Saturday, April 5, 2008

Grenier (Rob) & Digicams Make Wii Sneeze

In truth, everything makes me sneeze. But, Ron Silliman was kind enough, yesterday, to link to this very blog's last entry--of course, that Hejinian title is that good. He was also kind enough to point out that the book in question--A Thought Is The Bride of What Thinking--is not in fact Lyn's first. I was going by the biblio listed in the front of her A Border Comedy, but if you are wise enough to tickle your way over to Lyn's EPC Page, you'll find that her well-titled a gRReat adventure was self-published in '72, four years before the inaugural issue from Tuumba. Of course, this detail is hardly all that important given that my overall goal was never Lyn's first book, but rather the first from Tuumba, lured in by the pleasures of collecting the series & now so close to the end. Still many thanks to Ron both for the link & the correction.

The Hejinian addition fresh on my mind, however, leads me to several interesting items from Robert Grenier: first, the book-as-poster Cambridge M'ass, also issued from Tuumba, which I recently got framed, along with what seems to be his first major collection in Dusk Road Games, Poems 1960-1966, from Pym-Randall Press in 1967, another recent arrival. Finally, I also present a neat piece of ephemera from the Tuumba series that I've had for a while which features 2 Grenier poems along w/ one from Hejinian, simply titled, in pencil on the front cover, Unnumbered in The Tuumba Series.


Cambridge M'ass is a huge, 41x49 object, much bigger than anything that the word 'poster' might indicate. The work resembles the minimalist pieces Grenier seems most known for, akin (for example) to the stuff that comprises the majority of Series (This, 1978), & what I can only assume the maximally-elusive Sentences resembles--I've never seen a copy of this one.

You can see Grenier begin to play with the standards of the book format in Dusk Road Games, however slightly in comparison to the explosion that is Cambridge. For one, the front cover image is exactly duplicated on the back, only in reverse. Then, the flap copy reads:

Robert Grenier was born in Minne-
apolis in 1941. He has studied at
Harvard and the State University of
Iowa. Currently he and his wife, the
Emily of the poems, are reconciled,
living in England on an Amy Lowell
Travelling Fellowship and expecting
a first child. Some influences on his
work are Robert Creeley, William
Carlos Williams, Pound, Wyatt,
Campion, Robert Bly and, most
recently, John Ashbery. He has
learned also from translating Georg
Trakl and from reading under
Robert Lowell.

typo included. Finally, necessarily unique to the signed, limited copies of this book, of which there were 50 (of a total edition of 1000 featuring 350 HC & 650 in wrappers) is the plain print of his signature, seen below.

All together, these are an interesting lead-in to what Grenier would do with the Tuumba poster, which features text in white blocks floating in the black background--sometimes the blocks have the traditional Grenier TITLE in all caps (though sometimes the title comes after the work, or within the work), other sections float alone, never quite matching up with this or that specific preceding chunk, opening up the directions in which the 'book' can be read.


Some examples:


somebody's name

I dunno

ask it

say it


it must have been the letters that I wrote her


breeze the

look outs


calls to moon how more desirable & unfortunate


see a building everybody home


we are by the new gravel

Finally, some snapshots of the 2-leaf Grenier/Hejinian hors series mini-issue, an item I've heard nothing about in any forum before or after I acquired it. Perhaps someone in the know can shed some light about this item.


The two Grenier pieces read


for a second
walk around
the cemetery



for a change

while the Hejinian reads


those ripples multiplies
those tides goes out
that sea stop
don't talk on the telephone in the tub gloomy

it's sound a little out of it

the thing is, I do want to share that, you

I don't know how to know ---
who's to learn

you have to take the cat out; you let the door in

I don't do feel like helping but I can

amazing the responsibility now

a little dreamy

le coffee le hat
the beach
the perfect day except for Monday's next

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