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Michael Fisher, The Art of Illustration

10 Dec

EPSON MFP image

Free-lance Illustrator/Graphic Artist Michael Fisher has lived in Sonoma County for forty four years, primarily in the West County in and around the town of Monte Rio.  Over the years his illustrations and poster designs have been used to advertise scores of music venues, rock concerts, literary events and projects, and local businesses.  In the tradition of jack-of-all-(artistic) trades, Michael was once a popular bartender (perhaps the most popular) at the pre ’86 flood Village Inn in Monte Rio where between shaking, stirring, and pouring he managed to produce a pithy comic strip entitled Malice In Blenderland which was featured in Sonoma County’s original independent newspaper of the 70’s and 80’s, The Sonoma County Stump.

EPSON MFP imageAlong with his free-lance gigs as an illustrator, Michael was also active in the local musical theater scene where he was the featured performer for such popular productions as Little Shop of Horrors and Dracula-la.  And many will remember that he once fronted the oldies rock band, The Grey Cats, as lead singer and harmonica, and whose annual Halloween productions were delightfully beyond words.  Grey Cats flyers and concert posters designed by Michael Fisher are now considered collector’s items by the hip cognoscenti. Although probably apocryphal, it is believed that one of Michael’s early inspirations was Gypsy Rose Lee’s theme song, Let Me Entertain You.  His wit and spontaneity are always on display often centered on his awesome encyclopedic knowledge of arcane and weird pop trivia.  His playfulness and readiness to entertain served him well in his long career in children’s services where he was also just one of the kids.  Now retired, Michael is devoting himself to his first love, drawing, with nearly daily postings to his blog, Aldo & Me.

coverland11To say that Michael’s cartooning style is ‘old school’ might be an understatement.  Anyone familiar with the underground comics of the 60’s counterculture will recognize the stylistic similarities. The same wacky and irreverent world views of R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, and Gilbert Shelton are present in Michael’s panels.  However his influences in cartooning go back even further to the likes of Jimmy Hatlo, Al Capp’s L’il Abner, and Walt Kelly’s Pogo.  What is evident of Michael’s skills is a unique virtuosity and imagination as is amply expressed in the sold out limited edition of his 2017 Aldo & Me West Sonoma County Calendar. (As of this writing, a few were still available for sale at the 5&10 in Guerneville).  His versatility in illustration is not limited to a narrow range of renderings but encompasses the entire array of contemporary comic arts, from South Park and Peanuts to the Simpsons.

aldomrnatural

A word about Michael Fisher’s virtuosity and range of illustrating talents: unique in an artist’s repertoire is the ability to see three dimensions and translate them into a depiction of two dimensions while providing the illusion of a third through modeling, shadowing, and textural crosshatching.  Michael is the master of all such techniques and his expert renditions testify to his imagination and illustrative skills.  Not unexpected for someone who has spent a lifetime perfecting his gift for illustration.  The accomplished depictions mirror a whimsical ruefully aware sensibility scripted in the dialogue bubbles as well as through the illusionist stroke of a drawn line and its suggestive minimalism, as demonstrated by a profound intuition of how the eye sees and distinguishes abstract representation.   Even the simplest of his sketches retain the vitality of their representation.  His knack for breaking down the visual world to its basic components enables him to present those objects in a variety of ways by re-imagining them as abstract design elements.

To the literate of the comic strip genre, the subtleties of a work of illustration lie beneath the message. As such cartoon depictions constitute a visual language. Michael is quite fluent in a variety of the style dialects of this language.  The near daily postings on his blog Aldo & Me attest not only to his genius as an illustrator but the seemingly inexhaustible consistency of his output.  The sheer creative energy expended can undoubtedly be measured in kilowatts.

EPSON MFP image

As compositions the drawings and sketches of an accomplished artist like Michael offer an originality in variation and theme that speaks of a unified aesthetic.  His command of the stylistic elements of the genre is truly astonishing.  Confident of his proficiency, he once made an offer to friends and fans alike to include any one of them in his blog strip and to depict them as any cartoon character or in any style they desired.  For a fee, of course.  Not surprisingly, a few jumped at the chance.  Presumably that offer is still in effect.

