Insert Blanc Press

Interview with Boris Dralyuk, translator of A Slap in the Face

Hello Insert Blanc Readers! Recently, Saul Alpert-Abrams (an editorial assistant for the press) interviewed Boris Dralyuk, translator of A Slap in the Face: Four Russian Futurist Manifestos (now on pre-sale from Insert Blanc Press), over at the World Literature Today Blog

They talked about futurism, Russian politics, translation, and horses! Boris holds a PhD in Slavic languages and literature from UCLA and, among other things, is the translator of Leo Tolstoy’s How Much Land Does a Man Need (2010); co-translator of Polina Barskova’s The Zoo in Winter: Selected Poems (2011) and Dariusz Sośnicki’sThe World Shared: Poems (BOA Editions, forthcoming in 2014); and author of the monograph Western Crime Fiction Goes East: The Russian Pinkerton Craze 1907–1934 (2012). He is also co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski, of the forthcoming Anthology of Russian Poetry from Pushkin to Brodsky (2015). He received first prize in the 2011 Compass Translation Award competition and, with Irina Mashinski, first prize in the 2012 Joseph Brodsky / Stephen Spender Translation Prize competition. I am sure you will enjoy his brilliant explanations and his bright new translations for Insert Blanc. 

 

Saul Alpert-Abrams: What did you translate, and where and when were these originally published?

 

A Slap in the Face

 

Boris Dralyuk: I translated four manifestos, each signed by one or more members of the most accomplished Russian futurist group, Hylaea; the first manifesto was published in Moscow, and the rest in St. Petersburg, or Petrograd, as that city was known during the Great War. Hylaea—which, as I write in my preface, never fully embraced the term “futurist”—fostered and fed off the talents of two great Russian poets, Velimir Khlebnikov and Vladimir Mayakovsky. Both Khlebnikov and Mayakovsky would prove too prodigiously talented and protean to be contained by any single group, much less by any collective manifesto’s declarations. And indeed, one of the interesting things to observe in this collection is the emergence of Mayakovsky’s voice; the first manifesto (1912) is signed by a core group of Hylaeans, the second (1913) by nearly the entire group, the third (1913–14) by the core members along with a newly inducted former antagonist (Igor Severyanin), and the last, “A Drop of Tar” from SEIZED (1915), is signed by Mayakovsky himself. 

SAA: The manifestos claim a clean break from literary tradition, and although little is mentioned outright about politics, the polemic is distinctly subversive. To what extent are these manifestos a call to political reform as well? What, briefly, was the social situation under which these were composed?

BD: More than subversive—these people didn’t see themselves as sub- anything. They were superversive! They had to drag “Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and so on, and so on” onto the “steamship of modernity” just so they could toss them off. The Hylaeans were at the helm from the start.

As for politics, well, that’s complicated. The Russian intelligentsia—to which the Hylaeans belonged, whether they liked it or not—were a fairly radicalized group. Not all were bomb-throwing terrorists, of course, but there really were Russian bomb-throwing terrorists; it wasn’t just a European cliché. Most of the older and well-established intelligentsia were what was called liberal—that is, reformist, seeking to secure civil liberties, a greater space for civil society. Only a relatively small set were out-and-out Marxists, and they too had split into numerous factions by the early 1900s. Nonetheless, there was a general sense that the time for reform was long overdue. Russia underwent the first of its three revolutions in 1905, after its disastrous defeat in the Russo-Japanese War; initially, the reformers gained some ground, but it all proved too much for the tsarist authorities, who initiated a reactionary crackdown in 1907. By 1911, when the Hylaeans emerged, Russian intellectuals sensed that the country—if not the whole world—was on the brink of . . . that they were dancing on the precipice of . . . well . . . something. 

