beer Cris Cheek, Critical Documents, 2007
Office for Soft Architecture Lisa Robertson, Clear Cut Press, 2003
Temporary Worker Rides a Subway Mark Wallace, Green Integer, 2004
My Year 2005: Terrifying Times Douglas Messerli, Green Integer, 2006
Shadowtime Charles Bernstein, Green Integer, 2005 [signed]
Threadsuns Paul Celan, Green Integer, 2005
the PoPedology of an Ambient Language Edwin Torres, Atelos, 2007
Deer Head Nation K Silem Mohammad, tougher disguises, 2003
Zygal bpNichol, Coach House, 1985
The Middle Room Jennifer Moxley, subpress, 2007
Of Poems & their antecedents Sherry Brennan, subpress, 2004
Loss Benjamin Friedlander, Pressed Wafer, 2003
Down Time Jeff Derkson, Talonbooks, 1990

Notes:

Of course the proliferation of signed books is especially pleasant, the Wallace & Bernstein titles in particular, but for me the fact that I was able to pick up several first editions of books that I know to be in later editions now, for example Silliman's Xing from Meow, was the best perk of a fine shopping experience. Lisa Jarnot's Reptile House is another example of this. In each case, there were several copies of each title available, only one of which was a first. Several of the signed copies were of the same good fortune...there being multiple copies in normal state. My companion purchased an issue of Model Homes magazine, the first I have seen in a retail store (they had at least one other copy). It was fun to see a copy out in the world.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Death


So I have just now heard that on the same day Ingmar Bergman died, so went Antonioni. Though I am not all that familiar with the entirety of either director's work, Antonioni's BlowUp has always been interesting for me, given my early & formative interest in Julio Cortazar. The film purports itself to be based on a story in Cortazar's volume End of the Game and other stories (which was later renamed to Blow Up and other stories following the success of the film), but in reality the two works have very little in common. There is a basic thematic concurrance, & the two stories do contain the physical act of enlarging a photograph in order to more acutely contemplate its contents, but on the whole they have as much in common as The Bourne Identity & any James Bond picture of your choice. On the one hand, the lack of a more faithful film representation of Cortazar's masterpiece is regretful. But, thinking about it a few day's after Antonioni's death at 94 (the film was released in '66), it is an encouraging example of one work inspiring an entirely, conclusively separate other-genre work; also, Cortazar's story is so beyond perfect that it needs no film counterpart: it transcends genre, language, civilization. It indicates a mountain of speculative horror without offering an ounce of certainty or solid ground. In a handful of pages, the world crumbles. In Antonioni's film, the outcome is far less apocalyptic, yet entirely as metaphysical. The world appears to crumble, yet the protagonist adjusts. Still, the film is no less of a masterpiece, regardless of the fact that it might take several viewings for die-hard fans of Cortazar's story to appreciate, given the fundamental difference between the two works. Though it is perhaps cliche to do so whenever someone dies, it is time to head to the movie store, or netflix, & catch up.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Phenomenon


There is a new publication, of particular merit, out of Northampton, MA: the first volume of The Physical Poets series, helmed by Lawrence Giffin. This first volume is titled "The Neo-liberal American Poetry" & it is a total & complete success. Given the price of the item, of a mere $5, it could justly be described as perfect. The singular, handsome booklet features the work of Steve Zultanski, Marie Buck, Brad Flis, & Lawrence Giffin. Some discussion of the luscious contents may be found here, which mentions the lovely Suri Cruise piece in Marie Buck's section, which opens the book. The poem in its entirety can be read at the above physpo link. Also mentioned at the Pioneer Valley link are Brad Flis' Digital Underground riffs, which, along with his other work, are equally not to be missed. Steve Zultanski's piece, "Previously on the O.C." is worth noting as well. It is an unbroken nine-page juggernaut featuring bits such as:

"What do you think about Newport?"
"I think I could get in less trouble where I'm from."
"You have no idea."
"Shouldn't her boyfriend be doing this?"
"Sure they're not doing anything we didn't do, heh huh."
"My dad's not here."
"It's just a thing with a client."
"Put him down!"
"Hey Ryan."
"Ugh."
"Welcome to the OC, bitch."

