Plaster Cramp Press

In truth, the Library includes all verbal structures, all variations permitted by the twenty-five orthographical symbols, but not a single example of absolute nonsense. It is useless to observe that the best volume of the many hexagons under my administration is entitled The Combed Thunderclap and another The Plaster Cramp and another Axaxaxas mlö. These phrases, at first glance incoherent, can no doubt be justified in a cryptographical or allegorical manner; such a justification is verbal and, ex hypothesi, already figures in the Library. I cannot combine some characters:

dhcmrlchtdj

which the divine Library has not foreseen and which in one of its secret tongues do not contain a terrible meaning.

- Jorge Luis Borges,
“The Library of Babel”

Plaster Cramp Press was a xerographic micropress primarily devoted to avant-garde literature and art. It was founded by Seth Tisue and Brad Russell and was active between 1990 and 1993. It is now sleeping.

What’s new

  • 29 November 2007: links section updated
  • 10 June 2005: R.I.P. Lyx Ish aka Elizabeth Was (1956–2004); I miss you
  • 1 January 1999: Visual redesign; updated obsolete links
  • 12 August 1998: Added link to new Bern Porter web page
  • 11 June 1998: Added Borges quote to header; numerous other small revisions, including a bit of info on Novel Approach
  • 7 May 1997: Added link to Runaway Spoon Press website.
  • 9 September 1996: Added link to Dreamtime Village/Xexoxial Endarchy website.
  • 10 October 1995: Added link to dbqp website.
  • 24 July 1995: Added descriptions of past publications. Updated ordering information. Added section of links to other resources on the web.
  • 21 July 1995: Rewrote Bern Porter section and added link to review of Less Than Overweight.
  • 20 June 1995: Wrote initial version.

Syzygy

Syzygy was a longish infrequently issued magazine. One half was fiction, artwork, and essays. The other half was a reviews column. Issue #1, released December 1990, included among other things an interview with anarchist writer Bob Black, fiction by Bill Bohrer, essays by Miekal And and G.X. Jupitter-Larsen, poetry by Kyle Hogg and John M. Bennett, and artwork by Freddie Baer, John Bergin, Michael Helsem, Michael Shores, Greg Evason, Joe E., and others.

The Impossible Utterance

The Impossible Utterance was a very short frequently issued pamphlet containing poetry, found art, and collage. Seven issues were published. Contributors included Greg Evason, Geof Huth, jwcurry, John M. Bennett, John Eberly, Liz Was, Miekal And, Michael Helsem, and many others.

Bern Porter’s Less Than Overweight

Andrew Russ describes Bern Porter:

Bern Porter was a physicist turned writer and publisher. While working on uranium separation for the Manhattan Project, he published antiwar tracts by Henry Miller and Kenneth Patchen. In 1950 he published the “sciart manifesto”, his vision of unifying science and art. His main effort has been compiling massive volumes of “founds”, which are generally classified as “found poems”, but include visual pieces as well, or should i say are works that have literary and visual content supplied in their context.

Less Than Overweight is a 500-page book of Porter’s “founds” published by Plaster Cramp Press in 1992 in a limited edition of 28 copies.
   Russ has also written a review that discusses Less Than Overweight as well as some other Porter-related books including James Schevill’s fascinating biography Where To Go, What To Do When You Are Bern Porter.
   Also check out this Bern Porter web page.

Novel Approach

A 100-page, 115-contributor collective mail art “novel”, compiled by the Avant-Garde Museum of Temporary Art and co-published by Xexoxial Endarchy and Plaster Cramp Press.

Ordering information

Less Than Overweight is available for $28 postpaid within the United States. Write for foreign ordering information.
   I’m all out of copies of Syzygy #1, but if someone were really interested I could make up a few extra copies. I will have the Bob Black interview, which is probably the item most people would still be interested in reading, up on the web at some point.
   Also available is a large and cheap envelope of surplus copies of old publications. It’s two pounds of stuff for $3 postpaid in the U.S. and includes The Plagiarist Codex, Classical Plagiartism, a coverless copy of Novel Approach, most or all of the seven issues of The Impossible Utterance, and lots of flyers and odds and ends.
   Send inquiries to: Seth Tisue, seth@tisue.net
   Send orders to: Seth Tisue, 83 Warren Ave. #2, Boston MA 02116, USA

Links

dbqp was Geof Huth’s micropress devoted to the pursuit of brevity and conceptual elegance in the content and presentation in experimental literature. Their best known product was the neologist bulletin The Subtle Journal of Raw Coinage. Nowadays Geof is blogging about visual poetry and other topics.
   Runaway Spoon Press puts out books by Bern Porter and others. The proprietor, Bob Grumman, is also a fine critic of experimental literature. Bob is now blogging at http://comprepoetica.com/newblog/Index.html.
   Xexoxial Endarchy (Miekal And and the late Lyx Ish aka Liz Was) were the copublishers of Novel Approach. They later founded Dreamtime Village, “a rural experiment in combining the ancient technology of permaculture with the unlimited possibilties of hypermedia arts.”