Thursday, December 5, 2013

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski Meet in the Desert in 1962

Targets no. 11. Sandia, New Mexico, 1962

This issue of the fugitive and important western little mag is notable for featuring the first poem published by the young Raymond Carver, 'Brass Ring'. Carver was notified of the acceptance of the poem on the same day that he received notice of the publication of his regularly first published story, 'Pastoral' in the Western Humanities Review. [Sklenicka p. 84]. Maryann Carver, Raymond's first wife, would later say of that day "We were on top of the world. It seemed that if you did the right things, the right things would happen. . . We were ecstatic and partied for three days." [Halpert p. 62]

 This issue of Targets also features the Charles Bukowski poem  "Our Breath's Fondness Burns Like Gruel in Beggary". 

In his Summer 1983 interview with Mona Simpson and Lewis Buzbee in the Paris Review, Carver said of this publication that "Charles Bukowski had a poem in the same issue, and I was pleased to be in the same magazine with him. He was a kind of hero to me then." 

It's fascinating to see them under the same covers in the same magazine this early, because Carver and Bukowski would take different paths in their literary careers. While Bukowski would repeatedly celebrate his outsider status and publish mainly for little mags and small presses, Carver would struggle to put himself through school at Chico State and would go on to spend considerable time as a teacher and lecturer. Carver's early work did appear in the small press scene, notably his excellent second book, Winter Insomnia, which was published by George Hitchcock at the legendary Kayak Press. Beginning in the mid 70's, though, the bulk of Carver's work would be published by large, mainstream presses. 

Carver would eventually meet his hero a decade later, when he invited him to give a reading at UCSC in 1972. The reading and the following party turned into a drunken shamble, documented on pages 208-9 in Sklenicka, which quotes Mort Marcus' account of the party. - "Bukowski, drinking everything in sight, muttered, bragged, cursed, and, getting drunker by the minute, grabbed the girls and mashed his whiskery ace against theirs, or shot his hand to the crotch of their jeans or down their blouses. . . girls screamed and ran from the house. . . more cerebral students sat back and stared straing ahead, probably stoned. . . Ray started drinking."

 Out of that evening would come the considerably more nuanced view of Bukowski in the Carver poem "You Don't Know What Love Is (An Evening With Charles Bukowski) in which he incorporates many lines that Bukowski spoke at the party into his own poem, including phrases derisive of the college literary scene. Critics differ on whether the poem is a tribute or a satire. It's likely a bit of both, and one of the more fascinating poems I've ever read dealing with the struggle of influence. 

 Garner, W. L., ed. Targets 11. Sandia Park, N. M. : Targets, 1962. First edition. 8vo, 39 [1] pp., offset printed; saddle-stapled in card wraps. Some toning to wraps, with a 1" crease to upper rear tip.  SOLD.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Alexandre Grothendieck and Survivre et Vivre

Survivre et Vivre

Survivre et Vivre was a radical environmentalist magazine which was issued c. 1970-73, and published by the group of the same name, formed by the eccentric genius and founder of modern algebraic theory -  the mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck, certainly one of the most fascinating figures in modern science. At least 19 issues were published. I've been on the lookout for this magazine for several years, and have only been able to track down numbers 11-19. OCLC locates holdings only at the BIBLIOTHEEK UNIVERSITEIT Van Amsterdam and the Bibliotheque Internationale. 

Grothendieck was born in Berlin, the son of anarchist parents. He was opposed to the war in Vietnam, and is famed for having lectured in the forest surrounding Hanoi as it was being bombed. In 1970 Grothendieck left the world of institutional mathematics over a dispute over military funding of the institution he taught at, the IHES. At this time he formed Survivre et Vivre. 

Grothendieck is rumored to now be living in isolation, perhaps in the Pyrenees. During this time a number of manuscripts he is purported to have written have emerged in limited circulation, some on apocalyptic or milennarian themes. In 2010 he is reported to have declared that all of his works published since he left academia were published without his permission, and requested that duplication of his work cease, and that libraries containing his later works should remove them.  

The graphics of Survivre et Vivre seem to betray an influence from Situationism, featuring satirical underground comics, collages, and detourneed comic strips and advertisements. In these issues I find work by Grothendieck, Jean-Marie Damais, Francois Maille, Didier Savard, Denis Guedj, D. Meuret, Robert Jaulin, and Louis Dewez. I can't find any writings on the magazine in any language, and in a way this post is something of a cry for help - I'm looking for anybody who might know anything about this strange magazine, which seems conspicuously absent from any account of the underground press during that period. Send me an email

Friday, March 8, 2013

"This is the shock of recognition of all global hipsters!!