The Russian Hylaeans had no clear political program. They were more left than right, but that was a general trend. (It would have been very difficult for them to proclaim full allegiance to the tsarist regime. That would really have been a provocation, but of a very different sort!) Khlebnikov was a utopian thinker, embracing his own brand of pan-Slavism, and would become increasingly engrossed in mathematical calculations that he felt would predict the future. David Burlyuk was vaguely leftist, as was Benedikt Livshits—but the former emigrated after the revolution of 1917, and the latter was executed as an enemy of the people in 1938. Mayakovsky was the most politically radical member of Hylaea, and the closest to the Bolsheviks; he had been a member of the Bolshevik faction as early as 1908 and, after the October Revolution of 1917, proudly served the cause by pumping out slogans for posters, candy wrappers, etc. In 1922 he and his post-Revolutionary “futurist” colleagues founded LEF—the Left Front for Art; the former Hylaean, Kruchenykh, was also an associate, if not a full member. The 1920s were the heyday of futurist-Bolshevik collaboration. Mayakovsky’s suicide in 1930 marked the end of that period. It also secured his installation in the Soviet pantheon; once he was safely dead, Stalin proclaimed him “the best, most talented poet of our Soviet epoch.”

SAA: Where did the pre-Revolutionary futurists stand in the estimate of, say, Trotsky—one of the more sophisticated readers and literary critics among the Bolsheviks? Here’s a passage from his Literature and Revolution (1923–24):

Russian Futurism was born in a society which passed through the preparatory class of fighting the priest Rasputin, and was preparing for the democratic Revolution of February 1917. This gave our Futurism certain advantages. It caught rhythms of movement, of action, of attack, and of destruction which were as yet vague. It carried its struggle for a place in the sun more sharply, more resolutely and more noisily than all preceding schools, which was in accordance with its activist moods and points of view. To be sure, a young Futurist did not go to the factories and to the mills, but he made a lot of noise in cafes, he banged his fist upon music stands, he put on a yellow blouse, he painted his cheeks and threatened vaguely with his fist.

The workers’ Revolution in Russia broke loose before Futurism had time to free itself from its childish habits, from its yellow blouses, and from its excessive excitement, and before it could be officially recognized, that is, made into a politically harmless artistic school whose style is acceptable. The seizure of power by the proletariat caught Futurism still in the stage of being a persecuted group.

And this fact alone pushed Futurism towards the new masters of life, especially since the contact and rapprochement with the Revolution was made easier for Futurism by its philosophy, that is, by its lack of respect for old values and by its dynamics. But Futurism carried the features of its social origin, bourgeois Bohemia, into the new stage of its development.

 

Futurist book covers

 

BD: So what did the Hylaeans have in common with the Bolsheviks? An explosive hatred for the old order, and a common enemy—the bourgeois. There are two renderings of the French wordbourgeois in Russian:burzhua, a more-or-less neutral word, phonetically transcribed without malicious tweaking into Cyrillic script, and burzhuy, an ugly epithet. Here’s Mayakovsky’s most famous couplet, from 1917: “Eat your pineapples, chew your grouse, / Your last day draws near, you bourgeois louse!” The original rhymes “chew” (zhuy) with “bourgeois” (burzhuy). And there you have it: the bourgeois as a fat, contented consumer, chomping on game birds and sucking the marrow from their bones. And we, the artists of the future, should cater to his whims, grovel for his patronage? Not a chance. There’s some economic component to this critique, to be sure, but it’s primarily a matter of taste. The bourgeois is, first and foremost, a class enemy for the Bolsheviks and an aesthetic enemy for the Hylaeans.

SAA: What was the real threat to which the futurists were reacting in writers such as Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky?

BD: Not all the Hylaeans were ready to toss Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky overboard. Benedikt Livshits refused to sign the first manifesto because, as Vladimir Markov writes, “he knew the past too well . . . and he considered it hypocritical to debunk Pushkin while keeping his books under the pillows.” In general, Pushkin presented little to no threat in himself; it’s what had been made of Pushkin, the “white-marbled” statue, which inflamed the Hylaeans. But what do you expect? Pushkin is Russia’s “strongest” poet, in the Bloomian sense, and each generation enacts its agons in its own ways. The slash-and-burn agon of the Russian futurists may now seem as comically pathetic as it was exuberant, but it did produce new strong poets: in this case, Khlebnikov and Mayakovsky, and perhaps even Kruchenykh. Kruchenykh’s step away from the Russian literary tradition was surely the most radical. He founded a new poetics, called zaum, which is often translated as “transrational”; it literally means “beyond-mind,” so Paul Schmidt’s “beyonsense” may be the best rendering. Zaum, which was christened in Kruchenykh’s “Declaration of the Word as Such” (1913), liberated the word from bondage, establishing its supremacy over “common” sense: “the new word form creates new content, not the other way round.” In the collection Pomade (1913), he offered some examples of his new approach, “3 poems / written in / (my) own language / it differs from others: / its words have no / definite meaning,” the most famous of which is: 