southpark

courtesy of the King/Nolan Collection

Michael’s talented renditions are available for perusal as a three panel cartoon blog, Aldo & Me, where he has regularly posted his pithy and often wacky interactions and observations on the WordPress platform for the past five years.  For the most part the panels are joyful and lighthearted entertainment depicting the dialogue between a man and his dog (maybe that should be dogalogue) as observations and commentary on the vicissitudes of life.  On occasion, barbed and pointed sarcasm emerges from the mild mannered strip in the guise of the super illustrator, The Doodler (he of the pencil extension) and his faithful companion, large fanged enforcer Alldog. A humming bird and an extraterrestrial jelly fish also join in the discourse as does a South of the Border feline, Furnando.  The consciousness behind Aldo & Me exhibits an evolved earth conscious awareness of one of the intelligent of the species as represented by a temperate self-deprecating humor and playfulness whose discerning perceptions always hit their mark whether it is lampooning the pompous or jarring the funny bone.

coffee-cup

from Fundamental, Toy Poems (1983) by Pat Nolan-Stencil design by Michael Fisher

As with earlier (and rare) posters and flyers, Michael Fisher’s  Aldo & Me original panels are catching on with the more knowledgeable as must-have collector’s items.  It is a sure sign of being au courant to have a few signed Fishers tastefully framed on display throughout the household where a guest or visitor might happen upon them and be delighted by the remarkable talent, not to mention the possessor’s discerning taste.

 

EPSON MFP image

Although a California transplant by way of Florida (also known for its citrus), Michael Fisher has adopted an age old Californios tradition of migrating south from Alta California during its chilly, flood-prone rainy season to the sunny congenial climes of Baja California and the little village of Todos Santos on the Pacific shore.  There the artist can stretch out on his hammock, watch the lizards scurry along the walls of the hacienda, and bask in the leisure of his creative energy.  That’s where he is right now, knocking out terrific three panel entertainments such as these:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Michael Fisher is a working artist and illustrator.  His almost daily exercises in the illustrators art can be viewed at aldome.wordpress.com.  Once on site, intrepid internet travelers can click on the Aldo’s Shop & Bark link in the sidebar (on the left hand side just below the header) to sample some of the pencil magic available for purchase, as well as information on how to get in touch with Michael and make one of his fantastic works of art your own.


 

Seasonal Specials from Nualláin House

29 Nov

20% Off on All Titles & Free Shipping*
(offer good thru 12/31/15)

Order all five titles and save even more!

Get all five Nualláin House titles for just $60!!
Save over $20!!!

*(free shipping in US only)

Send check or money order
(made payable to ‘Pat Nolan’)
for the listed Sale price to

Nualláin House, Publishers
Box 798  Monte Rio, CA 95462.


ontheroadfront300ON THE ROAD TO LAS CRUCES; Being A Novel Account of The Last Day In The Life of A Legendary Western Lawman
by Pat Nolan

 Pat Nolan’s first published novel, On The Road To Last Cruces; Being A Novel Account of The Last Day In The Life of A Legendary Western Lawman is the story of youthful bravado and an old man’s regret, and as much a dusty tale of buffalo hunts and shoot-outs as a politically driven “whodunit.”  November 2011 ~ 154 pages

 

THE LAST RESORT
A Lee Malone Adventure
by Pat Nolan

Pat Nolan has written a fast paced, tongue-in-cheek, pun filled comedy of errors, misunderstandings, and faux intuition in the mode of a 1930’s pulp thriller.  Instead of the typical splinter-jawed, broken nosed, tobacco breathed tough guy hero, Nolan upends the stereotype by introducing a gorgeous internationally famous former fashion model whose super power is her beauty.
August 2012~ 212 pages

 

 

HELLO LIFE
Poems by Gail King 

The poems of Hello Life achieve their freshness in the particularity of experience. The poet surrenders herself to the moment and tenders that subtle cognition as a delighted welcome to life. The ease of her expression in dealing with the everyday communicates an uncommon wisdom. The poems present, through playful understatement and sly humor, the immediacy of spontaneous impressions.
December 2013  ~  64 pages

 

 

 

Your Name Here
New Poems
by Pat Nolan 

The poems in Your Name Here revolve around that quantum axis with seemingly random discontinuities that do not pin down meaning but are left to mean themselves. Nolan’s poetry enacts a sub-vocal monologue that is like the murmur of cosmic background radiation, noticeable only in its cessation or as pauses when the mind registers the sum of discrete moments in an instant.  November 2014 ~ 80 pages

 

Poetry For Sale
Haikai no Renga (Linked Poetry)

Introduction by Pat Nolan
The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia.  In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.  October 2015 ~ 152 pages

Poetry For Sale Now Available!

