Tag Archives: Bamboo Leaf Studio

Faux Koans and Borderline Haiga

26 Sep

Faux Koans and Borderline Haiga

Selected Prints by Pat Nolan

mustardseedIn traditional Chinese painting the relationship between language and the visual appear naturally equivalent because both are represented with the same medium, ink and brush. This pictorial art stems from the single hand designing the original, and the aesthetics behind the strokes used to inscribe an ideogram are the same as those used to denote the leaves of a tree, roiling waters, and the bulk of an escarpment. Because of the unique pictorial character of the ideogram, it occupies the picture plane as an integral part of the composition. A poem or homily is supported by the visual element as the depiction is fixed by its semantic component. Consequently the representations accompany each other as a symbiosis of connotation. The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, a seventeenth century Chinese handbook of brush and ink examples, is a catalog of such a standardization of technique.

It is not uncommon for the ideogram to be the sole presence of an brush and ink composition, its innate pictorial quality suggestive of an elemental nature.  As well, the fog obscured peaks of a landscape hint at unspoken transcendence.  The art of ink and brush, word and picture, has currency in most Asian cultures, certainly not the least in that of Japan’s where it is widely practiced and appreciated.

As with any inspiring piece of art there is the desire to draw attention to the uniqueness of its creativity and to make it available to a wider audience through mechanical means no matter how primitive. Japanese artists popularized the reproduction of this particular aesthetic of word and image through their uniquely perfected development of relief printing.

everytimeRelief printing was derived from rubbings made on paper or cloth of the inscriptions and images on the tombs of ancient rulers and holy men.  The idea of generating an image or an image of a text through the use of charcoal or ink from a unique template is genius in all its natural simplicity. The worthy homilies of great minds were carved in stone for anyone who wished to view them.  Those who wanted to be reminded of these applicable sayings and possess them in a material way resorted to reproducing them on a portable medium. It wasn’t a large leap from tombs and steles to planks of wood inscribed with characters and representations of a natural aspect, often suggested by the grain of the wood itself. The carved relief image slathered with soot based ink allowed for the reproduction of editions to benefit a literate and appreciative culture.

A few thousand years later the aesthetics of the original practice of relief printing has undergone profound change in that its objective is primarily artistic, subject to the decadence of values and their renewal as objets d’art. For that reason, something might be designated a faux koan if its original purpose as a paradoxical form used to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and enter into sudden intuitive enlightenment has been parodied.  Or it can be termed a borderline haiga if the essential spontaneity of the haikai spirit is painstakingly reproduced through a series of planned mechanical steps.

iwokePat Nolan came to printmaking through an avid interest in Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, amassing in the process a large collection of monographs, museum catalogs, and anthology representations of floating world artists who were popular in Japan in the 18th to the late 19th century. The subdued palette of basic colors reminded him of the Sunday funny papers and comic books that were his consuming interest as a youngster. Japanese prints of that era, in their design and presentation, were the epitome of the illustrator’s art, sophisticated and quite modern for their time and culture.  As Nolan learned more about the art of Japanese printmaking he began to appreciate 20th Century Japanese print artists and the powerful simplicity of their black and white images.  Print artists such as Munakata Shikō, Un’ichi Hiratsuka, and Okuyama Gihachiro seemed to embody the modern élan while maintaining their deep connection with tradition.  Nolan’s obsession with the Japanese prints was kicked up a notch when he began collecting affordable reproductions of the Edo masters as well as original work by contemporary artists.

Inevitably, the next level for Nolan was to try his hand at making prints of his own. He had better luck carving linoleum blocks than he did with wood, and chose the path of least resistance. He decided to work with and/or adapt the Japanese motifs with which he had become so familiar, applying the history and techniques he had studied.

kicked“I had the idea of making Buddhist inspired prints featuring what I call faux koans (“Kicked a clump of dirt—my return address” or “The more you know the more you know”) since historically some of the earliest Japanese prints were devotional depictions of Buddhist saints or precepts sold to pilgrims traveling to various shrines and temples. They are faux koans in the sense that they imply an ironic intent and emphasize mystification rather than clarification. I was also particularly impressed by the seemingly effortless and spontaneous prints produced by contemporary artist Kan Kozaki working in the spirit of Munakata, and whose techniques I sought to appropriate. Many of Kozaki’s prints feature a haiku by the 20th Century haiku poet Santoka which also encouraged me to feature language with my images.”

Nolan’s prints emphasize the contrast of black and white, and are printed with water soluble ink on unbleached mulberry washi, allowing the uncarved portions of the block define the picture plane. The blocks are printed by hand using a variety of barens and multiple inkings.  Water color is sometimes added to the verso of some prints while stencils and stamp inks are used to achieve subtle effects on others.



