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Recently Read…June 30, 2012

James Wilson, All the Colours Fade. Neverland Publishing 2012.  These brief prose pieces or prose poems all take their point of departure in the songs of the Manchester pop group the Stone Roses, whose prime time was the late 80s and early 90s.  Private and mysterious, full of non-referential pronouns and uncertain locations, the pieces read like moments snatched from dreams.  Interspersed amongst the texts are small reproductions of photographs, which act as tiny visual prose poems in their own right.  All but a few of the photographs are credited to the author.

Click shut locks and wind back clocks.  Spend the last of your currency tonight.  An empty pocket won’t weigh you down when you take one of your next flights.  Laissez-faire or let’s make do?  A sunset attitude.  Spin this globe beneath your feet and never let the darkness rise.  [Excerpt from “The World Waits”]

William Boyd, Nat Tate, An American Artist: 1928-1960. 21 Publishing Ltd., 1998.  Nat Tate was an American painter who studied with Hans Hofmann and was associated with the abstract expressionists.  In 1960, he burned most of his paintings and committed suicide by jumping off the Staten Island Ferry.  Tate was also a hoax perpetuated by author William Boyd, pop star David Bowie and others.  Boyd’s name-dropping biography of the fictional painter replicates the the heady New York milieu of the 1950s when American art came into its own on the world stage.  Making guest appearances are Elaine and Willem De Kooning, Frank O’Hara, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and numerous others who hung out at the Cedar Tavern or MoMA.  The short book of less than 70 pages includes numerous historic photographs of the New York Art scene, along with other photographs apparently from Boyd’s personal collection.   There’s a nice overview of the hoax and the April Fool’s Day party hosted by David Bowie over at Dangerous Minds.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. I ve always want to try the Nat Tate book a wonderfully clever joke making him up and so many people were foxed by it ,all the best stu

    June 30, 2012
  2. A timely post, in light of the Stone Roses’ having recently reformed and played to a sell-out audience in their home city last night:

    June 30, 2012
  3. Nate Tate was really a great literary joke. Since I belong to the kind of people who read the last pages of non-fictional books before reading the rest, I already knew about the joke. But that didn’t disturb me enjoying this fictional bioagraphy at all. If you can read German I would like to recommend you another great literary joke: “Die Wahrheit über Hänsel und Gretel” (The Truth about Hansel and Gretel) by Hans Traxler – terrific : ) (Here you can find my recommendation in German:

    July 2, 2012
  4. James #

    Thank you very much for reading, Terry!

    July 7, 2012

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  1. Photography-embedded Literature – The 1990s: Bibliography | Vertigo

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