Notes on writing reading and face to facEBook performance part six
& parts one, two, three, four, five Bob Cobbing was dismissive when the word 'fun' was used to cajole him into doing a gig. Pre-emptive rejoinders such as "It'll be fun", could guarantee his turning down an invitation to read.
In /new fairy tales/psychopoetic landscapes/old superlatives/use of word 'beauty' in poetics is examined through Climb A Free Wheeler dictionary of hyperbole. This writers forum chapbook has strapline 'Interrogate the lexicon and sophisticated spin-patter of modern marketing'. Visual barcode one component of cover montage - a completely non-functional poetic that delighted Bob Cobbing when collaborating first Writers Forum colour cover with new kitchen-top printer. (Cobbing's first and last full colour artist's book with our tongue our drils and quadras followed in December, 2001).
At Climb A Free Wheeler performative readings audiences were invited to shout one letter after another from alphabet (at Klinker gigs 'X' and 'Z' were favourites). Superlatives beginning with said letter were shouted back to hearers.
In London performance after Hugh Metcalfe's poetics-avant pub cabaret Klinker - multiple, if heterogeneous, poetry arts bubbles and place venues have sprung up in university rooms; pub-function rooms; free, open public spaces; civic halls and centres; theatres, cinemas; bookshops, galleries, restaurants; commercial, industrial, institutional arts buildings; people's homes; poetry hegemonized places of worship - all proliferate in capital and cities elsewhere.
There are (post)modern examples of poetry and poets selling and being sold with superlatives 'amazing', 'beautiful', 'collectable', 'fun', 'gorgeous', 'genius', 'magical', 'talented', 'witchy'. ('quirky' was added in biro to writer's file copy, a ...Wheeler entered category 'Q', 21/5/03).
Present writer finds himself internalizing and newly re-encoding same words he once deconstructed as hyperbolic superlatives. 'Gorgeous' and 'sparkling' just two new ones. In modernist '50ies 'Mad Men' era of 'hidden persuaders' and through '60ies, '70ies, '80ies, - 20th century hyperbole was decoded for Climb A FreeWheeler in random combination. Intention being to deconstruct overused superlatives through sound. To decode words used and encoded for selling news items, popular fiction, advertising, arts' celebrities and their products.
...Wheeler was published and first performed before poets and artists began using MySpace, before Facebook, before use of vid-embedded blogspot bubbles like this one of present writer, egnep (EGNEP). Before the ltle bk of txt msgs (Michael O'Mara Books, 2000) found online currency @Twitter in Web 2.0's visual web association#.
Facebook Mick takes his social media 'friends' and 'followers' seriously. Michael (socialized 'Mike') Weller even encourages reconstruction of superlatives - subverting his own deconstructions as if they are passé shadow readings beyond decent retrofitting.
When using google blogspot as 'workshop' to draft Beat generation Ballads (Veer Books, 2011) couple years ago the present writer was considering what happened to two ambitious twentieth century visual arts bookwork projects planned for '70ies publication - The William S. Burroughs Scrapbook and The Someday Funnies.
'The Someday Funnies' became penultimate beat generation ballad track in hard copy Veer book with Mr Weller unaware (2010) that SomedayFunnies had at last found publisher. Until an email from its author Michel Choquette turned up in his hotmail junk folder. The writer deleted mail - then retrieved it - to discover Abrams were publishing Choquette's book with same $100-per- contributor rate 2011 as recessional early Seventies. An editorial cost austerity cycle. Talk about fucking politics of time. With actual 'ballad' remaining unrevised, updates to beat generation ballads 'acknowledgements' from Michel were forwarded to Stephen Mooney and Will Rowe at Veer as ...Ballads was being delivered to the printer.
Abrams' contributors complimentary copy of The Someday Funnies arrived this week with cushioned packaging and other pieces of mail performance art - including promo from publisher.
Abrams' online plug 'n' puff here. Artie Romero's review here. Michel Choquette interview 'n' North American launch hosted by Stephanie and Andrea here. After singing "1973 what does it want with me" here wishing Christmas book gifts would crash break spine does sound hypocritical, I admit. Yet cartoonist Bill Griffith is on first page of 'works' in curious naming poetic. Someday Funnies as 'beat generation ballad' performance goes on.
Notes on writing reading and face to facEBook performance part four & parts one, two, three, five,six
An ideology of privatization and marketisation has arguably replaced sense of common purpose public service in arts mainstream and 'alternative' slipstreams. Revival generation poets puff up new generation poets, sketching out emergent canon formations - encoded towards positive internalization of 'experimental', 'fun', 'brilliant', 'cool', 'free-to-use'.
