Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Books from the Bookfair

Some highlights of my haul from the Buffalo Small Press Bookfair.

Ferrum Wheel 6

Ferrum Wheel #6. Once more assembled masterfully by Chris Fritton. This issue's conveyance is an apron. Quasi-medical, quasi-mechanical. 16 contributors (including myself) contributed one-of-a-kind text and/or art and/or found-based pieces, which were then assembled into 49 completely unique sets. This is remarkable "magazine" that forces us to reconsider what it means to make, to edit, to publish, to assemble. And so on.

As Chris elaborates on this issue's theme: "Apron in between so as not to get dirty, or in the case of the blacksmith, burned by a sprinkle, a barrier to protect, but not always - as in the apron of the garden, the liminal, the overlap, the wide swath that must be crossed to find oneself inside...." It continues, along with peeks inside past issues, at the Ferrum Wheel site.

By the Weight of an Arrow

By the Weight of an Arrow by Michael Slosek and Luke Daly (or as it is on the cover, By txe Weixht ox xn Xrxow.) Got this one via a trade with Michael Slosek. Not sure sure who did what in this book of short poems with extremely high levels of inter-resonance (auditorially, prosodically, shape-ly), with accompanying visuals on fold-out pages. More than anything this is a really finely made book: nice paper, sparse layout with lots of white space for the poems, textuo-visual parallels between the poems and the visuals, which contain shards and shadows of the some of the poems in handwritten fragments, overlays, and non-overdone collage.

Reading the poems sets off a sensed, but indeterminately actual, temporal loop in one's head. The book is short, so it is easy to sense that one is reading along a moebius strip of reiterations and variations of a pool of words and phonemes.

Arrows as figures of time as linearity, or velocity. But also the arrow stopping, hitting--ffffthunk!--defining, marking out an instant. This is another kind of time. Brief thematic flashes insides halves of lines also might implant these neuro-temporal jumps in the reader's head:
ours are not speaking after

space between another --
a heel stript, caught
in the gold of losing

. Balmed to seal
in a pointed arrow --

are behind and further here
I've got more to say about this one, but I'll leave it there for now. In any case, another fine offering from House Press.

The Can #1

The Can #1, edited by Michael Carr, available from Katalanché Press. Features only essays by poets on contemporary writing. This often leads to people writing about friends and acquaintances, which, frankly, is something we need more of, since it usually elicits a quality of insight that is under-appreciated--call it the rigor of familiarity, or proximity. I haven't finished reading The Can yet, but what I like so far about the essays I read is that they first and foremost exude a sense of real enthusiasm and love for what they're talking about. It reminds me of Bachelard's stipulation in The Poetics of Space that, very roughly paraphrased, "one cannot propose to study the image unless one receives it--that is, unless one admires it."

A great idea for a magazine. Looking forward to upcoming issues.

Spell 3: Maps Issue

Spell #3: The Maps Issue. Edited by Eric Unger. Read this in the Buffalo airport and on the plane to La Guardia. Too much to say about this, so I'll keep it short.

Equal weight given to visual pieces as well as poems = great. Indeed, one set of material is a collaboration (pictured above) consisting of parallel photographs with poems in which there is no clear primacy of the one over the other--i.e. the poem being "on" the accompanying photograph or the photograph merely an accompaniment. Espcially good here are Barrett Gordon's map/text/iconography collages and Paul Klinger's visual poetry, which I'd like to come back to (mental note!) when I get his forthcoming book Fescue, from which his contributions here are excerpted. Great zine.


I got more stuff beyond these things. But for now I'm all reviewed out. Click on the above images for full images of the rest of my bookfair haul.

Next up, some thoughts on Jess Mynes' Birds for Example.

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