I mentioned in April how I was working on some kind of book-thing made from Russian poems my father sent me. Now I’ve done it. I found folders at Staples with metal prongs so I could spindle pages rather than bother with binding. That made the thing more feasible. That’s often the case——if I can picture a container or form, everything else tends to fall into place.
There are fourteen pages of poems typed out in Russian on the Cyrillic Smith-Corona, with hand-written, occasionally illustrated facing pages on which I attempt to explain something about each poem.
A friend suggested I translate the poems, but that’s far beyond my linguistic abilities. It was all I could do to understand them as a reader. I’m sure I missed a lot of the references. Some are from over a hundred years ago. Many reference other poems that I haven’t read. But I got the gist of a lot of it. With some, it was just a rhythmic musical thing, while others addressed themes that hit close to home.
I spent this weekend collating all the mismatched pages, while half-watching every playoff baseball game go the opposite from what I’d hoped. Then, Sunday morning, I stenciled and collaged each folder cover. No baseball games were on, so it went much better.
I probably used around half of the poems my father sent me. Because they were addressed to his son, the painter, many are concerned with the artist’s lot. I could fill tomes with rants about how artists are shit on in this society. Maybe that’s obvious and self-evident, but when you’re living it it doesn’t hurt any less knowing that so many others suffer the same way.
Anyways, I made twenty of these things. I don’t know (as I never do) if there’s much of an audience for this, but it absorbed me for a good part of the last half year. I’d like $25 for them. Get yours here. I also have one extra-special folder of originals for $200 (just send a note if you’re interested.)
Now that this is done, I’ll go back to my art-world satire book. Less hand-typing and collating involved, but it’s along the same well-worn path. We do what we know, I guess.
[Talked to Rick Kogan on the radio and to Mallory about The Thing.]