Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Event: August Kleinzahler Reads

Friday, May 12th at 7:30pm
Brickbat Books:

August Kleinzahler 
reads from his two new collections

When August Kleinzahler won the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize, the judges’ citation referred to his work as “ferociously on the move, between locations, between forms, between registers.” They might also have said “between New Jersey and San Francisco,” the homes between which Kleinzahler has spent his life traveling, both on the road and on the page.

Before Dawn on Bluff Road collects the best of Kleinzahler’s New Jersey poems. Like the landscapes they inhabit, they are by turns rocky and elegant, abandoned and teeming, absurd and deeply poignant. Hollyhocks in the Fog collects the best of his San Francisco poems. They show the poet
in an expansive, incandescent mode, the lover of French poetry and Looney Tunes, of Chinese
food and the lonesome hills.

Providing readers with a gorgeous guide to Kleinzahler’s interior geography, this doubled collection functions as both a map and an anatomy of the lifelong passions and preoccupations of one
of our greatest poets.

Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-Offs gathers the best of sixteen years’ worth of Kleinzahler’s short prose—essays, eulogies, and reviews—into one trenchant collection, setting down his thoughts on poets both excellent and otherwise, on kvetching fiction writers and homicidal fiddlers, on unassuming geniuses and discerning nobodies, always with insight, always with humor, and never suffering fools gladly.

Acknowledged greats such as James Schuyler, Basil Bunting, and Lorine Niedecker and neglected masters such as short-story writer Lucia Berlin and critic Kenneth Cox get their due. Remembrances of Thom Gunn, Christopher Middleton, and Leonard Michaels guide the reader through the prickly process of remaining friends with world-class writers without letting them take too much advantage of you. Finally, in miniature memoirs that resemble poems in embryo, Kleinzahler turns the spotlight on himself. Mixing serious analyses with off-kilter personal insights, these twenty-four essays make for a delightful and essential tour through a treasured poet’s life and library.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Event: Margaret Barton-Fumo on Paul Verhoeven

Thursday, April 20th at 7:30pm
Brickbat Books: 

Margaret Barton-Fumo
Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven

Very Verhoeven is Margaret Barton-Fumo, editor of Paul Verhoeven: Interviews, in conversation with person-about-town Carrie Jones as they reckon with the lurid push pull of the Dutch director’s oeuvre. A book signing and screening of Verhoeven-inspired video work by filmmaker Danielle Burgos will follow the Q&A.

Paul Verhoeven: Interviews includes six-newly translated Dutch newspaper interviews from Verhoeven’s early career, select storyboards by Verhoeven himself, and a set of previously unpublished interviews by Barton-Fumo focusing on 2016’s award-winning French-language production, Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert.

After a robust career in the Netherlands as the country’s most successful director, acclaimed filmmaker Paul Verhoeven built an impressive career in the United States with such controversial blockbusters as RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers, and Showgirls before returning home to direct 2006’s Black Book. After a stint as a reality television judge in the Netherlands, Verhoeven returned to the big screen with his first feature film in a decade, Elle.

Margaret Barton-Fumo writes the Deep Cuts column for Film Comment and has interviewed such directors, actors, and musicians as Brian De Palma, Alejandro Jodorowsky, James Gray, Andrzej Zulawski, Harry Dean Stanton, and Paul Williams. She lives in Brooklyn.

Danielle Burgos is an editor, animator, and filmmaker living in Brooklyn. She's contributed to Screen SlateHopes&Fears, and is currently writing the Over The Garden Wall comic series. She programs regularly at Spectacle in Williamsburg.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Closed for Easter!

Brickbat will be closed Sunday, April 16th. We will re-open Tuesday, April 18th at 11am.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Event: Michael DeForge & Sadie Dupuis

 Thursday, March 23rd at 7pm
Brickbat Books:

Michael DeForge
Sadie Dupuis

Join Michael DeForge for a live reading and book signing as he introduces the world to Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero. Sticks has escaped her heritage for the refuge of the woods and through her story, DeForge delivers another deeply humane work, one that subtly questions the integrity of the political state and contemporary journalism, all while investigating our relationship to the natural world.

