ANC034: Future Wars by Kyle Hemmings

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We entered an area where the enemy / was known to use a mix of gases / they called Simple Euphoria. / Scents of orange, honey, and rose / drifted through us. We were reduced / to children with magical gifts, / making shelled buildings levitate, / or windows bulge like pregnant bellies.

In the dying days of our second world war, with the führer nothing more than a petrol stain and Uncle Joe squeezing his mustache through their backdoor, Hirohito's goons tried in vain to rid the world of Unit 731. Alas, time was not on their side but the facility's American discovery proved highly fortuitous. Tucked away in the newly liberated Manchurian countryside, MacArthur and his men found evidence of unanesthetized vivisection; plague experimentation; and death by centrifuge, x-ray, or injection of animal blood. Prisoners became test subjects for fine-tuning flamethrowers, grenades, and chemical weapons. Frostbite, gangrene, and venereal diseases were areas of tremendous research; rape was both an incident to be studied and a way to pass the time for Unit 731's doctors. In all, upward of a quarter million men, women, and children died at this site alone. It was one of many medical laboratories. When it fell in to Allied hands, immunity was quickly granted in exchange for its secrets. Although the world was at least affecting the pretense of falling back in to place, there would be battles to come. To the victors went the spoils: further mastery in the art of death.

Kyle Hemmings' Future Wars portrays a world hell-bent on finding increasingly surreal ways to eradicate itself. Reflecting the enduring futility of war, the poems' narrators amble about in a timeless, dreamlike fugue; exactly when and where it all may end is never fully evident. References to conflicts from past and current theaters of war are scattered throughout but for every moment of familiarity, the "lasers and whited-out sunsets" of some yet unseen nightmare appear. Hemmings has complemented this collection with two short suites capturing the paranoia and disorientation present on the home front. Civilians composed of rock and schizophrenic souls await the inevitable, if it has not already occurred. In a world where everything is some form of destruction, it can be difficult to know if you have truly been obliterated.

68 pages, handmade and numbered
$15 (US postage paid)

ANC033: MJ by Joseph Rathgeber

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Jordan was inextricably articulated as a living, breathing, and dunking vindication of the mythological American meritocracy.
—David L. Andrews

Sociologist Max Weber identified charisma as being based on superhuman powers or qualities setting an individual apart as a natural leader. Exhibiting narcissist traits and exceptional amounts of energy, the charismatic benefit from an internal clarity free of the common anxieties limiting an ordinary person's achievements. Lacking the fears, shame, and guilt that obstruct others, these ostensible paragons display an exaggerated self-confidence rendering them all the more attractive to their followers. Over time, this phenomenon has enabled the supremacy of despotic monarchs, sinister cults, and in our celebrity-focused age, the herculean luminaries of professional sports.

Joseph Rathgeber's MJ is a personal account of idolatry coming apart at the seams like a two-hundred dollar pair of sneakers. Using an extensive range of cultural, academic, and historical sources to fill empty spots in the Jordan mythology, this hybrid assemblage/memoir/epistolary project seeks to undermine the aracial and apolitical brand cultivated by one of America's great capitalist and consumerist icons. Examining the dark abstractions overshadowed by this heroic figure's hyper-competitiveness and rise to greatness, MJ collapses one generation's champion while so many seek to emulate his conquests.

84 pages, handmade and numbered
$16 (US postage paid)

ANC032: Sparks & Threads by Curt Kupferschmid

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"here' s an idea."

Key milestones dot the evolutionary journey we all begin as infants: the social smile, name recognition, mastery of hand-eye coordination, bipedal ambulation. In these early stages of life, an additional pathway branches off as children build an awareness of literary conventions and begin experimenting with the quintessentially human act of leaving marks upon a surface. Explorations of space and form give way to random strings of letters, the concept of words takes root, and finally an appreciation of phonics and punctuation leads to the basic communication. Throughout, a fascination with the act of writing and the pleasure we take in its mystifying elegance lead us ever forward in our development.

Curt Kupferschmid's minimalist poetry engages in a similar sense of play, both for its creator and audience. In Sparks & Threads, his first collection, words, fragments, and letters dance across the page. Rather than crafting a metaphor to be digested, these bits of language make no claims and draw no conclusions─they merely exist. Concentrating communication down to its inherent beauty, the act of interpretation is left open. The reader is able to find her own meaning, and create her own theme; the poem is truly hers.

