14 v 68
Sorry not to have written before, but up to my heart with all sorts of setbacks. Thanks for the little peace message from the Reps; soon after I got it, a couple of thugs (I guess, although I aint met them) broke into the press and took away every scrap of type and metal we had in the place. About 700 pounds of the stuff, almost worthless as scrap, but blood and oxygen to us. And that right in the middle of my knockdown match with Ted L-S and the illiterate US cultural attache. You know about that—anyway seemed to me at the time like Chicago-style old movie (Break up the radical newspapers so they wont print those lies no mo’). And to top it with more of the same, a couple of days later, ‘they’ broke into Camden Square, same way, and generally, erratically, upset the rhythm at that end.
Chap ii: so coincidentally a group of irate poets and publishers gathered outside Turret Books on the day of the ‘poetry symposium’ taking place at the USIS, handed in some flowers and wreaths and (you never seen so many against so quiet) the police arrested ten of us (me too) for ‘obstructing. Case so far postponed until September; gives all of us a chance to square off – for what? Outlines getting a little blurred. And only just now, with a little bread scraped together, back at the press with a couple cases of type and paper to thinking once more of putting ink to cartridge (I mean paper).
Your turnaround on TPhillips did turn me off for a while, because as a matter of fact I’d already asked to design a cover and about 4 drawings for the inside, which he’s done. Actually wants to do about seven drawings to choose the best. And I honestly think the stuff he’s done is beautiful—in its own right and not only for the book. He digs the poems very much, and has worked on the drawings with great care and calm—to me some of the best work of that kind around. I think what was wrong with the cover Ambit did was that bad kind of literal illustration of the title that always comes out coy and outlandish. Faces & forms—so on the cover form (graeco/roman lesson on anatomy) & face (some of the same and not enough outside to imply anything else.) Phillips saw immediately that it would be awry to ‘illustrate’ the poems but read them very closely and has produced four drawings that have the same kind of sequence within them that the poems have. Anyway, you’ll see. As soon as he's through with the six or seven he’s doing I’ll get copies of them and send them on. No, I won’t say ‘nervous’. What turns me on is their clarity.
There’s also the hump of time now. Tom’s poems are in proof with illustrations, and I’d like to bring both books out at the same time. But anyway let me know when you get the drawings. Hope you like them.
TMOORER [Raworth] incidentally is in Granada, apparently hating it, but that was when he first got there, sort of alone, non-speaking and weary. Maybe better now. He gets post at Lista de Correos, Granada, Spain. When letters get past the avaricious curiosity of the postmen.
Poems from Hogg? Never came.
Read a story the other day about Aaron Copland and a friend driving through Kansas. Copland insisted that they get through the state non-stop because anything was liable to happen. But finally his friend had to stop for food, and when it came to the dessert, the waitress said they only had peanut flan pie, and Copland shrieked ‘I told you we shouldn’t have stopped in Kansas.’
Hope it’s warmer. London shines with the sun.
Asa Benveniste was born 1925 in New York, which he left in 1948 'after being pursued by a doppelganger in the same furnished coven in Irving Place which Madame Blavatsky inhabited several decades earlier.' Between 1948 and 1950 he lived in France and Tangier co-editing the literary magazine ZERO. From 1950 he has lived in England 'learning English, straightening ice cream bricks on a conveyor belt, character acting in the provinces, market gardening, rearing chickens and pedigree dogs, editing books and publishing poetry.'
This is his first published volume. He says of it 'The Chinese considered the mouth the paramount aperture of the body. God breathed life into Adam. The Hebrew Cabalists believed the utterance of certain sounds so important that some were completely prohibited. The earliest experience of love is oral. Sustenance is taken in the mouth. Speech is the most common form of communication, and we all die first in the mouth.... It was only after writing these poems over the past two years that I realised there were linked by the word of mouth.'For every book, there is a book that could have been, a book behind the book we rarely see. Archives preserve these books, these possible futures frozen in time, and that's one of the things I enjoy most about bibliographic research. I visited the Trigram Press Archive in St. Louis (of all places!) the week Tookie Williams was executed. There, I found a draft of the cover for this book. It was to be a painted wood relief dated 1963 (by Asa?) depicting a wide-open mouth with five exclamation points inside, and the title printed vertically in bold sans. "VOX" (Latin for voice) appears below the mouth like large caption looming large under silent lips.
