Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Massacre @ Troubadour Books

Superstar Steve Zultanski, whose incredible, affordable Homoem ranks among the best deals on the internet, alerted me several weeks back that Troubadour Books had just acquired a box of interesting things from Bernadette Mayer, including bunches of mimeo mags, rare books & a variety of Clark Coolidge items, even the possibility of unpublished manuscripts. I needed only half as much prodding to make the trip up to Western Mass as soon as I could. A few days after Steve's kind notification, I visited Troubadour & had perhaps my personal best single haul of all time.

[acquisitions associated with Bernadette:]


The Desire of Mothers to Please Others in Letters
Bernadette Mayer, Hard Press, 1994
The Fast Hannah Weiner, United Artists, 1992
Spoke Hannah Weiner, Sun & Moon Press, 1984
Little Books/Indians Hannah Weiner, Roof, 1980
Clairvoyant Journal Hannah Weiner, Angel Hair, 1978
The Soft Room Summer Brenner, The Figures, 1978 [inscribed to Bernadette]
Asylum Poems John Wieners, Angel Hair, 1969 [one of 300 copies, 2nd edition]


Best & Company ed Bill Berkson, 1969
Unnatural Acts II "published by ed friedman and bernadette mayer, general managers, at the st.marks poetry project. copyright unnatural acts nineteen seventy two"; "each issue of unnatural acts magazine will be a collaborative writing experiment. this issue was written on november 11,1972 by joe ceravolo, rosemary ceravolo, peggy decoursey, ed friedman, yancy gerber, john giorno, kevin kerr, bernadette mayer, ann powell, anne waldman & hannah weiner"
United Artists ed Bernadette Mayer & Lewis Warsh, Issues 1-18 [complete run], in vg+ condition, Nov '77 thru Dec '83

Coolidge-related items:

ING Clark Coolidge, Angel Hair, 1968 [2 copies]
Subject to a Film manuscript, dated 30IX75, 34 pages [facsimile]
Friction 7 ed Randy Roark, 1984
Stations #5 A Symposium on Clark Coolidge Edited by Ron Silliman, Winter 1978
Poetic Briefs 18 (The Clark Colidge Issue) eds Elizabeth Burns & Jefferson Hansen, December 1994
Tottel's 11 [Clark Coolidge, OFLENGTHS] ed Ron Silliman, Fall 1973
To Obtain the Value of the Cake Measure from Zero, a play by Tom Veitch & Clark Coolidge, Pants Press, 1970 [#112 of 150 copies]
BERNADETTE manuscript, dated 26VIII71, signed by Clark, 21 pages [unpublished]

[general acquisitions:]

HOT BIRD MFG Michael Gizzi issue, Vol II No 3 June, 1993, ed Ray DiPalma
DC Poetry Anthology 1999-2000 ed Allison Cobb & Jennifer Coleman
My Father's Golden Eye Tom Veitch, Adventures In Poetry 1970 [300 total copies, of which 25 are signed by the author. But instead of signing them himself, Veitch solicited his friends. Bob, the proprietor of Troubadour Books, has seen a copy signed by Tom Clark. This copy is signed by Ted Berrigan]
Malpertuis Jean Ray, @las Press, 1998
Stomping the Goyim Michael Disend, Green Integer [#56], 2002
Chamber Music James Joyce, Grossman [Cape Editions #48], 1971[?]
Saw Steve Katz, Knopf, 1972
Creamy & Delicious Steve Katz, Random House, 1970

The above is the complete bounty of Day 1, after which I was more exhausted from bookshopping than I've ever felt. Perhaps because I am a pervert, when the opportunity arose to visit Troubadour again a few days later, I went again. I emerged with a slightly lighter load, consisting of the following:

Bibliomania 1999-2000 Simon Morris & Helen Sacoor [related to Information as Material]
Conjunctions 8 ed Bradford Morrow, 1985
The Amorous Exploits of a Young Rakehell Guillaume Apollinaire, Book-of-the-Month Club, 1994
The Boundary of Blur Nick Piombino, Roof, 1993
A Conversation with David Antin David Antin & Charles Bernstein, Granary Books, 2002
Paterson (Book Five) William Carlos Williams, Nude Erections, 1958

True book-pervs are never done. Just this evening I saw another interesting item listed on ABEbooks by Troubadour, a dual-signed copy of Clark Coolidge & Larry Fagin's On the Pumice of Morons. With haste I added it to my basket & checked out, with hope completing this exhausting, glorious haul from Troubadour Books.

