Just in time for Toronto’s Meet the Presses, I have two new chapbooks launched at that event.

Mark Laliberte and I have a collaborative book entitled asemanticasymmetry (Anstruther Press) and Gary Barwin has published my KOLOSS under his Serif of Nottingham imprint . . .

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Ben Denzer’s Ice Cream Books has just featured a, A Novel … head over to his website to see his luscious portraits of books paired with delicious treats

Earlier this year I was invited to be interviewed by a series of grade 7 and 8 students at Willow Park School as part of “An Art Enabled Life.” This series of videos in which students interview artists about the tools and creative approaches they use to live a flourishing life; how do they generate positive emotions, sustain relationships, measure accomplishment, find solace, deal with stress, and stay inspired—not only in their artistic practices, but in all areas of their lives?

Produced with the generous support of The Calgary Foundation and created in collaboration with the Calgary Board of Education and the Alberta College of Art + Design we have produced video learning materials to be used in grade 7 and grade 8 school curriculum across the city. The videos consist of interviews with a range of contemporary Calgary artists (poets, painters, dancers, theatre directors, set designers, and sculptors). Students were engaged in the video production process, in particular, in the development and delivery of interview questions. Our key intention is to enable artists to speak honesty about their individual approaches to how they live an art enabled life and, despite a variety of challenges, flourish.

Each video is geared towards grades 7-9 and features some amazingly insightful and generative questions by the students involved – i’m honoured to be a part of this …

“Between these bookends lie the infinite possibilities implicit within any single novel”: Kyle Flemmer has reviewed a, A Novel (Jean Boîte Editions, 2017) in the new issue of Lemonhound 3.0 … thank you Kyle!

In recognition of 20 years of housepress and no press, Simon Fraser University’s WAC Bennett Special Collections Library has staged an exhibition of 20 volumes from the presses’ history, one per year. Through those two imprints I have published 636 different editions since 1997, so clearly the exhibition was highly selective, but it presents a single edition from each year . . .

The books included were:

1997 — beaulieu, derek and Neil Hennessy. William S. Burroughs: Ghost of Steel. Calgary/ Brampton: housepress / poetic immolation press, November 1997. 26 copies.

1998 — snow, tj, Shereen Tuomi, cjfyffe, Ian Samuels, Courtney Thompson and Jonathon Wilcke. I do not know this story / boneyard: a suite. Calgary: housepress, February 1998. 50 copies.

1999 — beaulieu, derek, ed. Courier: an anthology of concrete and visual poetry. Calgary: housepress, November 1999. 115 copies. Includes poetry from Fernando Aguiar, Jill Armstrong, avelino de araujo, Carlyle Baker, Jars Balan, Nelson Ball, Gary Barwin, Michael Basinski, Guy Beining, John M. Bennett, Carla Bertola, bill bissett, Jennifer Books, Daniel F. Bradley, Jonathan Brannen, Dmitry Bulatov, Stephen Cain, Barbara Caruso, Bob Cobbing, jwcurry, Johanna Drucker, Paul Dutton, Ran Elfassy, cjfyffe, Leroy Gorman, Bob Grumman, David UU, Neil Hennessy, Crag Hill, Peter Jaeger, Brian David Jo(h(n(s)t)on, Jim Kacian, Nancy Kang, Karl Kempton, Peggy Lefler, d.a.levy, damian lopes, Steve McCaffery, Gustave Morin, Colin Morton, lucas mulder, bpNichol, Brian Panhuyzen, Clemente Padin, Carl Peters, Poem by Nari, Stephen Scobie, Blair Seagram, Spencer Selby, tjsnow, Pete Spence, W.Mark Sutherland, George Swede, the Trans-Canada Research Team, Lawrence Upton,  Alberto Vitacchio, Darren Wershler-Henry and the editor.

2000 — Miki, Roy. Kiyooka. Calgary: housepress, August 31, 2000. 60 copies.

2001 — Betts, Gregory. All you need to know. Calgary: housepress, June 18, 2001. 40 copies.

2002 — M., Emma. (Chatte enr.), traduits par E. Mouré . á adan. Calgary: housepress, 2002. 40 copies.

2003 — Wershler-Henry, Darren. Ten Out Of Ten, or, Why Poetry Criticism Sucks in 2003. Calgary: housepress, Autumn, 2003. 50 copies.

2004 — Schlesinger, Kyle. Squarely. Calgary: housepress, 2004. 75 copies.

2005 — Stephens, Nathalie. The Small Body With It Rises From Under. Calgary: No press, May 2005. 26 lettered copies.

2006 — Bowering, George. A Knot of Light. Calgary: No press, September 2006. 52 copies.

2007 — Haslam, Bronwyn. Or carbon slides: Anagrammatic translations of work by Nicole Brossard. Calgary: No press, November 2007. 40 copies.

2008 — Fitterman, Robert. The Sun Also Also Rises. Calgary: No press, March 2008. 60 copies. / Fitterman, Robert. My Sun Also Rises. Calgary: No press, March 2008. 60 copies. / Blake, Nayland. Also Also Also Rises The Sun. Calgary: No press, March 2008. 60 copies.

2009 Speechless #1. 50 copies. Includes poetry by Eva Gonzalez, Rachelle Pinnow, Helen Hajnoczky, Mary Ellen Solt; criticism by Hajnoczky.

2010 — Simpson, Natalie. Smash Swizzle Fizz. Calgary: No press, August 2010. 60 copies.

2011 — Gauvreau, Claude. The Lucid Clusters: Poetics of Claude Gauvreau. Translated, and with an introduction by Ray Ellenwood. Calgary: No press, August 2011. 100 copies.

2012 — King, Emma. Helvetica Neue. Calgary: No press, July 2012. 60 copies.