Arranged by year, this checklist includes books and a few ephemeral items by poet and publisher of Trigram Press, Asa Benveniste. It includes collaborations and co-publications with other authors, but does not include appearances in periodicals. Corrections and additions welcome at any time. Items followed by ‘ns’ are those that I have ‘not seen’ in person. – K.S. (12.20.09)
Poems of the Mouth (London: Trigram Press) 1966. [book]
A Word in Your Season: a Portfolio of Six Serigraphs w/Jack Hirschman (London: Trigram Press) 1967. [book]
Count Three (San Francisco: Cranium Press) 1969. [book]
The Atoz Formula (London: Trigram Press) 1969. [book]
Umbrella (London: Larry and Ruby Wallrich) 1972. [ephemera]
Time Being w/ Tom Raworth, Ray DiPalma; printed and illustrated by Elisabeth Brandfast (London: Trigram Press) 1972. [book]
Blockmaker’s Black illustrated by Ralph Steadman (London: Steam Press) 1974. [ephemera] ns
Certainly Metaphysics (Bowling Green, OH: Blue Chair Press) 1974. [broadside]
Edge (London: Joe Dimaggio) 1975. [book]
Dense Lens w/ Brian Marley (London: Trigram Press) 1975. [book]
Listen (Bowling Green, OH: Doones Press) 1975. [book] ns
A Part Apart (Osterley, UK: The White Dog Press) 1976. [book] ns
Loose Use (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Pig Press) 1977. [book] ns
Colour Theory image by Marc Vaux (London: Trigram Press) 1977. [ephemera]
Language: Enemy, Pursuit w/ note by David Meltzer (Berkeley: Poltroon Press) 1980. [book]
Throw Out the Life Line Lay Out the Corse: Poems 1965-1985 (London: Anvil Press Poetry Ltd) 1983. [book]
Pommes Poems cover by Agneta Falk (Lancashire: Arc Publications) 1988. [book]
Textural (London: Turret Books) 1989. [ephemera] ns
Invisible Ink (Philadelphia: Singing Horse Press/Branch Redd Books) 1989. [book]
Hadrian's Dream images by Ken Campbell (London: Circle Press) 1990. [book] ns
I am very pleased to announce that the Threads Talk Series I curate with Steve Clay is now online at PennSound. The first four speakers in this ongoing series devoted to the art of the book are Alan Loney, Charles Alexander, Simon Cutts, and Buzz Spector. Special thanks to PennSound and Danny Snelson.
Please bookmark Threads at: http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Threads.php
Looking for a special holiday gift? A number of titles from Cuneiform Press are available from Small Press Distribution, including:
TED GREENWALD'S 3
DAN FEATHERSTON'S THE CLOCK MAKER'S MEMOIR
SARAH CAMPBELL (ed) I HAVE IMAGINED A CENTER WILDER THAN THIS REGION: A TRIBUTE TO SUSAN HOWE
TED GREENWALD & HAL SAULSON'S TWO WRONGS
ULF STOLTERFOHT'S LINGOS
BILL BERKSON'S SUDDEN ADDRESS
GREGG BIGLIERI'S SLEEPY WITH DEMOCRACY
KYLE SCHLESINGER'S MOONLIGHTING
ALAN LONEY'S THE PRINTER PRINTED
ANDREW LEVY'S SCRATCH SPACE
MIMEO MIMEO 1
MIMEO MIMEO 2
MIMEO MIMEO 3
And our most recent title, TED BERRIGAN, by poet BILL BERKSON and painter GEORGE SCHNEEMAN will be available from SPD soon for just $20 (or direct from the press by following the instructions below).
Thanks to everyone who has supported Cuneiform Press in 2009. We have a number of terrific titles lined up for 2010, including ALAN LONEY'S THE BOOKS TO COME, MICHAEL CROSS'S HAECCEITIES, THE BUMPER STICKER BOOK (contributors include TOM RAWORTH, JOHANNA DRUCKER, MICHAEL GOTTLIEB, SUSIE TIMMONS, CAROLEE SCHNEEMAN, BILL BERKSON, TED GREENWALD and more)....