Sidestep volunteering 'internships' and collective 'stakeholdings' with revolutionary collaborators fighting with poets for democracy and a workers' government. In recent conversation with young digital arts practitioner the present writer was told how volunteering had finally led him to paid work. In the twentieth century, I replied, being paid for work was deeply internalized by everyone. "What," the young practitioner exclaimed, "Was everyone a Marxist?"
'She did call upon her master for aid. And then one of her curs'd familiars did come creeping to her. Billy Bragg sang call up the craftsman/bring in the draftsman/ build me a path from cradle to grave'
Andrea Brady Poetry Lady, Michael J. Weller(Home'Baked Books, 2008)
'(...) instead I am on the periphery of a poetry gang (...)' Fights, SJ Fowler (Veer Books, 2011)
Notes on writing reading and face to facEBook performance part three
Click-on poster above with free ticket competition offer expired in October (hyperlink remains live time of posting). Link accessed via anti-racist Hope not hate organization. Present writer likes HOPE not hate, like in Like on facEBook.
Rubbish brawler Mickey Mover has mischievous idea for rotten fantasy fight game.
In imaginary game Billy Bragg holds heavyweight rocky-poet title for made-up boxing promotions outfit A. A. Action. Now if an OuLiPo 'King of the Ring' poetics game was conceived with other competing made-up promoters like M. M. Marvel and an imaginary Billy had to defend his title against other imaginary poet-contenders including Steve the Silencer...
Notes on writing reading and face to facEBook performance part two & parts one, three, four, five, six
Collectablechapbooks weren't an aim of Michael John Weller's Home'Baked Books. Keeping titles in printable revision were.
Home'Baked Books, from April 2005's Madeline My Love In Death And Fancy (a reprinted 2001 Visual Associations title) to March 2011's edition of & Holly Pester Does It Better completes present writer's current self-publishing endeavour in print using domestic desk-top printer. Whether print kit is replaced or not needs consideration as contemporary artists and poets publish free-to-view pdfs and performance videos.
Attempted to argue in 'Notes on old new little presses' that reading from screen and negotiating print through writing, reading, performing, or as bookworked reader/hearer/viewer, are different. Not only as forms. Process alters content.
Obtaining a Lexmark All-In-One X6100 series printer in 2005 was personal/artistic/technical liberation from handing completed hard copy over to professional printers. Although still agreeable in continuing purchase out-of-house print for home'baked perfect-bounds - completing bookworks in-house does encourage extended process and performance. Performance not finished until collation, stapling or enveloping and exhibitive display as exchange value commodity in pub-function room, market stall, exhibition stand, or bookshop. This lesson learned under Bob Cobbing's '90ies New River Project tutelage.
For the present writer full public performance requires feeds of objects, loose paper, zines, dry books, fresh books warm from oven. Selling titles as commodity source of exchange value.
In October 2011 Mike attempted to reprint Stem Harvest as A5 chapbook on domestic kit. Bastard refused to feed paper. Mike hears Cobbing's voice shout with glee, The machine doesn't like it! The machine is knackered, Bob.
I'd agreed to read at Herbarium-inspired Royal Horticultural Show's 'harvest hangout' organized by Helen Babbs in association with RHS. Professionally organized - opportunity to sell Stem Harvest.
Domestic printer had displayed ominous message HARDWARE ERROR 502 since beginning of year. Needed outside print to home'bake Stem Harvest in new edition. Difference between buying print and having direct access to printer is that instantaneous changes to copy decided through machine intervention/chance/error are abandoned when commercial printer receives folder definitively marked ready for print. It's an order. Cobbing's New River Project basement printshop is now 20th century history. Commercial printers and poets still call engineers in when machines withdraw means. But copy delivered to Bob for a job could hardly be designated ready for print. Not even after copies were printed!
Buying print leaves no space/time for random interventions. Feels like transaction of capital expenditure in social relation of production. Commercial printers view job as start-to-finish contract. When completed, printed edition returned to buyer with originals.
No process. No performance to speak of except as anecdote.
Updating 'S Club 7 vs the Anti-Capitalists' on myebook this week launch instruction displayed words - loading myebook iewer. Missing v isn't like missing "n" on Chainsaw punkzine editor's typewriter that could be penned in by hand during the '80ies. Missing "v" looks similar to letter light fuse blown on seedy amusement arcade or recessional shop front signage.
This time 2008 I was busy building EBook files excited with potential of screen as medium between film, tv, and bookwork. Unlike HarperCollins' authonomy; or Issuu, or Scribd, with their hint of literary expectation - myebook offered e-commerce opportunities to authors - myebucks earn real cash from your readers. Post-crash, it's still up there. Like senior social networking model of era myspace (still popular with musos) - myebook continues to offer audio and visual in its free-to-use platform package, appealing to muso & gaming promoters along with photographic, comics & zine producers.
