Friday, September 7, 2012

Featured: Ugly Ducking Presse

Damon Krukowski

Afterimage is the testimonial of a survivor's son. A hybrid work—part treatise, part memoir, part lyric—the text thinks through a problem prompted by confusions between the author's imagination and his father's history: "Do we only tell each other's stories? Ask others to tell our own? Can we tell our own? Or is that what stories are for—to tell someone else's, and allow another to tell yours?" With photographs by Naomi Yang.

Demosthenes Agrafiotis
Chinese Notebook

Composed in a red-and-black notebook that was made in China, Demosthenes Agrafiotis's Chinese Notebook addresses the act of (mis)communication in a world held sway to consumer capitalism and globalization. The conceits of abstraction, fragmentation and disjunction are employed here as a means to an end, as the language of corporate legalese begins to build, through accretion and overlap, into a personal metaphysics. Within these short, spare poems, Agrafiotis demonstrates the ways that language can formulate networks—or, in his words, "ensembles of meaning interacting with the flow of things." 

 Ellie Ga
Classification of a Spit Stain

Classification of a Spit Stain is the result of Ellie Ga’s two-year project photographing and analyzing stains on city pavements throughout the world. Accompanying the photographs is a classification system which organizes the stains according to various qualities such as substance and longevity. A combination of urban flaneurie and garbology, Classification of a Spit Stain is a mysterious field guide to the landscape underneath the soles of our shoes. The original version of this artist book, made in an edition of twenty-five copies, is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, Yale University, Brown University, and UCLA’s Dickson Library, among others. This trade edition was produced in response to sustained interest.


Dan Machlin
Dear Body

 In the title sequence of this stunning debut, poet Dan Machlin imagines the dialog between body and mind as a playful literary correspondence. One that begins whimsically: “We prayed to your effigy like to a beautiful library book you wanted to steal,” but can turn violent ("Cut off a finger to see if you would notice, but the blood said nothing and I / just stood there moments with an open mouth”). Still, these poems never abandon their innate optimism, humor, and eloquent lightness as they explore diverse forms and vocabularies on their search for “an opening, an architecture.” 

Eugene Ostashevsky
Enter Morris Imposternak, Pursued by Ironies

 Eugene Ostashevsky is a Russian-born American poet from New York City. His debut poetry collection, Iterature, displays the dissonant rhythms, heavy unexpected rhymes, and multilingual puns that occupied him at the turn of the century, as well as a healthy interest in mathematics. The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza employs characters such as MC Squared, Peepeesaurus, the Begriffon and, of course, DJ Spinoza, to explore the shortcomings of axiomatic systems with the insouciance and energy of Saturday-morning cartoons. He has edited an English-language anthology of Russian absurdist writings of the 1930s by such authors as Alexander Vvedensky and Daniil Kharms. His PhD dissertation was on the history of zero. He teaches the humanities at New York University.

Alex Stein
Made-Up Interviews with Imaginary Artists

 "Alex Stein’s marvelous Made-up Interviews with Imaginary Artists moves powerfully against the grain of standard received notions of what constitutes a book of interviews. Combining philosophical rumination and elegant digression with fascinating interviews that have been subtly but significantly reworked, Stein has brought a new variety of convive to the cross-genre table. The result, while offering the rewards of traditional interview compilations—access to the minds of first-rate thinkers such as Lorna Dee Cervantes and Cecilia Vicuña—also offers the reader a growing sense of just who or what the mysterious, deceptively self-effacing facilitator of these proceedings might be. For Alex Stein too is gradually, carefully revealed to us as the book proceeds. This Alex Stein may or may not correspond perfectly with the Alex Stein who has signed his name to the manuscript, and it is in this touch of fictionality, which always illuminates rather than obscures, and speaks volumes about the knowability/unknowability of the self and what the self seeks to apprehend—that a handsome portion of the pleasure of this fine project resides." —Laird Hunt

Tomaz Salamun
On the Tracks of Wild Game

 Tomaz Salamun wrote the poems collected in On the Tracks of Wild Game [Po sledeh divjadi] in a time of personal crisis during the politically repressive years of the 1970s. It was with this book, which saw its first publication in 1979, that Šalamun made a complete transformation in moving from art-making to poetry.


Matthew Rohrer
A Plate of Chicken

 "'Take off your pants, Creepy, and be my love.' Domesticity and poetry are at the heart of these outlandish and tender poems, all seven lines long (or is it one long poem made up of seven line stanzas?), in which collisions are continually occurring, as words and lines of thought bump up against, and rub, each other. Rohrer’s poems are blunt, erotic, romantic, declarative, down to earth, outrageous, funny, sad, and better than any other plate of chicken placed before you in this life. Sit down and enjoy a sumptuous no-frills meal that doesn’t try to fill you with iceberg lettuce." —John Yau

Aleksander Skidan
Red Shifting

 "Anyone interested in the vital pulse of contemporary Russian poetry will be richly rewarded by this expertly translated selection of Aleksandr Skidan's work. It is visionary and transgressive, erotic and Corybantic, ancient and immediate, and 'it strikes suddenly/like a crooked needle in the heart.'" —MICHAEL PALMER

Jeffrey Joe Nelson
Road of a Thousand Wonders

Composed of 10 chapters—each an excerpt from a self-published chapbook—Road of a Thousand Wonders contains pomes written from 1999 to 2010. An unofficial selected, the pomes in this volume range in style from lyrical narratives to percussive one-liners, as well as from long pomes like, "Rimbaud in New York," and the opening sequence, "Sweet Nothings."

Aase Berg
Transfer Fat

Aase Berg’s Transfer Fat (Forsla fett), nominated in 2002 for Sweden’s prestigious Augustpriset for the best poetry book, is a haunting amalgamation of languages and elements—of science, of pregnancy, of whales, of the naturally and unnaturally grotesque—that births things unforeseen and intimately alien. Johannes Göransson’s translation captures the seething instability of Berg’s bizarre compound nouns and linguistic contortions.

Noel Black

Noel Black's Uselysses contains five discrete books of poems written over the last four years. Some of these are poems of experience. Others are night raids or open attacks on the reserves of meaning that, we're almost convinced, derive from properly appreciated experience; meanings we back on faith so we can keep having meaningful experiences in the future. As a radical questioner of such faiths, Black subjects his own skepticism to sufficient pressure to line a mine with prodigal kindness or absolute contempt, depending on the company. Most vital to the reader, his voice is clear throughout, natural, and the poems are fun to read over again.  A peerless comic poet, Black's poems have appeared widely, but few of the poems in this book have been published anywhere until now.

These books, 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

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