Year-End Report: 2012

If much of 2011 was spent publishing texts of mine on Amazon’s Kindle, this past year I discovered its CreateSpace, which is its on-demand paperback printing channel whose ease of access and low-costs are competitive and attractive. So within the past year I printed books from several manuscripts that had been languishing, all of which are now available from me or via the Amazon website. (Simply, open it and then type my name as author. Note low prices for now, exemplifying Amazon’s strategy of predatory pricing meant to drive out competitors, in this case including the author, who can beat them only if he offers to inscribe his books.)

May I claim that most of these 2012 publications are significant enough to warrant acknowledgment in some future literary histories:

For 2013 I’m planning to produce:

Here I should mention that, long stalled in production are these designed by Denzel Russell, an intern from Alfred College, who has worked on them for some eighteen months, promising brilliant results:

Not forgetting AmazonKindle, I published in that channel Annotating My Bibliography, which has been at 135,000 words my principal writing project for the past year—a kind of literary autobiography without precedent; a Selection from Annotating, which is an inexpensive introduction; Brown University Remembered, which I hope goes well beyond previous considerations of anyone’s alma mater; a new edition of Book-Art and Alternative Publishing; 42,000 words of DanceWritings, which I was surprised to find in my files; Dick Higgins, which collects my writings about and some of my correspondence with my principal professional colleague until he passed nearly fifteen years ago; More on Performances, which collects the beginnings of a book to which more chapters will be added; More Prose Pieces, which are experimental writings that are neither poetry nor fiction; On Anthologies, which collects all my criticism of a genre commonly taken for granted.

Also new on Kindle are The Grants-Fix (1987), my classic examination of literary granting at the National Endowments, the New York State Council on the Arts, etc., from which previous readers learned and learned; and two books of my previously uncollected literary essays of the past two decades, Person of Letters in the Contemporary World and Son of Letters, both edited by Elizabeth Bonapfel under an internship. Actually, these are two versions of the same book; for while they have similar chapters, their sequences are different. The former has hers; the latter, mine. I kept Son of for truths and materials unavailable in the former. Indeed, Person should join four previous titles of mine as an Autonomedia print book. (Yes, I still believe in printing print.)

Joel Chadabe’s Intelligent Arts put on the Internet John Cage’s Greatest Hits, which tries to identify his strongest work in various media.

I’m additionally photocopying at 8½″ × 11″ limited editions of two books of Constructivist Fictions begun 37 years ago—not only the novella CF 1 but the novel-length Symmetries, both exemplifying abstract graphic narratives that seems no less innovative now than it did back then. A Book of Eyes is nearly two hundred pages solely of the letter I (yep) in a spectacular variety of typefaces. I’m working on “Him Her,” a visual narrative with only those two loaded words in several dozen typefaces appearing in a rich variety of suggestive configurations. One theme of these books, as well as certain others of mine, is that much literary experience comes from turning from one page to its successor.

On my website alone now appear (to be continuously updated) Additions to Ecce Kosti, which was the 1995 collection of surprising encomia for my work; Cultural Magazines’ Retrospectives, which describes my unique collection still in progress; Dedications, which is another alternative autobiography seen through people to whom I’ve dedicated my books.

Whew.

May I especially recommend the political critiques I’ve been publishing monthly in The New English Review and expect to make of them a book titled “Deeper, Further, and Behind,” which are the aims of my criticism. Since my political criticism isn’t acknowledged in history books, in contrast to my poetry, fiction, criticism, and music composition, I often wonder why I continue to write it? The answer is, simply, that I’m saying important truths deeper, further, and behind and thus missed by others. For instance, who else regards the purported removal of Osama bin Laden as a “perfect hoax”? (Yes, I still do.)

Two questions I should ask when invited to do anything time-consuming are 1.) will this work be acknowledged in future histories or encyclopedia entries about me; 2) does it pay, because my situation costs more than I can afford. Otherwise, please forgive if I pass. Some sponsors seem disappointed when I refuse offers that bestow only prestige. More recognitions, even elite recognitions, I don’t need anymore.