In 2009 Amy De'Ath wrote 'Set-ups such as ‘myebook’, which refers to itself as a product which harnesses internet technologies to help authors create, publish, and distribute ebook content online (with little or no actual ‘human’ input other than themselves), is another example of how publishers could eventually be bypassed', (Online Publishing Reader Comment, Openned Archive 20/4/09).
I think Amy was right describing myebook as 'set-up'. Early viewing stats appear exaggerated and virtual egnep is probably not only user without any bucks (via paypal) for EBook downloads. This is not to say online promotion print-for-sale is a waste of bandwidth. If egnep bothers to keep EBooks on platform best make them free-to-view. Original platform innovator and developer Simon Whitehall was only a Skype call away to help with techs - which was endearing. Sy leaves a couple of his own titles on the virtual shelf but left others to run the set-up months ago.
Egnep's fading titles are on shelves facing the sun in myebook's virtual library. Data is regularly deleted from myEBook galleries (data stored on any remote free-to-use site is hardly secure. But it's boring and time-consuming to download the same files again and again each time a title like S Club... is updated).
Since I first made EBooks pocket e-reader seems to have established itself as screen of choice for viewing black and white bestseller or easy storage text book. Anything else seems glaringly bad.
The cinema screen remains place to find hidden poetry in narrative film as Emanuella Amichai articulates better than I'm able, in her interview with SJ Fowler for Maintenant.
I am still haunted by variations of a recurring dream. I am watching a movie (black and white in childhood) of urban, suburban and near-rural places I think I am familiar with. Dreams began when watching low-budget British B films starring Lee Patterson, Paul Carpenter, Belinda Lee or Lisa Gastoni, as a little kid.
Stimulated need to reveal hidden text between representation, location as depiction in film, and reality. Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb) revealed Croydon locations filmed in Reading, Berkshire, for Peter Medak's movie on Derek Bentley's life and execution, Let Him Have It.
Finding hidden poetry themes within film narrative inspired first myEBook 'Screen Reading'.
"...who is 1989, and what do they want with us..." - Sean Bonney & Jeff Hilson ('r.i.p. his gripping hands', Maintenant: the Camarade project (The Red Ceilings Press, 2011)
Notes on old new little presses part eight
& parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, nine Image left: limited edition LOLLIPOP flyer (Bill Griffiths, 2000) One quiet evening a year or so ago there was a thunderous crash from the living room which had me expecting some domestic disaster of worrying proportion. What happened was the entire collection of Bill Griffiths works I'd separated from bookshelf of zines, comics, small presses etc, and piled far too high, crashed to the floor in what Bill himself once entitled 'Spook Call' in a poem.
Concertinaed on the rug and relatively undamaged were conventional Griffiths' perfect bounds, Writers Forums, Bill's own Amra imprints which came in different shapes, sizes, and bindings, including the few visual collaborations I'd done with him.
Bill Griffiths had been very active in the Association of Little Presses (ALP) as cataloguer and archivist, moving the project online as administrator - a role continued to date by Peter Manson. A glance at imprints currently featured @lollipop reveals meeting point between 20th century British 'revival' presses affiliated from days of ALP and newer UK poetry small publishers.
Bad Press, Grasp Press, if p then q, Oystercatcher Press, for example, have added their imprints. 'Innovative', 'experimental', 'contemporary', 'cutting edge' are some small press self-definitions to entice attention and sales.
So has 'alternative' poetry or 'unconforming' writing become a perfect-trim, print-on-demand modernist small press orthodoxy in advanced capitalist countries? If avant-garde has been observed as new 'official verse culture' of experimental Scandinavian poetry what about contemporary work published in other European and Baltic countries? What about new kids on poetry block UK? There are newer presses that have not engaged with Lollipop's 'Listing'. Likeliest reason is newer publishers on many local scenes are unaware of this particular collectivity of interest and purpose.
But in the light of emerging old new little presses; object installation and art writing - the question of a break with the recent past and need to investigate unexplored terrains of both the electronic and the concretised - may be reasons for the setting up of parallel UK initiatives like Openned UK Poetry list, Small Press Catalogue and United Small Press Co-op (USPCO). Most presses now have websites/blogs with paypal facility to sell wares online, at home and overseas.
Due to an appointment mix-up other week I drifted into Glades' Waterstone's. It is rare for me to handle brand new books commodified for the consumer in Bromley's shopping mall but I did spy a couple of Salt books. I fantasized 1960s I-SPY BOOKS in circulation. Spotting a bookstore Salt would 'Score 20'. A Reality Street 'Score 40'.
