BEAUTY WAS THE CASE THAT THEY GAVE ME
is now available from FACTORY HOLLOW PRESS!
BOOK OF RUTH by Robert Seydel is THE BOOK OF and THE BOOK. Look:
Although it’s only officially out today (from the sublime Siglio Press), and it’s only May, it’s already the Walser & Co Book of the Year for 2011. Also, June will be Robert Seydel Month, by dint of. Look for a review, and much more, soon. In the meantime, some early returns:
Peter Gizzi: The magical qualities of Robert Seydel’s work never cease to astonish me. He conjures something visionary at the edges of language and the fragile material world. Who knew such light could come from torn paper? What joy to finally have this long-awaited book in hand!
Maggie Nelson: Behold Seydel’s “Ruth”—banker by day, scriber of daily wonders by night, whose art of “damaged things made” pours forth from a “healing imagination [with] animals in it.” Rich with “white magic,” as Joseph Cornell put it, Book of Ruth is an enchanting, mischievous, often deeply moving act of invention and homage.
John Yau: Book of Ruth is a modern fairy tale unlike any other, arriving from a corner of the world where fiction and fact are interchangeable. . . . Open this book and lose yourself. Out of bits of ephemera held together by cloud and glue an entire universe will rise up to greet you.
(35 @ POWELL’S)
(worth twice that)
(in San Francisco)
(in New York City)
(21.15 @ Walmart)
(25.55 @ Amazon)
The poet Peter Seaton died on May 18, 2010.
A month later, the POETICS listserv (in a moving email from Michael Gottlieb) and Silliman’s Blog passed the word. Who heard? [UPDATE: Some great poets. See new appendix at bottom with news from Miles Champion and others.] I didn’t. Until ten days ago, I’d never heard of Seaton, tho Lewis Freedman is a fan of his third book, THE SON MASTER (which I presumably passed over many times at the great Troubadour Books.) It’s still available (for $4!) from SPD, where you can also get (94!) copies of his third book, CRISIS INTERVENTION (Tuumba 45, 1983). You can read both at (Craig Dworkin‘s / what would we do without) Eclipse, where you can also read (and buy) Seaton’s first book, AGREEMENT. There’s a substantial PennSound page with a memorable picture of Seaton and his bride, Judy, on their wedding day in Summer 1977:
That Spring a poem had appeared in THIS 8. Four pages of unbroken prose, his hallmark: tho this first* publication (like his first book) is not yet justified as later poems (and books) would be. The poem, “Men on the Roof,” seems to start in the middle of some endings:
He will feel planes they set to calm the second ending. The pit is latest. Under him they might have voices necessary enough that’s smoke, strange solitude, threats, if not the passion sight or order that noise gets moist. Some watch conception. A voice there has him restored. Pronouns turned masturbation into living without steps. Fingers regret travel and arm resources. Nothing would close or lift a field reminding the means something, everything, is without the pleasant tip’s level. Even space lost halls and that faithful darkness everlasting, seeing no expression there is that approaching place that didn’t have me long. I, I, I, I should matter if one needed the noise here. Shadow that’s light. It’s others seeing the quick installment, no desert that suffering you’ll keep, which noise makes gently, would direction back him, they know but no case might do instead first flies. Unchanging form is afterwards anything not without matter. And that remedy without flight softening comes while either one never received business that business many know doesn’t with perhaps that here some putting me backs the order where it turns long crossed speculation to knowing the ratified count. Words are words, and one trembling tradesman would help creatures compelled without words obscure story of a hot spot.
The page goes on, but this line ending in spot makes a good stop. This sentence. For Seaton is a poet of the sentence. Whether the new sentence or the sentence is a lonely place. As far as I can see, Silliman doesn’t mention Seaton in The New Sentence, and I can’t say for sure that Lish would like him, but I think Lutz would. In Seaton, not only “Words are words” but “without words obscure story” but also: “hot spot.” Seaton’s sentences: see Stein, steeled surrealism, Stan Brakhage (an avowed influence). See later Stephen Rodefer, especially FOUR LECTURES (“My unlessening lust for my own copy of Stephen Rodefer’s Four Lectures is uninterrupted.”–Clay Banes) and the “Preface” to EMERGENCY MEASURES, subtitled “In the American Tree and Out the Other,” READ MORE >
where Smith’s You Bête is just out from Mohammad’sº Abraham Lincoln–
[Update: Just got You Bête in the mail. Presidential material. It's snowed in, but look for excerpts later. In the meantime, Smith can run far with his Futurepoem campaign of pro-stupid / Your Country Is Great.]