50 pages, handmade and numbered
$12 (US postage paid)

Five for $5 Each

Items in our catalog typically sell their way out of print, but every once in a while we are left with extra copies in our inventory. The titles below are now available at the comically low price of five dollars each. Make one yours before they disappear forever, or share one of your favorites this gifting season.

ANC016: How to Swim by Heather Momyer
"poetic prose cradles characters struggling by land, sea, and air to affirm identities"

ANC017: Brittle Cambia by Bill Ripley
"this Matryoshka-styled narrative will leave you pondering the precarious nature of rebuilding"

ANC01: Amicability by A Light Sleeper
"long and strange conversations to melt your face slowly."

ANC010: Magnetic Current by Cross Record
"primacy and consciousness; clarinets and cello; the gospel, the relic, the drone."

ANC019: Laps by Joanna Novak
"bottomless appetites of girls; her characters crave everything from food to love to complete transformation."

ANC031: How to Design a Hail Storm by Robert Swereda

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Control: the intention of nothing, of choosing the wrongs as it has been defined from the outside. Also the precipice of old movies as old value constantly repeats; the choice is nothing as Swereda recurves the world while building upon powerlessness in a new surrounding — every time the blank piece of paper, every thing a beginning, everything a nothing. - Freke Räihä

Alberta's highest peak beckoned the vicar of Ipswich from afar. Slogging through grimy borough boulevards, James Outram sought to carve a legacy among the unclaimed crags and crannies of the Canadian Rockies. Achieving nearly thirty first ascents in the first two years of the twentieth century, the stilted clergyman made himself over in the image of intrepid claimant, planting the Union Jack on any pinnacle in sight, most notably the crown jewel of Mount Columbia. He later made record of the quest, writing of the "imperishable strokes upon [his] memory" the endless sea of snow-capped mountaintops left, demonstrating the impact untrodden terrain has upon those daring enough to cross it.

Exploration features prominently in the work of Robert Swereda, from boldly stripping Calgarian journalism of its context to playfully bending words against their will in the formation of invented portmanteaus. But Swereda's text refrains from arch diversion; rather, it reveals a world in which "the deficiency of everything is of significant worth." In a momentary break from ANC's monochrome visual orthodoxy, Hail Storm is presented in a manner suited to its modest grace. Bound in a metallic cover with illustrated endpapers, the collection depicts the control one has in starting over, be it descending one mountain to conquer its neighbor or the discovery of new truths in prosaic derivations.

68 pages, handmade and numbered
$15 (US postage paid; please inquire for Canadian orders)

ANC030: Dark Specks in a Blue Sky by Howie Good

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Life here is dangerous. Even the body eventually turns hostile toward its only occupant. Look at me, a symphony crawling with worms. Stay up late enough you can feel the dark begin to vibrate.

The notion of shadows gliding through a space is an image rooted in lyricism rather than basic principles of physical science; a shadow's vector does not move. It remains fixed in an infinitesimal stasis, an isolated point, one blot in an endless series of abstraction. New projections emerge at the speed of light, like a filmstrip with a frame rate far too fast to note. But what of the metaphorical shadow? The pervasive gloom of depression, evil, and doubt; the doppelganger; the Jungian dark side that resides within us all? Do these bleak states manifest in a constant, feverish procession, or do we wade in a fluid, ever spreading morass? Which would be a more terrible truth? 

It is the conceptual shadow that looms most heavily over Howie Good's Dark Specks in a Blue Sky, not the literal absence of photons. The followup to his Beautiful Decay/The Cruel Radiance of What Is double feature, Dark Specks offers further commentary on our crumbling world. But while those earlier titles tempered their murk with brief asides of lighthearted absurdity, he does not offer such relief this time around. There is no chiaroscuro here, just black, black, black. Capturing the daily malaise of a fugue state punctuated by arbitrary brutality, Howie Good's Dark Specks in a Blue Sky turns its eye to our collective discord, "darkness the only light by which to see."

96 pages, handmade and numbered
$15 (US postage paid)

ANC030 is out of print.