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.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

DJ Spinoza's Dozen by Eugene Ostashevsky (2006)

DJ Spinoza's Dozen
Eugene Ostashevsky
Octopus Books
Lincoln, NE
(c) 2006

If Albert Einstein wrote mathematical formulas as poetic verse - it would be like this. The text could have used MORE equations though. Not quite mind altering enough for me.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I and My Chimney by Herman Melville (1856/2002)

I and My Chimney
Herman Melville
The Berkshire Historical Society at Herman Melville's Arrowhead
Pittsfield, MA

Nice bit of synergy here : the very location of this story is a museum dedicated to Melville himself. So, one could read this story while standing in the room and looking at the chimney written about. Good piece of marketing genius! B&W images of house, rooms, and Melville with arms crossed. Very well done.