I got me a new jig for hand-sewing signatures. It's from Sweden. The awl pierces the text block like butter. Now my monkey has more time and energy to rile bloggers in other cities. Let your freak flag fly my beautiful monkey!
this message is brought you by Farid Matuk. Farid Matuk: Mmm, that's one mean chalupa son!
Poet and translator Roberto Tejada will read from his work at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 27, in the Joynes Reading Room.
Roberto Tejada is the author of two collections of poetry, Gift + Verdict and Amulet Anatomy. From 1987 to 1997, Tejada lived and worked in Mexico City where he served on the editorial board of Vuelta, a monthly journal of literature, visual art, and politics, published by the late Nobel laureate Octavio Paz. There, he became the founding editor of the English-Spanish journal Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, an annual of advanced poetry and poetics. He has published widely as a literary translator and visual arts critic. He teaches at the University of California at San Diego.
The Joynes Reading Room is located on the lower level of the Carothers Building on the UT Campus, at 2501 Whitis Ave. Visitors must enter through the east (courtyard) entrance.
Materials and talent cost money. So if you have something produced using material and talent in a rare edition it tends to cost accordingly. )Universities aside, let us say. They mark it all up, even tuitons, do not be surprised.) Chapbooks in the end tend to cost more to produce and are often more labor intensive. Not talking your bristol vellum + 20lb kinkos copy job here but a chapbook of decent ilk, your usual fare of fine printed matter. Your hand-touched savory libro that tends to reward a respectful reader with a respectful presentation. Living artifact? Well we hope not but a book has a better chance of surviving than bytes on silicon but whose to say? Time will tell on that one. But thanks for proving my point that it is in the public mind that length/spine/barcode equates to value/currency/legitimization.
The word that is more loosely defined than "chapbook" is "publishing".
This paranoia poets have of reproduction. What does it mean to publish I wonder. For aren't we publishing now, our conversation, Shann, to the internet? I promise more will see this buzzkill conversation than will see some cheapbooks that were sweated over in small rooms where the beer got warm but the fervor was never too hot and the machines were rudimentary but completely vital.
Let there be more kinetic energy involved than check-writing.
See, I don't see the problem with handwork. Exercise and serious intent are for you, and you, and you. There is an issue of outsourcing here in our complainy poetry world too, see. It fits into the big-ass picture. I don't see how it is vain to go to the end of what you've started. What if, bear with with me, what if you are an artist. Say a mind and body not wholly satisfied or sated by merely writing, by merely seating the buttocks in the chair at the machine and its hypnotic glow. What if the artist writes and then the artist wants to do more with the words, wants to wrap them in silky cornleaf too, wants to make art of the vessel, maybe extend another of one's interest in the arena of graphics and textile manipulation to blend together in a thing called Book? What is a book.
A business so small and crucial you will be allowed to keep your day job. You will be allowed to think of others.
Is the choreographer that performs her dance vain for doing so? Is it a vanity dance?
Vanity art: a new movement in the age of inkjet?
I wonder if the inventor who tests her own creations is vain. Did not the Lumiere bros not make their own films with their own cameras? Wright bros? Did Ford drive a car?
Chefs cook vanity meals when they taste their own recipes?
Take long hard loving looks at the books on your shelf. What is it they have in common.
paper, glue, board, thread, ink.
Don't be a (yokel) Shann. Live free or die. Think of CA Conrad's middle finger, Shann. Think of Joseph Massey's leaning shack. Think of the exotic bookcase of Edward Dorn.
Chose yourself, Shann. Don't wait for permission, for some person of many ribbon to tell you you have arrived. Or that somebody else has. Don't sweep til it comes Shann! Don't hide your love away.
In this time I have typed this my monkey has sewn 13 signatures and has hung as many printed covers up to dry. I wonder, Shann, if we worried less about what it means to make, what would we make?
People have said as much here - the world is changing. The internet makes things sooo new. Why not, why not change some notions of poetry reproduction and distribution and promotion and value and note that poetry does not die, but strict attention to it can, and does.
If I were to get up and help my monkey bind those signatures out I can double our output before Extra! comes on at midnight. I can beat the yokels! I can win the bigger contest!