Michael will be joined by musician Sadie Dupuis (Sad13, Speedy Ortiz) who will play a solo set following the reading. Come out for a celebratory lo-fi comics night!

Michael DeForge was born in 1987 and grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. His one-person anthology series Lose has been nominated for, or won, every major comics award including the Ignatz and Eisner awards. His previous graphic novels with Drawn & Quarterly are Ant Colony, Big Kids, and First Year Healthy. This March he releases Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero.

Sadie Dupuis is a musician, writer and artist who most frequently performs as the frontdemon of the rock group Speedy Ortiz, which has released two critically acclaimed albums for Carpark Records. She also writes politically-geared pop songs under the moniker Sad13. Based in Philadelphia, her writing on music has been published in Spin, New York Magazine, and Nylon, and she earned an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Event: Tues. the 21st: Mairead Case

 Tuesday, March 21st at 7:30
Brickbat Books:

Mairead Case

Mairead Case reads from her novel SEE YOU IN THE MORNING (featherproof), a story about three high schoolers in a small Midwestern town, summer before senior year of high school. The narrator doesn't know their gender or if they're in love with their best friend.



Mairead Case is a working writer in Colorado. She is a PhD student at the University of Denver, the Summer Writing Program Coordinator at Naropa, a legal observer, and a writing teacher at DU, Naropa, and the Denver women's jail. She is the author of the novel SEE YOU IN THE MORNING and the poetry chapbook TENDERNESS, and is working on a new book about Antigone. /

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Event: Camae Ayewa's Fetish Bones

Friday, Feb. 24th at 7:30pm
Brickbat Books:
Camae Ayewa:
Fetish Bones

In her debut book of poetry, Camae Ayewa is speaking about life beyond the gaze. She speaks about the multitudes of survival and resistance when it comes to the expansive lives of those that have come into her space of creation, both physical and spiritual. Her poetry is rooted in a practice she has created called "Anthropology of Consciousness," which invokes an understanding that spiritual energy is not stagnant but continuous in every dimension as spiral and boundless information. Her poetry is ageless, intergenerational, and not outside of, but through the bounds of time.

Her poetry recovers that which we have been forced to forget and realigns ancestral meridians that serve as our guides to our inner and outer worlds throughout existence. Fetish Bones shares the same title as her debut album Fetish Bones by Moor Mother released fall 2016 on Don Giovanni Records.

Fetish Bones book:
Fetish Bones album:


Friday, January 6, 2017

Featured: Lydia Davis' Cows

The Cows by Lydia Davis

Quarternote Chapbook Series

"Lydia Davis is mathematician, philosopher, sculptor, jeweler, and scholar of the minute. Few writers map the process of thought as well as she, few perceive with such charged intelligence. The Cows, written with understated humor and empathy, is a series of detailed observations of three much-loved cows on different days and in different positions, moods, and times of the day."

"Lydia Davis, a 2003 MacArthur Fellow, is the author, most recently, of Collected Stories (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009). She is also the latest translator of Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (Viking Penguin, 2002), and the forthcoming Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Viking Penguin, 2010). She lives in rural upstate New York, across the road from the cows she has studied with such attention, and teaches at SUNY Albany."