Which leaves us with the editor & helmsman Lawrence Giffin. His "A Bourgeois Interior" is a multifarious, pleasurable prose work. The section "The Touch, the Feel, of Cotton" begins thusly:

The valuables cramming the homes of the very rich cry out helplessly for the museum; yet there the meaning of sculpture and paintings, as Valery perceived, is destroyed, only architecture, their mother, showing them their rightful place. But kept by force in the houses of people with whom they have no ties, they are an open affront to the mode of existence which private property has now adopted.

The section ends, about a page later, with a nice bit of song-verse, which I will not spoil. The excerpt is indicative of the quasi-informational inexhaustable Giffinesque style that will be well known & imitated in the coming years. I highly recommend getting on board now with this excellent, highly various new item, which is one of my favorite new books, despite all the high-dollar stuff I tend to buy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

You go looking

for the new John Wieners, A Book of Prophecies, put out by Bootstrap Productions, but St Marx books does not have it in stock. As Prophecies is a little bit, sortof, definitely, the Book-o-the-Moment, you are letdown, BUT there await other booktreats, including new Robert Walser, so you allow life to continue.


from St Marx:

The Assistant
Robert Walser, New Directions, 2007
Before Night Falls Reinaldo Arenas, Penguin, 1993
Singing from the Well, Reinaldo Arenas, Penguin, 1987
Snow Part Paul Celan, The Sheep Meadow Press, 2007
Being & Event Alain Badiou, Continuum, 2006


Other odd-end acquisitions of recent times:

Heliogabalus Antonin Artaud, Creation Books, 2003
Ulysses Annotated Don Gifford with Robert J Seidman, U of California P, 1988
Unsung Rod Mengham, Folio/Salt, 1996
Personae Ezra Pound, Liveright, 1926 [fifth printing: 1938]


Also, there was a little visit to the Strand, with the following purchases:

You've Always Been Wrong Rene Daumal, Nebraska, 1995
Standards of Bibliographical Descriptions Buhler, McManaway, Wroth, U of Pennsylvania P, 1949
The Review of Contemporary Fiction Dalkey Archive Annual 1, ed John O'Brien, Spring 2007
Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices Brenda Love, Barricade Books, 1988


Notes:

The Pound edition is particularly handsome. It was purchased in MA along with the Mengham, which proves to be one of the earlier titles from Salt (1996), when it was located only in Australia. Since, Salt has become one of the more interesting presses in the UK, though they are guilty of putting out a few too many books, a rare fault indeed. I'd always wanted one of the Gifford Ulysses Annotated & was lucky to find a copy at Alabaster Books, which is having a nice 30% off sale. The book is fun to read even without looking at the text. Would it not be interesting if all of the books on Joyce survived into the future but by some quirk none of the primary texts made it? What would the world think of Joyce then? Maybe they'd put his face on some of their currency, which is not to say this shouldn't be done currently, & in this country. New titles from a bunch of modern-era chaps are ultra welcome: Celan, Artaud, Walser, & Daumal, who had close ties to the 'pataphysical realm.

The new issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction is something of an oddity. Dalkey Archive was particularly formitive in my early reading & book buying career so it is strange to see an issue of all reprints, especially one that arrives after what seemed like a delay in the regular production of the magazine. The issue in itself is valuable, but I'm not totally convinced that its arrival doesn't indicate some sort of problem at Dalkey HQ. They recently moved, I believe, so perhaps the state of the new issue has something to do with that. Or of course the issue could indicate none of this, but I am worried. RCF has always been a great resource for in-depth info on neglected & interesting writers, the format of the magazine being one of it's strongest aspects: usually three 50-page articles on various writers followed by several dozen reviews of recent books of note. In this issue, however, excerpts are provided from Dalkey's back catalog, & it functions something like a greatest hits. There is the standard O'Brien rant-intro against the state of publishing quality work in this country, which is good to see as always. But then the reviews themselves seem dated, all featuring books from last year, in addition to one from 2005, & none from 2007. In each instance that an interesting book was reviewed, I found that not only had I already heard about it, but in many cases I'd already bought it & read it. Given that the review section of the RCF has always been a showcase for new things to buy & read, this is something of a letdown. Exactly if the fault lies with me acquiring things too fast or with Dalkey being too slow, I cannot say for sure either way. But I am concerned about RCF with this latest move. With hope they will be back to normal functioning status with the next issue. If not we may be in the process of losing one of our more necessary sources for excellent literary information.