Poets need to get there hands dirty in words is all I'm saying like so many drunk idealogues. Sure, let our genuises sit and think in their chambers, let us help them remove themselves from this mess so they can write the opus to save us all. But the rest of us, let us move our bodies for our arts.
Now that the small but hugely important Austin art gallery Camp Fig is defunct, a new gallery has sprouted in its wake on the eastside of town to continue the mission of accomodating the weird, the indie, the oft-refered to outsiders of the art world. Helmed by many of the same people as Camp Fig, Okay Mountain seems to have a slightly more serious expression on its face as it looks to expand its patronage to artists beyond Austin and the immediate region. I'm definitely excited to see what they have in store because Camp Fig is sorely missed. The staff (pictured right and who are all talented artists in their own rights) are Sterling Allen, Tim Brown, Peat Duggins, Justin Goldwater, Nathan Green, Ryan Hennessee, Josh Rios, and Michael Sieben. Check out some work by each of them here.
highlights from the SP / EP reading at 12th Street Books:
Strong turnout at the reading for such last minute announcement. Lots of new faces. Cold budweisers at dusk outside before start. A bite of scotch. The nicer dressed folks passed us poet-heads as they went to the posh gallery next door. We wanted their money and their catering. Go inside and take seats. A daisy chain of introductions. I introduce myself and say welcome and plug stuff then introduce Dale who introduces David and David's book. After David reads from SF SPleen I introduce effing magazine and David's coeditor Farid and Farid then introduces the five poets from the latest issue. David's reading was fantastic and I encourage you to get a copy of SF Spleen from Skanky Possum. Since they don't use paypal links feel free to paypal me $7.00 and give your address too and I'll pass it on to those folks. I designed the cover and it looks pretty good. I only got to hear 3 poets from the effing portion and those were Andrew Nuendorf, Kris Bronstad, and my boy Friedrick Kerksieck - all of which were great. I was honestly blown away by Andrew's poems and was very happy to meet him and talk to him later at the effing party. Keep your ears peeled for this guy. I left early to go string lights in the backyard. The report was that the other readers were pretty great too. My recording device is broken so I am on hiatus from recording the readings. Blows.
Here is a drive by recollection of the studio party:
wonderful turnout. not too small not too large. the studio sparkled. a gentle breeze blew through the windows. the light of the city outside were glittery. the room saw much foot traffic. everyone loves strawberries. everyone spills red wine on white books. projector screen to the back of my head. dizziness. drop projector in dirt - won't work. no projection, boo. girls on pills. lonestar in a keg. doug's band plays. girls love his muscled arms. boys envious. hillbilly music. a backdrop of frames nailed to board. lights in the trees and bushes. a stoop full of shiny faces. toe tappers. sharon plays violin, sings backs up. sweet mingling of melodies. half naked children. low mosquito count. a rug for a stage. between bands: friedrich. fragrant plant smoke in the air. 13th floor elevators between bands. rude guy. schemes for doing it more often. agenda speak. next band, 1st gig. girl taps tamborine. psychodelica with a synth on top. urge to whirl. urge to hippy dance. beat urge. float keg. hit private reserve. farid matuk holds court on front steps. beer santa. new band: jeff luna. two songs before bicycle cops. i tell cops "man i'm tired" and they roll away, friendly. wonder which neighbor called. continue unplugged. doug and sharon still singing duets from a tailgate in the alley. strangers take pictures. i give them email address, send me your pictures. offended looks. everyone goes home. go to sleep. wake up early and backyard is magically cleaned. thanks effing backyard fairies!
After the Skanky / Effing reading tomorrow night (4/22) head over to Effing HQ at 703 W 11th Street two blocks away for a studio-warming party. See paintings by Philip Trussell, Mark Garrison, and J. Faulkner and books and broadsides by Effing Press and get an earfull of sound from Big Volume Perkins and The Dolly Partners. Sample and browse the effing books and broadsides . We'll also be projecting Dale Smith and Reno Lauro's Galveston film across the side of the house. Maybe two houses. And we'll provide some cold keg beer, probably.
This is very much weather permitting.
So come to the reading at 12th Street Books (see below) then come let your hair down with us in our new funky space.