–which, Issue 6 is also just out. Both, like Mohammad’s CRUSH (“My Money”: if you want to view any of these things let me know/PayPal will keep my money) are $5(!) Issues 1-5 (see below) of Abraham Lincoln are as SOLD OUT as Smith’s
just out SOLD OUT Song Cave What’s the Deal.
[Update: Just got the new Song Cave, Peter Gizzi's Pinnochio's Gnosis, in the mail. Perfect. Get it--and You Bête--at the Song Cave reading in D.C. at the capital's best bookstore, Bridge Street Books. So you are snowing going to D.C then? See Bridge Street's other AWP events here.]
“You Bête: twenty-six pages of mind-wrenching, gut-expanding poems from the man many consider the Rod Smith of contemporary poetry.” or/and “Later, awkwarder, stickier, and number-sixier than ever before, the new issue of Abraham Lincoln wants desperately to be held tight to your heaving thoraxes (thoraces?) as you get so excited by the poems it contains that you gnaw the staples out WITH YOUR TEETH and commence slobbering at the moon. Can you afford NOT to throw away your hard-earned shekels on this splendid rag?”
Sandra Simonds for President (Re-elect). Catherine Wagner for President. Marie Buck for President. Ish Klein for President. Lacey Hunter for President. Estee Schwartz for President. David Brazil for President. Sam or Samantha Yams for President. Ton Van ‘t Hof for President. Uyen Hua for President. Lindsey Boldt for President. Brian Ang for President. Micah Freeman for President. Anna Vitale for President. Thomas Lovell Beddoes for President. Adam Katz for President. Nicole Taylor for President.
Mike Young was/has asked What is the best single issue of any literary magazine?
One answer would be/one would answer Abraham Lincoln #1. Issue the first. Spring/Summer 2007. Edited by K. Silem Mohammad and Anne Boyer. A taste of each poem: READ MORE >
[Pre-S: Start Stop the presses. Factory Hollow Press and minutes BOOKS are offering a free chapbook with every order of a full length book from FHP's new website (designed by Meghan Dewar of Pilot--chap--Books!), now through the end of AWP (a week from today). Orders will ship first thing next week. Offer includes titles by Eric Baus, Heather Christle, Lewis Freedman, Rachel B. Glaser, Seth Landman, Mark Leidner, Katie Perry, Guy Pettit, Michael Thomas Taren, Arisa White, Lesley Yalen. Just mention this post when you order; feel free to say which chapbooks you want or have: 100% chance of free chapbook / exact chapbook subject to post-AWP availability.]
Presses start because books wouldn’t exist otherwise. We all have our versions of this story, often our own. What’s yours? I’m not the first person to start a press just to publish Lewis Freedman. What To Us (Press) even took its name from the poem it printed, The Third Word:
Who hasn’t started a press because they loved a manuscript too much not to? I’ve heard that Verse Press (now Wave Books) began because Joe Wenderoth’s LETTER’S TO WENDYS needed a vehicle (a vessel). Now they’re neither stoppable (second printing for THE BOOK OF FRANK!) nor containable (subscribe!) (Verse, too.) Around the time they moved from Amherst to Seattle and became Wave, three of my favorite people (Dara Wier, Emily Pettit, and Guy Pettit) formed Factory Hollow Press, named after the neighborhood in North Amherst where Wier lives, in order to publish a single chapbook, Alex Phillips’ Under a Paper Trellis, in an edition of 100 copies. In 2010, FHP published their twentieth(!)* chapbook, Christian Hawkey’s ULF, and their first full length, Alex Phillips’ CRASH DOME, which has gotten some love from contributors (Brian Foley and Mike Young both put it on their Best Poetry Books of 2010 lists), Mary Ruefle (see secret telegram above, transcribed below) and other venues (great reviews in BOMB, NOÖ Journal, and Peacock Review Online**, and a nice mention–and shelf space–at Pilot Books) but nothing here yet. So here goes.