The Daumal acquisition was a nice prelude to the 'pataphysical deluge that was to follow, one that I am still sorting out, & will report on soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rivals (Coolidge)


New arrivals are many, various, picayune & juggernauts. Some is accounted for & more must first be sorted through. In the meantime, a single book is worth drawing attention to, the new Clark Coolidge book, Counting on Planet Zero, which has just arrived in limited edition from Fewer & Further Press, helmed by Jess Mynes in western MA. The book has been out for a few weeks at least, if not more. I saw a preliminary copy of it when Jess read along with several Fewer & Further authors at David Kirschenbaum's ACA Galleries a while back. The book is all the more pleasant to hold in one's hands as a finished product; like all of Jess' work, it is both immediately attractive & designed well overall. There is an mp3 available on the F&F site, where one can hear Clark read several of the poems. Though I've had the file for months & listened to it continually, reading the work off the page for the first time is one of the more pleasant reading experiences I've recently had. Perhaps because of the mp3, Clark's voice is already imbued in the text. & though the book is only a chapbook, there are by my count 30 poems, to read it in one sitting is wholly fulfilling. Another winner from Fewer & Further, & another winner from Clark Coolidge, neither of which are surprises.



ON A PLATINUM FORCEP


This isn't the present this is a hospital
women will want to know you get well
the rest is all isinglass under christmas bulbs
mind if I sneak back to the animal barn?
the cheating ball? smart arms is
what you have to have to narrow in on
the to-do in Hovenweep its feelers
the tree's very bones outrageous nipples
but the picture in the pocket is of my office
the French became active after that
very well done thank you then the
smart ones cream the restroom squad
but I'll tell you what's in there the bird
conked someone on the head with it so
I describe this as the End As A Species
but just to hit on the idea of seriously
being crazy that's a hook and a half
sixteen sundays from sauerbraten
they say the sailors got over the snow
it grew all around their cabin like a brain
the aliens' bible is called Go Insane

Thursday, July 5, 2007

United Artists: Explorations


Investigation of the complete run of United Artists magazine, Bernadette Mayer & Lewis Warsh's magazine that ran from the late 70s thru the early 80s--18 issues in all--has begun. Today I made a talley of how many times people appeared in the mag, & though they're just notes at this point, there are many interesting facets to the contributors & life of United Artists. For instance, Hannah Weiner only appears one time, in a late issue. Anne Waldman doesn't appear in the magazine herself until the last few issues, where she has 3 appearances in addition to a collaboration with Edwin Denby.

Not surprisingly, Bernadette & Lewis led the way in appearances, Mayer tallying 19 while Warsh totals 18 (there is one collaboration between the two in addition). The next most popular contributor is somewhat surprising--Clark Coolidge. Perhaps it's the MA connection, as that was where the magazine was located, & Clark as well at the time. Nevertheless, he appears 13 times. The first six issues all feature consecutive appearances from Coolidge all from the same work, Weathers, also referred to as "the long prose", which is said to number something like 1000 pages, & remains unpublished.

Next is less surprising: Alice Notley & Ted Berrigan. My count for Notley is at 10 while Berrigan appeared 9 times as an individual; Berrigan also had a collaboration with Tom Clark & another with Allen Ginsberg. Also, there is a neer total paucity of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets: excluding Coolidge, who was as much a precursor to as he was a participant in the movement, & who inhabited neither SF nor NYC, there are only two appearances by Langpos, Ted Greenwald in a later issue preceeded by Barret Watten nearer to the beginning of the mag's run, in a collaboration with Bill Berkson (Berkson appears 7 times individually).

There are also some appearances by notable prose writers of the time, including Russell Banks & Paul Metcalf, who were each given substantial room in the magazine--the former appearing 6 times, the latter, 3. I know Metcalf & Coolidge exchanged letters in the early part of Clark's career (if not continually), & that they lived in the same area, so perhaps that was Metcalf's connection to the magazine. Or, perhaps he was known enough on his own, & didn't need an in. I don't know enough about Russell Banks to comment on his inclusion, but it is reminiscent of Bernadette's work with Vito Acconci in 0 To 9, which they ran before United Artists had its run. 0 To 9 featured more than a fair amount of prose within its pages, with particular attention to various Native songs & myths, work that is not unlike, say, Amos Tutuola.

Also warranting attention are the unknown names &/or the names that appear only once--Susan Keith Noel, Reed Bye, John Koethe, Gary Lenhart, Helena Hughes (who actually has another appearance, a collab with James Schuyler, in the same issue).