Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Verso Lectures 2016


The Verso Lectures is an annual series which addresses The Book as a Work of Art in our Time - the inaugural series with Lectures by Alan Loney (The Book : material instrument), Sheree Kinlyside (The Book as Treasure), and Marian Crawford (Channelling the Departed : the Book and Time), are now available thru the Verso website - they are designed to enrich the cultural and intellectual reputation of the Book as a viable part of of the history of cultural life in Australia and New Zealand. These first Lectures were given at The Athenaeum Library in June 2016. In addition to the Lectures themselves is a Foreword by Noel Waite - the Lectures also complete the first full year of Verso's program, along with the first three issues of Verso magazine itself - 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Launch of Melbourne Journal


you are warmly invited to the launch of my book, Melbourne Journal, published by University of Western Australia Publishing, at - 

Collected Works Bookshop
Level 1, 37 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

at 6pm for 6.30, Wednesday 16 November

The Speaker is MARION MAY CAMPBELL
novelist, poet, and 
Associate Professor in Professional & Creative Writing
Deakin University

Melbourne Journal is the collected Notebooks from 1998 to 2003, and between Sidetracks (Auckland University Press 1998) and Crankhandle (Cordite 2015, and winner of The Victorian Premier's Award for Poetry 2016) - 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another new book soon


the cover of my next book, to be published by Seismicity Editions at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles - it's one of the most minimal and elegant designs of any book of mine anywhere, and I had no hand in it whatsoever - the work is a series of proses, dedicated to my first teacher and mentor George South, with many sections commenting on sayings from George's (all unpublished) poems, letters, and notebooks in my possession - I don't have a specific date yet for publication, but I'll post here the minute I know the date - it's a work that's been in the pipeline for many years, and I am deeply grateful for Guy Bennett and his colleagues at Seismicity for their interest in this work - apart from anything else, it is a matter very close to me that I should be able to honor George in this way -  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My first & loveliest Albion

when in Wellington recently I was kindly shown over the Wai-te-ata Press at Victoria University of Wellington by Meredith Paterson - the Press has for some years housed this Albion handpress which I secured under the ownership of the Alexander Turnbull Library back in 1979 - according to Reynolds Stone in his writing on Albions, this one dates (because of the specific fulcrum action when the handle is pulled) to the early 1830s, tho the handle itself has a date of (I think) 1861 or 1881 - in any event, a lot later - I printed several books on this wonderful press, and I still regard it as the best press I have ever worked with - the photos were kindly taken by Dan Tait-Jamieson of Moana Press, Wellington, and of The Printing Museum there - anyone who thinks one cannot get a bit teary over a chunk of old cast iron, should think again -



Friday, September 2, 2016

Letterpress in Townsville

just three days after returning to Melbourne from New Zealand I went off to Townsville in Queensland to spend a week with Sheree Kinlyside and her husband Alan ('a festival of Alans') to share some of my letterpress experience with Sheree. I introduced her to damping paper for printing, and some refinements in hand-setting type and inking. Like most letterpress practitioners in Australia and New Zealand who are mostly self-taught, there are often small things we don't ever pick up until we are shown by someone else. I still recall vividly a day in Eastbourne, New Zealand, when Bill Wieben, who had grown up in his father's printing business, showed me a few things about getting a decent result on the Arab treadle platen I was using then. It changed my printing life forever, and yet each thing he showed me was in itself quite small and detailed. That single day lifted the quality of my printing immensely - 

Sheree's press is a Farley proof press, which is not the most precise of machines, tho it does have an excellent impression adjustment mechanism which is very useful. Over the week, we printed three pieces, one a short poem by a local poet, one which is the border to a poster yet to be completed, and another is a small group of two-color electrotypes she has in her collection, and which will form the basis of a book she will design and print 'in due course'. In the meantime I will be writing a group of short poems to go with each of the images, and Sheree will write an introduction -

here are three images taken on the poster border - inking up a mix of Reflex Blue and Opaque White (a mix I discovered many years ago and have used a lot since) - 

the next is inking up the second color of the border - 

and the printed result. A glimpse of the first color on its own can be seen at top right -



