Granary Books ~ New York
(Steve Clay)

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Granary Books: "For nearly thirty years, Granary Books has brought together writers, artists, and bookmakers to investigate verbal/visual relations in the time-honored spirit of independent publishing. Granary's mission—to produce, promote, document, and theorize new works exploring the intersection of word, image, and page."
By Emily McVarish
New York City: Granary Books, 2011-2013. Edition of 45.

9.25 x 11.25"; 64 pages. Written, designed, hand-set, and printed letterpress by Emily McVarish. Bound in cloth over boards by John DeMerritt. Signed.

Granary Books: "Quickstead is about temporary space-making in cities. It notes the decline of planning and permanence in public space and commercial enterprise and celebrates the relative spontaneity and low impact of pop-up stores, parking space 'parklets,' and twitter-swarmed food trucks.

"The urban cyclist is the mascot of Quickstead’s sense of possibility. (While the switch from brick and mortar establishment to pop-up opportunism may be seen as an evacuation of social value, and parklets may express a loss of confidence in the grand vision of experts, the shift from car to bike puts a positive spin on the notion of downgrade.)

Quickstead attends to the material consequences of market abstractions. It looks at what grows back among the ravages of a boom and bust cycle: lightweight, adaptive, nomadic ventures that incorporate the very sort of precipitating networks that have fueled the play of financial markets and gutted the premises on which these ventures perch.

"Quickstead’s texts adjoin the grammars of other graphic elements. Over-turned spacers score a street-swath that scrolls from spread to spread. These same units form a dark store-block that sits on the verso, losing its solidity bit by bit. Punctuation coalesces in shifty clouds, bursts from the gutter, and drifts across page-regions, marking events and trends, origins and diffusions. Two-tone cyclists begin as centerfolds, vary in color, grow in number, and claim the book’s last section as their own."

Emily McVarish is a writer, designer, and book artist who lives and works in San Francisco, and is director of California College of Art’s design graduate program and associate professor of graphic design and writing.

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Granary Books Sold Titles:
• The Word Made Flesh
• The History of the/my World
• MESMER, secrets of the Human Frame
• Prove Before Laying


Alcuni Telefonini
By Francesco Clement/Vincent Katz
New York, New York: Granary Books, 2008. Edition of 70.

11 x 14.5 x 1"; 24 pages. Printed on Hahnemühle 188 GSM photo rag paper using pigment inks at Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints in Philadelphia. Text hand lettered by the author. Bound in cloth over boards by Judith Ivry and housed in a Plexiglas slipcase. Issued in an edition of 70 copes of which 50 are for sale. Numbered and signed by Vincent Katz and Francesco Clemente.

Granary Press: “Clemente and Katz have collaborated in different ways for a number of years, yet this publication marks the first time Clemente’s art and Katz’s poems have been paired in book form. Alcuni Telefonini takes its basis from a shared interest in Latinitas, wherever it may be found, from the pages of Petronius’ classic novel Satyricon to the neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro today. The word ‘telefonini’ in the title normally refers to mobile phones; it is the common term for them. Taken literally, ‘little phones,’ it begins to give other connotations, and we also add to it the idea of ‘little phone calls.’ So Alcuni Telefonini could be ‘a few mobile phones,’ ‘some cells,’ ‘several calls,’ etc.

“The 11 poems were written in Italy, Germany and France during 2002, while the author was a Literature Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. They track confrontation with the ancient and its juxtaposition to nature’s wreck; war versus birth; sex on the typewriter; meditations on being a foreigner; the political nature of the soul; the colors of the sky when filled with birds; the amazing sameness of each day when life is lived in one place; and the knowledge, even when traveling, of where one is, where one will and will not be….

“The watercolors were made during the summer of 2006 in a house many stone steps up from the seaside town of Amalfi in southern Italy. They provide a precise record of the artist’s reading of each poem, carefully detailed, and they travel into their own world, which is the rich world of Francesco Clemente’s watercolors. Taken apart even from his fabled mastery of other media — fresco, pastel, bronze, oil on canvas, etc. — the watercolor medium, with its unforgiving relation of liquid color to porous skin, is especially suitable to the peripatetic master, who has lived in India and New York and traveled and worked widely.”

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Faster Than Birds Can Fly
By John Ashbery
New York: Granary Books, 2009. Edition of 40.

12.625 x 11.25"; 10 unnumbered pages. Designed by Trevor Winkfield with typography by Philip Gallo at the Hermetic Press. Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 gsm 100% cotton rag paper using pigment based inks on the Epson 11880 at Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints in Philadelphia. Bound in cloth and paper over boards. Binding is by Judith Ivry. Signed by poet and artist.

Trevor Winkfield (Granary Books): ""Though it may have ended up looking like a child's coloring book (albeit one that's already been colored using Technicolor crayons), my original intention was to produce an updated illuminated manuscript, much like the Codex Amiatinus painted by Northumberland monks in the seventh century, not far from where I grew up in the North of England. So much for intentions ... though Ashbery's poem has long struck me as liturgical. Is that bowler-hatted bird actually Thomas Traherne? And can that pretty butterfly really be the soul escaping from the body? I've tried to leave my images open to as many interpretations as every single one of Ashbery's words."

Thomas Devaney, art critic: "Winkfield and Ashbery's new book Faster Than Birds Can Fly takes its place among the most pleasurable and successful collaborations in this poet and painter mode.

"The book's most striking feature is the roomy space it supplies for both Winkfield's compositions and Ashbery's poem. The production values are of the highest grade.

"The large format book, designed throughout by Winkfield, highlights two of his most winning characteristics: an inspired color palette, which is one of the most unorthodox in contemporary art; and his exquisite (sometimes orderly, sometimes tangled) rhythmical patterns. Winkfield's colorful images provide visual echoes, which continually open-up.

