Tag Archives: hand sewn

Fundamental (Revisited)

cover of 1982 edition

Fundamental, Toy Poems, was published in 1982 by Doris Green Editions. The title says it all: elementary cerebral entertainment. The poems were a selection of Pat Nolan’s minimalist poems that had been published in Rolling Stone and various literary magazines in the early seventies. Produced as a mimeographed book, each page was typed onto a stencil, printed on a clunky hand crank mimeograph machine, cut into half sheets, collated, and stapled in an ink smudged intensive labor of love.

The four original illustrations were drawn by the late Michael Fisher directly onto the wax surface of the mimeograph stencil as a kind of self-referential pun: stencils on stencils (quite meta for its day). The original covers from a design by Michael were printed by George Zastrow at Guerneville Graphics in Guerneville, California. 


 Approximately two hundred copies of the book were printed although not all were sold or given away. The remaining inventory and unbound covers were long forgotten in boxes in a closet. After shuffling them around for almost forty years, the dilemma was whether to toss them or do something with them. A reissue of Fundamental as a limited fortieth anniversary edition whose purpose was to utilize the remaining unbound covers was deemed appropriate. In another recycling coup, a nearly full case of pin-feed newsprint paper for an old dot matrix printer had been hanging around waiting for just the right opportunity to be utilized as the text pages.

BELOW ZERO

A passing dog
touches me with his nose
the bite in the air

Unfortunately, the plan to use the unbound covers proved to be a problem. Many of them did not survive storage intact and were marred by unsightly foxing (paper rust). The alternative solution was to create an authentic edition befitting Pat and Michael’s collaborative genius, limited to 26 copies, lettered A through Z. Supplementary handmade stencils created by the author were utilized in the printing of the end papers and covers, each unique, emphasizing the use of “stencils” (the original pun) as a “fundamental” concept.

unbound back cover

unbound front cover

unbound original stencil end paper
unbound original stencil end paper

Along with the recycled text paper, the cover stock utilizes repurposed commercial cardboard inserts. The end result is a unique “California Funk” edition bound in the Japanese style and highlights Michael Fisher’s collaboration on a genuine literary objet d’art.

The limited edition Fundamental, Toy Poems is available by subscription for $100 US each. All proceeds from sales go directly to Michael Fisher’s family. See How to Order for details.

The original four stencils of the 1982 edition were augmented with additional designs by Michael Fisher especially for this limited edition. The designs were realized as actual stencil prints this time with new designs made over the last couple years of his life. 

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS

Picture me
pen poised
above the page
what I was going
to write down
gone forever

FOR TOMORROW

That bottle
of wine’s
for tomorrow
I’ll only 
drink what’s
in the neck

Michael Fisher was born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1944.  He was a multi-talented illustrator, artist. musician, raconteur and actor as well as a beloved preschool educator.  He lived in Monte Rio, California much of his adult life, and in Todos Santos in Baja, Mexico.  He passed away in December of 2019 from complication due to liver cancer.

Pat Nolan was born in Montreal, Canada in 1943.  His poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines and publications in North America, Europe and Asia.  As well as being a poet, editor, translator, and novelist, he is also a print and book artist. He has been a resident of Monte Rio since 1973. This special edition is a tribute to Michael’s genius.

Limited Edition: Untouched By Rain

Untouched By Rain

A Tanka Sequence

by Pat Nolan 

ubrfcvrUntouched By Rain was published in 2005 by Empty Head Press in a limited edition, lettered A through Z, signed by the author and bearing his seal, “old goat.” Each hand-made book has a unique cover, many as reproductions of  uchiwa-e, Japanese fan prints, features silk screened Japanese end papers, and is hand sewn in the Japanese four-hole side stitch binding.  The black & white illustrations accompanying the tanka represent traditional Japanese motifs such as the cherry blossom, crane, bamboo, and pine. Untouched By Rain, and a companion selection of tanka, Thin Wings, were originally made to be sold through the gift shop at the Sonoma County Museum.  Up until the gallery’s recent closing, both tanka selections were also offered through The Quicksilver Mine Company.  Less than a handful of copies of Untouched By Rain are still available.  Inquiries welcome.

presentation envelope
presentation envelope

Click to view a pdf facsimile of Untouched By Rain 2005

Tanka, meaning ‘short song,’ is an unrhymed poem with a fixed thirty-one syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7.  In Westernized stanza form, it is a five line poem.   Tanka, one of the oldest of Japanese verse forms, dates back to before the 11th Century.  Tanka gained renewed popularity in the late 19th Century among radically modern young poets who brought its diction and subject matter up to date.  Historically, tanka is a precursor to renga, haikai, and haiku.  The poems in Untouched By Rain do not follow precisely the fixed syllabic count nor do they conform to many of the accepted tanka conventions but seek a synthesis and accommodation brought about by translation into a radically different language and culture.