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Featured: Wakefield Press

Illustrations by Félix Vallotton and ornaments by Jossot

Translated, with an introduction, by W. C.Bamberger

Two novellas from the inventor of perpetual motion and godfather of German science fiction. Rakkóx the Billionaire (1901), a "Protean Novel," tells the tale of a multibillionaire who abandons his militaristic aspirations (and such Quixotic fantasies dreamed up by his Department of Invention as the utilization of herring in submarine warfare) in favor of a plan to convert a cliff into a work of architectural art. The Great Race (1900), a "Development Novel in Eight Different Stories," describes an intergalactic competition among worm spirits who wish to separate from their stars and achieve true autonomy in a ferocious race of winged sleds, cannon-airships, sky-high wheel-shaped vehicles and 100-mile-tall stilt machines, whose winners will be transformed into gods. Veering from humorous, aggressive slapstick to ethereal visions of cosmic philosophy, Scheerbart's fiction offers something of a cartoon space odyssey, and resembles that of no other writer, either of his time or our own.
Paul Scheerbart (1863–1915) was a novelist, playwright, poet, newspaper critic, draughtsman, visionary, proponent of glass architecture, and would-be inventor of perpetual motion. Dubbed the “wise clown” by his contemporaries, he opposed the naturalism of his day with fantastical fables and interplanetary satires that were to influence Expressionist authors and the German Dada movement, and which helped found German science fiction. After suffering a nervous breakdown over the mounting carnage of World War I, Scheerbart starved to death in what was rumored to have been a protest against the war.
“Scheerbart often reads like an apocalyptic mystic out of the Middle Ages who was somehow transported to the age of railroads and telegraphs.[…] Scheerbart is a mellow Marinetti; his faith in modern technology is not suffused with Futurist aggression, but with a dreamy aestheticism.”
—Adam Kirsch, The New York Review of Books

“This is Scheerbart at his most psychedelic, the lush intergalactic descriptions intercut with self-reflexivity (‘Do we think only in order to get intoxicated, or—do we get intoxicated only in order to think?’) and daffy, Neo-Kantian conversations on idealism and identity, all in the service of some sort of cosmic allegory.
—M. Kasper, Rain Taxi


By Paul Scheerbart

Translated, with an introduction, by W. C. Bamberger
The Stairway to the Sun & Dance of the Comets brings together two short books, originally published in 1903, by the anti-erotic godfather of German science fiction, Paul Scheerbart. The Stairway to the Sun consists of four fairy tales of sun, sea, animals, and storm, each set in a different, fantastical locale: from the giant fever-dream palace of an astral star to a dwarf’s glass underwater lair in the jellyfish kingdom. Scheerbart’s sad, whimsical tales provide gentle, simple, though unexpected morals that outline his work as a whole: treat animals as one would treat oneself, mutual admiration will never lead to harm, and if one is able to remember that the world is grand, one will never be sad in one’s own life.
Dance of the Comets, though published as an “Astral Pantomime,” was originally conceived as a scenario for a ballet, and one that Richard Strauss had planned to score in 1900 (and which Gustav Mahler even accepted for the Vienna Opera). Though the project was never realized, Scheerbart’s written choreography of dance, gesture, costume, feather dusters, violet moon hair, and a variety of stars and planets outlines a symbolic sequence of events in which everyone—enthusiastic maid, temperamental king, indifferent executioner, foolish poet—seeks, joins, and in some cases, becomes a celestial body: a “dance” toward higher aspirations and a staging of Scheerbart’s lifelong yearning for a home in the universe.

By Oskar Panizza
Translated, with an introduction, by Erik Butler

The Pig is the Sun...” So begins Oskar Panizza’s outrageously heretical and massively erudite essay on the pig, originally published in 1900 in Zurich Discussions, a journal self-published by Panizza in Switzerland after he had served a year in a Munich prison on 93 counts of blasphemy for his play The Love Council. Moving from the Rig Veda to the Edda to Ovid, from the story of Tristan and Isolde to Nordic celebrations of Christmas, from Grimm’s fairy tales to Swedish folklore to Judeo-Egyptian dietary restrictions, the author contends, through a dizzying exposition of painstaking philological argumentation, that the miraculous swine occupies a central, celestial position as the life-giving force animating the entire universe, usurping the place of God as the beginning and end of all things.
Oskar Panizza (1853–1921) was a German psychiatrist turned avant-garde author. In 1894 he published his notorious play The Love Council: “A Heavenly Tragedy in Five Acts” that depicted the spread of syphilis among humanity in 1492 through a senile god, an idiot Christ, a promiscuous Mary, and a depraved Pope Alexander VI. The play brought Panizza instantaneous literary fame that resulted in a twelve-month prison sentence. Moving to Zurich, he published a journal, Zurich Discussions, the majority of which he wrote himself under a series of pen names. After being expelled from Switzerland, he relocated to Paris until his 1899 publication of anti-Germanic verse led to his finances being seized. He spent the last sixteen years of his life in a Bavarian mental institution.
“They ought to erect either a stake for [Panizza] or a monument. Our public should finally learn that atheism also has its heroes and martyrs.”—Theodor Fontane
“Panizza is a terrorist...”—Heiner Müller

