Thursday, April 02, 2009

jwcurry’s newsnotes + other recent 1cents

plastic houses don’t crumble pretty (predictable aesthetics

plastic houses don’t crumble pretty. when I’m old
walking past melted neighborhoods (townhouse removal)
won’t the skin bubble where I once considered surgery?
won’t the cinematic windswept swirl just then,
movie longforgotten – think it my idea?
all gardens go Lego at the thought. all trees shiver
into shiny / polyurethane dogs polyurinate.
yeahsure. you take off your hair revealing
bald yellow knob, pull off your head
& then remember it’s not supposed to do that. (Laurie Fuhr)

For quite a while, Ottawa writer/publisher/bookseller jwcurry has been referring to Vancouver poet Judith Copithorne as our first lady of concrete, being the first woman in Canada to engage with (and continuing to engage with) visual and concrete poetry, appearing in such important Canadian concrete/visual poetry anthologies such as the four author Four Parts Sand (Ottawa ON: Oberon Press, 1972), John Robert Colombo’s New Directions in Canadian Poetry (Toronto ON: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971) and bpNichol's The Cosmic Chef (Ottawa ON: Oberon Press, 1970). Despite this, the other night in his apartment, curry ran through a list off the top of his head of important studies, anthologies, book-length essays, journals and other publications that have worked to discuss the importance of Canadian concrete and/or the contributions of Canadian women in writing and publishing, that have managed to overlook the contributions of Copithorne (including as footnote if at all), despite a productivity that is working its way up to five decades long.

In his four hundredth issue of 1cent, produced as the thirteenth issue of his ongoing news notes (for Judith with love, a bibliography of the whole series so far at the back of the publication), Copithorne admirer curry has compiled a small festschrift of sorts, even including the beginnings of a list of her publications, whether as author or editor, something which seems long overdue. I would quote what Columbo wrote in his anthology about Copithorne, but I can’t seem to find my copy of the small anthology. Not that the whole issue is taken up with Copithorne, but awash with short reviews, essays, poems, and other reproductions, with contributions from Lance LaRocque, Maxine Gadd, Pearl Pirie, Richard Truhlar, Ben Watson, Bob Snider, Laurie Fuhr, bpNichol, Daniel f. Bradley, Warren Dean Fulton, John Barlow and a whole slew of others, as well as curry himself.

Ran Delimited Poaching or Donut

This far isn’t
which act
out chin

eats ejecting rate
additive plant
crack trapped crab

snare for shore
untoward claims

exact to trans
and as else
to dots miss

could digit that

pulls loose pack
all such tape

legislate m’keep
even no inasmuch
them litter the foot

easy at blight
copies. Awful shears (Aaron Vidaver)

How does one describe the 1cent series? First off, they sell for a penny each [see my piece on such in Open Letter, reprinted in my recent collection of essays], with most rubber-stamped on the back. Some are hand-printed, some made on his 1920s-era Gestetner. Other recent publications in the same series include pieces by Alana Madison, the poem “SLIVERICK” by Margaret Avison (reprinted from the 1969 5¢ Mini Mimeo; curry has wondered out loud, has this poem appeared anywhere else since?), and Tom Kryss’ prose-piece “Roses that Bloom,” among others (even another reprint of some works from Vancouver’s old 3¢ Pulp (precursor to the current Arsenal Pulp Press), including one by the late Ottawa bookseller Richard Simmins).

“Personally I draw the line at buggery,” old Rico said.

“But then maybe I was a bit perverted too before I got married. Everything there is. I tried it.

“The whole goddam world was sexual. There was that breathing I could hear. And the smells. There’s no way you can hide them. No way. Remember, always roll your handkerchief into your armpit before you iron it.

“It must have started with that 16-year old girl from the detention home who worked for my mother, she used to jerk me when I was five or six standing on the toilet seat waiting to be dried.

“As a kid though, the two horniest things I can remember are Helen’s frothy open crotch opposite mine when we picked wild strawberries in the pasture next to the loam field. That, and the tight, soft, shiny, purple-black udder of the big mare about four weeks after she foaled.” (Richard Simmins, 1cent #397)
One thing that curry has sought out for years, again referenced in this issue of news notes, is to provide and receive a response/dialogue about so many of these works he prints, publishes, promotes and otherwise writes about (one aspect of such that binds, unfortunately, is that he "distrusts people's obsession with things online" which he sees as a format rather restrictive). Another part of this issue includes a piece by Ben Watson, who has written a great deal on Frank Zappa, and his response (very curry-like, if you will) to a recent conference. The first paragraph, for example, of his “Anti-Zappa, Or, Not Getting the Point,” on the “Third International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology, Paris 4-7 July 2008” writes:
I am afraid I must start with a sharp reprimand to the comrades of the Third International. In a revolutionary movement there are always backsliders, blackguards and lily-livered poltroons who think it easier to excise the revolutionary part of the programme in favour of “accessibility” or “market penetration”, even if this destroys the whole point of being here. I note that whoever was in the charge of the posters for this event saw fit to drop the term “Esemplastic” from the conference title, even though the first two internationals – in London in 2004 and in Rome in 2006 – were specifically designated as “esemplastic”, and organized by myself and Marco Maurizi in order to encourage esemplastic thinking. Calling this the “third” international whilst dropping the inconvenient term – and stooping to the banality of reproducing yet another photo of Frank Zappa’s boring face – steals from our efforts whilst contributing nothing. It is another sorry example of the way all attempts at gaining power in this system without contesting it lead to the same old putrid boring nonsense. Moreover, these publicists are doomed to fail. In so far as you advertise using Zappa’s face, you simply offend the Zappa Family Trust, provide a shabby example of bootleg commercialism, and guarantee that you attract people who will not understand a word of what is being talked about.
Other parts of the issue include fragments a work-in-progress that bpNichol was working on before he died, The OTHER Captain Poetry Poems, a review of/response to the second volume of Barbara Caruso’s journals, a brief write-up around comments made by Dorothy Lusk in the Jacket interview Donato Mancini did a few years back, a piece on the mysterious Toronto artist P. Cob (friends of curry will know he has been talking about a new P. Cob project for months) by D.M. Owen, visuals and text by Copithorne herself, and a few other oddbits.

Lewd Basho posing shaved
in black leather jacket

A golden boy
Wearing just flickers of
Candlelight will fuck
Like a star

Make sure to get a good
Look as heaven declares civil
War suicide bombing
White horses enflared

Cheerleader dark
Nights and day hot drippings

They do a nasty
Thing with their chicken legs
Still screaming
Bok! Bok! Bok! (Alana Madison, 1cent #395)

If you’re interested in further information, be sure to write him c/o #302-880 Somerset Street West, Ottawa Ontario Canada K1R 6R7; otherwise, according to the news notes themselves, you can even find a brief documentary around curry’s recent MESSAGIO GALORE take VI at

No comments: