Tag Archives: limited editions

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

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.
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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.

 

 

 


 

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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.

 


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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.

Limited Edition: So Remote The Mountains

3 Jul

So Remote The Mountains
after Saigyo

by Pat Nolan

 

so remote cvr So Remote The Mountains is a limited edition fanfold featuring twelve meditations on Saigyo’s tanka, yama fukami (So remote the mountains). A Buddhist monk-poet, Saigyo (1118 – 1190) is one of the most well known and influential of the traditional Japanese poets writing in waka, or tanka, the court poetry style of the late Heian, early Kamakura era. Saigyo had written ten tanka that began with the phrase yama fukami describing the austere and remote circumstances of his hermitage near Mount Koya and sent them to a fellow monk who lived some distance away, north of Kyoto. With a few exceptions, all of Saigyo’s poems are written in the 31 syllable form of tanka or waka favored by the Japanese court of his day. The tanka is a precursor to renga and hiakai no renga (linked verse) and today’s popular haiku. Its 31 syllables are generally broken into sets of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables from which traditional haiku derives its 17 syllable format.

            The twelve meditations on Saigyo’s So Remote The Mountain by Pat Nolan are not tanka, nor are they technically haiku as they do not adhere to the syllabic count for either of these forms. They are probably closer to haiku than tanka because of their succinctness. However it is best to think of them as call and response. The call is Saigyo’s line yama fukami, and the response is the meditation on the line, sometimes sober, sometimes humorous, all of which emphasize a sense of isolation and distance.

            This limited edition of So Remote The Mountain is a fanfold printed on rough unbleached mulberry paper set in a cover of 100% recycled Bogus art paper with Japanese silk screened endpapers imported from Kyoto. The cover is an original stencil print by the author. Each is numbered, signed, with the author’s seal. The fanfold measures 3-11/16th x 8-7/8th inches (9.5×22.5 cm) closed, 7-3/8th x8-7/8th inches (19.3×22.5 cm) open.  Japanese silk screened endpapers can vary from what is shown.  However all endpapers are genuine Japanese silk screened paper.
so remote intext

 

So Remote the Mountain is available from Nualláin House, Publishers Box 798, Monte Rio, CA 95462, for $10 (postage included) cash, check or money order (make check or MO payable to ‘Pat Nolan’).

 

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

 

 

 

 

duchampstmpgrp6

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

 

 

 

 

duchampstmpgrp

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.

 

lyreliaropenlyreliartxt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click LYRE LIAR 2012 to view a pdf facsimile.

Limited Edition: Carved In Stone

3 Mar

carvedcvrf
Carved In Stone, a tanka sequence by Pat Nolan, was published by Empty Head Press in the Summer of 2013 in a limited numbered edition signed by the author with his seal.  The covers are printed on heavy weight dragon cloud washi featuring reproductions of one of four Japanese prints from the series Imayo sugata (Stylish Appearances) as are the bamboo leaf endpapers.  Carved In Stone measures 4.25×3 inches (10.7×7.8 cm) and is bound in the Yamato style binding.  The 26 text pages (including 5 illustration) are printed on recycled paper.
 carvedend

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.
   carvedpem2                                 

The poems in Carved In Stone 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.

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A few copies of Carved In Stone are still available from the publisher for $20 each plus shipping.  See How To Order for more information.

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