The linoleum block prints presented by Bamboo Leaf Studio are made available in partnership with Nualláin House, Publishers. To purchase a print please go to the How To Order tab on the menu bar for payment options.  Shipping is included with each purchase.


Publisher’s Note: Ambitions are often put in perspective with the passage of time.  The goal of publishing Pat Nolan’s satirical novel, Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius in 2016 will unfortunately be unmet due to a number of considerations, not the least of which is financial.  In the meantime, installments continue to be published at odetosunset.com and the entire novel posted thus far is available in manuscript form for anyone suitably idle and curious to peruse. OTS bannermonthlink

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

5 Dec

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Free shipping (US only) and a deep discount on
the Nualláin House, Publishers back list.

Order Now!
(offer ends December 31, 2014)


Order all four titles and save even more!

Get all four Nualláin House titles for just $50!!
Save almost $20!!!

Bonus !!

with every purchase get a limited edition signed
broadside featuring the poem Advice To A Young Poet
from Pat Nolan’s Your Name Here
and an original linoleum print of Dylan Thomas
from Pat Nolan’s Smoking Poets series
Iota Brdside DT

 How To Order
send cash, check or money order
(made out to ‘Pat Nolan’) to
Nualláin House, Publishers
Box 798  Monte Rio, CA 95462
and indicate the title(s) you are purchasing


nulogorevjpNualláin House, Publishers in partnership bambooleafchopwith Bamboo Leaf Studio
is offering two new prints from 
Pat Nolan’s Smoking Poets series


Also available from Bamboo Leaf Studio are a selection of Pat Nolan’s Buddhist-inspired prints

 

All linoleum block prints are hand printed on unbleached mulberry washi
and signed by the artist with his seal.
Order through Nualláin House, Publishers
Box 798, Monte Rio, CA 95462
Make check or money order payable to Pat Nolan.
Add $5 for shipping and handling for each order.

Smoking Poets

3 Jun

 

bambooleafchopNualláin House, Publishers, in partnership with Bamboo Leaf Studio, is offering limited edition linoleum prints of Smoking Poets, an ongoing series of author prints by Pat Nolan. The smoking poets in this in series include Blaise Cendrars, Pierre Reverdy, Dylan Thomas, Samuel Beckett, Ted Berrigan, Charles Bukowski, Roberto Bolaño, and the muse of amusement, Marcel Duchamp.

 

The Smoking Poets

duchampstmpgrp1Blaise Cendrars, edition of 50, 5×7” (12.7×17.78 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $30 US each

 

 

 

 

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Samuel Beckett, edition of 50, 5×7” (12.7×17.78 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $30 US each

 

 

 

 

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Pierre Reverdy, edition of 50, 4×5” (10.16×12.7 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $25 US each

 

 

 

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Dylan Thomas, edition of 50, 4×5” (10.16×12.7 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $25 US each

 

 

 

 

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Ted Berrigan, edition of 50, 5×7” (12.7×17.78 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $30 US each

 

 

 

 

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Charles Bukowski, edition of 50, 5×7” (12.7×17.78 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $30 US each

 

 

 

 

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Roberto Bolaño, edition of 50, 5×7” (12.7×17.78 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $30 US each

 

 

 

 

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Marcel Duchamp, edition of 50, 8×10 (20.32×25.4 cm) printed on unbleached mulberry paper, $40 US each

 

 

 

 

How To Order: Send check, money order, or cash to Nualláin House, Publishers Box 798 Monte Rio, CA 95462. Include $5 shipping for single prints. Purchase more than one print and receive free shipping. Make checks and money orders payable to ‘Pat Nolan.’
Special offer: purchase all the Smoking Poets and receive the Marcel Duchamp print free, compliments of Bamboo Leaf Studio.

 

Artist’s Statement:   

I first came to print making through an avid interest in Ukiyo-e prints, in the process amassing a large number of monographs, museum catalogs, and anthology representations of floating world artists who were popular in Japan in the 18th to the late 19th century. The subdued palette of basic colors reminded me of the color funny papers and comic books that were a consuming interest when I was a youngster. The more I learned about the art of Japanese print making, the more I came to appreciate 20th Century artists and the powerful simplicity of black and white prints in the hands of masters like Munakata, Unichi, and Okuyama. My by-now obsession with Japanese prints was kicked up a notch when I began collecting affordable reproductions of the Edo masters as well as original work by contemporary artists. The next level was to try my hand at making prints of my own. I had better luck carving linoleum blocks than I did wood and took the path of least resistance. I knew I wanted to work with and/or adapt the Japanese motifs I was familiar with. I had the idea of making Buddhist inspired prints featuring original homilies (“Kicked a clump of dirt – my return address”) since some of the earliest Japanese prints were devotional prints sold to pilgrims traveling to various shrines and temples. I also wanted to attempt portraits of literary personages, poets primarily, in the manner of Kabuki actor prints. My emphasis is black and white, printing with water soluble ink on mulberry paper, and, in most instances, letting the uncarved portions of the block define the picture plane. The blocks are printed by hand using a variety of barens and multiple inkings.

The Smoking Poets idea came to me after I had completed the Samuel Beckett print. As the idea took shape and I searched for images of poets smoking, I visualized it as an on-going series with the muse of amusement, Marcel Duchamp, as the centerpiece of this modern literary conclave.

Pat Nolan, Monte Rio, 6/1/2014

duchampstmpgrport

 

 

Limited Edition: Lyre Liar

3 May


lyreliarcvrfLyre Liar,
a poem by Pat Nolan, was published by Bamboo Leaf Studio in 2012 in a limited numbered edition of 12 signed by the author with his seal. The cover is printed on a heavy weight Reeves print paper and folded as a clamshell as the platform for the fanfold poem. A band of washi with the author’s seal secures the clamshell closed. The endpapers are Japanese silkscreened patterns imported from Kyoto. Lyre Liar measures 9×7.75 inches (22.7×19.6 cm) open and 9×3 7/8 inches (22.7×9.8cm) closed. The fanfold poem is printed on an unbleached washi and measures 9×20.5 inches (22.7×52 cm) fully extended. Lyre Liar is out of print in this edition.

 

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Click LYRE LIAR 2012 to view a pdf facsimile.

Limited Edition: Exile In Paradise

3 Apr

Exile In Paradise

by Pat Nolan

 

EGRET1 title2x3The selection of poems in Exile In Paradise are derived from a lifelong appreciation of Chinese poetry.  Each of the  poems finds its origin in a line from an ancient Chinese poet.  The body of the poem consists of an improvisation from that line with the aim of using elements of Chinese prosody such as parataxis and parallelism while being cognizant that Chinese nouns have no number, verbs have no tense, few if any conjunctions or prepositional indicators, and that each line contains its own integrity, apart from any overarching discursive intent.  Chinese poetry is image rich and largely dependent for its overall effect on the juxtaposition of these images in a discontinuous thread that is not unlike the successive frames of film.  The poems in Exile In Paradise makes use of this ancient prosody to achieve a synthesis between an historically distant culture and the contemporaneous radically different literature of today.
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Exile In Paradise was published by Bamboo Leaf Studio in 2009 in a limited edition signed by the author with his seal.  Most of the covers are made from repurposed ‘stick & strings’ wallpaper samples and vary with each copy. A few of the covers were printed on a distressed heavy weight print paper using a stencil design. The endpapers are Japanese silkscreened patterns imported from Kyoto, as are the binding strips. The illustrations accompanying the poems are reproductions from a nineteenth century block printed Japanese compendium of seals and calligraphic signatures of ancient Chinese painters in the possession of the author.  Exile In Paradise measures 5.5×8.5 inches (14×21.5 cm) and is bound with a traditional four hole Japanese style binding.  The poems were printed on a limited supply of discontinued Gainsboro text stock.  Exile in Paradise is out of print in this edition.

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To view a pdf facsimile click on Exile In Paradise 2009

The Nolan Anthology of Poetry, Volume II: The Modern Era

3 Nov

Nolan VIIThe Nolan Anthology of Poetry, Volume II was published by Fell Swoop in 2003.  The first Nolan Anthology of Poetry was published in 1993 by the same New Orleans publisher.  Volume II (Fell Swoop #64) The Modern Era was printed in an unspecified print run using basically the same 8.5×11 stapled binding format as the first volume though designating them as “volumes” may be a bit of overstatement as each is only twenty pages in length printed on a single side of the page.  The cover design by the author was meant to replicate the pocket poetry books of the French publisher, Gallimard under the NRF (Nouvelle Revue Française) imprint.  Volume II, as did Volume I, represents a sampling from a variety of the author’s poetry manuscript unpublished at the time.  Since then the poems in the tanka sequence Light Years have been included in a handmade limited edition chap book entitled Carved In Stone (Empty Head Press, 2013).  The Chinese style poems were published as a selection entitled Exile In Paradise (Bamboo Leaf Studio, 2009), also as a handmade limited edition.  The prose poems were included in a handmade chap book entitled Intellectual Pretensions (edition de Jacob, 2009).