These are auspicious times for new (or previously chapbook only) presses (recent purchases alone: Dorothy, Letter Machine, Canarium, Rescue Press, Truck Books, Horse Less Press, Patrick Lovelace Editions, Lunar Chandelier, Lowbrow, Tiny Hardcore, countless others, with more all the time: see Adam’s recent post on Birds, LLC and Augury Books) publishing first books of poetry. This time last year, I was not alone in breathlessly awaiting John Coletti’s MUM HALO, the first full length from Rust Buckle Books. Well, MUM HALO was everything we expected, and more.
CRASH DOME. MUM HALO. A handful of others. These were the books from 2010 that never ended. READ MORE >
Richard Froude’s FABRIC: Preludes to the Last American Book (Horse Less Press, 2011) is a sentence you will be hearing.
Wolf in a Field heard it from Seth Landman, and we hear it here (or you heard it from ____ _______ or from Selah Saterstrom, Alice Notley, Maggie Nelson, or Bhanu Khapil, who gets it just right in her “British blurb”:
I tried to explain to [the author] that he was doing something strange and beautiful in his writing, that was different to other kinds of writing. I said: “Have you ever considered the possibility that you’re actually a novelist?” He looked at me blankly, but now I think the prediction has come true. What is a novel? That’s separate. Ask Richard. Ask the person who mutates the given form.
Yesterday I tore FABRIC–its subtitle calls to mind, as does, at first crack, the blocks of poem and days inside, Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric; its title, in turn, reminds one of another Richard (Rick Myersº) and the other Mayer, Rosemary, whose 41 Fabric Swatches I recently cataloged: does anyone know if there were ever swatches?–from an envelope, in which it was buffered by Thuggery and Grace (ed. Froude, Anne Waldman, & Erik Anderson), which is mailed to you, while it lasts, if you ask for it. Ask for it. Thing starts with Renee Gladman’s “Syntax and the Event of Reading”, which starts “I want to talk to you today about two possibilities of the sentence”: when Renee Gladman–who was reading, when I first read FABRIC, in the City where Lutz (“The Sentence Is A Lonely Place”) will be reading (update: read about it), as I read it again, with Lisa Robertson at SpaceSpace in the Poetry Time between; damn “I do not live in New York” (meaning: move) is a lonely sentence: at least there’s now a Poetry Time audio archive and there’s always when Gladman–wants to talk to you about the possibilities of the sentence, you listen. (Gladman: “It is usually from this perspective that the sentence begins to align itself with the city.” Froude in FABRIC: “I tried but could not write the city.”)
Also inside are two hearted Ohio poems by Sasha Steensen, Ohio’s own Merrill Gilfillan, goodgraphs from Noah Eli Gordon‘s Dysgraphia, Laura Elrick, and more, including two poems by Susan Scarlata, whose It Might Turn Out We Are Real is the other first full-length offering from Horse Less Press, of chapbook fame: Tobin, Cohen, Schapira, Schomburg, Starkweather, Browning, Rexilius, Becker, and so many more, including forthcomers Brian Foley, and Jennifer Denrow (four poems in T&G, and more at Brave Men Press), who took just the right photograph on the cover of FABRIC, which does everything I like to see a book do. Hear it go:
FABRIC: A Prelude to the Last American Book. (Preorder.) A preliminary catalog.
***SPOILER ALERT: heavy quotation from a 110 page book*** READ MORE >
I’ve been pacing myself to write about the space in my mind that is Portland.
All know about the armsicles that are Octopus. Books. Magazine. Eight plus operation. Plus there’s Future Tense. Powell’s. Poor Claudia. Portlandia. Publication everything. But I wanted to write (and still will) about Airfoil, Peaches & Bats, Passages, and now Division Leap (recently relocated from NYC).
