Slightly Touched, A Work of Genius

I love the publishing work of Jan Herman, particularly his Nova Broadcast Series. I have written on RealityStudio about this work at length. His uses of the fold in his chapbooks and broadside pamphlets are especially appealing. For me a brightspot is William Burroughs's The Dead Star (Nova Broadcast 5), which shines like a switchblade opened in broad daylight.

Yet Herman's perfect bound efforts are less than perfect. I am thinking mostly of Carl Weissner's The Braille Film. The text crawls into the gutter and dies there. Although Herman published this work in an act of friendship and love, to read it is is an act of rape. It is bound to tight and a complete reading would destroy the binding at the opening. Thus the appropriately named Braille Film remains a book I can only fondle but never read.



Cloud9 said...

thnx for the shout-out. as to the flaws of TBF production, your reaction no matter how awful wld not even register on a nanometer compared to mine when i first held the thing in my hand. i was, to put it mildly, horrified. i wanted a somewhat thicker paper stock than usual, so as to give the book the heft i thought it deserved. but i had no idea the paper wld not be flexible and wld feel like cardboard.

becuz the Nova B books were being entirely financed at that point by an industrial printer, i had no leverage in terms of the production. once i sent off the designed pages the production was out of my hands. the printing company used its own resources to produce the books -- that is, downtime on its unionized presses and whatever spare stock it had available.

this is not to make excuses. i took my lumps, cuz the only alternative would have been to tell the printer to trash the edition. & that i absolutely did NOT want to do.

one further note. let me correct any impression that i published THE BRAILLE FILM out of friendship and love. Well, sure, I feel both for Carl. But I would NEVER have published TBF if I had not valued the text, which I thought was the best piece of writing that Nova Broadcast had issued. Bar none. & by the way, Carl never once complained about the TBF production. even when i told him i regretted the production flaws. he simply waved my concerns away. which tells you something about his character and lack of vanity, esp. when you know about his own meticulous sense of craft. -- JH

Post a Comment