12 Writers Respond to Images by Erik Schurink
Edited by Tom La Farge
Does this image show a seal or a star-nosed mole? Erik Schurink took the picture and thought it was a seal with a beach-ball, but Maria Schurr re-encrypted it in her poem “PSA for Moles.” Eleven other writers have joined her in animal ecphrasis with the images of spiders, bitterns, elephant seals, and even a camelus draconis. They all came out of hiding to pose for Erik’s camera on the shores of Lake Ontario, in Paris, in the Netherlands, on Long Island, and in Brooklyn, and they have produced poems, dialogues in prose, dialogues in birdsong mnemonics, anagrammatized Middle English stories, and even a chimera in which all nouns were removed from an article on the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park and replaced with nouns from the Book of Isaiah.
There was Something in the Weather
by James Walsh
There was Something in the Weather consists of extracts from the early journals of John Ruskin, the most influential art critic of 19th century Britain. These entries, however, were written when Ruskin was sixteen and making his first journey to Switzerland and Italy, shortly after having been denied the love of Adèle-Clotilde Domecq, daughter of his father’s partner.
By using a traced-type calligraphy and reformatting journal entries as lines of verse, James Walsh moves Ruskin’s text nearer the reader and brings out the suppressed feeling in what might otherwise appear neutral observations of rocks, buildings, glaciers, and skies.
Museum of Matches
by Sasha Chavchavadze
“The following of … thematic designs through one’s life should be, I think, the true purpose of autobiography.” So Vladimir Nabokov declares in Speak, Memory, just after describing a game played with matches. When Sasha Chavchavadze learned that her Romanov-descended father, a CIA agent during the Cold War, had played a similar game, she had found the thematic “matches” she must follow to understand her early life. Chavchavadze, a multimedia artist, first built a body of “matchwork,” including a battlefield with massed armies of kitchen matches, the Museum of Matches, a one-room installation at Proteus Gowanus and documented in a website. Now as a book Museum of Matches makes a similar assemblage of visual and thematic forms arranged in memory-patterns.
by Wendy Walker
In 2009 Proteotypes published Wendy Walker’s Blue Fire, a radical experiment in poetic nonfiction. It takes as its subject the 1860 murder case that launched the genre of true crime novel and inspired Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone. Walker began a novel about the case but abandoned it. However, one chapter of that first version had already escaped the novel form and is now in print as the second of our Libellulae series. Hysterical Operators represents the amorous visit of “the inspector of factories” to “the lover of melodrama” in a dialogue half of which is composed in language used to describe the functioning of industrial machinery and the other in lines taken directly from Victorian melodrama.
A Little Common Place Book
published by Proteotypes and Cabinet Magazine
When you come across a passage in your reading and want to remember it, what do you do? During the Enlightenment John Locke and many others kept “commonplace books” in which they wrote such passages down, but then, to make it easier to find a passage again, Locke, or someone else using his name, created a simple system for indexing by topic. That essay, reprinted from a unique copy in the Princeton University Library, introduces this handsome hardcover book, the rest of which has been left blank for your use.
Life and Conversation of Animals
by Tom La Farge
We are excited to launch our new Libellulæ series of affordable feuilletons with Life and Conversation of Animals. In this visually striking collection Tom La Farge has composed seven pieces from “booksherds”: words and phrases lifted in their original typography from the first edition of Gilbert White’s classic Natural History of Selborne (1789). The writer as migratory bird; language as gesture; words as gypsy cobwebs — these are some of the themes that surface in this recombinant text.
by Tom La Farge
Echo Alternators looks in depth at homophonic compositions of sounds freed from their original sense and brought into new meaning. The techniques examined range from those used in literary composition by Raymond Roussel, Jonathan Swift, and Louis and Celia Zukofsky to the playful pleasures of the rebus, “Anguish Languish” and “Poetry for Dogs.”
6″ by 7 ½”, 32 pages
by Ernst G. Benkert
109 Stackheadsreproduces the contents of a sketch-book filled by Benkert between May 27th and June 17th, 2000. The “Stackheads” of the title identify the outline that Benkert used to frame the highly worked, amazingly varied interiors. Individually they will seem pure abstractions, but taken collectively they might be read as representations of the interior weather of the human head.
$35 paperback only
by Wendy Walker
In Blue Fire a major new work in poetic non-fiction, Wendy Walker reexamines the case of Constance Kent, protagonist at 15 of “the Great Crime of 1860.” Accused of murdering her younger half-brother and stuffing his body down the privy at her father’s house at Road in Wiltshire, Constance was cleared at the coroner’s inquest. In the view of most at the time, the boy had been killed by his father and his nurse. Yet five years later in 1865 Constance, under the influence of a priest, confessed to the crime. [...]
by Tom La Farge
Homomorphic Converters, the second pamphlet in the series 13 Writhing Machines, continues Tom La Farge’s exploration of the techniques of constrained composition, begun in Administrative Assemblages (recently reissued in a perfectbound paperback edition). Homomorphism is new wine in old bottles, and Homomorphic Converters teaches you how to use a pre-existing form of words or of images, found or invented, to express matter radically different from what that form originally expressed. [...]
623 Titles Without Paintings
by Ernst Benkert
For fifty years a painter, Ernst Benkert, kept notebooks in which he recorded the passages that had struck him in his reading. From the writings of Meister Eckhart and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Robertson Davies and Thomas Bernhard, Oscar Wilde and Friedrich Nietzsche, Abram Tertz and Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag and Thomas Merton, from proverbs Rumanian and Haitian, from graffiti and the Upanishads, from the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, from the pages of the Times Literary Supplement and The New York Review of Books, and above all from a library of books about art, Benkert culled an extraordinary set of assertions, propositions, opinions, and definitions. [...]
The Social Vision of Alfred T. White
Essays by Lisa Ackerman, Olive Hoogenboom, Tom La Farge, Kathy Madden, Francis Morrone, Benjamin Warnke and Sally Yarmolinsky. Edited by Wendy Walker.
A book of essays about the little known but immensely important 19th century Brooklyn social visionary.
The Social Vision of Alfred T. White is the first full-length study of the work of Alfred Tredway White (1846-1921). Largely forgotten today, his name known only to specialists, Alfred White at his death was eulogized as “the great heart and master-mind of Brooklyn’s better self” for his many forward-looking innovations in low-income housing and in promoting the welfare of poor children, for his ability to enlist others to this work, and for his insistence that rapidly growing Brooklyn retain a sense of community values. [...]
by Tom La Farge
Administrative Assemblages is No. 1 in the series, 13 Writhing Machines, Tom La Farge’s pamphlets on constrained (oulipian) writing. Thirty-six pages long and illustrated with attractive and curious images such as Sir Francis Galton’s display case of eyeballs, Administrative Assemblages discusses the use in composition of forms that the world sends us: the book-index (J. G. Ballard), the US Zip Code Directory (Paul Metcalf), or the gallery checklist (Gilbert Sorrentino). [...]
Art Director: Maddy Rosenberg, Editor: Wendy Walker, Creative Director: Sasha Chavchavadze
Play Book, the initial offering of Proteotypes, was published in conjunction with the Proteus Gowanus 2007-8 theme “Play.” The Play Book collects artist’s interpretations and configurations of play, ready to cut, fold, paste, and assemble. Included are a match game, a word game, a word maze, a geometric puzzler, paper dolls, an automaton, a miniature card deck, a flip-book, and a toy theater. Other features include images of play and games, pages of anagrams and palindromes, ponderings on the meaning of play, conundrums by Lewis Carroll, and a short play by Gertrude Stein.
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