Dyr bul shchyl
ubesh shchur
skum
vy so bu
r l ehz

Some of these combinations of letters are impossible in Russian orthography (shch and y in“shchyl”); others are standard Russian words (vy is the formal/plural “you”; so is “with”) that lose their meaning in the new context. In a manifesto written later in 1913 and titled simply “Word as Such,” Kruchenykh and Khlebnikov claim that there’s “more of the Russian national [in ‘Dyr bul shchyl’] than there is in all of Pushkin’s poetry.” This new “beyonsense” poetry—an extreme form of askesis, if we’re to stay Bloomian about it—is a dead end, of course. For one, it requires headnotes and manifestos written in more or less comprehensible Russian, a language to which both Khlebnikov and Kruchenykh eventually returned. But the radical departure did its work, pushing Russian literature in a new direction at precisely the time when the old idols were in decline. Tolstoy had died in 1910, symbolism—the dominant poetic and literary movement of the preceding two decades—had entered into a “crisis” that same year, and the world to which both had responded was about to change utterly.

SAA: Today we are used to the manifesto as a genre, but in the early twentieth century it was a brand-new endeavor. What was so radical about the genre in and of itself, in this case? And who was its audience?

BD: Yes, the manifesto was a radical genre! A manifesto was not only a declaration of beliefs, but a declaration of war on all other movements. Who was the audience? The simplest answer is anyone who cared to read it—or to listen. As Mayakovsky writes in “A Drop of Tar,” these were speeches “to be delivered at the first favorable opportunity.” The futurists were masters at drawing crowds. Their yellow blouses, painted faces, suspended grand pianos “and so forth, and so forth,” represented the latest advances in épater la bourgeoisie but were also calculated to bring la bourgeoisie out in droves to their lectures and performances. Futurism became a fashion, and you can see the Hylaeans straining against this in the later manifestos. But they’d asked for it. Hell, Trotsky was right about futurism’s “social origin”: “bourgeois Bohemia.”

SAA: As David Shook says in the preface, “translation is literature’s salvation from provincialism, from the stagnancy that flourishes with insularity.” This brings to mind two questions. First, with a new and more experimental translation, what relevance will it have for readers now? 

BD: Simply put, these manifestos are a lot of fun. And people interested in the movement—who want to know why it appealed to so many people, why it proved so provocative—deserve a translation that captures some of the originals’ spirit, energy, and charm. I like what David says about translation. I’ll add what Pushkin, the Hylaeans’ bête blanc, said on the matter. He called translators the “post-horses of enlightenment.” That’s not an insult; we get the message across. And horses are noble creatures. Even Mayakovsky urged us to have “A Good Attitude to Horses,” to treat them well, in his poem of 1918:

Horse, don’t cry.
Horse, please listen –
Why should you think you’re worse than they are?
Little one, look:
all of us are to some extent horses,
each of us is a horse in his own way.
(tr. Angela Livingstone)

And here’s another poem from an almost unknown futurist, a young man from my hometown, Odessa, who wrote under the pseudonym Anatoly Fioletov (1897–1918). It likely inspired Mayakovsky’s longer poem. Fioletov was gunned down by bandits who may have mistaken him for his brother, a famed detective and con artist named Osip Shor.

How admirably self-possessed –
these horses of a lower class,
who show complete indifference
to the troubles of existence. 

How did we get on the subject of horses? I suppose it’s because I don’t really like talking about translation.

SAA: What is the significance of publishing this with Insert Blanc Press, a press focused on experimental literature?

BD: I think Insert Blanc is the perfect press for these manifestos. The proto-Hylaeans published their first collection, the original Trap for Judges, in 1910. They ordered the book to be printed on wallpaper. An extravagant choice, which drove the printers up the wall. On top of that, they couldn’t scrounge up the money to pay for it, so most of the copies stayed at the printers’ warehouse and eventually disappeared. There was no “art for art’s sake” at that print shop. At Insert Blanc, I’m blessed with a publisher who’d leap at the chance to work with wallpaper, and doesn’t expect me to shell out any cash. What more could I ask for? 