Buck Downs @ St Marx

[begun June 7 07]

Last nite Buck Downs read with David Kirschenbaum @ famed St Marx Church. Kirsch, of Boog City fame, was the first reader. He is a purveyor of a sort of personal verse--he described his recent project as writing a poem at the end of the day about whatever went on that day. He then went back through these pieces, & seizing upon the common thread of references to the tv show The Gilmore Girls, read the makeshift sequence, to frequently hilarious effect. Unashamed of bearing the personal--not just emotion, but habit as well--his poems centering on the aforementioned show were particularly unique & interesting. This was preceded by a horseracing history longpoem that he described was in response to Elizabeth Willis mentioning Seabiscuit in one of her works (at the height of that horse's moviestardom). This poem, though it dipped into the personal, recalling instances & events from years past, worked much differently than the Gilmore Girls work, almost as if it were an ESPN retrospective of the finer nuances of that sport, where people seem to watch the big 3 races almost perfunctorily but rarely seem to really get. Kirsch not only gets it, but was able to convey the feeling & meaning to tv-less, generally horserace-less me, which I qualify as an affirmed success.

Buck was nice enough to meet with me before the reading for about an hour over coffee, talking mostly about the DC scene & his history as publisher of Buck Downs Books, with plenty of advice for my fledgling activities thrown in. Though he has given me several books over the past few months, & added In Memoriam D Thompson to that list before the reading, I went ahead & purchased two I hadn't come across before, including a dual book with Chris Toll called Recreational Vehicle/Be Light & a recent chapbook from Edge, Ladies Love Outlaws . The most notable of these is In Memoriam, as it is a beautiful, apparantly limited edition book (I think Buck said there are 250 copies). The rectangular covers are all white, the only decoration a light circular stamp on the bottom left corner on the front cover, indicating author & title.

From the front matter:

In Memory D Thompson is a series composed of rubbings taken from headstones in Congressional Cemetery, Washington, DC. Each sequence was created by starting from a random point in the cemetery and proceeding, to discover each next word as the site and my ability to perceive it would disclose. It is a kind of erasure operating in reverse upon a text dominated by the names of the dead, pointing to some practical geomancy in which the materials on the earth are always only waiting to be activated.

The book is named for David E. Thompson (1939-1996), aka Davi Det Hompson, whose works in typography, sculpture, performance, etc., alone or with many collaborators, continue to remind me that the prevailing conditions of the area are always compelling reasons to work, and that living there an adequate principle to organize the results

The insides of the book fulfills the promise of the cover & front matter. Averaging about a word per page, the poem, which is actually quite short, is stretched to extreme limits, as if the sentences were being read under a magnifying glass, or some similar mechanism. Each page is presented as a copy of the original rubbing, such as the following:

More examples of the text can be found on fascicle's website.

Buck is an animated & skilled reader. He was introduced by Greg Fuchs, who was nice enough to give me a little palm-sized book he recently put out along with a demo copy of a film he is working on. Much to my pleasure, Buck's accent came out in full force during his reading. Along with the way he held onto & swung the mic stand around like a rockstar, well he pretty much became a rock star for the duration of his set, as he read through several clusters of his patented postcard poems, even dipping into a backup group.

Though I'm more than happy to receive a lot of the great stuff Buck puts out & sends himself, the work he read indicated pretty clearly that he's due for another full-length book given the full treatment by a quality press. Perhaps Edge will deliver thus unto us? His Marijuana Soft Drink was put out in '99. Eight years hence, it's nigh time for another high-profile, far-reaching collection.

Afterwards some poets went out for drinks & invited me along, which allowed for good chat with Buck, Greg, & the poet John McNally, who has a book, Exes for Eyes, on subpress. Apparantly John doesn't make it into town very often so we were lucky to have him among us; & lucky for me he is a collector-type so we had a lot to talk about all night. Even after leaving the bar John & I ambled around the neighborhood for a while. Many thanks to him, & also to Buck & Greg.

..........................power dookie.

the limits of the leash
............and the living
............with the law
..on serial anonymous
replay............another kind
............of independent
in the sweat equity

....sons of the Hill the Fall
..August is the motherfucker
or at least it is
this fiscal year

[from Ladies Love Outlaws]

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

SPD +1

New Books from SPD

The Transformation Juliana Spahr, Atelos, 2007
Nijoles House Hannah Weiner, Potes & Poets, 1981, 1999 [2nd printing]
The Anger Scale Katie Degentesh, Combo Books, 2006
Hannah Weiner's Open House Hannah Weiner, Kenning Editions, 2007
The Missing Occasion of Saying Yes Benjamin Friedlander, subpress, 2007
All Around What Empties Out Linh Dinh, subpress, 2003
Half Angel Half Lunch Sharon Mesmer, Hard Press, 1998
Poem on a Train Jordan Davis, Barque Books, 1998
Rouge State Rodney Koeneke, Pavement Saw Press, 2003
Million Poems Journal Jordan Davis, Faux Press, 2003


Now these are all neat & fun, don't get me wrong, but the true gem of the day is Caroline Bergvall's Eclat, published by Sound & Language in 1996. There is an ebook version of it on ubu. Otherwise paper copies of it are rarely available & tend to be pricey. It is not fair to the SPD books because this has stolen all of my attention away from them (besides Nijoles House).

