Saturday, May 26, 2007
Continuing the trend of filling in, the above anthology of interviews edited by Lance Phillips w/ Geoffrey Gatza (on BlazeVox) was the subject of a lot of discussion/controversy a few weeks ago, but while all the hullabaloo over who moaned & got the big shit cancelled & why & so on went on, I sought to seek out a copy. I haven't heard how many of these may have gotten out there, maybe just a few or maybe more like a few hundred,* but I know BlazeVox is operating in the print-on-demand mode, so I thought there was a good chance of tracking one down. & on about day two of the hoopla one show'd up on ABEbooks. At $25, the volume is far from cheap, but it is huge (742 pages) & the cancelled status made it nigh mandatory as far as collecting goes. I have secret plans to get both Eds to sign it then sell it for $1,000,000 in thirty years. But in case this doesn't go off, the big honking thing is a lot fun to read. The volume includes interviews from about 150 authors, but the interesting part is that each writer is asked the same 10 questions. While this tactic has its downfalls, as the questions are pretty broad (some word associations, first poem you loved, etc) & thus not specified to the poet at hand, it makes for extremely interesting comparison work. Once the reader becomes familiar with the questions & answer types, flipping around in the book, seeing how this or that poet tends to answer, becomes quite revealing, & in a way that I have not yet encountered elsewhere. Thus it more than totally sucks that the book got cancelled, especially given the fact that a good majority of the poets included are less than well-known. Creeley & Ron Silliman are there, but along with them are Simon Perchik, Kaia Sand, Jonathan Skinner, Joseph Lease, Sarah Manguso, Dan Beachy, Ton Van't Hof, Barbara Tran & on & on & on. So the culmination of the ingenius format along with the fact that the majority of the poets are not (yet) famous makes the book's short life quite disappointing. The interviews are still available online though, but the unique & informative phenomenon of this specific book has been unnecessarily lost.
*a search of the usual online places reveals only 1 copy for sale at $75, from Revaluation Books located in the UK
Continuing the recovery/rectumifying my omissions: St Marx a long time ago (April), seeing Alli Warren & Brandon Brown (who are married (to each other)) read one after the other one. Was it Alli went first, or Brandon? It has been that long that I have meant to write of them. Thru SPD, I had conversed with Alli a few times (about book orders) so when I saw her name on the Karl Marx Readin' Docket I knew I was so totally there. Somewhat mystifyingly (I could say so after the reading) there are no major works out by either quite capable author--a handful of short-run chapbooks, only the latest of which are still available. & though I only had a few bucks on me, not enough to afford the trifecta of livres (2BB, 1AW) I sortof begged my way into paying less & getting them all. Was it my SPD connection, my beard, my blue eyes, my pathetic cashlessness? They were great yet I was the winner that day. The best parts of their works are similar in this general way: really funny, really smart, sometimes pervy, well-shaped stuff. Some of Brandon's work was historically based; this turned out to be from his 908-1078 volume, while other, more general work featured treats like
how I transform Genitals
into ropes of theoretical polypleasures"
along with other winners such as
"I have tons of friends"
while Alli conceals such weapons as
"Son he said don't let them enter your mouth".
Me, & a good looking girlwoman sitting next to me, seemed to laugh at all the right (dirty) parts. Why I said nothing to her, flirted none, I am no longer certain, though still ashamed. I happily held in my hands, however, the following:
Cousins Alli Warren, Lame House Press, 2006 [#36/100, second printing]
908-1078 Brandon Brown, Transmission Press, 2006
Memoires of My Nervous Illness Brandon Brown, Cy Press, 2006 [#68/200, with neat shimmery endpapers]
I can't wait for either poet's first big (perfectbound) collection. Each should come out before I have a chance to get around to it, but if the situation hasn't been rectified & my new press is off the ground 'n' flying high, I will certainly solicit these young, superb, attractive talents. & ask them for books.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Sorry for the blurry. Above is Jess Mynes, the publisher of Fewer & Further Press, which is based in Western Mass & just released a new Clark Coolidge book Counting On Planet Zero. A while back now (May 3) I attended an exciting reading at ACA Galleries, which is somewhere, where several authors from Anchorite & Fewer & Further read. Some police disturbance event at the Canal St subway caused me massive lateness but it turned out I didn't miss very much. There was popcorn & white wine galore (yum), & it was nice to meet Jess, who I'd been emailing some for a while. He introduced me to others like Andrew Mr & Aaron Tieger (who gifted some Carve), who were very nice in talking to young unknown me, along with some other people like Brenda Iijima of Yo-Yo Labs, & I'd like to keep in touch with all of them. After the reading we all went out for a big fun drink mealy at some spanish joint, where I predictably ordered chicken & rice & predictably ate about 1/3 of what was put in front of me.