I like where I live now. It’s hard for me to recall that I ever resided anywhere else. My building is spacious and so capacious that I can agreeably spend all day every day at home. It’s secure with concrete walls and few windows; quite visible on the corner across from a spacious laundry open around the clock. The roof is expansive, offering as well a view of the Manhattan skyline. With several thousand interior square feet I have room for my library, my art collection, and my professional archive. I swim for thirty continuous minutes most every night.

When people ask where I live, I reply “next to the L-train,” which is true, as the Halsey Street station is just outside my door and Union Square less than thirty minutes away. “Ridgewood” is someplace else. The more familiar called Bushwick, officially in Brooklyn, is one block south and one block east, so that whenever my neighbors and myself participate in the annual Bushwick Open Studios, we call our ’hood “Far East Bushwick. (We ain’t far east for nothing.)”

I shop for most staples one short block away in a modest grocery where stuff is displayed in their original shipping boxes with the fronts cut away. As Junior’s/Western Beef doesn’t carry romaine lettuce, grapefruit, plain yogurt, or beer, I go every fortnight or so a kilometer down Wyckoff Avenue to a mammoth Food Bazaar that has a refrigerated meat room in addition to fresh fish. Otherwise, there is no bank in my ‘hood, no CVS or other chain drug store, no Starbucks or other coffee shop, no Irish bar or other watering holes barely serving food.

I know people on my block, many of them Puerto Ricans who have owed their buildings for decades; and they know me. On sunny afternoons, if I’m too lazy to climb two flights of stairs to my roof, I take my chair out into the space behind my street-level fence and read before I fall asleep for the daily afternoon nap I find essential if I’m to stay awake in the evening. I know merchants and eateries west of me on Wyckoff Avenue. On the other hand, I must think twice before recalling the order of the parallel streets north of me—Cypress and Senaca and often think mistakenly that the second might be closer to me than the former. I never go south of Why Cough.

Around me, especially down Wyckoff Ave, are other essentially single-story buildings, once factories, that, like mine, have large ground-floor spaces with residential apartments within or above them. Many have signs reading “Available.” My expectation is that some will become art galleries or intimate theaters within the next decade. I’m glad I got here early. I put “Ridgewood-SoHo” in my address, not only because I think my ‘hood different from Ridgewood proper but also because I imagine that many more artists will be residing and working around here soon and, thus, that they might want to appropriate that epithet as well.

I returned to Berlin for the first time in twenty-three years, giving this lecture mostly about my writing directly for new technologies at the Technical University, thanks to Prof. Hans-Christian von Herrmann. Arnold Dreyblatt asked me to lecture about John Cage at the art academy in Kiel, while Neely Bruce expedited my return to Wesleyan nearly twenty-five years later. At the Offprint Fair of Artists’ Books in Paris, I delivered a Powerpoint presentation with examples from my books for commercial publishers, university presses, small presses, micropresses, book-art, self-publication, ebooks, Createspace, video, and holography—within one hour a retrospective documenting fifty years of book-making and incidentally discriminating among options that have different motives and possibilities. I’d like to give again this lecture that I’ll venture would give new intelligence to everyone.

With my filmmaking partner Martin Koerber, I revisited the Weissensee Jewish Cemetery about which we made a film some three decades ago. Since the place has been cleaned up, I realize that all the photos that I took thirty years ago can no longer be reshot by a more professional photographer. For that reason alone, my pictures should become a book that, alas, needs an intern more than me.

Much of the past summer was spent at Rockaway Beach, this year swimming more than bodysurfing as the Atlantic waters were generally calm; and from September into June, I continue springboard diving, again regretting that no one sponsors a Senior Olympics in which I might compete with my several dives.

Though the storm called Sandy wrecked havoc in the Rockaways, it had less effect here at Wordship. The roof didn’t leaf, my property has no trees, my roof stuff didn’t blow away. Verizon Internet went out for a few days. More problematic was the demise of the L-train without the MTA providing replacement bus service. Staying home, I got a lot of work done, incidentally discovering that I felt comfortable in staying home day after day. To those suffering damages, condolences; to those inquiring about my situation here, thanks for your concern.

While continuing to clean up my literary legacies, I hope next summer to complete more Art.

May I wish you one and all the best fortunes for the coming year.