Ultimately, the choice hinges on sympathy and solidarity. Insert Blanc has the right spirit—a commitment to the new, in whatever form it may take, as well as a respect for the history of innovation. There’s nothing quite as sad as thinking one is breaking new ground when that ground has long been broken. It behooves the avant-garde of today to know in whose hoofmarks they follow. 

SAA: Finally, in A Drop of Tar, Mayakovsky addresses the problem of the death of futurism. To what extent do you believe that “today, all are futurists. The folk is a futurist”?

BD: This is a thoroughly ambiguous statement. In his own day, it may have meant that the people had caught up with futurism thanks to the conflagration of the Great War, which was rapidly destroying the old order. The war had already begun to take a toll on Russia; people were grumbling, and they’d soon do more than grumble. As for today, no, I don’t feel that the folk is a futurist. Maybe it could use a slap, if we could just get it all in one place at the same time.

Los Angeles, May 2013

Written by Saul Alpert-Abrams — May 13, 2013

Insert Blanc Press Seeking A Brilliant Intern

 

Insert Blanc Press Seeking A Brilliant Intern

Insert Blanc Press is currently seeking a brilliant intern. We've got a couple brilliant editorial assistants, find out more about them on our about page, and maybe you can be a brilliant intern too. Please post and share this widely and be in touch insertpress@gmail.com

 

An internship at Insert Blanc will offer you a glimpse into the secret insides of small press art and literary publishing from a not non-profit perspective. As an Insert Blanc Intern you will be at the center of the day-to-day workings of a small press, assisting with editorial decisions, book design and production, copy-editing and proof-reading. You will gain the experience of ushering work from initial idea to fully realized, beautifully produced and finalized project. You will also have the opportunity to assist in event planning for readings, special events and press benefits. You will gain a holistic perspective of the arts and literary landscape in Los Angeles as well as nationally and further abroad while working on publicity & marketing to promote Insert Blanc Press' various books, art series and other projects. You will assist in developing print projects through press releases, tracking and logging reviews and you will work with and help to develop the press' media assets to create web content, web updates and newsletters while building out various social networking platforms. You will gain a broad understanding of the publishing world while submitting books and publications for awards and working to increase book sales through developing partnerships with art and literary bookstores worldwide and locally while reaching out to larger institutions to encourage them to support the press and become subscribing members.

 

Please be in touch thru insertpress@gmail.com and in a few short paragraphs explain why you would be a brilliant Intern for Insert Blanc Press. Interest in contemporary art and literature is a plus and so are excellent writing and communication skills. Knowledge of InDesign, Illustrator andor Photoshop and some familiarity with audio/video editing is a big plus. Those with adept abilities in the social media sphere are also sought after.

 

This position requires the ability to meet face-to-face and so any brilliant intern must live in Los Angeles and be willing to meet in the downtown Los Angeles area on a periodic basis.

Written by Mathew Timmons — July 08, 2013

PARROT Summer Sale! 2013!!!

 

PARROT Summer Sale! 2013!

For a Limited Time Only!

While Supplies Last!

 

It's Summer again, For REAL! and we're doing a PARROT Summer Sale 2013 style! Like last year we've reprinted a small quantity of our back catalog to make them available again for you to purchase at a 15% discount. Get a Subscription or pick up a pandemonium of parrots at a 15% discount by using the code [[ ParrotSummerSale2013 ]] during checkout. It's that easy, no sweat, good times, good PARROTS!!!

 

 

Hooray for Summer and the PARROT Summer Sale 2013!