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Georgakas was a founding member of Black Mask - Weissner was a member of Georgakas' Creative Vandals group as well as the publisher of the still underappreciated Panic Press, the imprint under which which this manifesto was published. The format and printing of the book differ from the other Panic Press products, or for that matter any other books I've seen from the period. The text is dittoed, rather than mimeographed, on thin and fragile orange paper. The faintness of the ditto printing almost seems fetishized, placed in stark contrast to the stark silkscreen portraits, two of which are place within the text. 

The manifesto takes the form of a dialogue, largely between Weissner and Georgakas. "This is the shock of recognition of all global hipsters!! ..: This Is The Intergalactic-Supernebulae-Beyond-Timespace-UBER-Everythingkeit : GEIST!!! the word. . . "

Georgakas, Dan & Carl Weissner, Frederike Poessnecker. Manifesto for the Grey Generation. Heidelberg: PANic, 1966. First edition. Oblong 4to, dittoed and silkscreened pages stab-stapled and tape bound. illustrated with two internal silkscreens in addition to the cover silkscreen. Some almost imperceptible smudging to cover, else fine. SOLD. Inquire

Friday, November 9, 2012

Money-making Schemes of the Avant-Garde

Exhibition announcement for a solo show by Maciunas at his seminal AG Gallery, the gallery Maciunas himself founded with Almus Salcius. Legend has it that Maciunas intended to bankroll the avant-garde programming of the gallery by importing luxury foodstuffs from Europe, but neither the art nor the food was enough to keep the gallery open; it would close in July of 1961, after having been open for less than a year.  In that short time, however, Maciunas was able to show the works of future members of the Fluxus movement. Scarce, very early Fluxus ephemera from a short-lived but influential space. 

Maciunas, George. Works of George Maciunas At A. G. New York: A. G. Gallery, [1961]. First edition. 3.5 x 10,.5" exhibition announcement, offset printed on card stock. Near fine. SOLD. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Two from the The Archangel Press

This year I finally tracked down a copy of Abraham Lincoln Gillespie's The Shaper, which is as far as I know is not only the first separately published work by the poet, but also the only work published in his lifetime. The Shaper was published by the Archangel Press, a press I know nothing about, but which published another one of my favorite books of visual poetry - Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin's 6 Eye Poems.

Today I got to put the two works, which are presented in a uniform format, side by side. Both are among the strangest, most overlooked works of visual poetry that I know of, and represent a little documented strand of visual poetry in the United States.

Gillespie was a member of the group that centered around Transition Magazine in the 20's and 30's. His work not only eschewed standard spelling and punctuation, it incorporated symbols and drawings and resembles musical notation. A selection of his work appeared in the third issue of Beaudoin's little magazine Iconograph, and was the only section of the magazine that had to be mimeographed, as the printer couldn't handle the eccentricities of the piece.

Detail from The Shaper

Beaudoin's 6 Eye Poems consist of visual poems made out of collaged pieces of text laid over abstract drawings in colored pencil. The words appear to have been laboriously clipped out of magazines. On the title page Beaudoin claimed to have made 6000 of them. The poems are by turns beautiful and wry witty, but what is truly remarkable to me about them is that they were conceived of as a protest against the economies of printing. Here is Beaudoin's prefatory statement -

"I have gone through the laborious and expensive procedure of constructing 6000 individual EYE POEMS in vrai collage not because I regard it a media practical for the reproduction of poems despite the possible controls over poetic tone in printed words as opposed to the abstract word. I regard this little adventure in vral collage rather a protest against an economy which forces a poet to resort to the use of second hand print while the "new nightgown" or the "new bra" can command the most elegant available. Those of you who buy these poems may find them thin, fragmentary, as poetry, possibly not even successful decor. But you may also as I have in the manufacture of poems, derive a certain satisfaction in possessing an example of protest against an irresponsible economy."

Beaudoin was one of the early and important publishers on the beginnings of the Mimeograph Revolution in the 30's and the 40's, especially the strand which grew out of the pacifist movement. 6 eye Poems are a co-option and subversion of the language of mainstream advertising at a primal and beautiful level. With their commentary on consumer printing, they represent a strange but essential part of the story of the art of the Mimeograph Revolution. 

Detail from 6 Eye Poems

Beaudoin, Kenneth Lawrence. 6 Eye Poems. New York: Archangel Press, 1948. First edition. 4to. Six unbound collages and a title page mounted on black paper, housed in a printed envelope. Contents near fine with some minor toning and bumping to tips; envelope good only, with foxing, creasing, and tearing, but generally sound and intact. SOLD

Gillespie, Abraham Lincoln. The Shaper. New York: Archangel Press, 1948. First edition. 7 leaves, offset printed on thick card stock and housed in a printed envelope. Cards near fine with some light creasing and toning to margins; Envelope good only, heavily toned and chipped at margins, with some splitting. SOLD.