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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nightboat Will Republish Bern Porter's Found Poems

Because my post yesterday on Jena Osman and Bern Porter alighted so tenaciously on the topic of access to Porter's work, i.e., its limited availability (notwithstanding recent digital remediations) outside archives and rare-book collections, I want to post a short note today about the forthcoming republication of Porter's Found Poems. Nightboat Books, which recently released the first English translation of Édouard Glissant's Poetic Intention, will release their new edition of the classic Porter text on October 12.

Found Poems by Nightboat Books

Modestly priced at around $20, this book just might build that audience that Mark Melnicove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Jena Osman, and others have been trying in recent years to corral for Porter.

I'm curious to see how the Nightboat edition presents Porter's text. It's important to remember that Found Poems is a collection in the most literal sense; the book gathers what Porter considered to be his "best" detritus-based visual poems, produced during a period that stretched from the late 1920s to the early 1970s. Dick Higgins's 1972 Something Else Press edition (which can still be bought used here and here) arranged multiple picture-poems to a page, creating a kind of meta-collage (at the level of book design) of Porter's individual collage poems. I wonder if the Nightboat edition is a facsimile, a more or less faithful rendering of the Something Else edition, or some kind of departure from the original book design. Needless to say, for a work as visually intense as Found Poems, and for an author as invested in the signifying power of book production as Porter, these issues matter.

I'm ecstatic about this republication, and I commend Nightboat for the important publishing work that they're doing (and have been doing for years now).

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