Tuesday, November 29, 2016

who was Hunce Voelcker?

The Hart Crane Voyages
Hunce Voelcker
Brownstone Press

This is a start of an investigation as much as anything. A few months ago, I saw and became interested in reading a book entitled The Hart Crane Voyages published in 1969 by Brownstone Press, NYC. I got the copy I did because it was signed - and it was, by a family member to another family member basically saying "remember our relative". The fact that it was sold suggests that the relative opted not to remember. Sad when that happens.

It turns out that this book is a "biography" of Hart Crane. Prose/poetry/sumptin'. With footnotes. Also illustrated as well. But the illustrations are absolutely terrible. Like bad kid drawings terrible. Dregs. Ugh. If ever a book needed a redo, this one is it. And the funny thing is that this book by Brownstone is a redo - an original version of this book was made by cowstone press (NYC). I wish I had a copy of that version because once I decided to research this 'Hunce Voelcker' person I came to find out that he published other books of poetry and prose and that his first chapbook was called joy rock statue ship and was published in 1968 by cowstone press. It was designed and illustrated by a Don Lewis.

joy rock statue ship
Hunce Voelcker
cowstone press

from a strictly visual aesthetic, the chapbook by cowstone is superior. Every page of the chapbook has an image on it. Beautifully done. This Don Lewis person took great care in putting this chapbook together. It's really something to strive for. I am extremely happy to have it. My research suggests that Voelcker and Lewis collaborated on a few cowstone press books in 1968 - 1969.

Hunce Voelcker was born in Pennsylvania in 1940. He ended up in San Francisco and was part of the Jack Spicer group. There's an established poetry contest bearing his name. He died early, perhaps during the AIDS epidemic.

I will continue to research the man. I am also interested in knowing more about this Don Lewis cat, his work in this chapbook was stellar.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Book of Truants & Projectorlight by Joshua Marie Wilkinson (2006)

The Book of Truants & Projectorlight
Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Octopus Books
Lincoln, NE

This is the 8th book in the packet from the Octopus - this one a book of prose poems, primarily. Good stuff. Acknowledgments and hat tipping through misty mornings. Now 10 years dated but still fresh as tomorrow.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Tides by Genya Turovskaya (2006)

The Tides
Genya Turovskaya
Octopus Books

Another in the 8 pronged attack from Octopus Books. 31 pages of a splattering of ink on mostly empty pages. The book is good, but sparse. As I am reading through the 8 chapbooks, I am noting the sparseness. More empty space than words. Beautiful covers masking few words.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

a blog as a zine, electronic?

I am currently reading the 2005 book The Rise of Lo-Fi Culture by Amy Spencer and I am reading about zines and while this book is a bit dated now, it got me thinking how blogs have taken over - generally, and quite successfully - for zines. But there is something lost in the electronica; the fact that one is holding something REAL. So, I am wondering if I should make a paper form of this chap*book blog. Who on earth would care to read it? How many? I mean, if I were out there and had this particular interest (the obsession that leads me to do this blog) wouldn't it excite me to see someone else bring out such a zine? Of course it would. But hasn't that ship already sailed?

I could never write about every single chapbook ever made - no one could. There are chapbooks that have been landfilled, destroyed by fire or neglect. Promised and never brought out. All manner of reasons and excuses. There isn't a single location in the United States where chapbooks are collected. The Library of Congress? um, no. I remember when I was at Robin's Bookstore in Philadelphia, and would spend time in the myriad shelves of the basement there which were filled with small run chapbooks by lesser (or un-) known Afro-American authors. Not collected at Temple University or anywhere else. Not written about or reviewed. Just there on those shelves. Well, that bookstore is going and the space where all those chapbooks were located has been converted into a restaurant. So what became of all those books?

When poet Lou McKee died in Philadelphia I had heard that he had an extensive collection of chapbooks - but that they were kept in a place where they were exposed to moisture and most were ruined. Losses upon losses. The fabulous book A Secret Location on the Lower East Side delves into a good deal of the parallel universe of Mimeo and chapbooks with incredible listings of Presses long gone but relevant. But even that book would have to be dwarfed by an honest full listing of every publisher from every region or state, and a listing of the folks actually published by those Presses. The numbers would be staggering. And we really only know about those who went on to achieve work of greater note. Some poets only published with small presses. Others were themselves established poets who were equally adapt at being publishers.

Should I even think about this further or just publish and move on?

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Berkeley Bead Game by Julia Vinograd (1971)

The Berkeley Bead Game
Julia Vinograd
Cody's Books
Berkeley, CA

Ms. Vinograd's entire life has been one of being a street poet and advocate for those society has chosen to ignore. This is her second collection. The pomes remind me of the work of Philadelphia-based poet Charlie O'Hay. A poet of the street. Who lived the street. In the case of Ms. Vinograd, it's been 50 years of labor. Great collection of grit, street, and human cast-aways.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The Continuing Misadventures of Andrew, the Headless Talking Bear by Jonah Winter (2006)

The Continuing Misadventures of Andrew, the Headless Talking Bear
Jonah Winter
Octopus Books
(c) 2006

Tiny gem. Great collection of work in a small package. Worth the read.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Th Trancemigracion of Menzu by Charles Potts (1972)

Th Trancemigracion of Menzu
Charles Potts
Empty Elevator Shaft
San Francisco, CA
(c) 1972

Now here's a beautiful object. One of the reasons that I have been blogging about chapbooks is to acknowledge beautiful objects when I see them. This is one. I am aware of Charles Potts, but never heard of Empty Elevator Shaft press. I did a Google search for the press and it seems to have an active press in the early 1970's before disappearing - to resurface in special collections and as individual books for sale at high prices.

The copy I have is signed by Mr. Potts in 1974 and inscribed to a "Alta Kia".

I noticed that there was some corrections to the text using a different type font that the rest of the mss. Interesting to note. Broken english throughout. Maybe I should say brkn englsh thruout.

A fine representation of a "golden age" of chapbook making to be sure. Worth finding and adding to your collection.