Sunday, October 18, 2009

Get Know!

Know: “No Know” is here --- The Corresponding Society’s premiere line of poetry chapbooks --- representing the following exciting verse collections contained in finely-wrought limited editions: “Elegies for A.R. Ammons” by David Swensen; “This Pose Can Be Held for Only So Long” by Caroline Gormley; “Wow, Where Do You Come from, Upside-Down Land?” by Lonely Christopher. Read more and see withal:

When, Why, How, Who, Know

The Corresponding Society was founded to publish our journal Correspondence, third issue arriving almost-presently, and for some time the moral, mental, and monetary expense of that undertaking alone distracted us from thoughts of multiple directions. Also, at an early meeting, somebody chanced to scream, “There is no way we are doing chapbooks!” and it took a while to schedule a review of that declaration. Around the time we went so far as to release the online chapbook The Gates Salon (Thursday) by (issue three cover artist and contributor) Ray-Ray Mitrano, readable here, the project of a series of single-author poetry chapbooks was being proposed by (one of the founding editors) Robert Snyderman. The chapbook, a sexily intimate object as far as vehicles for poetry go, presents quite a different form than the anthologizing hulk of a literary journal. The latter’s crowded gloriously with a noisy gymfull of different writers, voices rubbing around the pages in discursive concert (the order of the work has to be arranged carefully, like an arty mix-tape); the former’s singular and allows breathing room for a particular voice to stretch --- a single-source poetry architected to have space with itself between the folded cover pages. Also, whereas Correspondence releases in a perfect-bound, professionally printed version, the craft of the chapbook is intensely personal and susceptible to cultish attention. A finely-made chapbook is a fetish object in some literary circles. There was a tremendous argument for embarking on the adventure of a chapbook line and Mr. Snyderman initiated the effort by curating a triad of titles from poets he admired and wanted new published projects from. Almost immediately, Robert fled the country and became an illegal alien roaming Quebec and environs, working as a migrant farmhand and traveling/ditch-sleeping with a French-Canadian painter he met on a beach. Fortunately, Sonia Farmer and Caroline Gormley had accepted duties as the artistic directors of what Robert had named the “No Know” series; thus work was able to continue through the summer. Actually, the two art directors also fled the region presently --- on a protracted homeland visitation to the Bahamas and a relocation to Austin, TX respectively --- but not before covers were produced by letter press process, which makes for fucking handsome chapbook covers. The books came individually from terrifically disparate poetic sensibilities, yet from writers who had been working very closely as peers for many years. When presented all three at readings, the texts play strangely off each other, inciting formal resonances through elegiac examination, across the pages of modernist literature sweeping some words onto new surfaces, and around a legion of social voices stolen into new rhetorical contexts. The pitches of these poems range from conceptually personal, personally textual, and textually sociopolitical. The innocent editors, who volunteered the man-hours required to stitch and otherwise prepare these limited editions, were nearly destroyed by the fairly simple task of sewing paper, but everyone involved argues the sacrifice --- for what “No Know” offers, if the dear reader cares to discover, are important introductions to the writerly projects of three distinct young directions.

Know More No

The three titles are available at select NYC book merchants and, conveniently, here for purchase through our online store. For a limited time, orders placed online will enjoy free shipping.

Each title is published in a limited edition of 50 copies, is pamphlet stitched, and features a letterpress printed cover. Learn about them:

Elegies for A.R. Ammons by David Swensen

These are poems for the late Ammons written as the true elegy must be. They do not lament the lost poet, but attempt to wade into and harvest from his work. They integrate the landscapes of Swensen’s North Carolinian childhood with scenes from his more recent life in Scotland and New York, commemorating Ammons by constantly pressing at his colloquial --- at times ribald --- style, keeping alive Ammons’ work as it is pressed into new and vital forms.

This Pose Can Be Held for Only So Long by Caroline Gormley

A personal geography and map of the Texan Gulf Coast viewed through the eyes of youth. The poem strives to recreate that lost landscape by whatever means available --- at once using traditional poetic forms as well as combining the dissolving documents of childhood, with selected erasures of major 20th century American novels.

Wow, Where Do You Come from, Upside-Down Land? by Lonely Christopher

With the utmost precision and economy, Lonely Christopher addresses in Wow, Where Do You Come from, Upside-Down Land? the contemporary queer political sphere through questions of linguistics, conducting his subjects into a terse, wry, and ultimately operatic chorus of commentary.

"By eloquently rearranging the detritus of our national debate about gay rights, Lonely Christopher’s biting, anti-poetic poetry shows us the heights of pathos and the depths of foolishness around the issue, while delightfully mixing sexuality with textuality."
--- James Hannaham (author of God Says No)

Also know: the entire series is purchasable for fifteen dollars together. Get know.

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