Words: I but bend my finger in a beckon and words, birds of words, hop on it, chirping.

By Bob Brown

Edited with an Introduction by Craig Saper

Poetry  //  Literary Criticism  //  Literacy

ISBN: 978-0-692-21725-2 (clothbound)

August 2014

In Stock

Words: Book Description

In January 1931, Bob Brown worked with Nancy Cunard's Hours Press to publish Words--two sets of poems printed in a single volume. One set of poems was printed in 16-point Caslon Old Face, a classic font style used in all Hours Press publications. The other was relief-printed from engraved plates at less than 3-point size (perhaps, according to Cunard, less than 1-point). They printed only 150 copies, and the book passed into relative obscurity. Brown wanted to demonstrate how micrographic texts for his reading machine might appear. This new edition makes the fun and mystery of these texts available to a larger audience. To read this book, you'll need a magnifying glass.

Bob Brown was at the very center of his time, a zeitgeist in himself ... Everything about him had zest!
— Nancy Cunard, publisher of Hours Press, writer, political activist, and vanguard fashion icon


Praise for Words:

Words is one of the most amazing books invented, written, composed, and published by one of the most amazing authors of the whole 20th Century. Bob Brown (1886-1959) may be best known today as the ultimate representative of avant-garde poetry that has been burgeoning in the environment of the small press movement in the 1920s and 30s, but to stress his contribution to the hands-on exploration of literary techniques, ideas, and universes that are still far from being acknowledged today, would miss the point. Rather than being just a ‘minor’ experimentalist (minor in the sense of hardly recognized by mainstream literary historians), Brown is in the very first place an author who anticipated a number of landmark shifts that his own times could only dream of, such as the complete dissolution of genres, themes, and sociological levels and distinctions as well as the dizzying exploration of textual materialism . . . Brown’s work should not be read as an example of literary archaeology, but as an incentive to make a different use of what machines can help us do today.

~Jan Baetens, Leonardo: The International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology

I'm completely thrilled and grateful that Craig Saper--one of my favorite quirky teacher-scholar-writers--has been putting so much effort into focusing attention on the work of Bob Brown. Craig is working on a Bob Brown biography. He's just recently edited and re-published Words, working with the Rice University Press on a paper and web version. My printed copy is on its way from Texas, but I've looked long and hard at the web transcription and facsimile and am, as I say, thrilled.

~Al Filreis, Kelly Professor, Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House, Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, Co-Director of PennSound, and Publisher of Jacket2, the University of Pennsylvania




About the Editor

Craig Saper is Professor and Director of the Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. Program at UMBC in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He is the author of Intimate Bureaucracies (2012), Networked Art (2001), and Artificial Mythologies (1997) and has edited or co-edited volumes on Posthumography (2010), Imaging Place (2009), and Drifts (2007). He has published widely on Fluxus and visual poetry and serves as the Reviews Editor and Blog Report columnist for Rhizomes and Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures

His curatorial projects include exhibits on Assemblings (1997), Noigandres: Concrete Poetry in Brazil (1988), and TypeBound (2008), and folkvine.org (2003-6). In addition, he has published two other pamphlets On Being Read (1985) and Raw Material (2008).  Saper originally published editions of Bob Brown's Words (2009) and Readies (2009) with Rice University Press.  Presently, he is writing a biography of the poet-publisher-impresario-writer in every imaginable genre, Bob Brown, who invented an avant-garde reading machine.