Get your copies of PARROT 1-19 while supplies last! PARROT 1 My Beautiful Beds by Stephanie RiouxPARROT 2 A House on a Hill (A House on a Hill, Part One) by Harold AbramowitzPARROT 3 All Bodies Are The Same and They Have The Same Reactions by Allison Carter, PARROT 4 But On Geometric by Joseph MosconiPARROT 5 Loquela by Allyssa Wolf, PARROT 6 Viva Miscegenation by Brain Kim Stephans, PARROT 7 On the Substance of Disorder by Will Alexander, PARROT 8 I Fell in Love With a Monster Truck by Amanda Ackerman, PARROT 9 Politicized Pretty Picture by Stan Apps, PARROT 10 I Can Feel by Teresa Carmody, PARROT 11 Forcible Oral Copulation by Vanessa Place, PARROT 12 Fried Chicken Dinner by Janice Lee, PARROT 13 Tramps Everywhere by Amina Cain, PARROT 14 Fur Birds by Michelle Detorie, PARROT 15 Kept Women by Kate Durbin, PARROT 16 Pieces of Water by Michael Smoler, PARROT 17 Airline Music by Amarnath Ravva, PARROT 18 My Little Neoliberal Pony by K. Lorraine Graham, PARROT 19 Break Bloom Burn by Maximus Kim.

So much good stuff. So Much Good Stuff!

 

 

Issues of PARROT 20-23 still forthcoming! PARROT 20 The Missing Link by Jen Hofer, PARROT 21 Pre-Symbolic by Brian Ang, PARROT 22 Erotic in Czech Republic by Ara Shirinyan, PARROT 23 Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation by Mathew Timmons!

Yes! All that stupendous wonderfulness!

You should probably subscribe to the series Now!

 

Written by Mathew Timmons — July 01, 2013

Ruin Upon Ruin by Ben White

 

Ruin Upon Ruin
by Ben White
Essays by Doug Harvey and John Hogan
Hardbound, full color
Dimensions: 8.75” x 11.5” x 0.5” 110 pages approx.

 

The Insert Blanc Monograph series continues with Ruin Upon Ruin by Ben White accompanied by a Limited Series of paintings available for sale from Insert Blanc Press. 

 

To Celebrate we're offering a 25% discount on previous volumes from the Insert Blanc Monograph series. Use the discount codes [[ Herzog25 ]] or [[ Russell25 ]] during checkout when purchasing either Katie Herzog: Object-Oriented Programming or Pattern Book by Christopher Russell.

Ruin Upon Ruin by Ben White collects a number of White’s paintings into a single body of work from over the past four years, featuring over 20 paintings along with numerous details and images from his sketchbook. A large format, full color, hardbound edition of approximately 110 pages with essays by Doug Harvey and John Hogan, Ruin Upon Ruin by Ben White is forthcoming in fall 2013 and available now at a special Pre-Sale price of $45.00.

 

Noah sends forth a chendytes lawi after coming to rest atop the Library Tower, 2011.

 

Ruin Upon Ruin
Paintings by Ben White
Acrylic and enamel on panel
35” x 42” x 3”
2010-2013

 

Ruin Upon Ruin, Ben White’s Insert Blanc Press series, is a group of 15 original paintings to accompany White’s artist monograph, Ruin Upon Ruin, forthcoming in fall 2013 and available now for Pre-Sale. Each painting will come with a signed copy of Ben White’s artist monograph, a large format, full color, hardbound edition of approximately 110 pages with essays by Doug Harvey and John Hogan.

 

Thomas Jefferson Sets Himself On Fire in the Parking Lot 
of the Blockbuster Video Near The Creation Museum, 2010.

 

“Ben White conflates figures from American history and folk tales with contemporary box stores and roadside attractions, pointing to the relativity of cultural import and the collapsible nature of intellectual, philosophical and religious “progress” in America.” 
- John Hogan, Art21, May, 2012.

“Ben White's paintings merge anachronistic personages, events, biblical narratives, and popular culture to create a fantastic, nonlinear interpretation of history. … The incongruencies are absurd, and the absurdity itself pulls them into the present. ... It becomes our history again, on equal terms with the present and once again acceptable as subject matter for contemporary painting. Historical gravity, leavened by wit, becomes a source of pleasure and fascination.” 
- Lara Bank, California Contemporary Art, Summer 2010

 

Franco and Deitch are Thrown from a Phoenician Trading Ship, 2011.

 

Born in 1978 in Jacksonville, FL, White studied painting, drawing, and printmaking at the Florida State University School of Art from 1997 to 2001. Two of those years were spent studying, researching, and creating work in Florence Italy, where he first began to develop a visual language that spoke to the recondite nature of established historical narratives and the visual propaganda which creates those narratives. White was accepted into the Fine Arts program at California Institute of the Arts in 2001. While earning his M.F.A. at CalArts, he developed a more intellectually sophisticated painting practice, which, while still speaking to the oppressive political and ideological uses of evolving historical narratives, became heavily influenced by, and indebted to the writings of Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, as well as other writers, artists, and musicians engaged in critical discourse.

