17 July 2014

The Heart Sutra

If you've passed through the Bay Area in the past, say, four years, you've probably also passed through David Brazil and Sara Larsen's comfortable and welcoming apartment in Berkeley. If you've passed through said apartment, there's a good chance you've seen the worn copy of The Heart Sutra affixed in their bathroom. For me, this text has become a kind of objective correlative for their love, so I printed a version as a party favor and distributed it at their recent celebration in Alameda. My goal was to highlight the the wear of the document as a testament to the difficulties and joys of domestic labor. 

As a preface to distributing the broadside, I read the following text by Judith Butler from her incredible essay "To Sense What is Living in the Other: Hegel's Early Love," which was printed in the Documenta 13 catalog:

"...the development of the phenomenon of love involves a displacement of that purely subjective point of view--some dispossesion of the self takes place in love. Internal to the singular and living feeeling of love is an operation of life that exceeds and disorients the perspective of the individual. That operation of life has to be followed as a process or development that is instantiated in the absolute singularity of that perspective that it also exceeds...each is understood "to sense what is living in the other." This is an important formulation, since there is something living in love, and has to be, even though love can never be the whole of life."

The whole essay is incredible and worth reading (especially in light of Leslie Scalapino's injunction, in Front Matter, Dead Souls, that it's time to reevaluate love as a concept). And it's worth mentioning that Judith Butler is incredible.

The broadside's colophon reads: "This broadside was produced in July 2014 to mark the happy union of Sara Larsen and David Brazil. It is an exact facsimile of the photocopied Heart Sutra that has hung in their bathroom for the past many years, and its wear speaks to the challenges and joys of domestic labor. May it hang in your bathroom and bring with it domestic bliss."

I'm all out of these at Compline HQ, but David and Sara should have extras if you're a friend from "abroad."

May this broadside work as a talisman to fight domestic strife of all kinds...

27 June 2014

A Book of Protections and AUKSO (gain)

As many of you know, I co-edit ON: Contemporary Practice with Thom Donovan. Today we launched two PDF publications in celebration of the East Coast launch of Robert Kocik’s incredible monograph Supple Science. At our website you’ll find A Book of Protections, amulets hand drawn by Kocik for early supporters of his book, along with a facsimile edition of AUKSO (gain), one of Kocik’s earliest publications (which was originally published by Rob Fitterman’s “Object”). If you are in NYC tomorrow, check out Kocik’s Ubiquitous Dividend performance at Poet’s House from 2-8pm and pick up a copy of Supple Science! Information about the event and the new PDFs can be had here.

23 June 2014

Now Available: David Brazil's Holy Ghost One and Two

I'm very pleased to announce, after months and months of manual labor, that David Brazil's Holy Ghost One and Two is finally available! Printed in two signatures from photopolymer plates on Compline's trusty Heidelberg, the book features letterpress printing through and through in order to faithfully showcase the first two sections of Brazil's incredible long-poem Holy Ghost.

Originally planned as a quick one-off fundraising chapbook in an effort to reprint Brazil's mind-altering full-length The Ordinary, this book quickly became the focal point of my bookmaking practice in 2014. That said, it still promises to fulfill its purpose: all proceeds from the sale of this book will be committed to reprinting Brazil's long-player which will feature the following way-more-metal cover in its second edition:

By purchasing Holy Ghost, you're helping to ensure that The Ordinary will reach as many people as possible (while scoring an incredible book for yourself thanks to your efforts!).

There are a couple of ways to do this: you can purchase Holy Ghost by itself for $15 (which will directly fund a few copies of The Ordinary), or you can order Holy Ghost and the new edition of The Ordinary together for only $25 (including free shipping). Further, let me know in the comment box if you'd like me to include a copy of the new CRUX project, CJ Martin's LAND, gratis.

Thanks as always for your support!

Order Holy Ghost here.

Order Holy Ghost and the new edition of The Ordinary here.


20 June 2014


I’m very pleased to announce the launch of Compline’s CRUX series. CRUX chapbooks are short, urgent interventions produced using only the materials at hand. Despite featuring elegant letterpress covers, they are produced and distributed for free (and will always be free!).

