by J. Drucker
The nautical motif in images and binding combine with the stippled ink drawings to produce an effect that suggests a children's book, at first glance. The text is dense, rhymed, complex, almost unreadable in any straightforward sense. Thick with double entendres, allusions, puns, it is the story of a failed New Year's party I attended with my parents in what must have been the winter 1974-75. Betsy Davids had applied for and received funds from the NEA for a series of book projects, and she had invited me to be one of the artists. That invitation literally changed my life, since I moved back to the Bay Area from Santa Cruz, where I'd been living since 1973, in order to print the book with her in summer 1975. The result was that I got to know the emerging, vital book arts community, found my way to the West Coast Print Center, became part of a literary publishing and poetry scene, and in a very formative period of my life, was able to be in contact with a group of peers whose work and ideas pushed my own. As for this book, it remains one of the best produced of my works, particularly in that early period, thanks to Betsy's expertise, patience, and experience. The is somewhat baffling, impenetrable, an opaque textual object. The writing is shifted into a more fantastic register by the images than it might have been on its own, but unrelieved, the text would have been unreadable. Still, it was quite typical of the writing I did at the time, heavily knotted and turned inward on itself, but tightly structured, highly rhythmical, intricate. Likewise, the drawings have that obsessive naivete that was characteristic of my ink drawings in the early 1970s.
As No Storm or The Any Port Party
title note: The title translates as "A Snow Storm" followed by a twist on "Any Port in a Storm" combined with the word "Party" indicating the event on which the text was based. [J. Drucker]
born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States
other: 00/00/1970 Met.
note: Betsy Davids did the grommeting for the binding of this work. [A. Schutte]
note: Betsy was responsible for the production decisions in this work on many levels, and the quality of the printing and production reflect her involvement. [J.Drucker]
publisher: Rebis Press
artists' books (LCSH)
themes: Party life, decadence, the monstrous strangeness of human social behaviors, the usual. [J. Drucker]
experimental text (local)
artists' book (local)
inspiration: A New Year's Party, friends of my parents, and the mordant satiric precision of 18th and 19th century British novelists -- Fielding, Thackeray, Trollope, Eliot, with a hint of James. [J. Drucker]
related works: Among my books, nothing is really like this, except, oddly enough, the Fruit and Vegetable books for children I was working on at the same period, Tomato's Rescue has similarly drawn images, and Pupa House and Oh Oh, two draft manuscripts, are textually similar. Amazing to realize that the next published books were Fragile and 26 76, both of which have very different linguistic qualities. Abstract as they are, they are grappling with "the real" in some way, while As No Storm is trapped in a looped self-referentiality. [J. Drucker]
other influences: Hard to say what else played a role, maybe illustrated books of various kinds, nothing in particular was a direct influence. [J. Drucker]
community: none Though the writing and drawings were done outside of any community of practice, the book production brought me into contact with artists, printers, and poets. This really explains, in part, the difference between this book and later ones, even those produced within a year of this one's appearance. [J. Drucker]
manuscript type: texts
note: None remain, as far as I know, unless Betsy Davids has some.