ANC030: Dark Specks in a Blue Sky by Howie Good

Click here for a sample of ANC030.
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)

ANC029: He Made It by Bill Ripley

Click here for a sample of ANC029.
Following traumatic brain injury, structural damage and disturbance of neurotransmitter systems leads to a cluster of symptoms known as post-concussion syndrome. Standard physical ailments such as migraines, dizziness, and fatigue certainly intensify the challenges of recovery, yet pale in comparison to the psychological toll of a near death experience. Moreover, the litany of emotional side effects is further exacerbated by the impaired cognitive abilities associated with the healing process. A significant example of these impairments is amnesia, both anterograde (prior to the incident) and retrograde (after). An inability to clearly recall events that led to an occurrence is a mystifying feeling; vague memories of its consequences only add to the bewilderment. When the occurrence is a glimpse of one's own demise, words fail to convey the sensation that lingers long after.

An acute subdural hematoma brought on by the regrettably inadequate elasticity of standard playground blacktop kept Bill Ripley in a state of mental oblivion for much of June 2012 and beyond: blackout, surgery, coma, medicated stupor, general confusion. After weeks in a hospital bed, he only truly returned to himself in the time thereafter. As months turned to years, the thought of what was barely averted hung over his thoughts, along with all the textbook what if's? and why me's?; what was absent was a concrete grasp of how it came about and how he got through it. Conversations, treatments, meals, faces emerged through the haze only to disappear again. As time passed, he realized that this fog extended as far back as a year before his injury and spread to the subsequent months. Attempts to document this pivotal moment proved ineffective until he realized the words telling the story need not be his own.

Using the text of his wife's daily emails to friends and family during his hospital stay as source material, Ripley first constructed erasure poems detailing the ups and downs of his progress. Using numeric data from the astounding onslaught of insurance statements that continued to arrive long after his accident, he then arranged the fragments into short, random compositions by means of a detached illogic that rivaled the tactics employed by medical billing professionals. In this way, he has attempted to reverse engineer the chaos that exists for him in fleeting scraps. It is a puzzle comprised of tossed-off pieces with no clues and no solution, a memoir produced in the absence of memories.

Deck of 58 cards, handmade and numbered
$15 (US postage paid)

ANC028: Woodlot by Arthur Bull

Click here to stream Woodlot.
Click here for a sample of its text.
Slash / Returning to the cabin he takes one glance backwards / At sky and sunlight pouring through the trail he’s just cut

From tightly-woven networks forged of some luminous and chiming substance, to solitary figures draped across an evaporating field of their own resonance, guitarist Arthur Bull wrings from his instrument an array of tones both demanding and fruitful. At once conceiving and resolving mysteries, these are recordings of a highly reflective quality. Paired with a book-length collection of poetry written by the musician that examines the binaries of place/displacement, longing/belonging, and attachment/detachment, Woodlot captures the experience of traversing an abundant field in isolation, deeply aware of the story it tells and your insignificance within it.

Featuring free-form, non-idiomatic improvisations, Bull's playing touches the boundaries of various genres long enough to blur them before adding their elements to his meditative meanderings. So too does his writing absorb influence: classical Chinese poetry, nature field guides, Sophocles, the flight patterns of a silent, gliding owl. Regardless of the pieces that push Bull's puzzles to their heights, his is a singular voice. Woodlot calls upon that voice to masterfully tell of one man wandering through sounds, through words, through trees simultaneously rich in metaphorical abstraction and ecological substance.

58-page book with CD, handmade and numbered
$18 (US postage paid)

May 31st, 2015

In the first five months of this year, Another New Calligraphy has published an astonishing seven titles. Stay tuned this summer as we bring you more information about these upcoming additions to the catalog:

  • ANC028: Woodlot by Arthur Bull
  • ANC029: He Made It by Bill Ripley
  • ANC030: Dark Specks in a Blue Sky by Howie Good

As always, you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest updates or see our information page to learn how you can submit your own music or writing for consideration.

ANC027: Raven in Deadhorse by Nathaniel Curtis

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Raven / flew / flew / flew / a black tear / in the stuff / of sky.

Crossing the Bering Strait along with the first wave of old world humans, the raven assuredly brought already considerable mythological baggage along for the flight. In the centuries to follow, this mysteriously intelligent corvid's place in Pacific Northwest folklore solidified as indigenous peoples settled their communities and worldviews. In variations of tales told from Rome to Iran and Wales to Bhutan, raven became both creator of the world and unfailing trickster. For its role in such daring feats, the bird was associated with prophecy, a reputation that has lasted to present times. But what happens when the bringer of ill omens perceives a portent all its own?

Writing from the Prudhoe Bay oil field, Nathaniel Curtis brings a distinct perspective to Raven in Deadhorse, incorporating Inuit and Scandinavian legends to allegorize the raven as witness to the startling juxtaposition of the harsh, crystalline beauty of the north with the grim grime of an industry plundering it. Captured in brief narrative poems, Curtis uses short, sparse lines to emulate the region's treeless moonscape and its shifting packs of ice. Through subzero winds and driving snow, raven calls out its dark take on the encroachment occurring in its primeval home, touching on the invasion of the European, climaxing with a tolling of doom, and ending on a note of wry hope.

Raven in Deadhorse includes a collection of ten photographs originally taken by the author and manipulated to emphasize the striking planar geometry present in the surprisingly harmonious merging of tundra and steel. As this work makes clear, not all is necessarily dissonant in the clash of cultures modern and ancient.

82 pages with ten color cards, handmade and numbered
$18 (US postage paid)

ANC026: Then by Rick Henry

Click here for a sample of ANC026.
These are the whispers of death as they shuttle back and forth, through the tapestry, through the cloak, crossing and double-crossing, through the weave, the weft and warp, warping the soldiers and swords and crosses and fields of red and white and blue and red again.

With his transmission of the first transatlantic radio signal in 1902, Guglielmo Marconi inaugurated an era in which "every day [saw] humanity more victorious in the struggle with space and time." Change came about rapidly, albeit in the form of progress for some more than others. The Bolognese tinkerer would go on to innocently state that the wireless era would make war an impossibility, when in fact it was a short time before he would take up with the Fascists and find himself apologizing via the electromagnetic spectrum for camerata Benito's Ethiopian atrocities.

Rick Henry's collection of prose poems, Then, also serves as a communiqué from the early and mid-twentieth century. The snapshots here are motivated by figures larger-than-life and refreshingly mundane: Einstein, unemployed riveters, Dorothea Lange, a corseted babysitter, Picasso, etc. While McCarthy and Hoover spew their ethics, two friends amass a cadre of refrigerators to lower the mercury degree by degree. Werner Heisenberg inexplicably shoots marbles while languages both computer and cultural are explored. Every outbreak of influenza or syphilis is balanced by frenetic dance practice and exacting piano lessons. Then is a world of lawn chairs and rayon stockings shadowed by battlefields and relentless transformation. It is a world much like our own.

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