04 January 2013


As Long As Trees Last by Hoa Nguyen:


Seeking to collect owed-money
is called “chasing the eagle”

Getting paid owed-money
is when it shits on you

Lost & Found III: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative: For no reason in particular I’m going to focus on trade editions this year, but I can’t help but give a shout out to CUNY’s Lost and Found Series featuring eight beautifully printed chapbooks (500 pages in all) of "original research and extra-poetic work." Check out: Langston Hughes, Nancy Cunard & Louise Thompson: Poetry, Politics & Friendship in the Spanish Civil War (Anne Donlon, editor); Lorine Niedecker: Homemade Poems (John Harkey, editor); John Wieners & Charles Olson: Selected Correspondence (Parts I & II) (Michael Seth Stewart, editor); Diane di Prima: Charles Olson Memorial Lecture (Ammiel Alcalay and Ana Božičević, editors); Edward Dorn: The Olson Memorial Lectures (Lindsey Freer, editor); Michael Rumaker: Selected Letters (Megan Paslawski, editor); Letters to & from Joanne Kyger (Ammiel Alcalay and Joanne Kyger, editors).

Druckwerks: 40 Years of Books and Projects by Johanna Drucker published by the Center for Book & Paper Arts at Columbia College in conjunction with a traveling retrospective of Johanna’s artist’s books. Includes contributions by Rosmarie Waldrop, Steve Woodall, Steve Clay, Betsy Davids, Charles Bernstein, Craig Dworkin, Kyle Schlesinger, Mira Schor, Marjorie Perloff, Brad Freeman, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Darren Wershler, Steve Tomasula, Pattie Belle Hastings, Tate Shaw, Joan Lyons, Jena Osman, Susan Bee, Clifton Meador, Emily McVarish, Jerome McGann, & Janet Zweig. As if that weren’t enough, Brad Freeman printed a striking facsimile edition of Johanna’s early masterpiece, From A to Z (1977), a meta-book originally printed at the West Coast Print Center that was composed (that is, written and typeset) using every sort in 48 drawers of type only once. This completely integrated work of art tells the heavily codified story of the emergence of the Bay Area Language poetry scene, and this durable reprint is now widely available for the study, scrutiny, and amusement of another generation. Pick them both up at:

This Can’t Be Life by Dana Ward: Typesetting poetry is a form of reading, textual engagement, unlike any other. I’m tempted to say ‘deeper’ and that’s not quite right, but I will say that you commit it to memory. Would anyone like me to recite a passage by Dana Ward? Great first ‘book-book,’ as they say in the industry.

Alpha Donut by Matvei Yankelvich: Shorter works culled from a substantial period of time, this book was published by Lewis Warsh’s United Artists, and to me represents an important connection between New York poets of two generations. And the book’s getting some good press! See: Matvei @ PennSound; Alex Estes @ The Brooklyn Rail; John Olson @ Tillalala Chronicles; Publishers Weekly; Michael Gushue @ Open Letters Monthly.

Nervous Device by Catherine Wagner: (an excerpt)


A poem goes to the other side. It’s different there, but that’s not why I wrote it. There’s all there is, in the chicken joke. Where are you going with this.

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young: Who would have imagined that this nonlinear memoir by the godfather of grunge would be so funny? Toy trains, electric cars, Ontario, California, cocaine, divorce, organic food, ranches, rain, pure tone, and guitars.

Bean Spasms
by Ted Berrigan & Ron Padgett with drawings by Joe Brainard: Now back in print thanks to Steve Clay at Granary Books. This is a good year for those with a standing interest in Brainard’s writing and a great opportunity for the next generation to fall in love with his poetry for the first time, so be sure to add the unbelievable Collected Writings of Joe Brainard to your spring syllabus. This attractive volume brings together a slew of long out-of-print chapbooks for the first time thanks to editor Ron Padgett. Introduction by Paul Auster.

Either Way I’m Celebrating by Sommer Browning: I’d teach this terrific collection of poems and comics with the Brainard.

Days of Destruction Days of Revolt by Chris Hedge and Joe Sacco: Who says collaboration is a thing of the past? Or that it only happens online? Sacco and Hedges have teamed up for a classic investigation of people and places forgotten and abused by government and big business in America. I stumbled on this is the graphic novel section of Powell’s in Portland during my crash course this summer.

Graphic Design Before Graphic Designers: The Printer as Designer and Craftsman 1700-1914 by David Jury: Generously illustrated and well-researched history of letterpress from the author of Letterpress: The Allure of the Handmade. This handsome volume asks what every graphic designer should be contemplating: what can designers do that non-designers can’t do for themselves?

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