F&F books are never not beautiful & are never the same; I have things to glean & learn from the above man, who is also a librarian, which I need to get around to before too long if I ever plan on making money. But maybe there's no dough there either. With hope, that's the case. Jess was nice enough to gift me two past editions of asterisk, which is sortof like a magazine but more like a folded broadside & is designed very well, throwing a nice kink into the author-poem (dis)connection. With hope, more of these little zine treats are on the way, as I think only 2 have come out. Everyone who read that night was pretty entertaining, but Jess totally stole the show at the end, reading from In(ex)teriors, put out by Anchorite in an edition of only 75 (WTF?) that are long gone. I plan on lobbying with the Anchorite fellow (Rizzo) for a 2nd (bigger) edition, because more people need to get their mits on this one, including myself.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Tonight was the last night of the experimental text event at Sir Richard Foreman's ontological theater thing at St Marx. I had planned on attending, but the event was sold out. So in memoriam of my feelings I decided to go on a Tan Lin binge. I read a significant chunk of his superb Blipsoak01, number 18 in the Atelos series. I love huge poetry books (like Bruce Andrews I Don't Have Any Paper So Shut Up) & this one is very much that--over 330 pages. The layout is excellent, like nothing I've ever seen: for the most part, the work is in couplet form, but frequently the long lines carry over to the next page instead of dropping down, a solution I've never encountered before, which makes for immense expanses of white space on the odd-numbered pages, opposite the near-uniform couplets of the even-numbered pages. As a soon-to-be publisher, I relished this choice throughout the duration of my reading. Lin prides himself on being bland & boring, but the result is usually quite beautiful, & utterly unique. Quite the paradox. His only earlier book was put out by Sun & Moon a long time ago, titled Lotion Bullwhip Giraffe. It is also a winner, & is worth tracking down even though it is somewhat rare & may cost $20 or more.
There are several of his works available online, most recently a diary/blog/poem piece in the May issue of The Brooklyn Rail. Like someone you don't love crapping in your hand while you sleep, the Rail folk have made it impossible to copy/paste the work & thus print it out. Shame on them for this trespass, given that my computer freezes up when I go to print out the page as it is. Printer-friendly work can be found here & here, from lingo magazine & the Boston Review respectively. Other work can be found in issues 35, 38, & 42 of Conjunctions. & there are a decent amount of audio files available on Pennsound, along with a couple interesting electronic works at ubu.
The real find to look out for is Seven Controlled Vocabularies (the name on the spine is THE JOY OF COOKING), which is yet unreleased but is available from lulu.com. The book, described as [AIRPORT NOVEL MUSICAL POEM PAINTING THEORY FILM PHOTO HALLUCINATION LANDSCAPE] is a superintriguing read, as it seems like it might be incomplete, but it's hard to figure out if, or where, or how exactly this may be true. For example, the opening section is titled A Field Guide to American Painting w/ 13 plates, but the plates are not there. Later in the book there are all sorts of pictures & objects, many of them somewhat fascinating, as they interact with Lin's patented bland text in the same oddly beautiful yet hard-to-pin-down way that the text itself works. My favorite is a matchbook the inside of which reads
FISH BONES OR OTHER ACCIDENTAL
BONES ARE TAKEN BETWEEN
FINGER AND THUMB AND
REMOVED BETWEEN COMPRESSED
LIPS PITS AND SEEDS MUST BE
EATEN QUITE BARE AND CLEAN IN
THE MOUTH AND DROPPED INTO
THE CUPPED FIST AND THEN ONTO
THE PLATE THE PITS OF STEWED
PRUNES OR CHERRIES THAT ARE
EATEN WITH A SPOON ARE MADE
AS CLEAN AS POSSIBLE IN THE
MOUTH (WITH THE TONGUE AND
TEETH) AND THEN DROPPED INTO
THE SPOON WITH WHICH YOU ARE
EATING AND CONVEYED TO THE
EDGE OF THE PLATE BUT IT IS
HORRID TO SEE ANYONE SPIT
SKINS OR PITS INTO A SPOON OR
INTO THE PLATE UNLESS REALLY
DRY AND WITH LIPS COMPRESSED
Indeed. How does this bit of goodness relate to the adjacent text, which is mostly about a run-down Mercedes? I have no idea, but I'm enjoying myself, so I'll happily continue. Which is sortof how the mechanisms of Tan Lin's works work, eschewing the flashy for something so consistent & sneaky, the reader would be hard pressed to illuminate or explicate the text, yet the reading experience is as pleasant as any around. For those who think that Tan Lin's 2 officially available books are far too few, this print-on-demand edition of what appears to be a nearly (or mostly) complete work-in-progress is an under-the-radar delight.