Ebury Press, a Random House imprint (Score 10), have recently produced The 20th Century in Poetry commissioned for publishers by Sunday Times rich-listed forest conservationist, Felix Dennis. Felix Dennis was my early '70ies Brit comix publisher who experienced something like a twenty-first century Paulian conversion to poetry (yeah, that is meant to read 'Paulian' not 'Paulin'). Felix Dennis is also something of a conservationist when it comes to traditional poetic forms.
Maybe there isn't a literary mainstream anymore, just a bunch of slipstreams-in-the-making with one or two aiming to look a bit mainstream or old guard. The 20th is a dust-jacketed hardback literary history book rather than a poetry anthology. It's a bookshelf tome. Joyce, Pound, Eliot, Bunting, Gascoyne, Edwins' Morgan & Muir, Adrienne Rich, John Kinsella, British Laureates, and a few Beats are generously represented. Yet presentation browse-read content within volume looks and feels commodified for nostalgic appeal to international English-language poetry before millennium.
Felix Dennis with customary intelligence and good taste has left editorial selection to literary experts Simon Rae and Michael Hulse. But edited sections denote modern cultural history rather than modern 20th century chronological poetry or poetics. Inevitable accusations of exclusion are met by Rae and Hulse with scholarly regret [...] for theexcellent poets and poetry we were still unable to include. This editorial apologia is compromised when Noël Coward verse and an early Bob Dylan song lyric are reproduced on page as poetry. Both are excellent as twentieth century legends but their poetics may best lay in performance.
So try re-reading marketed seasonal object in bookstore as fetishistic compromise instead. Why not go whole hog and imagine even more pop poetry with printed song lyrics in The 20th. Half-a-dozen, say, Horovitz-inspired Albion council estate rap 'n' dubstepping great-grands. Imagine "difficult" with at least one Cambridge poet to prove modern English-language poetry can be excellent and complex. And one or two Brit 'revivalists' shaking up poetry-on-the-page. And an 'index of first lines' that includes Bob Cobbing's YARR YAUP YARK YOWL YAP. And a few interpretive English translations of Greek, Roman classicists, Anglo-Saxon poets' narratives plus a couple of Western European decadents yeah why not. And finish off with full-color image of a Maggie O'Sullivan mixed media assemblage gracing back cover.
In reality just one Bill Griffiths' inclusion may have stopped me wishing book gift would come crashing down from a Christmas tree, breaking its spine & falling into linguistically innovative non-recyclable board and uncommodifiable paper dustwrap disassemblage.Finished notes planned for inclusion in Songs Our Teachers Learn Us, or, Lessons To Be Taught sequence.
For a 21st century expanding European generation of poets new international networks are emerging fast.
Through, for example, 3:AM Magazine Maintenantand Poetry Kit hub - the internet provides updates on local, regional, and international scenes. Universities have their own creative writing bubbles and old London town has plural exhibition/music/poetry spaces.
Both Norwegian poet Paal Bjelke Andersen and Swedish poet Aase Berg, in recent Maintenant interviews with younger generation British poet Steven Johannes Fowler; seem to suggest, in their individual and distinctive ways that 'innovative', 'experimental' may now be the dominant published poetry in Scandinavia, with small press its mainstream vehicle.
Maintenant: the Camarade project has brought into the picture new collaborative possibilities between English-speaking and foreign language-speaking poets.
New small publishers like The Red Ceilings Press, who've published the Maintenant Camarade mini-anthology as perfect-trim A6 artzine, produce inexpensive limited edition print plus open access screen readings. Working from regional locality it is difficult to envisage this little press and others as new mainstream-in-the-making.
Notes on old new little presses partsix & parts one, two, three, four, five, seven, eight, nine The British Countryside in Pictures the writer is re-reading. It has been re-read many times but not for donkey's years. A broken hardback, the end flypapers have added black and white photographs of Tissington village glued in by a former owner's hand with temporal glue stains of sixty-plus years. Fountain pen and faded ink inscription To Sheila and Rosemary -- From Wullil; Wullil; Wullil, January 1948 (underlined) With Supplements (underlined) by a friend. The Supplements are the added stuck-in photographs, also hand-inscribed with ink by the photographer who presumably took them.
The book can be read as found installation in postwar house. A sculpture, a physical presence - a living bookwork.
Book production is concrete and materialist process. Book unproduction is unbound poetry. Before book's broken pieces become phantasmagorical form again. Before its pieces become fetish object again. Book bits ready for waste collection ...*XNo thanks Hardbacked books (we cannot recycle the cover - why not give them to charity?)... unbound beyond exchange/ consumer value. Beyond re-commodification.