White's work and curatorial design have been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions at venues such as Blythe Projects, The Torrance Art Museum, Sea and Space Explorations, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, and many others. White is the a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant for 2011-2012, and his collaborative work has been seen in Flaunt magazine. He co-produces and hosts the art and culture show "The People" on KCHUNG radio 1630AM, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Written by Mathew Timmons — June 22, 2013

The People: Now on iTunes!

 


The People: Now on iTunes!


Subscribe to The People Radio on iTunes!




Insert Blanc Press is proud to announce our new show, The People with Editor and Publisher Mathew Timmons and Insert Blanc Artist Ben White, is Now on iTunes!!! The People features the voices and ideas of The People that make up the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, the west coast, and beyond on KCHUNG 1630AM every 3rd Sunday at 3pm. More & more The People simply choose, for whatever reason, Power to The People in the home of People Power on the Internet. A Radio Revolution offering comfort and cueing up Special Stuff. This is The Sound you love to listen to, The Power of The People to make atmospheric, psychedelic, and dance-oriented Conversation. Radio for The People featuring art, literature, talk, cultural criticism, visual culture, intelligent witticisms and so much more! The People is me, The People is you, The People is we, and You Can Too! … like a Broken Record magically repaired. 

Keep up with The People & find out about upcoming shows & guests on The People's blog!




We've done four whole shows so far, 4! and we would really love it if you Subscribe to the iTunes podcast and rate the show (5 stars cause The People are grrreat!) or you can also listen to the shows at The People: The Archive or on SoundCloud, and also you can go to The People's Facebook Page [while you're at it check out the Insert Blanc Facebook page]. It's all very exciting stuff and we've had such great guests as Joseph Mosconi, Jay Erker, Katie Herzog, Andrew Choate, David Shook, Jason Kunke, Boris Dralyuk & Andrew Falkowski!


Written by Mathew Timmons — June 19, 2013

PARROT 17 Airline Music by Amarnath Ravva


Out Now from Insert Blanc Press!

PARROT 17 Airline Music

by Amarnath Ravva
Saddle-Stitched chapbook
2 Color cover, Black & White interior
Matte finish, Opaque cream, 70# text (104 gsm)
Dimensions: 6.125" x 9.375" x 0.125", 16 Pages
ISSN: 2169-3811-17


Outside, I walk towards the edge of the parking lot. All around me are cats and dogs, even some chickens. The asphalt is seething with the strays of paradise.

It's not a matter of beauty for them. They collect around their needs; they hover around the promise of food.


“The new journalism, Ravva-style, stimulates the nerve endings with its alternately lush and spare renditions of some spectacular settings, William Kentridge or Gauguin or Florine Stettheimer should be in charge of the art direction when the movie, or opera, appears, but in the meantime sit back and enjoy the calm cool stylings of one of America’s finest young writers.”

-Kevin Killian

...

The PARROT series was originally issued by Blanc Press (Los Angeles) from 2005-2010. Insert Blanc Press is reissuing facsimile editions of each title from the PARROT series and releasing a Limited Edition hand-bound set of the collection at the end of the run. 

Titles in the PARROT series: Harold Abramowitz’s A House on A Hill (A House on a Hill, Part One), Amanda Ackerman’s I Fell in Love with a Monster Truck, Will Alexander’s On the Substance of Disorder, Brian Ang’s Pre-Symbolic, Stan Apps’ Politicized Pretty Picture, Amina Cain’s Tramps Everywhere, Teresa Carmody’s I Can Feel, Allison Carter’s All Bodies Are The Same and They Have The Same Reactions, Michelle Detorie’s Fur Birds, Kate Durbin’s Kept Women, K. Lorraine Graham’s My Little Neoliberal Pony, Jen Hofer’s The Missing Link, Maximus Kim’sBreak Bloom Burn, Janice Lee’s Fried Chicken Dinner, Joseph Mosconi’s But On Geometric, Vanessa Place’s Forcible Oral Copulation, Amarnath Ravva’s Airline Music, Stephanie Rioux’s My Beautiful Beds, Ara Shirinyan’s Erotic in Czech Republic, Michael Smoler’s Pieces of Water, Brian Kim Stefans’ Viva Miscegenation, Mathew Timmons’ Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation, and Allyssa Wolf’s Loquela.