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Handpress master class in New Zealand

on 13 & 14 August I was invited to give a master class in handpress printing at The Printing Museum in Wellington, New Zealand. The brief was to damp handmade paper, set a small poem in type, print it on the Albion handpress in black with a red title - running off a small edition of ten copies for each of the attendees. Here they are, from left (photo by Michael Curry), John Clemens, Terrie Reddish, Dan Tait-Jamieson, Alan Loney, Meredith Paterson, Brendan O'Brien, Nicki Francis, Annette O'Sullivan - as you can see, it was a cool day in the Hutt Valley, it seemed not to dampen anyone's spirits over the weekend - 
here is the press itself (tho it's really to show off my CODEX Australia apron!) with photo by Meredith Paterson -
more photos, this time by Terrie Reddish - first, plane & lock up in the forme - 
inking up, with the outer edge of the roller dry and running on bearers - 
and how to put the printed & damped sheet into the plastic bag - ON your hand, not in it!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Melbourne Journal

I have now received my author's copies of Melbourne Journal, which sits between Sidetracks (AUP 1998) and Crankhandle (Cordite 2015) - it will not be published until October, but it can be pre-ordered at UWA Publishing - a mix of poetry & prose, it was begun when a dear friend gave me a new notebook on my arrival in Australia and said, here is your new writing - it takes the Notebooks from 1998 to 2003 - here's the cover - 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Death of the reader

having mentioned my latest work a couple of posts ago, here's the notice from Mindmade Books in Los Angeles -

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Verso 3 at the printer

Verso 3 has now gone to bed, and will wake up in a few days bright as a button - to subscribe to Verso, click here - at three issues a year, Verso has now run its first annual cycle, and looks forward to a new year of new & old, local & international books appearing on its pages - here's the cover of Verso 3 - with its essay on the latest book by Denise Campbell in Tasmania, Australia - 

Monday, July 11, 2016

is there any, ever, progress

well, is there, even tho I extrapolate (read 'steal') from Leonardo, about whether anything is ever finished - I've been selling all Electio materials - the types are all spoken for, the paper has all sold, but the Albion handpress is still for sale, with the price at $12,000. It's in perfect condition, and I'd be happy to teach a buyer how to get the best out of it - 

just published is Death of the reader, a chapbook published by Mindmade Books in Los Angeles - coming out later this year is Melbourne Journal from The University of Western Australia Press - the Journal is my Notebooks 1998 to 2003, wedged in between Sidetracks (AUP 1998) and Crankhandle (Cordite 2015) - other volumes on their way are poems, Next to nothing (Red Dragonfly Press, Minnesota) and Ron Holloway, printer : a memoir / 1909 - 2003 (Puriri Press, Auckland) - both these latter will come out either late this year or early 2017 - definitely in late 2017 will be my Beginnings from Seismicity Editions at Otis School of Art & Design in Los Angeles - 

at Verso, my other 'significant other' activity, #3 is due out in a couple of weeks, with essays on Robin Price's Love in the Time of War, poems by Yusef Komunyakaa, Donald Friend's An Alphabet of Owls, Denise Campbell's VESSELS, the Barbarian Press acquisition of the Curwen Press printers' ornaments collection, the New Albion Press edition of Music in the Mirabell Garden - and a profile of New Zealand printer John Holmes at his Frayed Frisket Press - 

one nice thing about Verso 3 is the appearance of Robin Price & the printer of An Alphabet of Owls, Jim Walker, in the same issue - Jim told me he & wife Ruth were going to the US in June, specifically to Connecticut, and I realised he would be only a short driving distance from Robin Price's home in Middletown - I then arranged for them to meet, and here's a picture taken of their visit with Jim next to Robin on the right, and Ruth Walker second from left in Price's studio - 