Re-reading book content: lines from a poem by A. S. Wilson are selected by editor Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald to describe a section on THE GOOD EARTH (...) and the Publishers wish to express thanks to Miss Ruth Pitter, author of Romford Market and to Messrs. Macmillan for an extract from a poem by T. E. Brown.
The closest to sense of book as object - bookwork in process as sculpture and installation, received after the HomeBaked 2010 bookartbookshop show - were zimZalla's first four objects contained within a plastic stationery wallet.
zimZalla is an 'avant-object' project organized by Tom Jenks. Three of the objects (including an audio CD with its own avant-object; Matt Dalby's walksongs - which I listen to whilst re-reading The British Countryside in Pictures) - have individual ISBNs. An artzine object featuring three poets has a cover image instead of a title. A top-left-hand-corner-stapled A4 seventeen-sheeted paper report by Tina Darragh is another object, this one not bibliographically catalogued with ISBN. Stephen Emmerson'spoems found at the scene of a murder issealed in a 165mm x 115mm A6 envelope I haven't opened since receiving it.
I may open it one day.
*from a local authority refuse and recycling collection service update
Just like catching a thorn on a beautiful prize rose I've made my right forefinger bleed on a sharp sticking-out Klatch 'zine staple. It's a piece. Klatch is an uncommodified living bookwork.
press free press produced a publication as performative background to Beckenham Bubble 2 (July 4, 2011). With the speed of experienced zine-making symposium workshop facilitators to be and to be a book was authored, printed as limited edition, distributed and performed within an hour and a half. to be and to be a book can be read and re-read for content, form and living bookwork properties.
I re-read publications as artwork bits and pieces. In wartime council requisitioned suburban house the present writer lived as small child there was only one book. How it got into the house and why is unknown - The British Countryside in Pictures (Odhams Press, undated).
This formative deprivation of literary ownership has been compensated for - no - overcompensated for, by filling every corner, every shelf and cupboard space in small domestic units over decades with books, zines with sharp rusty staples, comics, and more books. When I re-read publications I mean I read their presence as pieces. A colourfully illustrated but ripped paper dust jacket just about clinging to a plain blue, green, red, brown or black hardbacked cover. Paperbacks-a-plenty - many pristine or well preserved except for bent corners: perhaps creased, torn, stained: perhaps unbound with broken spines, in literal bits and pieces held together clumsily by sellotape, and after a decade, yellowing into unsticky back plastic, in bits and pieces again or hopelessly re-sellotaped. A book-love for the unstitched and unglued through constant referral - all in varying stages of disintegration through age and damp.
Becky Cremin and Ryan Ormonde have eaten their Press Free Press bookworks at a launch and spat out the bits, commodifying bagged results as having identical consumer value as unchewed chapbook version.
All little press art objects now - as preciously fetishistic and uncommodified to an appreciative reader in his or her subjectivity as objective exchange market commodity value is nil to book collectors (way beyond 'poor condition'). Publications reduced to paper and card, ready to throw into the rubbish skip or trashcan recycle. Although comics and zines can be preserved longer in clear mylar bags (polyester resin) archivists of comics and cheap paperbacks will tell you it is still an uphill struggle to preserve wood pulp product.
In recent email appealing for unsoiled copy of Herbarium poetry anthology that could be displayed during a Royal Horticultural Society poetry reading - contributor matt martin writes ... my own copy got rather muddy in the excitement of the launch reading. I was happy about this at the time (it means the book will forever bear traces of the Urban Physic Garden that inspired it).
Curious thing about vegetables submitted in competition for prizes is they don't look edible. Giant leeks on show at RHS when I read yesterday looked differentiated from smaller, mudded, rusty leafed, grit-embedded, weevil-bitten plant I yank from ground. Possible to clean, cook, eat tasty leeks AND grow them for show. I'd argue publications can also be differentiated for reading as books, and for reading as objects. Text read as 'wave' and text read as 'particle'.
London E1 Carnivale launch night stock of Openned Press's first perfect-bound shiny publication 'from The Mountain of California ...' (2010) by R.T.A. Parker (Richard Parker who runs aforementioned 'old new' Crater Press), had spill with overturned wine glass later evening - turning remaining paperbacks into 'objects' (at least in present writer's perception). Openned Press's representative for the night Amy De'Ath carefully and coolly explained details of wine spill incident offering generous discount on stained copies left. Guess Amy, Alex and Steve may have been thinking -
Fuck. Damaged stock. Now I've got to flog'em at fucking discocunts - shittttt!
