1. The Legs of Izolda Morgan now out

    The Legs of Izolda Morgan, a selection of novellas, essays, and manifestos by Bruno Jasieński is now available.

    The Futurist writing is translated from Polish by Soren Gauger and the later satiric grotesques from his time in the Soviet Union is translated from Russian by Guy Torr.

    It includes a frontispiece portrait of Jasieński by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz.

    For info about the book go here.

    Read an excerpt here.


    Cover by Dan Mayer, front.

    Cover by Dan Mayer.

    Portrait of Jasieński by Witkiewicz.

    2nd Futurist Manifesto “Nife in the Gutt.”

  2. Release: Miruna, a Tale

    Bogdan Suceavă’s novella Miruna, a Tale will be in the UK next week, and later in the year it will be released in the US.

    The cover, shown here, is by Dan Mayer and is stamped (the monstrance resemblance entirely by chance, albeit apropos). The explosion of time is a common theme throughout Central Europe (viz. Jachým Topol’s Sister), but the novella is less about time exploding than time transforming, even by inertia or entropy, via the act of storytelling.

    Some links:

    Excerpt

    Afterword

    Taxing fortunetellers and witches (for background, absurd certainly but explains much): “If witches are forced to pay income taxes, Buzea said, they will cast a curse on lawmakers.”

    Miruna, a Tale has a lot to say about the power of curses.

  3. Soon : Miruna, a Tale

    image

    [The lower Carpathians]

    We are finally getting Bogdan Suceavă’s magical novella Miruna, a Tale to the printers this week. On the surface it is about the art of storytelling, and the telling of the history of a family and their ancestral village in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. But what becomes clear as the telling progresses is that when one speaks of history there is no way to disentangle myth from reality, no matter what the source (newspapers are hardly more believable than hearsay), so that “truth” remains forever elusive, nothing more than an amalgam of the actual and pure invention.

    We have posted an excerpt here and the author’s afterword here.

    The official “release” is mid-January in the UK, and sometime next autumn in the US, but we’ll have copies first week of December. For more info go here.

  4. Walter Serner’s Cuff Poems

    Hans Arp makes the claim that automatic writing came into being when he, Tristan Tzara, and Walter Serner wrote a series of poems at Café de la Terrasse in Zürich. Serner states that they wrote about 15 or 16 together, of which nine have survived and are found in Tzara’s collected typescripts.

    Serner also wrote automatic poems by himself, giving the cycle the title “Manschette” (“Cuff”), with each poem having a number and a subtitle. Three of the seven presented here in translation were published in 1919 in the Dada magazine Der Zeltweg. Supposedly there were an additional ten automatic poems that Serner sent to Richard Huelsenbeck in September 1919 — but he could not remember later what happened to them or even if he had ever received them. Another Serner mystery.


    cuff 5
    (epitaph postal)

    You never loved the damp rags
    On your table every breadroll was a reason
    On your upper lip vibrated the last edge
    You whistled vowels as if intended just for me
    On your wrist hung everything quite severely
    You were reason
    You gave me up


    cuff 6
    (placide of the teashaker)

    wild and tiredly the bright hoes
    everything is a beatdown
    it lets the slag pile
    if it´s like on the last day
    the mild mouth will swell and beg
    do you not see the eleventh case
    how he does still love the silent cheesemaker


    cuff 7
    (romance)

    It is not difficult to be blonde

    Since in some nights
    Red rings blast apart
    Every hope is in the sense of the moment
    Lazy

    Look into my eyes
    Softshelled almond at half-mast
    Cointreau triple sec with double-tax
    Every throatcloud a mistake
    Every bellyfold a fullbath
    Every main word a round-trip-ticket
    Je te crache sur la tete
    Look into my eyes

    Is it so difficult to be blonde


    cuff 9
    (elegie)

    speak more clearly

    a yellow walking stick slides diagonally through my head
    in all basements
    is it brighter than in my guts

    speak more clearly

    I like hearing the whack on naked babies´ bottoms
    Since it so enchanted you
    When I simply whirled away
    O why not slowly stroke oneself
    Rapturously greeting bootjacks silent
    Beyond every bourgeois kitchen

