Sunday, October 18, 2015

Joe Brainard, New Work (Black Sparrow Press, 1973, signed and numbered)

Took last week off after enduring the Rhineback Fall Foliage half marathon, but am back with an exciting recent acquisition by one of my favorite artists/authors, Joe Brainard. This is New Work, which was published in 1973 by Black Sparrow Press. This is #6 of 200 signed and numbered copies bound in a silky red floral fabric - there were 26 lettered copies that came with an original drawing by Brainard (more on those later).

New Work compiles some poems and short prose pieces that Brainard originally self-published in various staple-bound zines and poetry pamphlets. It's only about 50 pages but a fantastic selection, including this gem:

Now, as a collector I've been ridiculously tempted by these lettered Brainard books - there are a few out there, including The Vermont Notebook (with John Ashbery) and Kenward Elmslie's Circus Nerves. I've seen a lot of these and while it's great to see original ink drawings, they're not particularly special pieces. I've seen a drawing of a fence, a house, a toothbrush. These are priced high but somewhat within reach after a year or so of saving up. I've held out for years thinking I'd find one at a more reasonable price, but instead I found some original collages on eBay. I'll post some really exciting finds once they come back from the framer! 

Currently reading:
Keeping an Eye Open by Julian Barnes

Currently listening to:
Kurt Vile, "b'lieve i'm goin' down"

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