Similar reaction runs through every small press producer's mind when money, care, hard work and effort goes into reproducing texts in multiple edition then an experience of upset when stock becomes damaged or spoiled in accident or by chance.
'from The Mountain of California ...' is a labour of love - a beautifully written, designed and edited paperback, fully copyrighted and ISBN catalogued. It's the first-ever copy of a printed Openned Press book with brilliant poetry and poetics. I read the content, read & re-read content. Wine-patterned outerbound roséd leaves make it an even greater joy to read
& read and re-read.
There was already an air of poetic recognition about The Arthur Shilling Press before Harry Godwin began his imprint in 2009. Almost forty years before, in an earlier incarnation, the present writer had drawn this characterized image for his first comic book. And just as serendipitous, the present writer's father's real forename was 'Arthur'and first primary class teacher at age five a very real 'Miss Shilling'.
In two years the press has swiftly moved from initial London homebaked chapbook, desk top printer, basic stationery paper stock feel; to that of Devon-based little press. Chapbooks commodified as collectables with designated first editions and other limited special editions. Further limited by numbering and author-signings in some instances. Unconventional folding, collation, cover-in-relation-to-content size, and proposed future use of techniques such as woodcut suggests The Arthur Shilling Press is very much part of an old new little press phenomenon.
Godwin, poet and bookwork artist himself, is also founder and publisher of Cleaves international poetry, a journal with bibliographic series ISSN catalogue archive - experimenting with both electronic screen and conventional perfect-bound print-on-demand artzine formats.
Retrofit 'arfur shilling logo (above) with English music hall "half a sixpence, what a picture what a photograph" association appears to have been superseded by typographic and/or print-kit stamped 'a' (space) (stop) (space) 's'.
In the age of the internet UK small presses don't wish to play to solely domestic audiences at local bookfairs or litfests. Post-Brit special Chicago Review generation of poets have achieved wider recognition within an international, expanded European, Anglo/American axis. Old new little presses fill the bill with letter-pressed modernist dissent.
Arguably, there is also suggestion of postmodernist play with pre-electronic mechanical reproduction. Thinking of 'gentleman-amateur' Critical Documents, or 'calendar man' Punch Press.
From its online shop Damn the Caesars/Punch's variegated editions employ what looks like Linotype/Monotype setting on selected paper types, some with added wraps. Using pre-electronic printing methods and complementary styles of advertising availability (or non-availability). Initial impression is one of post-modern commodified hawking. Ordered Punch Press's HAX-Crotto test delivery and own reader response.
At the moment Punch's concretised press seems as if it's zooming out of the Class Consciousness print-shop chapter in EP Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class and zooming into some uncertain poetic future presence.
Unless I'm mistaken Bob Cobbing purchased his supplies of sundries for Writers Forum (wf) publishing and New River Project printing from commercial stationery suppliers. Whilst limited in just about every sense of description, wf publications were rarely promoted as limited editions in explicit sales pitch as collectable commodities. Eventual collectability may have been implicit in exchange with coin, but everyone who knew Bob also knew he would generously give wf publications away in a public bar, or perhaps a quick deal for a couple of pints and a malt.
Numbering and cataloguing work seemed crucial to Cobbing, as were obtaining an ISBN for each title, along with inscribed wf print/reprint/anniversary month and year on every small print run.
Cobbing also guided the Association of Little Presses (ALP) away from association with the growing organization for 'small presses' although Bob was happy to table wf publications at small press bookfairs. Another contradiction it seems, but all-purpose 'small press' designation favoured in North America during the late 20c counterculture boom did not always include poetry - the mode Cobbing committed his life to.
Small press zines, comics, and books, many conventionally perfect-bound in imitation of corporate publishing house product were usually content-driven. As long as cheap paper supply, word processor with basic font menu, ink cartridge, printer, stapler and clean work-top for collation was readily available - did it really matter what source and measure of each and every item of production was?
Perhaps "no" but for the old new little press producer the answer is surely "yes".
Notes on old new little presses part two
& parts one, three, four, five, six,seven, eight, nine As the few surviving and dedicated UK-based poetry publishers fight to retain arts subsidies (most commercial publishers have long since dropped their loss-making poetry imprints featuring new work: younger generations of literary agents have been taught not to touch poetry with a bargepole) - it's left to university and small presses to take up the slack.
Veer Books celebrates 'unconforming' writing and the present writer was glad to be invited to produce something more than a 'cheap chapbook' a few years back. MJ Weller's Beat generation Ballads pushed the boat right out in terms of production values. Working editor Stephen Mooney and I worked closely for the better part of 2010, learning new techie skills together.