17 Sep

NOW AVAILABLE!!

from Nualláin House, Publishers

OCTOBER 2015
Order Now & Get Free Shipping!
(Sorry, Free Shipping Available
To North American Destinations Only)
Offer Good Through October 15, 2015

P4sale15tjPoetry For Sale

Haikai No Renga (linked poetry)
Introduction by Pat Nolan
Haikai no Renga with
Keith Kumasen Abbott,
Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym,
Steven Lavoie, 
Joen Eshima Moore,
Maureen Owen, 
Michael Sowl,
and John Veglia
.

The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia. This collection of linked poetry presents a fascinating excursion in comparative literature by a cross-section of exceptional, widely-published American poets.  What these poets bring to the collaborative linking of stanzas is a visceral sense of the poetic that transcends two disparate languages and the gap of centuries. In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.

October 2015 ~ 152 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN978-0-9840310-4-7

click on the How To Order tab for more information


from HARDLY STRICTLY HAIKAI
—An Introduction—

Haikai no Renga is collaborative poetry of Japanese origin normally written by two or more poets linking stanzas of 17 syllables and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas.  Haikai collaboration can be as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written.  The forward progress of its improvisation is akin to that of a tight jazz combo. Haikai composition has also been compared to montage in experimental film where the discontinuity of images and vectors achieves an integral non-narrative expression.

Haikai no renga is known variously as renga, haikai, renku, and linked poetry.  Generally the term renga is applied to an older, more traditional style of linking poetry practiced by the aristocracy and the upper echelon of medieval Japanese society.  Haikai no renga means “non-standard renga” though it has often been translated as “mongrel” or “dog renga” which places it in the literary hierarchy as common entertainment.

In the introduction to her seminal study of Matsuo Basho’s haikai no renga, Monkey’s Raincoat (Grossinger/Mushinsha, 1973), Dr. Maeda Cana offers a further explication of the word haikai.  “The main characteristics of the haikai are partly discernible in the kanji or Chinese characters which make up the words haikai and renku: hai denotes fun, play, humor, and also actor or actress, and kai friendly exchange of words; ren represents a number of carriages passing along a road one after another and has the meaning of continuing to completion while ku is expressive of the rhythmic changes in speech and denotes end or stop.”

Renku is a literary game of high seriousness valuing cooperation and rewarding intelligence as well as intuition.  A poet’s erudition and sense of language are called upon to clear paths and build bridges that will meander through the landscape of a literary garden.  Its cooperative result, a balance of unpredictable language gestures as insubstantial as smoke but possessed of a palpable humanity, is what is important.  The echo of the response, its relationship to the previous stanza, and how it extends its meaning, poignantly or allusively, is the esthetic ground for this kind of poetry.  The linking process, in renga, and in haikai, allows a sequence whose subtle oscillation of playfulness and gravity walk the tightrope of language’s built-in ambiguities.

“Generally speaking, haikai is steeped in the wit and banter” as Dr. Cana explains, and “it has a brilliance that shocks.  Such brilliance is continual and amazes. . .at every turn.”  Poets are under pressure to produce the unpredictable so that the possibilities of cleverness are continually exploited at a tempo that is swift and witty.  The haikai poets of old delighted in word play, literary allusions, double entendres as well as displays of authentic sensibility. The completed renku is as much a certificate of cooperation as it is a multi-page poem and a sequence of short poems.  Its literary value is in its effervescent spontaneity and transitory nature, a quality much appreciated by the Japanese.

renku sheet1

 

Poetry For Sale—Free Shipping!

25 Aug

From Nualláin House, Publishers
OCTOBER 2015
Order Now & Get Free Shipping!
(Offer Good Through October 15th)

P4sale15tj

 Haikai no Renga is collaborative poetry of Japanese origin normally written by two or more poets linking stanzas of 17 syllables and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas.  Haikai collaboration can be as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written.  The forward progress of its improvisation is akin to that of a tight jazz combo. Haikai composition has also been compared to montage in experimental film where the discontinuity of images and vectors achieves an integral non-narrative expression.  

Haikai no Renga also known as renku is a literary game of high seriousness valuing cooperation and rewarding intelligence as well as intuition.  A poet’s erudition and sense of language are called upon to clear paths and build bridges that will meander through the landscape of a literary garden.  Its cooperative result, a balance of unpredictable language gestures as insubstantial as smoke but possessed of a palpable humanity, is what is important.  The echo of the response, its relationship to previous stanza, and how it extends its meaning, poignantly or allusively, is the esthetic ground for this kind of poetry.  The linking process, in renga, and in haikai, allows a sequence whose subtle oscillation of playfulness and gravity walk the tightrope of language’s built-in ambiguities. 

