Tuesday, August 24, 2010
the shadowy little "Vigilance Society"
Several months ago, I found a small chapbook online called "Priest" by Andrew Rippeon. The booklet/chapbook had no other identifying features other than the image of an eye on the inside back cover with the words Viligance Society 1917-2009 beneath the image. That was it.
It's a beautifully made mystery indeed. An intentional question mark.
I was, of course, intrigued. I wrote the author, Andrew Rippeon, and he responded;
"Thanks for the contact, and I'm glad PRIEST made it into your hands.
Sad to say, I can't offer much more than you've already got on the Vigilance Society. I've been receiving their (its?) items for about two years now--little chaplets and broadsides with work by Rob Halpern, CJ Martin, Craig Dworkin, Eli
Drabman. The most recent to arrive was by David Brazil.
I get one about every 4 or 5 months, and I've noticed that the postmark always shifts (I've been interested in them for a while, too!). Some are marked on the west coast, some on the east coast, and some have been posted (or post-marked) in
places like Colorado and Nevada.
After receiving their booklets for about 18 months, I got an email--it was something like "vigilance@- or vigilance-ed@..."--asking for short work and giving me a hard deadline (10 days!), after which my response would then be ignored. I sent off the PRIEST poems, and the books I got in response are simply exquisite! (my copies posted from Seattle, by the way).
I wish I could say more, but that's about as much as I know--I'm fascinated by the press, and I've gotten used to looking for the card-sized envelopes in the mail at this point. PRIEST is 2009, to answer the only other question I can."
he also directed me elsewhere, "you might also check this post from Ron Silliman some years back:Rob Halpern, Vigilance
I'd just started reading Rob's work (Rumored Place) when I came across this post and, shortly after, received one of my very first Vigilance chaps in my mail here at Buffalo. (The poems there have since been published in Rob's excellent book,
I found and contacted Mr. Halpern via Facebook without much success. The mystery remains, albeit a beautiful one