Stephen offered to produce a disk with the book - giving access to audio and video available on 'beat generation ballad' google blog postings. It is on this blog the sequence was originally worked in preliminary format and EGNEP hasn't deleted them. I wasn't sure where this would have gone - YouTube videos are regularly removed by Google and its users - but it would have been great to have my own home'baked mini-movies published with the book. I do have a slight problem with the aesthetics. Disks come with books and 'zines - separate bird-frighteners of bland and ugly plastic. Total absence of integration and I don't know many people who read and re-read CDs /DVDs unless they're ripping burning and copying down the line.
Beat generation Ballads needed online publication to work as an ebook. Existing electronic platforms have strengths, weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. Not really good enough.
A basic Veer Book is the conventional perfect-bound paperback, and that's what Will Rowe, Stephen, and myself went for. Veer's printing partners make all decisions on paper stock and reproduction process after a pdf is formatted and delivered. "You never know what you're gonna get," as Stephen says.
My wish was for a square bookwork that could be compared to both a slick 'n' shiny printed CD booklet and a vinyl album sleeve. Heaviest card stock for the cover was requested (Out to Lunch's 2010 Smooch Tentet Resolve?!#@$ has a cardboard cover but that stock had finished). So 2011's Beat generation Ballads looks and feels just like an oversized slickly printed CD booklet they use to tuck into those plastic cases. But Veer reference number 033⅓ provided vinyl association and WATCH OUT FOR THIS GUY! cartoon became random binary invading my text. Here's email I sent Stephen on receiving copies printed bookwork.
Have you noticed rogue digit "1" makes sudden appearance in column of four
on 'Ballad of Lisa & Pete' page, then single binary 'Unwarned' appearance before final gatecrash at 'poetry professors' 1967 bash
...the typeface sent me...(- - - in progress, Frances Kruk)
Notes on old new little presses part one & parts two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine Receiving printed zine Herbarium poetry (Capsule Press, 2011) in which present writer contributes, made me think again about 'Notes on an exhibition' written for London's bookartbookshop April 2010 'Home'Baked: literary artzines in the age of the internet' show (see also Openned Zine #1 pdf).
Is Herbarium really a 'zine, or part of a new little press phenomenon? Remembering response to an Ugly Duckling Presse booklet I ordered last year after London's show, I realised I'd left an essential aspect of post-electronic publishing out the picture. The old new little presses.
Dorothea Lasky's Poetry Is Not a Project arrived from The Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn NY, jiffy-packed & mail art address-stamped with brown paper interior wrapping inscribed 'ORIGINAL'. Booklet contained readymade cardboard bookmark; the publication itself part of an imprint Dossier series, quote, The Dossier Series was created to expand the formal scope of the Presse. Guest edited by Ben Fama, booklet is stitch-laced collation with content set in arresting sans-serif titles juxtaposed with serif body type plus illustrations by Sarah Glidden. Something old-fashioned, pre-visual poetics about such image/text divisions. Publication First Edition 2010. No bibliographic information, ISSN/ISBN, or catalogue numbering.
The booklet didn't sit well stuffed on a shelf with hundreds of torn and dog-earred comics and fanzines; dozens of Writers Forum (wf) publications; assorted photocopy poetry/art single sheets & zines accumulated over decades.
I felt much the same about Sean Bonney's Crater Press For The Administration (After Rimbaud).Thought and consideration had gone into making a pamphlet that was 'little press' in an older, pre-zine tradition where size, shape, paper, typesetting, stitching, edition numbering, format designation, method of mechanical reproduction and requirement (or not) of paper knife all play equal part in look, feel, overall presentation and reader reciprocity.Can Crater Press Bonney sit comfortably with ziney Sean 1999-2002 wf's, cul-de-qui, quic_lude, and yt's from the 2000's - hang on, yes, that untitled color card cover to Bonney's the Domestic poem (Canary Woof Press London May 16 2001)is a class act alright.
Poetry Kit (PK) site flagged end watch out post here
Jumoke Verissimo featured PK poet September. Attended xing the line July 2010. Verissimo does it better.
Damn the Caesars a highlighted PK website this month. Richard Owens' analysis august London Riots thru Sean Bonney's poetic razor has concentrated radar PK. More recent 'Michael Cross His Haecceities' post @damnthecaesars includes Taylor Brady's "research as song, singing as search" comment on Cross. Good tune to go out on.
Songs Our Teachers Learn Us, or, Lessons To Be Taught sequence
Proposed cover imageto Songs Our Teachers Learn Us, or, Lessons To Be Taught - sequence envisaged as home'baked PDF supplement to Veer paperback Beat generation Ballads. If techs can be sorted and this 'docu-track' works - be second published book using present artist's google blog/comment box as workshop space.