Covers of Parrot were originally designed by the amazing printmaker, Maggie White. You can find out more about her work at Gray Area, methinks you'll like what you see. 

Read some press on the PARROT series, including a review of PARROT 5, a review of PARROT 1 and an interview with editor Mathew Timmons. And check out the various ways Insert Blanc Press offers to become a subscribing member and to support the press. Visit the Subscription page at Insert Press for more details!

Written by Saul Alpert-Abrams — June 05, 2013

Rabble: Alexandra Grant

Rabble: Alexandra Grant

Century of the Self

Until I saw Adam Curtis’s 2002 documentary Century of the Self, I had never given much thought to the genesis of public relations. The field of public relations was invented, it turns out, by Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays. In the period after the first World War, when many were questioning the human drive to violence, Bernays understood the power of both wartime propaganda and Freud’s theories of the unconscious to manipulate public opinion. 



Rabble, an imprint of Insert Blanc Press, is co-edited by Holly Myers and Mathew Timmons. Rabble prints single author issues of critical essays of about 1500 words on a subject of the author’s choosing. The subject will be an artwork (or series of artworks), but broadly defined: could be visual art, literature, music, architecture, film, design; could be contemporary or historical. The essay will be printed in pamphlet form, with room for a couple full color images, and distributed at a reasonable price.

Rabble seeks to be a venue through which to interrogate the nature of criticism, a laboratory for prodding at the boundaries of criticism as a form. The idea is to begin with a framework that reduces criticism down to its two fundamental components—the thing that's been made and the person who responds to the thing that's been made (i.e., the art work and the critic)—and invite each writer to take it from there. We’re not looking for the average book or exhibition review, but something that tests out a new direction, whatever that means to the individual author.

We have great confidence in the potential of Rabble to make a lasting contribution to the cultural discourse on the West Coast and beyond. It is our hope that, in charting a path between the two prevailing poles of the genre—the ever-narrowing shutters of print journalism on the one hand and the ponderous obscurity of the academy on the other—Rabble will go some way in restoring the sheer excitement of criticism.


ISSN 2168-7439




Written by Mathew Timmons — May 16, 2013

A Slap in the Face: Four Russian Futurist Manifestos

We are excited to announce the Pre-Sale at a special price of A Slap in the Face: Four Russian Futurist Manifestos, the first of the Manifestoh! series curated by editor David Shook, and scheduled for official release in Summer 2013!

A SLAP IN THE FACE: 
FOUR RUSSIAN FUTURIST MANIFESTOS 
Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk
Chapbook, 32 Pages Full Color
Dimensions: 6.25" x 8.5" x 0.25"


Containing:
A SLAP IN THE FACE OF PUBLIC TASTE (1912) 
the manifesto from A TRAP FOR JUDGES II (1913) 
GO TO HELL! (1914) 
A DROP OF TAR (1915)


“The emergence of the New poetries has affected the still-creeping old fogies of Russian little-ature like white-marbled Pushkin dancing the tango.”


The four manifestos collected in A SLAP IN THE FACE rattle with the verbal ingenuity and vitriolic verve of Russia’s most accomplished Futurist collective—known as Hylaea and, for a brief period, the Cubo-Futurists. Organized in 1910-11 by the Burlyuk brothers, the group featured the wildly talented poets Velimir Khlebnikov and Vladimir Mayakovsky, as well as the master of “transrational” (“zaum”) poetics, Aleksey Kruchenykh. The Hylaean program of total destruction and uncertain renewal offers an ominous parallel to the political turmoil of the Great War and the events of 1917. Dralyuk’s annotations provide information on Hylaea’s tumultuous history, its literary battles and short-lived alliances, and the biographies of its members.