By Mynona
Illustrations by Alfred Kubin

Translated, with an introduction, by Peter Wortsman
Afterword by Detlef Thiel

Billed by its author—the pseudonymous Mynona (German for “anonymous” backward)—as “the most profound magical experiment since Nostradamus,” The Creator tells the tale of Gumprecht Weiss, an intellectual who has withdrawn from a life of libertinage to pursue his solitary philosophical ruminations. At first dreaming and then actually encountering an enticing young woman named Elvira, Weiss discovers that she has escaped the clutches of her uncle, the Baron, who has been using her as a guinea pig in his metaphysical experiments. But the Baron catches up with them and persuades Gumprecht and Elvira to come to his laboratory, to engage in an experiment to bridge the divide between waking consciousness and dream by entering a mirror engineered to bend and blend realities. Mynona’s philosophical fable was described by the legendary German publisher Kurt Wolff as “a station farther on the imaginative train of thought of Hoffmann, Villiers, Poe, etc.,” when it appeared in 1920, with illustrations by Alfred Kubin (included here). With this first English-language edition, Wakefield Press introduces the work of a great forgotten German fabulist.
Mentioned in his day in the same breath as Kafka, Mynona, aka Salomo Friedlaender (1871–1946), was a perfectly functioning split personality: a serious philosopher by day (author of Friedrich Nietzsche: An Intellectual Biography and Kant for Kids) and a literary absurdist by night, who composed black humored tales he called Grotesken. His friends and fans included Martin Buber, Walter Benjamin, and Karl Kraus.

Translated, with an introduction, by Edward Gauvin
Illustrations by Bette Burgoyne

First published in French in 1983, The Cathedral of Mist is a collection of short stories from the last of the great Francophone Belgian fantasists, distilled tales of distant journeys, buried memories, and impossible architecture. Described here are the emotionally disturbed architectural plan for a palace of emptiness; the experience of snowfall in a bed in the middle of a Finnish forest; the memory chambers that fuel the marvelous futility of the endeavor to write; and the beautiful woodland church, built of warm air currents and fog, scattering in storms and taking renewed shape at dusk, that gives this book its title. The Cathedral of Mist offers the sort of ethereal narratives that might have come from the pen of a sorrowful, distinctly Belgian Italo Calvino. It is accompanied by two meditative essays on reading and writing that fall in the tradition of Marcel Proust and Julien Gracq.
Paul Willems (1912–1997) published his first novel, Everything Here is Real, in 1941. Three more novels and, toward the end of his life, two collections of short stories bracketed his career as a playwright.
“The pieces in The Cathedral of Mist are beautifully crafted, and very evocative, taking unusual turns with a natural ease that separates Willems from writers who much more willfully embrace the strange.”
—M. A. Orthofer, The Complete Review
“Simply breathtaking.”
—Monica Carter, Three Percent

These items, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Tuesday: thru Saturday, 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 11am to 6pm
Closed Monday

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Closed for New Year's Day

Brickbat will be closing early today, Saturday, December 31st. 
We will be closed tomorrow January 1st, and Monday, January 2nd.
We will re-open Tuesday, January 3rd at 11am.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2016