This weekend these world’s collided where all things do: the reading series of series, Spare Room, has organized marathon of Maximus for Charles Olson’s 100th yearday. It makes me happy to think about Zachary (Schomburg) and (David) Abel sharing a room. Both all-alphabet.
So there I was pacing myself and then Octopus had to go and do it again. It’s this:
It’s not year’s anymore but it’s still new and it’s always day. I mean, Octopus is no longer offering a free Octopus book with Genya Turovskaya’s NEW YEAR’S DAY, but Flying Object (which had its own other Portland other Olson day) is. By dint of this post, the first eight people to buy NEW YEAR’S DAY (or subscribe to Octopus) between now and when Zachary Schomburg reads at FO (mid-February) will get a free Octopus book and whatever ephemera is produced at that reading. READ MORE >
In the spring of 1931, on a lawn in Glendale, California, a man was bracing trees. It was a tedious job, for he had first to prune dead twigs, then wrap canvas buffers around weak branches, then wind rope slings over the buffers and tie them to the trunks, to hold the weight of the avocados that would ripen in the fall. Yet, although it was a hot afternoon, he took his time about it, and was conscientiously thorough, and whistled. He was a smallish man, in his middle thirties, but in spite of the stains on his trousers, he wore them with an air. His name was Herbert Pierce. When he had finished with the trees, he raked the twigs and dead branches into a pile, carried them back to the garage, and dropped them in a kindling box. Then he got out a mower and mowed the lawn. It was a lawn like thousands of others in southern California: a patch of grass in which grew avocado, lemon, and mimosa trees, with circles of spaded earth around them. The house, too, was like others of its kind: a Spanish bungalow, with white walls and red-tile roof. Now, Spanish houses are a little outmoded, but at the time they were considered high-toned, and this one was as good as the next, and perhaps a little bit better.
The first paragraph of Sonic Youth’s James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce. I agree with Steve Benson (see comments buried beneath the previous post for full context; thanks to my favorite writer for typing it out there) that despite the excellence of the famous opening hook of The Postman Always Rings Twice (which I’ll post in the comments below), “there is something still more astonishing…about the first graph of M Pierce.” Benson continues: “I don’t know if I am idiosyncratic or merely of my generation or responding to something more transgenerational or even possibly transcultural. Dunno.”
Does anyone know? Doesn’t this paragraph make you want to read the book?
The preview of the miniseries movie with Joan Crawford calls Mildred the “one word that tells a thousand stories”. Anyone think it’s a thousand words (or a “perhaps a little bit”) better than the book?
& be sure to type out your Favorite First Paragraphs in the comments section…
P.S. Image is from the Sonic Youth video, linked above; great video (HBO should have had Sophia Coppola write/direct/star in their miniseries), I’d forgotten how Good the song is, one of the first they ever wrote, apparently. The original title of this post was the title of the demo version, and “was the half-serious proposed title for Goo for a while.”
These questions are Steve Benson’s mine:
1) Is there an opening paragraph anywhere more utterly compelling, such that you can’t avoid just choosing to read this whole book next, than that of Mildred Pierce?
2) I never read it before, and now I have to put off all those other novels I was given for Christmas to read this. What is it that grabs me so irresistibly?
[Plagiarist's twist: What books did you get for Christmas, what are you reading, what are you putting off?]
3) And would readers who are now in their twenties and thirties see anything in this at all?
Questions–and that’s not all–plagiarized from poet Steve Benson‘s brilliant facebook wall.
Dana Ward’s “The Beatles” at The Continental Review (a Jordan Stempleman joint, with videos by Sawako Nakayasu, Jennifer L. Knox, Michelle Taransky, Heather Christle, Cara Benson, Ryan MacDonald, and like forty others).
Subscribe to Peaches & Bats to get Dana Ward + Hoa Nguyen + Taryn Andrews + Bill Berkson (on Omar from The Wire) + Kim Hyesoon + Rodney Koeneke + Stacy Szymaszek + + +. Best sixth issue of a magazine since Cannot Exist.
Be sure to use Dana Ward’s Goodnight Voice (House Press) when saying
Wave Books is offering C.A. Conrad’s ever expanding THE BOOK OF FRANK for $10 with free shipping through Thursday.