"Ashbery has described Winkfield's paintings in this way: 'It's as though seeing and hearing merged into a single act, and the "meaning" of the picture were lodged at the intersection of the two senses, where one is pleasurably enmeshed, deliciously hindered.'"

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The Square
By Emily McVarish
New York, New York: Granary Books, 2009. Edition of 45.

8.25 x 10.5"; 68 pages. Blind-stamped pages, scattered holes, perpetual calendar parts, pedestrian video stills, dotted lines, and overturned letter-blocks extend and perform three texts. Written, designed, hand-set, and printed letterpress by Emily McVarish. Quarter cloth binding with printed paper over boards by John DeMerritt with McVarish. Signed. Edition of 45: 10 hors commerce, 35 for sale.

Granary Books: "Into screen-studded, phone-riddled public space, The Square introduces a figure intent on capturing an everyday scene. Among the vacuums of telepresence and dislocations of real-time, in the face of a multiplied oblivion of setting, this allegorizing figure counts on material detail to sum up a whole for which it will come to stand. Yet the moment will not be framed as such. Even within the grid of the daily, everything marks its own time. The resulting composition is not an image but a score."

Emily McVarish, The Square, JAB Fall 2009: "In the first text, The Square is the city square and the screen that displaces it. This text attempts to configure the paradoxes of public space as experienced by one of its users: proximity to distance (sitting next to some texting), noisy absence (the piercing quality of someone else's cell phone call), and seated removal (the use of phones, headphones, and PDAs to leave the unbearable company of other unattended bodies behind).

"In the second text, The Square is a picture's edge. This text introduces a figure called the Keeper who seeks just such a representation as the first text attempts. An allegory of our need to allegorize, the keeper is intent on capturing an afternoon street corner as a scene, as if finding a moment's frame for it to fill will reveal a fullness otherwise elusive. As if this fullness, to which the image would be equal, could thus be preserved as a form of proof against loss.

"In the third text, The Square is a unit in the grid of the daily. A block in a schedule, inscribed in advance but also lived in the moment and thus subject to the openness of presence. This presence, rather than any device of removal or capture, is offered as the possibility of grasping - not keeping - a unit of lived experience. A capacity for immersive attention, this presence is evoked as the key to perceiving each element of an everyday scene as having its place, or rather its pulse, in a manifold arrangement that unfolds in time. ...

"To me, the book is an apt form in which to experience the image looked at harder-and-longer. In a book, any point can become a point of entry into time and change; any space can be configured to multiply and relate elements; any number of levels are composable."

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By Timothy Ely & Terence McKenna
1992. Edition of 75.

9.5 x 7", 40 pages. Original painting and drawing by Timothy C. Ely. Text designed and printed letterpress on Rives BFK by Philip Gallo. Bound in painted paper over boards with hinging structure by Daniel E. Kelm. A limnetic talisman is mounted to the front board. Housed in a cloth-covered clamshell box by Jill Jevne. Signed by Ely and McKenna.

In July of 1991, West Coast philosopher, ethno-botanist and psychedelic theoretician Terence McKenna visited Granary's exhibition of books and prints by Timothy C. Ely. His reading of Mr. Ely's work, remarkable for its empathy and eloquence, inspired the present collaboration. Mr. McKenna's text, typographically interpreted by Philip Gallo, is printed on, around and between Mr. Ely's painted and drawn images which Mr. Ely describes as "articulated glossolalia refracted from the writing."







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A Thousand Several
By Emily McVarish
New York, New York: Granary Books, 2010. Edition of 45.

7.25 x 11.25"; 64 pages. Written, designed, hand-set, and printed letterpress by Emily McVarish. Bound in cloth over boards by John DeMerritt. Signed and numbered by the author.

Granary Books: "As a number, 'a thousand several' seems both rounded-off and vaguely supplemented. A thousand stands as a familiar figure of multitude. Several offers a convenient grasp of more-than-a-few. The scale may shift from one approximation to the next, but the desire to encompass persists. Yet within several lie sever and the adjective’s original use to mean separate, individual, respective. 'A thousand several' thus evokes a disparate rather than a whole number: not a multiple of one but a myriad of difference.

"A Thousand Several describes the profusion and dispersion that result from cuts: the cut of a cell phone call into social space, the cut away from that space in the ensuing conversation, the cut that every edit of attention makes. A Thousand Several draws an analogy between the uncollectible crowd that peoples a wireless sidewalk and the interrupted point of view of a pain-averse individual, who cuts off reminders of loss only to find them scattered for future ambush by this severance.

"Dashed rule, photo clips, and color separations lend their outlines, layers, and breaks to both ungathered company and parceled subject in A Thousand Several. Text appears as an intermittent line and recurs in extracted bits that shuffle themselves back into the feed."

Christine Kesler, review, "A Thousand Several examines a contradiction in terms, investigating themes of disconnected, anxious, and individualized communities in the format of a book ... There’s something untouchable about A Thousand Several—its pristine white pages, its crisp letter-pressed blocks of color and text, and its high design—that makes it an exquisite pleasure to touch.

"A Thousand Several is full of anonymous strangers, stray words and descriptions, melancholy poetics, and dotted horizontal lines. Metaphorically, this constant stream of dotted and dashed lines reads as so many sidewalks or city blocks. Literally, these dots, dashes, and nearly connected lines on the page appear to be slivers of letters, rendered mute on letterpress, and given a clean, sharp, abstract quality by their lack of sound. The words themselves are objects; pieces of an ever-floating conversation; snatches of quotidian existence edited down and included only as sound bites—strictly impersonal, unfeeling."


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Page last update: 06.03.18

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