The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia. This collection of linked poetry presents a fascinating excursion in comparative literature by a cross-section of exceptional, widely-published American poets.  What these poets bring to the collaborative linking of stanzas is a visceral sense of the poetic that transcends two disparate languages and the gap of centuries. In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.

October 2015 ~ 152 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN978-0-9840310-4-7
go to How To Order page for more information

 

Poetry For Sale, Fall of 2015

17 Jul

Coming Soon From

 Nualláin House, Publishers

Fall of 2015

P4Sale13j
Poetry For Sale

Haikai no Renga
(Linked Poetry)
 

Introduction by
Pat Nolan
Haikai no Renga with
Keith Kumasen Abbott,
Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym,
Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore,
Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl,
and John Veglia

  

 

From HARDLY STRICTLY HAIKAI

—An Introduction—

Haikai no Renga is collaborative poetry of Japanese origin normally written by two or more poets linking stanzas of 17 syllables and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas.  Haikai collaboration can be as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written.  The forward progress of its improvisation is akin to that of a tight jazz combo. Haikai composition has also been compared to montage in experimental film where the discontinuity of images and vectors achieves an integral non-narrative expression.

Haikai no renga is known variously as renga, haikai, renku, and linked poetry.  Generally the term renga is applied to an older, more traditional style of linking poetry practiced by the aristocracy and the upper echelon of medieval Japanese society.  Haikai no renga means “non-standard renga” though it has often been translated as “mongrel” or “dog renga” which places it in the literary hierarchy as common entertainment.

Renku is a literary game of high seriousness valuing cooperation and rewarding intelligence as well as intuition.  A poet’s erudition and sense of language are called upon to clear paths and build bridges that will meander through the landscape of a literary garden.  Its cooperative result, a balance of unpredictable language gestures as insubstantial as smoke but possessed of a palpable humanity, is what is important.  The echo of the response, its relationship to previous stanza, and how it extends its meaning, poignantly or allusively, is the esthetic ground for this kind of poetry.  The linking process, in renga, and in haikai, allows a sequence whose subtle oscillation of playfulness and gravity walk the tightrope of language’s built-in ambiguities.

renku sheet1

The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia. This collection of linked poetry presents a fascinating excursion in comparative literature by a cross-section of exceptional, widely-published American poets.  What these poets bring to the collaborative linking of stanzas is a visceral sense of the poetic that transcends two disparate languages and the gap of centuries. In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.

 

Pre-orders now being accepted.
Place your dibs at
nuallainhousepublishers.gmail.com

 

 

 

April Is The Worst!

8 Apr

Watchf Associated Press International News   United Kingdom England APHS52450 T.S. ELIOTSome poets celebrate April as National Poetry Month, claiming that it brings much needed attention to a marginalized art, while others deride the designation, arguing that it is patronizing and trivializing of an ancient (some might say arcane) way of sentience.  Be that as it may, designating a day, week or month for the celebration of poetry has the intent of focusing attention on a timeless art that many see as underappreciated in the greater world of commercial consumerist media.  Any search of ‘poetry’ online will turn up over 300 million hits, many duplicated of course, but all the same a number that is quite close to astronomical.  Some literary elitists might argue that such a large number amounts to a lot of bad poetry.  They may have a point. However, the intent of poetry is always pure; it is often for a lack of skillful execution that it fails.  That doesn’t mean that poetry should be the sole purview of academic busybodies whose only function is to taxonomically classify poetry according to a moldy moth-eaten esthetic.  Poetry lives because language is alive, mutable, and like a stream, treacherous or calm, torrential or stagnant, is a source of consciousness available to all. Perhaps the idea behind designating a Poetry Month serves the purpose of reminding everyone that poetry belongs to them, that poetry is free for the speaking, good, bad or indifferent.