The first 108 people who buy the book through Wave’s website “receive a limited edition broadside of a new Frank poem that is not in the book!”
As far as I know, the broadside pictured above is not the broadside you get but it is a broadside Guy Pettit made at Flying Object for the recent Whenever We Feel Like It launch of the Wave FRANK, which is expanded from the Chax Press edition, and has a new intro by Eileen Myles.
Demosthenes Agrafiotis with John Sakkis
Wednesday, October 6 at 7:00 PM
at Poets House, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY
This evening marks Ugly Duckling Presse’s release of CHINESE NOTEBOOK by Greek poet and visual artist Demosthenes Agrafiotis. John Sakkis, one of Agrafiotis’s English-language translators, joins the poet for a performance and discussion.
Also featuring a screening of the short film “Chinese Notebook” by Michail Palaiologou and Demosthenes Agrafiotis.
Agrafiotis is visiting from Athens, Sakkis from San Francisco.
You can just get off at Chambers St.
Or hop in the car and head for 3B (below).
Ben Marcus Rhett Faber Gabe Durham on Jonathan Safran Foer Franzen the other Mary James Robison:
Robert Walser: The Microscripts, with Susan Bernofsky and Rivka Galchen
Saturday, May 22, 6 p.m.
177 Livingston (downtown Brooklyn)
$3 donation [unofficial rebate: free book from Walser & Co. if you go and comment below]
Walser biographer and translator [and writer and superhero] Susan Bernofsky teams up with writer Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances [and, in the May Harper's, "From the pencil zone: Robert Walser's masterworklets" (subscribe already]) to introduce stories from and about Walser’s enigmatic microscripts, late texts written on scraps of paper in a millimeter-scale hand, which will be published on May 25 by New Directions and Christine Burgin Gallery.
Stories, a trivia quiz with prizes [!], larger-than-life secret manuscript pictures [!!], and a German penmanship lesson [!!!].
Advance copies of Microscripts [hands up the most beautiful $25 book ever published: heavy paper, full color, plus they actually glued a live microscript to the front cover, tucked elegantly beneath the decoy jacket like so: READ MORE >
April 20th, 2010 / 4:02 pm
If I weren’t going to AWP–and I’m not–this is what Walt Whitman would do:
WEDNESDAY AHSAHTA / OMNIDAWN READING Michelle Taransky, Ben Doller, Elizabeth Robinson, Dan Beachy-Quick, Maxine Chernoff & Paul Hoover, Rusty Morrison, Bin Ramke, Gillian Conoley, Hank Lazer, Laura Moriarty, and others.
UPDATE (thanks to the great Kate Greenstreet): the AHSAHTA PRESS 35th Anniversary Reading (Sandra Doller, Brigitte Byrd, Kate Greenstreet, Brenda Iijima, Susan Tichy, Lance Phillips, Rachel Loden) is at 10:30 on THURSDAY 8:30: opening of the Book Fair: mad dash from the Agnes Fox Press (see Amy McDaniel’s chapbook, Selected Adult Lessons, above, and look for Phil Cordelli’s chapbook and a broadside by Hailey Higdon) / Invisible Ear / Skein / Minutes Books (Seth Landman’s The Wild Hawk the Sea will be there; Rachel Glaser’s Heroes Are So Long and Mark Leidner’s Willie will not) table to the Factory Hollow Press (new titles by Christopher DeWeese and Katie Perry as well as the Disco Praire Social Aid and Pleasure Club Antholgy, above center, which I predict will be by far the hit of the fair) / Notnostrums (When You Think Of It DVD!) / Pilot Books (Emily Pettit’s What Happened To Limbo) table. For Pettit’s HOW (Octopus Books), WW will go where everyone will, to the table of tables, Table X Commune (Belladonna, Canarium Books, The Cupboard, H_NGM_N, Forklift Ohio, Futurepoem, Leon Works, Les Figues Press, Litmus Press / Aufgabe, Lumberyard, Octopus Books, Poor Claudia, Sidebrow, Ugly Duckling Presse.)