2013 — Mueller, Kristen. Partially Removing the Remove of Literature. Calgary: No press, December 2013. 50 copies.

2014 — beaulieu, derek and Gregory Betts, eds. Avant Canada: more useful knowledge. Calgary: No press, November 2014. 98 copies. A boxed edition with individual leaflets and chapbooks by Jordan Abel, Lillian Allen, Gary Barwin, Christian Bok, Jaap Blonk, Louis Cabri, Stephen Cain, Natalee Caple, Margaret Christakos, Carmen Derkson, Skawannati, Neil Hennessy, Karl Jirgens, Derek Knight, Jason Edward Lewis, Tanis MacDoanld, Shannon Maguire, Lee Maracle, Nicole Markotic, Steve McCaffery, Andrew McEwan, kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Michal Nardone, Julia Polyck-O’Niell, Katie Price, a.rawlings, Shane Rhodes, Lisa Robertson, Eric Schmaltz, Stephen Scobie, Ron Silliman, Natalie Simpson, Chet Singh, Christine Stewart, Fenn Stewart, Natalie Zina Walschotts, d’bi.young anitafrika and the editors.

2015 — Le Tellier, Hervé. A Few Musketeers. Trans. Daniel Levin Becker. Calgary: No press, April 2015. 50 copies.

2016 — Bernstein, Charles. 95 Theses. Calgary: No press, October 2016. 60 copies.

2017 — Noury, Aurélie. How I Didn’t Write Any of my Books. Calgary: No press, August 2017. 40 copies.

 

The 100th piece in an ongoing series of visual transcriptions of every page of Finnegans Wake – a rendering of Joyce’s book of the dark‬. Each piece is created – graphite on paper – using an artistic technique called “blind contour” whereby the artist looks at the subject matter and NOT at the page he is creating (thus emphasizing hand-eye coordination and dedicated observation); blind-contour drawings often produce off-kilter depictions as an exercise in artistic weight-training. These readings/writings echo Jame Joyce’s infamous blackboards and over-sized drafts during the creation of Finnegans Wake — my texts are records of readings. (100 down, 390 to go…)IMG_3605IMG_3608

STEM Radio Hour Episode 2: “Art and the Technology of Meaning” is now online.

The poetry of Derek Beaulieu, an eminent poet and visual artist who is also the inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Calgary (2014 – 2016), challenges what we know about how we know and learn. In this riveting episode, Derek sits down in our lab, creates a new work of non-representational visual poetry and discusses with Alycia (an undergrad student, co-host and co-producer of our show) and me what his work can tell us about technology and meaning.

 

In 1949 John Cage – polymath composer, poet, theorist and visual artist – after archival research, published Erik Satie’s 1893 composition Vexations. Unpublished in Satie’s own lifetime, Vexations would quickly become what the New York Times would later call “a dangerous and evil piano piece.”

Satie’s Vexations, is a score of only a single page, yet it contains, at the top of the page, a short note, which, translated into English, reads “In order to play the theme 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, and in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities.”

In 1963 Cage organized a marathon performance – lasting 18 hours and 40 minutes and performed by a group of 10 performers (including David Tudor, Christian Wolff and John Cale of the Velvet Underground), in shifts. He later believed that Vexations complemented his own efforts in repetition, silence and boredom: “In Zen they say: If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, try it for eight, sixteen, thirty-two, and so on. Eventually one discovers that it’s not boring at all but very interesting.”

For the last year I have been engaging in a visual translation of Satie’s Vexations. Echoing the marathon performance of 10 musicians, each performing 84 iterations of the score, I will use 10 different photocopiers copying the 1-page score repeatedly, a copy of a copy of a copy, 84 copies per machine. The copies are then scanned and published through an online print-on-demand publisher in editions of 26 books. When completed I will have created / written 840 iterations of Satie’s score, each piece reflecting the idiosyncrasies of each machine’s “performance,” the interpretations and disintegrations as Satie’s score slides, deforms, degrades and fades into the graphic equivalent of “furniture music”; an ambient visual poetic. As each photocopier “reads” and “performs” the piece, the performance reflects the personality of the performer, the “physical” and “mental” strain of the marathon expressed in physical degradation.

Each volume uses a different photocopier to degenerate Satie’s score – with startlingly unique results. Taken as a 10-book suite, the completed project will present 840 variations (84 variations per book over 10 books). The books are each produced in a limited edition of 26 copies (176 pages $26 + shipping, each)

The editions of Vexations so far:

Vexations Book 1Lexmark XM9155.

Vexations Book 2: Xerox Workcentre 5755.

Vexations Book 3: Lexmark XM5163.

Derek Beaulieu.jpg

Jonathan Ball reviews a, A novel in The Winnipeg Free Press:

Derek Beaulieu’s a, A Novel (Jean Boite Editions, 488 pages, $42) erases the text of Andy Warhol’s important conceptual novel, a, to leave only — and thus highlight instead — its punctuation and sound effects. These were the additions of the anonymous female transcribers who were arguably the novel’s true creators, and Beaulieu’s project constitutes something of a feminist rewriting and recuperation of the Warhol work. Beaulieu is both a conceptual writer and a visual poet, and this erasure text — mostly waves of punctuation that is itself punctuated with oddly banal-but-poetic phrases (for example, out of nowhere we find “60-second pause and the sound of washing feet”) — blends his two practices beautifully. Although many conceptual writers (such as Kenneth Goldsmith) say you don’t actually need to read conceptual writing, they are wrong. Beaulieu’s text nicely displays why. Startling literary effects that should not be possible — in this case, a strange sort of suspense — are created through unlikely methods and in a manner that speaks to literature’s true methods and value. It’s Beaulieu’s best work and a necessary addition to any library of experimental art.