“These four manifestos of Russian Futurism, charting key points in the rapid unfolding of the Russian avant-garde, provoke the appreciative bourgeoisie while declaring the liberation of the word, the phoneme, and even the grapheme! Dralyuk’s brisk, inventive translations convey the energy and rowdiness of the original.”—Eugene Ostashevsky


“Boris Dralyuk’s new translation brings these manifestos to life with fire, passion, clarity, humor, and the unmistakable flavor of inventiveness, of verbal fireworks. What a joy to see Mr. Mayakovsky in English, slapping the face of the adoring public, throwing Pushkin overboard—with the passion of all young artists, yes, but also with humorous abandon, brilliance, and delicacy of detail. Mayakovsky and Khlebnikhov were revolutionaries who believed in the ‘word as a creator of myth,’ who believed that the ‘richness of the poet’s vocabulary is his justification.’ Bringing their manifestos into English today is a very timely event, one thinks. This is an important new translation.”—Ilya Kaminsky


Boris Dralyuk holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from UCLA. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Times Literary SupplementThe New YorkerWorld Literature TodayPoetry InternationalSlavic and East European JournalRussian History, and other journals. He is the translator of Leo Tolstoy’s How Much Land Does a Man Need (Calypso Editions, 2010), co-translator of Polina Barskova’s The Zoo in Winter: Selected Poems (Melville House, 2011), and author of the monograph Western Crime Fiction Goes East: The Russian Pinkerton Craze 1907-1934 (Brill, 2012). He is also the co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski, of the forthcoming Anthology of Russian Poetry from Pushkin to Brodsky(Penguin Classics, 2015). He received First Prize in the 2011 Compass Translation Award competition, and, with Irina Mashinski, First Prize in the 2012 Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Translation Prize competition.

Written by Saul Alpert-Abrams — May 08, 2013

I WONDER ABOUT SHIT for WONDER by Mathew Timmons

 


I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT, I WONDER ABOUT SHIT.




SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT, SHIT I WONDER ABOUT.




ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER, ABOUT SHIT I WONDER.


Insert Blanc Press Editor & Publisher Mathew Timmons WONDERs about things for WONDER all through the month of April, the cruelest month, National Poetry Month. 

Written by Mathew Timmons — May 01, 2013

PARROT 16 Pieces of Water by Michael Smoler


PARROT 16 Pieces of Water
by Michael Smoler

Now Out from Insert Blanc Press


“promise in a minefield”


again


once more


for the last time, I swear


I’ve come to know 

one day

I will


before long 


never 


again. 


...

The PARROT series was originally issued by Blanc Press (Los Angeles) from 2005-2010. Insert Blanc Press is reissuing facsimile editions of each title from the PARROT series and releasing a Limited Edition hand-bound set of the collection at the end of the run. 

Titles in the PARROT series: Harold Abramowitz’s A House on A Hill (A House on a Hill, Part One), Amanda Ackerman’s I Fell in Love with a Monster Truck, Will Alexander’s On the Substance of Disorder, Brian Ang’s Pre-Symbolic, Stan Apps’ Politicized Pretty Picture, Amina Cain’s Tramps Everywhere, Teresa Carmody’s I Can Feel, Allison Carter’s All Bodies Are The Same and They Have The Same Reactions, Michelle Detorie’s Fur Birds, Kate Durbin’s Kept Women, K. Lorraine Graham’s My Little Neoliberal Pony, Jen Hofer’s The Missing Link, Maximus Kim’sBreak Bloom Burn, Janice Lee’s Fried Chicken Dinner, Joseph Mosconi’s But On Geometric, Vanessa Place’s Forcible Oral Copulation, Amarnath Ravva’s Airline Music, Stephanie Rioux’s My Beautiful Beds, Ara Shirinyan’s Erotic in Czech Republic, Michael Smoler’s Pieces of Water, Brian Kim Stefans’ Viva Miscegenation, Mathew Timmons’ Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation, and Allyssa Wolf’s Loquela.

Covers of Parrot were originally designed by the amazing printmaker, Maggie White. You can find out more about her work at Gray Area, methinks you'll like what you see. 

Read some press on the PARROT series, including a review of PARROT 5, a review of PARROT 1 and an interview with editor Mathew Timmons. And check out the various ways Insert Blanc Press offers to become a subscribing member and to support the press. Visit the Subscription page at Insert Press for more details!


Written by Mathew Timmons — April 26, 2013