I’m honored to count CJ Martin’s incredible and devastating poem LAND as the series’ opening gambit. I found this poem so moving and technically interesting that I was compelled to share it with as many people as possible, especially given the endless and monotonous debates about poetry’s efficacy (or lack thereof).

I will not mail these books as the cost of shipping would make this project untenable, but you can get one from me in person at Compline HQ (2556 Frances St., Oakland), at a reading in the Bay Area, at a distribution site in the Bay Area (see list below), or you can ask for one when you order another Compline book.

That said, in an attempt to get them in as many hands as possible, I’m partnering with friends across the country (and internationally!) to help distribute them outside the Bay Area. As a result, I’ve established “distribution sites” in most of the major poetry centers across the country to ensure that they’re readily available (while remaining free). As a result, CRUX books can now be had via the following bookstores, reading series, art spaces, and roving human distribution sites. When you pick one up, please thank our friends for their help, and let me know if you’d like to help distribute these in your city. CRUX books are currently available (or will soon be available) here:

San Francisco: The Green Arcade
Oakland: The Bay Area Public School
Berkeley: Small Press Distribution
L.A.: Poetic Research Bureau
Portland: Spare Room Reading Series (c/o David Abel)
Olympia: (c/o David Wolach)
Seattle: (c/o Robert Mittenthal)
Vancouver: (c/o Stephen Collis & Amy De’ath)
Salt Lake City: (c/o Craig Dworkin)
Austin: (c/o Kyle Schlesinger)
Colorado Springs: Say Hello to Your Last Poem! Reading Series
Pittsburgh: (c/o Charles Legere)
Milwaukee: Woodland Pattern
Princeton: (c/o Orlando Reade)
Brooklyn: Unnameable Books
Brooklyn: Berl’s Poetry Shop
Providence: (c/o Kit Schluter)
Northampton: Flying Object
Boston: (c/o Boyd Nielson)
Maine-ish: (c/o Rich Owens)
United Kingdom: (c/o Sean Bonney & Frances Kruk)

10 June 2014



Greetings All:

I'm pleased to report that the Compline sewing party is going down at the Bay Area Public School this Sunday, June 15th from 7-9 pm. We'll be sewing David Brazil's Holy Ghost One and Two in anticipation of a fundraiser to get The Ordinary back in print, and I'll bring pizza and beer for all who attend. Please RSVP so I know how much stuff to bring? And don't worry about a lack of sewing skills: we can train you all quickly! All helpers get a free copy of the book, too!

You can find BAPS at 2141 Broadway in Oakland. Come out and support your local small press!

06 June 2014

Reitha Pattison's A Droll Kingdom

This one's pretty great, too. Another recent UK number from Punch Press: Reitha Pattison's A Droll Kingdom. Get it at Punch...

04 June 2014

Samantha Walton's Amaranth, Unstitched

While I'm posting about UK things I like, do folks know this chapbook by Samantha Walton, Amaranth, Unstiched? It's pretty dope and can still be had through Rich Owens's Punch Press here. Cheap, too. Some samples above...

02 June 2014

27 May 2014


New imprint of Compline, coming soon...

Crater 17: John Wilkinson!

24 May 2014

Crater 10

Ken Edwards, I think.

23 May 2014

Sewing help, please!

If you live near the East Bay:

In a couple of weeks, I'll need 40 or so volunteers to help sew two signatures into approx. 400 covers. I'm just finishing David Brazil's Holy Ghost One + Two as a fundraising chapbook to reprint David's The Ordinary, and I'd like to get it into the world relatively quickly. Two questions: first, who's up to help (I'm happy to train anyone interested)? Secondly, where should we do it? We can meet at Compline HQ, but folks will probably need to drive (Fruitvale BART is closest, but it's a bit of a trek). How about the Public School? The breakroom at SPD?! Or other central locations in the East Bay? This will probably go down sometime between June 8th and June 14th...

Backchannel if you're interested: michaelthomascross_at_hotmail (yes, hotmail!) dot com.

Crater 19: Tom Raworth