[While they last, titles from The Song Cave (see below) and a few copies of the new artists' printing of Lewis Freedman's Catfish Po' Boys will be at the Factory Hollow/notnostrums/Pilot Books table.]
Two of the best panels promise to be in the opening time slot, 9-10:15. WW would probably go to The Networked Poetry Classroom. (Chris Hosea, Eric Baus, Dorothea Lasky, Mathias Svalina, Michelle Taransky. This panel will examine key issues at the intersection of 21st century technologies and age-old poetic concerns. We will consider how Wikis, blogs, social networking, Moodle, Google Docs, and podcasts are changing the way high school and college students are studying and writing poetry. What happens to assumptions about originality and authority when students collaborate? Can Web 2.0 technologies help students hack unfamiliar texts and forms?) tho he wishes the CLMP Panel—Face Out: Maximizing the Visibility of Emerging Writers. (E. Tracy Grinnell, Rachel Levitsky, Matvei Yankelevich, Rebecca Wolff. A discussion about how small presses present and market experimental work by emerging writers—work too often misunderstood as possessing the least market potential.) was at another time.
2 p.m. Dewclaw Issue 2 reading (Dorothea Lasky, Jen Tynes, Blake Butler, Mike Young, etc.)
Thursday night is truly barbaric (Wave/Canarium/UDP/Octopus, Historic Falcon, Tarpaulin Sky/etc ft. Gordon Massman(!), Action/Litmus/NightboatFC2, Horse Less/Lost Horse, Keyhole, Dogzpank) but WW would definitely go hear Jane Gregory (whose Some Books is going to take some storms by storm) et al at Samples: A reading from 9 poets (The Song Cave / Shearsman / Flim Forum / Woodland Editions / EtherDome Chapbooks / Instance Press represented by READ MORE >
If only I’d read about HTMLGIANT, then I would have already known about Triple Canopy. I was about to ask why didn’t I know about Triple Canopy, and there it was: Catherine Laceyº recommends Triple Canopy. Catherine also recommends Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, one of the best blue books [some others are Benson's Blue Book, Gass' On Being Blue, Kafka's The Blue Octavo Notebooks (and Max Richter's The Blue Notebooks), and Kharms' The Blue Notebook (not to be confused with Vvedensky's The Gray Notebook or Josep Pla's The Grey Notebook, which is green in German)] which is great because Joshua Cohen’s essay on Thirty-Six Shades of Prussian [to be confused with Russian, Midnight, etc] Blue just appeared in Triple Canopy 8, “Hue and Cry,” which also has Molly Springfield’s must-read Inside the Mundarium, from which the above image is taken. Up next, Lucy Ives‘ collage and prose poem Everglade: “A story in which I explain”
I’ll say it again: Triple Canopy, Triple Canopy, Triple Canopy.
- Wolf in a Field is back! "[Back to the basics of what we are saying, here are three poems by Tomaz Salamun. Translated by Michael Thomas Taren]“
- jubilat 17 has the best cover yet (a photograph by Matthea Harvey), poems by Salamun, Dawn Lundy Martin from Discipline (a book to look forward to in 2011), Johannes Goransson, Arisa White (author of Disposition for Shininess), Kenneth Patchen, Ben Lerner, Joanna Klink, G.C. Waldrep, and Matthew Zapruder, as well as an excerpt from Tsurayuki’s Tosa Diary (and a related interview with Kimiko Hahn) and a score for a Piotr Sommer poem which you can hear on the website (“Overdoing It”).
- I spent the morning immersed (for the nth time) in the poem that gave the magazine its name, Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno, pausing at noon to finally finish Elena Fanailova’s breathtaking The Russian Version (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009), which last week won Three Percent’s 2010 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry. One of the translators (Stephanie Sandler was the other), Genya Turovskaya also translated another volume (Aleksandr Skidan’s Red Shifting) in UDP’s unparalleled EEPS Trilogy, which you can now buy for 33% off (the middle volume, Dmitry Golynko’s As It Turned Out was also masterfully translated by Eugene Ostashevsky, Rebecca Bella, and Simona Schneider).
March 18th, 2010 / 8:25 pm