 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

not quite the last post

it's very strange writing for an audience one does not know, either who they are, or how many, or how interested or not they are in whatever has been placed in this space - it has always seemed to me that I have written this blog for someone, and I have no idea who that someone is, that is, who you are - according to the front page here, the blog has nine followers - and apart from a comment or two over the years, I have always felt I have been writing into a void, that this apparently very public space has effectively been a rather private one, and that I have never had any sense that anything akin to dialog might have been taking place here - please, don't get me wrong (I know you're listening), I am not complaining - rather, I am signalling that this particular activity no longer answers to any personal or professional need that I can identify within myself or within my work - 

as a printer, my work is coming to an end - there is damage to my upper arms & shoulders done by 40 years of wielding heavy ink rollers and turning press handles, and which has taken over a year to heal so far, and that process is far from complete - bursitis & tendinitis are the culprits - and I have been struggling over recent months over the question, whether I should print again - a few posts ago I signalled that a 'next' project would be a boxed set of prints, and I'm sad to say that these prints now will not be done - I have informed the poets who so kindly contributed poems for the purpose, and all have been very generous in their responses - there is one small book by R D Wood to be done, and Robert will print those pages himself under my supervision early next year - and then no more books or printing will be issued from Electio Editions - 

at that point I will prepare a full color, digitally printed catalog of Electio books still in print, and the wonderful American booksellers Vamp and Tramp in Birmingham, Alabama, will thenceforth be the sole agent for all exant Electio books - at that point also, I will set about selling my printery, and take up work as a full-time writer and editor of verso magazine - transforming my studio into a study for this next stage in my life - 

so this is not quite the last post - I'll document Robert's book before signing off - but I will keep the blog online, even tho I'll no longer be adding to it beyond that time - 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

launch date for verso magazine

you are cordially invited to the launch of 

verso 1

a Magazine for the Book as a Work of Art

at COLLECTED WORKS BOOKSHOP
Level 1, 37 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

at 6 for 6.30 pm, Tuesday 10 November

Speaker is CHRIS WALLACE-CRABBE


Sunday, October 18, 2015

I know it's been quiet around here

well, yes, it has been quiet, mainly because I have been dedicated to getting my new magazine, verso, up & running - subtitled a magazine for the Book as a Work of Art, verso is devoted solely to the book itself, and to the people who make them - enquiries and subscriptions can be made here

in the first issue is - 

Marian Crawford on Howl for a Black Cockatoo by Sue Anderson & Gwen Harrison.

Alex Selenitsch on The Codex Foundation's Alchimie du Verbe.

R D Wood on Bruno Leti's & Chris Wallace-Crabbe's The Alignments (one).

Peter Vangioni on the printing & books of Brendan O'Brien.

Alan Loney on Alessandro Zanella's Persephone, a poem by Yannis Ritsos with prints by Joe Tilson.

coming up in verso 2 is -

Francis McWhannell on a book by Elizabeth Steiner.

Derek Lamb on a book by Sheree Kinlyside at Red Rag Press.

Marian Crawford on a book by Juliana O'Dean.

and more




Friday, June 5, 2015

a stack of stutterers


Aaron Cohick of The Press at Colorado College sent me this fine picture of a pile of just completed sewings of Orpheus the stutterer : a poetics of silence, launched when I was in Colorado just prior to Codex 2013 in Berkeley, California - the book begins with three epigraphs - 

1) And it is no secret to any of you that the exact meaning of poetics is the study of work to be done (Igor Stravinsky -

2) in the beginning was the wor-wor-wor-wor-wor- (George South, stuttering -

3) the silence is vibrant with words (Ursula Bethell - 

what follows is a set of ruminations on the lyric, stuttering, the aptitude of the human species for killing itself - 

there's a lovely review of the book in Parenthesis magazine (# 26, Spring 2014) by John Harvey, in which he says 'Coming in an age when publishers are ever less willing to publish books that do not promise to best-sell (a promise seldom kept), Orpheus the stutterer is a premeditated worst-seller'. - a premise that one can only hope is also seldom kept - but the review is very positive and encapsulates much of a fragmentary text very well - 

here's a bit from the first page - 

what is it that each of us will never be permitted to say
and how vibrant with words
will that silence always be
and remain silence         however loud
the murmur of language
becomes in our becoming & unbecoming
rage to speak         in the beginning 
was the unutterable end
of the wor(l)d



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

a boxed set of broadsides

next up for Electio, as hinted earlier, is a set of poetry broadsides, seven of 'em, in a box, to be issued sometime in July/August this year - poets are Marion May Campbell, Robert Wood, Ross Brighton, Jennifer Harrison, Ruark Lewis, Gig Ryan, and yrs truly - all will be on different handmade papers, types and colours, but all printed on the handpress and some, perhaps all, will have extra handwork done on them by Miriam Morris - more news and a picture or two after production starts -