Hi everyone! Old Paper Houses is in full swing, and we've seen a lot of beautiful, friendly faces in the house so far. We love you! Tonight's a night off, so in addition to falling asleep on the floor for two hours, I thought I'd stop by to say a few words about our friends at Tender Buttons Press. If you've been to one of our post-show/post-utopian hangs you might have noticed a few lovely little stacks of books for sale. There are two titles - Sonnets (a reissue of Bernadette Mayer's important 1989 text) and Please Add to This List, a companion teaching guide to Mayer's work. If you're interested in the poetry that has sustained our brains over these past couple of years, you should definitely check these out! From Tender Buttons' website:
"Sonnets, first published in 1989 as Tender Buttons #1 is widely considered to be one of the most generative and innovative works of contemporary American poetry, radically rethinking the traditional sonnet form. This expanded 25th Anniversary edition includes a new preface by Bernadette Mayer, an editor's note by Tender Buttons Press publisher Lee Ann Brown, and a selection of previously unpublished archival material including the Skinny Sonnets, described as "Hypnogogic Word Playing in Reporters' Notebooks" which further expand our map of Bernadette Mayer's ground-breaking works of writing consciousness."
But look, that's not the whole story. Sure, it makes sense to have a couple of Mayer's works for sale (support poetry! support small presses!) but we're all about community and connections, right? So here's the deal. When we were just starting to get really deep into Old Paper Houses, over a year ago, Tara was assisting on Jay Scheib's Platonov. During that process she got to talking with one of the cast members, the brilliant Tony Torn, and when she mentioned that she was working on a show that drew from some Bernadette Mayer pieces he said "oh we know Bernadette, we love Bernadette." Turns out his wife LeeAnn Brown has published some of her work (with Tender Buttons press), and they're old friends. As Tara puts it: "Then as I was binge reading some more Mayer I noticed a reference to LeeAnn and Tony's wedding and thought, what is happening!" What is happening - such a wonderful, generative thought! Small worlds, coincidences - these things just feel so good! When we performed the previous version of Old Paper Houses Tony and LeeAnn came with Bernadette. This was a moment of abject terror and true exhilaration, of course - we could hear her wonderful laugh in the audience and had to do everything in our power to keep from exploding with excitement. If anything, that was the moment that galvanized us most to keep going with the piece - and so it brings us great pleasure that Tender Buttons is peddling their wares in our temporary world - and that this reissue is so beautifully timed! Suffice it to say - buy one or both of these books! There's definitely enough serendipity behind them to bring you good luck.
Look that's us with Bernadette after the show last Spring! AAAAHHHH!!!!
Cover image by Carol Rosegg.