We'll also be issuing the second issue of ON: CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE (edited by Kyle Schlesinger, Thom Donovan and Michael Cross) with essays by ROSA ALCALA, DAVID BRAZIL, ROBERT KOCIK, LAURA MORIARTY, TYRONE WILLIAMS and more) and the fourth issue of MIMEO MIMEO (edited by Kyle Schlesinger and Jed Birmingham) focusing on the British Poetry Revival with contributions by KEN EDWARDS, TOM RAWORTH, TREVOR WINKFIELD, ALAN HALSEY, RICHARD PRICE and many more.
Our new Vandercook 4 is almost up and running, so look for new letterpress goods from time to time available directly from Cuneiform Press.
In Clifford Burke's classic, Printing Poetry: a workbook in typographic reification, he discusses the importance of a printing environment, contrasting a warehouse-sized space illuminated by thousands of florescent bulbs to his own shop, nestled in the living room of his family's home in San Francisco.
When I'm done designing a book and ready to go to press, I always make up a specification sheet and send it off to a couple of jobbers for estimates, some small, some large. Since I'm new to Austin, I had no idea where to go to have Bill Berkson and George Schneeman's collaboration entitled Ted Berrigan printed locally. My pal Terry Cuddy used to work in a mom and pop printshop in Auburn, NY and he taught me how to write a spec sheet about ten years ago. The specification sheet for Ted Berrigan's looked like this:
TITLE: TED BERRIGAN
AUTHOR: BILL BERKSON AND GEORGE SCHNEEMAN
DIMENSIONS: 13 INCHES TALL X 10 INCHES WIDE
SHEETS: 7 PRINTED ON BOTH SIDES
COLOR: BLACK AND WHITE
BINDING: CUSTOMER WILL BIND BY HAND AND RETURN PAMPHLET FOR TRIM
PROOFS REQUIRED: YES
TEXT STOCK: HEAVY COVER STOCK, TO BE DETERMINED
COVER STOCK: SAME AS TEXT STOCK, TO BE DETERMINED
FILES: ADOBE INDESIGN CS4 OUTPUT AS PDF
DELIVERY: CUSTOMER WILL PICK UP, NO SPECIAL PACKAGING REQUIRED
These specs will answer some of the basic questions most printers will want to know in order to provide an estimate. One thing that has changed recently in the printing industry is that there is often a form available on the printer's website that allows you to 'request a quote' by entering information like this into a digital form that is then uploaded. That's what I did when I request a quote form Ginny's Printing here in Austin, Texas and I learned something very, very important: when you request a quote through a form on a website, you typically will not receive a copy of your spec sheet, only receive a copy of the estimate, which will vary from shop to shop (each with its own abbreviations, shorthand, cost breakdown, etc.). "Everything in writing," as my father used to say....
Chris Deibert at Ginny's Printing came in quick with a reasonable bid on the job, not the lowest in town, but reasonable, so I hired them for the job after discussing the particulars over the phone. The proofs looked great in terms of the quality of the printing, so I singed off to go into production. A week or so later I came home from work one day and saw that the 'books' had been printed. The only problem was that the 'books' were flat, like posters, delivered in no particular order and not scored. Of course I was pissed, but mistakes happen, and I felt confident that after a quick call the next morning the printer's error would quickly be corrected. No dice.
Chris Deibert at Ginny's Printing in Austin Texas said that he could 'correct' the problem for an extra $1,200. I nearly shit a brick. The scam works like this: come in low and fast on the bid, do part of the job, then double the price to finish it. Like many large jobbers that don't know an ass from an elbow, Ginny's makes their money on large corporations who do very routine work. Small press publishers like me are not their bread and butter, so there's little, if any incentive to do the job with integrity or honesty--it's a bait and switch operation run by incompetent assholes.
The lesson is to put everything in writing, meet your jobbers face-to-face and do your best to support local printers who care about the quality of their work.
All that aside, the books came out beautifully, so just scroll down to learn how to purchase one.
All that aside, the books came out beautifully, so just scroll down to learn how to purchase one.