    O speak more clearly

    Make your corpulent mounds of filth collapse
    Above your belly
    With a powerful metaphysical belch


    cuff 22
    (eastern cathedrals)

    can the fist sloshed-round more gently chirp
    poking every breastsnout may
    jasmines the bloomingchild from the dams
    of hourly hotels and aerobanalers
    the mousebase whisks a summerflatcakes long
    this completely mute
    fog-absorber does flex
    much much too long
    and full of consideration too
    not without gout
    pukes
    he
    much
    more
    have you already seen bill´s terror


    cuff 202
    (joop)

    drawn from the loose red of the bandages
    metropoles the docks the heels the vaus the calves
    ha how tüllich ha how evening edition
    what is finland to me
    of the haagforehead geyser and from downy light
    a very somber confounded to the vests of the rollreduction tanks
    from the adjacent stool ha
    as it ticks in the gills of the majorities ha like it
    fops on the glaze of the drains
    ha how it sucks on the latrines of offenses
    and schnüff pamf wumpf tremsch
    well pulsed trilled in the silky hemp om prolonged sesame of
    knüllgebl.ses
    oj oj oj
    dont j’étais vraiment amoureux
    give me the teemingapple
    the reststamme
    (o leckerté)
    the sunny caravan
    the modetext
    the lungscentedbillowed
    the hot can only dwell in the foam of the ginning
    chottochott the lovely hungerpoles of the throats
    the soaked settletwitch warped hinge
    o the unlernt fingeryminderd yummy yummy
    and emptied from the spittletrap
    c´est exquis


    cuff 797
    (micarème)

    idiot poire imbécile cochon
    well yeah and kisses away the taut scent
    onto which the slobberstreams refresh themselves and overly buoyant
    fusillades dredge and are dewy and heated
    in stubbyarches of wet nuts of greenland
    strawyfavorites candlestockings sigh too
    pressed garbagesufferances from the palestorms
    grim dumplings and rubbery results henceforth
    the sweetly fried horizonplowers albeit
    burst like an adult with highsoundflatulence
    in front of the muffled minister of debris for columngreenspan
    simmering still the glrery stand-up collars why
    hummed in the finesse of autoskeweredravens someday
    lubberlyer eavesdroppers consume prepositions
    disturbingpeacefuls raise their steelraillegs
    unto us stukkoturish omnibuses sober up purposefully
    before sloping trainstation edgeysides of the quite syphilitic
    jupiterstallions on the second day of easter unto which the sky
    more or less blue and wandered around behind the
    barracks and he got bored and quite mechanically almost all of them
    were drunk
    and the smutty songs and already two holidays a quarter of an hour ago
    since felix marries at a moment of his life
    had cochon imbécile poire idiot so that one simply
    was no longer balanced and just for fun disembodied those gentlemen


    translated from the German and introduced by Mark Kanak

    All rights reserved.

    For more on Serner and other work by him go here.

  5. Mark Kanak projects

    Mark Kanak, the translator of Peter Pessl’s Aquamarine and Walter Serner’s Last Loosening: A Handbook for Con Men and Those Who Wish to Be One, has a few things going on involving his own work in German:

    An ongoing online project here that will be published as a book in 2015 or so.

    A just published collection of “torture” poems (Folterlyrik) here.

    A piece in Idiome, a magazine for new prose out of Berlin & Vienna.

  6. Phil Shoenfelt U.S concerts in May

    Phil Shoenfelt, author of Junkie Love, will be performing at a number of venues with Pavel Cingl in the U.S. in May.