 

FREE POETRY FREE POETRY FREE POETRY FREE 

BCFFrom its inception the Nualláin House, Publishers site has offered free access to the full texts of select out-of-print limited edition poetry titles as downloadable pdf files.  Most of these poetry books were handmade using Japanese papers and bindings in editions of twenty-six to thirty-six signed by the author or authors.  The free titles include Gail ah bolinasKing’s Boxes & Chairs, Pat Nolan’s travel journal, Ah Bolinas!, and Random Rocks, a haikai collaboration with Keith Kumasen Abbott, Pat Nolan, Maureen Owen, and Michael randrksfcSowl.  By scrolling down the sidebar, poetry enthusiasts can find any number of limited edition posts featuring  full text access to that particular out-of-print title.
Iota Brdside DT

Also available for free is a signed limited edition broadside of Advice To A Young Poet by Pat Nolan accompanied by a linoleum block print from his Smoking Poets series. Send $3 for shipping and handling with return address to Nualláin House, Publishers  PO Box 798  Monte Rio, CA 95462

 

HELLOLIFEj

 

YNHcvrjAnd for all orders placed in the month of April, Nualláin House retail titles, in particular Gail King’s Hello Life and Pat Nolan’s Your Name Here, shipping is free.  See How To Order.

 

 

 


 

paroletxthdr
More interested in reading about poetry?
  Try Parole, blog of The New Black Bart Poetry SocietyParole features essays on poetry, poets, and the poetry scene with articles on William Carlos Williams, Andrei Codrescu, Alice Notley, Philip Whalen, Frank O’Hara, and Bob Dylan to name just a few.  Access is free.

Click here to read Steven Lavoie’s essay on Darrell Grey and the Actualists on the West Coast.

 


OTS banner1

Essays not your thing?  How about a fictional poetry soap opera?

Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius is a serial fiction about a poet who is not quite Charles Baudelaire, not quite Charles Bukowski, who looks like a well worn Alex Trebeck but with the demeanor of a Mickey Rourke.  It mostly takes place in a city not always quite Frisco.  It is satirical, playful, and inevitably deadly serious.

Ode To Sunset has posted installments for six months to word-of-mouth acclaim.  The first section, DAY, is available as individual episodes or as The Complete DAY, a pdf file.  WEEK is now in progress.  For free access go to Ode To Sunset. 

 


 Coming in 2015

Nualláin House, Publishers is pleased to announce it’s 2015 title,

P4Sale12jPoetry For Sale,
Haikai no Renga (linked verse)
Introduction by Pat Nolan
Haikai no Renga with Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl & John Veglia 

Haikai no Renga is collaborative verse of Japanese provenance written by two or more poets trading stanza of 17 and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas, and with stanzas numbering as many as one hundred.  A haikai collaboration is as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written, the forward progress of its improvisation akin to that of a really tight jazz combo.

Pre-orders are now being accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limited Edition: The Chinese Quartet

27 Feb

The Chinese Quartet
The Chinese Quartet

by Pat Nolan

 A small number of this very rare chapbook has recently been recovered from the storage locker of a prominent Bay Area bookseller.  Published in 1973 by Cranium Press,  handset in Goudy types and printed on an Albion hand press by master printer Clifford Burke in an edition of three hundred, they are an exquisite example of Burke’s conception of how a poem should appear on the page. The sixteen poems by Pat Nolan, printed on the rag paper ends from a larger Book Club of California job, represent Nolan’s early experimentation with ideas adapted from Chinese and Japanese prosody.  The austere brown paper wrapper is offset by the red centered label depicting a group of Renaissance musicians; that it represents a trio, not a quartet, is, in fact, an inside joke.  The book measurements are 7.5×6.75 inches (19×17.1 cm).  Signed copies of The Chinese Quartet are available for purchase at $50 each and include free shipping in North America (otherwise international rates apply).  Cash, checks, or money orders accepted.  See How to Order for more information.

chiquaropen

 

“The poems are wonderful as a grouping, and the printing is freaking beautiful. One of the best examples I’ve seen of the type and spacing and paper enhancing the sensibility in the writing.”  — Eric Johnson, Iota Press


 

Iota Brdside DT

Still available for FREE from Nualláin House, Publishers is a limited edition letterpress broadside of Pat Nolan’s poem Advice To A Young Poet and his original linoleum cut of Dylan Thomas from the Smoking Poets series, printed by Eric Johnson of Iota Press on a Vandercook proof press.  Send your request, along with $2 for shipping and handling, for this limited edition broadside printed on the occasion of Nolan’s reading at the Iota printery upon the publication of his latest collection of poems, Your Name Here. Broadside measures 10×8.5 inches (25.4×21.6 cm).


 

A reminder to take a look at Nualláin House, Publishers’ allied sites, Parole, the blog of The New Black Bart Poetry Society, and Ode To Sunset,  A Year In The Life of American Genius, an online serial fiction.

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