Friday, May 11, 2007
I learned too late on the 18th of last month that Zizek himself was to be at the MOMA introducing Sophie Fiennes' doc The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, a film which features the philosopher discoursing on penis-vagina relations in classic films from Hitchcock, Lynch, Kieslowski, Kubrik, the Marx Bros, etc. & then I was headed south for what turned out to be a week & missed the entire 5-day run of the movie. All was not lost, though, in the Zizek realm for this young collector. For I had visited the McNally & Robinson bookstore for the first time a little while before--on a wink & promise from R. Silliman('s blog) that the poetry stock was nigh decent. & it was & it wasn't--there were some great small(er) press publications from little guys such as BookThug & UDP, & I discovered the great Effing Press that very night (Hoa Nguyen, Kent Johnson (Araki Yasusada), Tony Tost (best name everr))--yet these were not the cakes to take (tho I bought a bunch of that shit). [A side note against Mc&Son: they had 1 title combined from the following publishers: krupskaya, atelos, subpress, the figures, factory school, roof & so on.] No, the cakes to take numbered four, they were books penned by the above-pictured man, & they were all signed by the above-pictured man. These include pb&j copies of Interrogating the Real & Slavoj Zizek Live Theory by Rex Butler (Zeez signed it anyway) & HC copies of The Universal Exception and The Parallax View. All but the latter put out by Continuum, while Parallax is an MIT production.
The Zizek treats do not end there, as I also recently acquired the Back to School 2003 issue of Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly: The Sex Ed Issue, which features some critical explorations by the philosopher mixed in with the tits & boy butts. Every few pages of the opening section of this 280-page tome, which is the naked picture section, features snippets of commentary by Zizek superimposed over the images. The prose is mostly Zizek Jr, but there are of course some gems within: THE ONLY SUCCESSFUL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP OCCURS WHEN THE FANTASIES OF THE TWO PARTNERS OVERLAP. IF THE MAN FANTASIZES THAT MAKING LOVE IS LIKE RIDING A BIKE...AND THE WOMAN WANTS TO BE PENETRATED BY A STUD, THEN WHAT TRULY GOES ON WHEN THEY MAKE LOVE IS THAT A HORSE IS RIDING A BIKE...WITH A FANTASY LIKE THAT, WHO NEEDS A PERSONALITY? The magazine itself is the true interesting artifact--I had been entirely unaware of the A&F print phenomenon until I bought this issue. What I said above is a pretty accurate description, boy butts & girl butts & girl tits & boy tits are the main focus, usually construed in intimate and/or suggestive poses, even with a few good pieces of problematizing guy-guy-girl & mega-orgy imagery thrown in on occasion. What the magazine as a whole really needs is Zizek Sr to explicate it--it's truly an odd object to contemplate. I'm sure it's been discussed in depth elsewhere, I mean, it has to have been at some point. The first (provocative) section is atypical as far as catalogs go--there are pictures but not one mention of clothes, price, description, anything. & when you do finally get to the clothes with prices, there are no models whatsoever, & plain white backgrounds. There are interesting details there, too, like how the clothes are all wrinkled, rarely flat, straight, anything--suggesting use. But what else? That's where we need Slavoj to make heads or tails of it beyond my amateur sleuthing attempts.