It is similar to War, the musical (Fitterman & Rowntree) in the inventiveness of the presentation of the text. Ubu lists the book as a collaboration with the designer Marit Muenzberg. More books need to take advantage of this sort of collaboration between author & artist/designer. "Regular" books seem lacking after reading texts like these. But it doesn't hurt that Bergvall is one of the best poets in the world.

Was a Sally a Sally pushing the out of mine inside-out for
closer fit Item by item flash out a Jill's eye More trouble
in the rubblebubble

Sunday, June 3, 2007

ROUNDUP: St Marx [Books], Rob F, Printed Matter, The Streets

Many bokes, many places.

From St Marx Books, early last week:

How to Proceed In the Arts Gary Sullivan, Faux Press, 2001
Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You Juliana Spahr, Wesleyan, 2001
Un Poco Low Coup Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed Publishing Co, 2004
Anti Kody Vaclav Havel, [publisher unknown], 1997[?][bilingual text in Czech & Chinese]
Ripple Effect Elaine Equi, Coffee House, 2007 [signed]
Selections Miyazawa Kenji, U of California P, 2007 [poets for the millennium #5]
Somebody Blew Up America Amiri Baraka, House of Nehesi, 2003
things of each possible relation hashing against one another, Juliana Spahr, Palm Press, 2003
Infinite Recursor of The Bride of DJ Spinoza Ostashevsky & Timerman, Studioradia & UDP, 2005
Conjunctions 48: Faces of Desire, Bard, 2007
The Way It Wasn't James Laughlin, Nude Erections, 2006[*purchased elsewhere]


Books found on the Brooklyn streets include

Joyce's Dubliners, de Tocqueville's Democracy in America & The Old Regime & The French Revolution, The Vintage Mencken, Gass' In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, a book of Chomsky interviews Keeping the Rabble In Line, Kierkegaard's Attack Upon Christendom, Jules Michelet's Satanism & Witchcraft, Brains Machines & Mathematics by Michael A Arbib, & an odd journal/catalog of computer[?]art pieces Conceptual Illustration [1989]. Thank you.


From Alabaster Books: Greg strikes again!

A Little Gold Book Jordan Davis, Golden Books, 1995 [signed, to Greg]
More Winnowed Fragments Simon Pettet, Talisman House, 2005 [signed, to Greg]
Sooner Margaret Christakos, Coach House Books, 2005
Midwinter Day Bernadette Mayer, Turtle Island Foundation, 1982
Yann Andrea Steiner Marguerite Duras, Archipelago, 2006

There were several other [at least 4] books in stock signed by Greg. I'm not sure who this Greg is, but his loss is my gain, I guess.


Fun Gifts from Rob F.

One day last week, I think Tuesday, Marie Buck & I visited Rob Fitterman. He gave me several of his own books that I lacked copies of, along with turning the two of us loose on a pile of duplicate copies of other things he had. I emerged with the following loot:

1-800-FLOWERS Robert Fitterman, porci con le ali, 2005 [cutest book]
Among the Cynics Robert Fitterman, Singing Horse Press, 1989
Metropolis 16-20 Robert Fitterman, Edge, 1998
Metropolis 4-12 Robert Fitterman, Potes & Poets, 1994 [limited to 30 signed copies, #19]
Torque #5 & Object #8, eds Fitterman & Fodaski, 1998
The Inveterate Life Jessica Grim, O Books, 1990
No. 111 2.7.93-10.20.96 Kenneth Goldsmith, The Figures, 1997
Free Space Comix Brian Kim Stefans, Roof, 1998
Kildare Stacy Doris, Roof, 1994
Sun Rock Man Cid Corman, Nude Erections, 1970
Black Watch Steven Hall, Intermezzo, 1990
April Galleons John Ashbery, Penguin, 1988
Sadly William Fuller, Flood Editions, 2003
Human Ceiling Diane Ward, Roof, 2005
Errata 5uite Joan Retallack, Edge, 1993


Rob, among his other kindnesses (such as introducing me to his dog Walter, & to Dirk Rowntree @ the neo Benshi event @ St Marx), also directed us to Printed Matter, a high-end bookstore I'd never visited before. There I acquired:

Re-Writing Freud Simon Morris, Information as Material, 2005
Reading The Remove of Literature Nick Thurston, Information as Material, 2006
Don Quixote Gareth Long, [no publisher], 2006 [#22/100 signed copies]
Guy Debord and the Situationist International ed Tom McDonough, MIT, 2004
Bio-Music Manford L Eaton, Something Else Press, 1973
There's a little ambiguity over there among the bluebells Ruth Krauss, Something Else Press, 1968
I've Left: a manifesto and a testament of science & art Bern Porter, Something Else Press, 1971
The Book of Hours and Constellations Eugen Gomringer, Something Else Press, 1968


* :)