    May 21
    Interview with Phil on the ReW & WhO Internet TV show, NYC

    May 23
    7 p.m. : Barbes, Brooklyn, NY

    May 24
    Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY
    with Lorraine Leckie

    May 25
    Salt Creek Grille, Princton, NJ
    with William Hart Strecker

    May 26
    7 p.m. : Zirzamin, NYC
    with Lorraine Leckie
    11 p.m. : Otto’s Shrunken Head

    May 27
    Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, NYC

    May 29
    Cedars, Youngstown, Ohio

    May 31
    Alpine Banquet House, Chicago

  7. Jindřich Štyrský on encountering Marquis de Sade’s La Coste

    The Landscape of Marquis de Sade
    text and photographs by Jindřich Štyrský

    History is nothing if not the remarkable dissipation of truth in time. This is why the names of poets are always connected to ruins and shadows. Everything the poet forsakes turns to gray and ash. Poets delight in observing how oblivion corrupts the forms of what was once beauty, how emptiness expands in hearts once vital, how everything around them ripens toward death, how everything rushes toward expiration, while their hearts are denied the benevolence of aging. Todays and tomorrows are not a poet’s concern, time is.

    The Marquis de Sade, one of the greatest minds and the literary epitome of the 18th century, escaped, fortunately, the notice of his contemporaries. — His vast oeuvre has only received its proper due today, and his proscribed name, shrouded for the whole 19th century by heinous legend, only now has been completely rehabilitated.

    image

    The sky, azure as the distance, arches over his landscape. I passed through in summer so that I could brush its horizons, read the collapsed walls of La Coste, and later manage to reliably isolate from the bare brown earth of its vineyards on the Saumane slopes that tint of blood lying more than a hundred years to his memory.

    Read More

  8. Surrealist NYC: This Woman is My Coffin: Jindřich Štyrský →

    surrealistnyc:

    image

    Later I placed an aquarium in the window. In it I cultivated a golden-haired vulva and a magnificent specimen of a penis with a blue eye and delicate veins on its temples. In time, however, I threw in everything I had ever loved: shards of broken teacups, hairpins, Barbara’s slipper,…

  9. "The Mácha Cult" by Bohuslav Brouk

    image

    photo: from the left: Bohuslav Brouk, Toyen, Jaroslav Seifert

    The Mácha Cult
    by Bohuslav Brouk

    Common folk, made abject by an inferiority complex, need idols to worship. In the Middle Ages, these idols were provided by religion. Today they are supplied by history, science, and art. The Christian saints have been supplanted by statesmen, generals, inventors, explorers, scientists, philosophers, poets, painters, sculptors, and composers. In Bohemia, the poet Karel Hynek Mácha has become one such idol, and his work surely offers no reason why he shouldn’t be. On the contrary, Mácha is such a leading light of Czech letters that no manner of homage paid him will ever suffice. We should not forget, however, that not all the homages heaped on the giants of spirit are enviable.

    Every person who becomes the object of public adoration must undergo a process of artificial adaptation to this condition. As with saints, a legend must first be created around the deserving individual, and for the most part this acutely contradicts the reality. Every luminary in human history and culture must undergo idealization in such way that those who have set him on a pedestal will not see in his character their own weaknesses, obtuseness, and shallowness. In Western culture, a cult of genius has arisen, a veneration for eminent souls that has made famous philosophers, artists, and others into odd, mysterious creatures in the throes of crazed passions or saint-like zeal. A fruit of the Romantic spirit, the cult of genius has had little traction among us Czechs. We have viewed prominent individuals “realistically” rather than romantically, and they have been idealized as sober-minded, upstanding humans full of patriotic and altruistic sentiments. This is why we Czechs do not consider Mácha a genius who made an important contribution to poetry, but a national poet who made an important contribution to the elevation of the Czech language. Czechs have replaced the Romantic cult of genius with the Enlightenment cult of national revivalists, who are considered the models for the ideal citizen rather than the ideal type of scientist or artist. While elsewhere the cult of genius stirs in people a sense of beauty and profundity, our Revivalist cult imbues national pride and other ethical sentiments in the souls of our citizens.

    Read More

  10. K.J. Erben’s “A Bouquet” out soon

    Karel J. Erben’s A Bouquet with Alén Diviš’s artwork will be out in a month or so. We’ve put up an excerpt here.