'Israel is not a fascist state, Hannah. It's a democracy with full human rights.'
'You would say that. The Earth Corporation have bought you off with an academic title, so you can defend the existing system. You won't destroy a system that has made you the great Professor. It's not in your interest...'
'It doesn't stop me being critical of the system,' Wilson interrupted again.
Frederick Burrell Possessed (Home'Baked Books by Michael John Weller, 2010).
With Beckenham Bubble over, present writer considering 'bubble-vents', local and international politics, education, fees, cuts, radical poetics, and ultra-localism of place.
And who exactly is teacher, and who is pupil/student, in Weller's current work-in-progress Songs Our Teachers Learn Us, or, Lessons To Be Taught. No question mark in poetics.
Here's some question marks. If the writer was to consider post-graduate course when reaching rapidly rising state retirement pension age - what British university? Which course? Would artist/writer be viewed as consumer? Can learning have cash value? How to measure new learning when memory storage and rapid recall ebbs with age. Writer-in-residence MJ scribbles artist into local U3A with one sweep blue biro.
From among writer's first self-publications Ain't Bin To No Art School (1979-80) to Space Opera (visual associations, 1999) up to "fics from the sticks" Slow Fiction (Home'Baked Books by Michael John Weller, 2010) experience of twentieth century English education at primary, secondary, further and higher is ripped to shreds by 'Michael J. Weller, English novelist', (Slow Fiction Character & Scene Guide,2010). Fictionalized institution New Olympus University appears in twenty-three tales wellerverse set 3World in 4Time.
Realtime summer months packed with local litfests and uni graduate shows. Thursday, July 14, the writer attended Goldsmith's University of London Department of Art's postgraduate exhibition (Ben Pimlott Building and Laurie Grove Baths). View Master of Fine Art (MFA) degrees in Fine Art, Art Writing, Curating (Mick had been watching Mike curate two evenings @Becfest. 'Didn't realise you needed a degree in curating,' Mick grins. Class clown.) Rowena Easton's poetry as Art Writing appeared on artist's modernist female poet radar @Ken Edwards' blog entry here, subsequently doing it better from first July 2010 edition & Holly Pester...
Post-grad Exhibition different from southeast London reality nearly quarter century before when Hirst and other Goldsmiths undergraduates BA'd from Young British Artists to Britart establishment 2010s. Beginning to understand why younger generation artists, writers, poets, critics take career prospects and academic qualifications seriously. Can new generation poet/artist make it without university post-grad, sustained academic publication, or peer review? Can Bob Cobbing's stuff be academicized? Question mark question marks - pejorative 'anti-intellectual' rubber ball easy throw. Difficult catch.
At back of Laurie Grove Baths SE14 exhibition space, writer somewhat bemused by request to "open up" canvas bag for concealed "weapons". Looks like wired-up Jewish Community Security Trust (CST) presence for Noam Edry's MFA degree work in Fine Art. And Mick thought Noam was a bloke (Chomsky, geddit? Mick could have checked website) or Noam's YouTube ID. Fine artist Edry was dressed for her opening in an immaculate white suit. Strikingly beautiful, rather like John and Yoko (Social Reality Earthtime 1969). Peace Now brothers and sisters.
Next to entranced in-on-the-joke security fellow chill-out space with Arab-Israeli coffee stand.
But surprise, Noam Edry's bubble-space looks hit by Hamas rockets fired from Gaza. Something of a happening-vent here. Holistic therapist massaging (mostly) female attendees' 'left sides'; working tv set playing video loops from rubble skip; canvas paintings daubed in hand-paint, same calligraphics as venue wall graffiti, recognizable from Edry's handwritten artzine "Conversation Pieces: Scenes of Unfashionable Life".
Post cards, agit-prop t-shirts given away to persons brave enough (with UK uni boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement countered by new Israeli government 'Boycott Law' targeting Israeli jews, palestinians, arabs, working class, Settlement-protesting bourgeois democrat-citizen-dissenters too) to public catwalking wearing slogan
I COME FROM THE MOST HATED PLACE ON EARTH (SECOND TO IRAN).
Bubble-within-bubble screens twenty-minute looped interview - in effect a filmed self-portrait of Jewish/Israeli/Zionist artist Edry's experience girl's English school education- to- Israel Defense Forces warzone soldier- to-post-grad "Goldsmiths Made Me a Fundamentalist".
And maybe all these young Israeli soldier-girls want is "cool" meaning simply okay as in normal; dressing sharp 'n' smart, looking nice, and catching town bus for a date without getting head blown off.
& Noam Edry does it better.