Click here for The Nolan Anthology of Poetry, Volume II: The Modern Era 2003

A word about Fell Swoop magazine whose stated mission, as per Editor Reverend XJ Dailey, is to destroy contemporary American poetry: this year marks the 30th Anniversary of their fitful yet courageously tenacious low tech existence.  They (3rd person plural used advisedly) will publish their 130th issue this November.  Past featured authors and contributors to Fell Swoop magazine include Andrei Codrescu, Aram Sayroyan, Bernadette Meyer, The Clark Coolidge, Sir Thomas Weigel, Richard Martin, Camille Martin, Lady Alice Notley, and Keith Kumasen Abbott to name just a few.  As an unpretentious and somewhat anachronistic photo copy (xerographic) publication, Fell Swoop harkens back to the more innocent days of the mimeograph revolution when such prehistoric publications as Fuck You, C, Blue Suede Shoes, The End, Life of Crime, and The World roamed the humid fecund swamps of Am Po’s armpit.  Though based in New Orleans, they represent one of the last unapologetic bastions of the New York School of Poets scattered to the four (or five) corners of the poetry universe after the passing of the Grand Himself, Ted Berrigan.  Fell Swoop keeps the flame alive to light another Chesterfield.   Their post-Katrina address is Po Box 740158 New Orleans, LA 70174.  Send them a bunch of cash, in one fell swoop.

 

Limited Edition: Random Rocks

3 Jul

Random Rocks

Haikai No Renga

By The Miner School of Haikai Poets

randrksfcRandom Rocks is a limited edition haikai no renga (linked verse) published by Bamboo Leaf Studio in 2007.  The size of the edition was linked to the number of stanzas in a kasen, a standard renga length employed by Basho and his disciples, and in the memorializing of the 36 immortal poets of Japanese literature.  Random Rocks measures 5.5x 7 (14x17cm), is hand sewn in the Japanese side stitch style, bound in heavy green chiri paper, momogami binding strips and features Japanese silk screen end papers.  The edition was divided evenly among the four haikai poets to distribute as they saw fit.                                                                                        

The Miner School of Haikai Poets have engaged in the practice of haikai no renga over a period of thirty years, written primarily through the mail and more recently, email.  They are Pat Nolan, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Michael Sowl and Maureen Owen. The Miner School’s haikai have been published in numerous magazine including Hanging Loose, Exquisite Corpse, Jack’s Magazine, Big Bridge, and Simply Haiku as well as in limited edition chapbooks and broadsides from Empty Head Press, Bamboo Leaf Studio, and Tangram Press.  Their kasen, All Ears, was included in Saints Of Hysteria, an anthology celebrating collaboration, from Soft Skull Press (2007).   

One of the unique features of Miner School haikai is that it includes a running commentary by the authors on each of their own stanzas as well as a stab at their collaborators’ links.  It functions in a way similar to commentary provided as a special features audio track on a DVD.  The introductory essay to another kasen, Bamboo Greeting, published in Simply Haiku (2008), further details some of the unconventional methods practiced by The Miner School of Haikai Poets.  

Haikai no renga is a form of renga (Japanese linked verse) practiced by Basho (1644-1694) and his disciples.  It consists of a 17 syllable verse and a 14 syllable verse provided in turn by the poets engaged in the collaboration.  In linking verses, a 31 syllable poem is produced, the latter verse of which (the 17 or the 14 syllable) will go on to join the next in the sequence to form its own unique poem, and so on until the requisite number of stanzas has been achieved.  Renga sequences can number into the hundreds.  Basho favored the economy of 36 stanzas.  Renku is diminutive for haikai no renga also known as haikai.  The more renowned Japanese verse form, haiku, is derived from the practice of amassing numerous hokku to vie for the privilege of opening a moon-viewing-sake-sipping evening of friendly literary collaborations.   Renga itself is derived from the courtly form of poetry exchanged by the aristocracy as exemplified in Lady Murasaki’s 11th Century The Tale Of Genji.  The rules of the composition for renga and haikai no renga are complicated and arcane, but like those of chess or go can be captivating and stimulating.  

For more on the intriguing subject of Japanese Linked Verse, see Earl Miner’s Japanese Linked Poetry (Princeton, 1979), Hiroaki Sato’s One Hundred Frogs (Weatherhill, 1983), and Haruo Shirane’s Traces Of Dreams (Stanford, 1998). 

A pdf facsimile of RandomRocks 2007can be found here.

 

 

 

 

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