The issue even comes in a slipcase--the collector in me had to find this version, not just the issue itself, suggesting in yet another way that it's much more like a book than a catalog. After the clothing section, where the actual products are displayed, there is a little more content, in a magazine-style. So in the end it's a hybrid of book, magazine, catalog, with all sorts of luscious boy butts. Apparantly (unfortunately) A&F were forced by the xtianz to cease this type of publication--I'm sure they still put out something, but I'm not sure what. I'm proud of them for putting out this type stuff for as long as they did, as it is all quite odd & quite interesting, & the guys & gals are all knockouts.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
A while back I met up with Greg Fuchs & purchased a few Stephen Rodefer paintings. They had them on the wall at the BPC & I had lusted after them in person, & tried to buy one, but no one got back to me until they had been taken down. I was flummoxed, pissed off, on, etc, until Greg Fuchs emailed me bluely a few days afterwards, saying he was storing the paintings in the meantime & I might stop by to take a look. It was a rainy floody day but I went up to the Bronx anyway. I got a total of 3, two of which can be seen in this photo: a September 11th piece (just to the right of Stephen's left shoulder, see a better picture below), & the one that looks like it has the number 23 (I'll call it the Michael Jordan piece) beyond Stephen's left toe. [The text reads: "Yes the tooth of time is black to the root...I have done all I could do... to appear mirthful"] The third piece I got is a variation of FUCK DEATH, which surrounds Roddy's head. Mine is larger, not on paper or cardboard but more like a rollable burlap sack, with a strange blackwhite centerpiece between the text., seemingly made from papertowel. Though I love them all, this FUCK DEATH variation is probably my favorite.
Meeting with Greg Fuchs was entirely excellent, as he gifted me a few Buck Downs Books I didn't have, along with at least one I didn't even know about: Hoa Nguyen's Hood. He also popped my Open24Hours cherry, giving me a few of the books recently produced there. Everything from the Rodefer to the company to the setting of his office, out in the middle of some river (my geography is no good)--was totally great. I hope there can be more visits with Greg in the future. His wife even used to teach, oddly enough, at C of C.
Monday, May 7, 2007
Freshly back from seeing Harry Mathews & Doug Nufer read at St Marx. I wasn't familiar with Nufer, though he was totally great, & the books he had for sale seemed truly interesting & attractive, but I had to pass for lack of cash. Nufur ended his reading with a great splice-song combination of the Noel Noel xmas thing & The Star Spangled Banner. One of my finest ever moments as an American came when someone who was waiting in line with me to get a Mathews autograph who had missed the Nufer part of the evening asked me for a recap, & I totally blanked on the name of the song, saying something about the "Noel thing" & then totally bumbling on the home of the brave shit. I was impressed with myself. Harry signed two books of mine that I brought along for the occasion, The Way Home put out by Atlas & Burning Deck's Country Cooking & other stories. The title story from the Burning Deck is actually in both volumes, & Harry said that the Atlas version is the "correct" one. I haven't compared the two closely, but certainly will. Whatever copy you may happen to come across is worth checking out though, as the story is quite hilarious & incredibly well-done. Both volumes are actually pretty interesting, as the other things included vary greatly in style & content but are always great, & frequently funny. "Singular Pleasures" is included in the Atlas volume, & is also available separately from Dalkey Archive; it's a collection of one-page stories of all types of people masturbating in all sorts of ways. While it's plenty funny, it's pretty sexy as well, always causing one of those should-this-be-awkward moments of aroused reading. Yes, when I read the book I can't help but nurture a nice stiffy, but I can say that I've never finished myself off after completing the book, which would seem to be the ultimate reading of the text. Next time I shall rectify this oversight. With hope, Harry would approve.
Friday, May 4, 2007
drops of protein, spermatocysts, watch-hands, thermostats, tiny valve pipes, air, odometers, gel, ccm, atmospheres, ions, magnets, electrolytes, bicycle spokes, honey-combs, fish fins, urine, test tubes, positive poles, negative poles, parchment, amniotic sacs, egg shells, leaf patterns, protozoa, gills, tooth enamel, ether, celluloid, isotopes, cepheid variables, gamma rays, idioplasm, perpetua mobilia, qintessence, radioactivity, signs of the zodiac, gonococci, arsenic, water wheels, alizarin, hieroglyphs, deuterons, nerve tracts, mother of pearl, jellyfish, 5 degrees, pollen, meridians, hygrometers, alveoli, qinine, spectrum lines, glass fibre, parallaxes, ears, nematoblasts, flickering, bronze, footnotes, ellipses, leiden jars, phlogiston, gun powder, gravity, primordial sea, selenium, systoles, eye-balls, heliozoans, chrysoprase, fossils, units of length, cyclotrones, spawn, glaze, nothing, paleolithic era, polyps, chalcedony, CaCo3, division signs, spirit of wine, ammonium, graphite, larynxes, gall stones, WORDS