recent books

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/members/autonomedia/sites/ on line 1418.

Night Shift

book blurbs: 
“Ron Kolm’s Night Shift stands alongside other wage-slave masterpieces like Charles Bukowski’s Factotum and Harvey Pecar’s American Splendor. Winking and grinning in the face of punch-clock death, Kolm finds a way to somehow stay alive and even to eventually triumph. One senses in these moving and sometimes hilarious little vignettes that Kolm wrote them in flagrante dilecto; a gypsy moth blue collar poet-scholar recording his emergence from sooty cocoon to winging oracle of the smokestacks, junkyards, tenements and roads of the national creep-scape.’’ — Alan Kaufman, author of Drunken Angel; editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Literature

“Kolm has always been a true NYC poet, with a sensitive urbanity and absurdist humor that barely looks both ways as taxis filled with rich yupsters swerve around downwardly mobile moppets with new wave beards. His is a voice that realizes the foreverness of beat vision. Where we all come together to love the noise of the great metropolis we are lucky to have this guy in the room.” — Thurston Moore, author of Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture and Stereo Sanctity -– Lyrics & Poems

“Ron Kolm is an American original and Night Shift is a testament to a life lived in the margins — which is where the real action has always been. Wise, ribald, human, unexpectedly soulful, these stories have the grit and rhythm of real live as filtered through a sensibility finely tuned to the absurd and comic.’’ — Michael Lindgren reviews for the Brooklyn Rail, L Magazine and Rain Taxi

Spiritual Journeys of an Anarchist

book blurbs: 
A collection of little seen (or unpublished) writings from one of the most interesting, well-traveled, controversial, iconoclastic thinkers (and good writers!) of his time.

Included are an interview (done by Antero Alli) originally published in Ravenmagazine in 1994, "The Caravan of Summer" originally in Gnosis in 1996, "My Summer Vacation in Afghanistan", "Roses and Nightingales," and "Grange Appeal," all published in Fifth Estate in the early 2000s, and a previously unpublished interview done with High Times.

Table of Contents
Summer Camp & Hobo Poetics
interview by Antero Alli
The Caravan of Summer
My Summer Vacation in Afghanistan
Roses and Nightingales
Grange Appeal
1994 interview with High Times

Spiritual Destinations of an Anarchist

book blurbs: 
The second in what will eventually be a trio of books of little-known or never-before-printed pieces by Peter Lamborn Wilson, on his travels, interviews, life, and cogitations.

Table of Contents
Chaos, Eros, Earth, and Old Night (radical neo-hermeticism and ecological resistance)
Spiritual Anarchism (topics for research)
Anarchist Religion
Quantum Chaos and the Oneness of Being (meditations on the Kitab al-Alef)
Anarchy and Ecstasy
Evil Eye
Against Metaphor
Secrets of the Assassins
Secular Antinomian Anabaptist Neo-Luddism
Interview with INTO-GAL
Phone Interview with Jacob Eichert
Stain Your Prayer Carpet with Wine

To Dare Imagining:

book blurbs: 
Paperbound, 6 x 9 inches, 160 pp, 14 color illustrations, $16.00

"Preface," The Editors
"Hope in Rojava," David Levi Strauss
"Syria’s Kurdish Revolution: The Anarchist Element and the Challenge of Solidarity," Bill Weinberg
"Why Is the World Ignoring the Revolutionary Kurds in Syria?" David Graeber
"No. This Is a Genuine Revolution," David Graeber & Pinar Öğünç
"Abdullah Öcalan," Peter Lamborn Wilson
Öcalan’s Angels," Newsha Tavakolian
"No Miracles at Work," Havin Güneşer
"A Revolution of Life," Saleh Muslim & Jonas Staal
"Woman fighters of the YPJ," Murat Bay
"The World’s First Army of Women," Evren Kocabiçak
"Two Excerpts from 'Liberating Life: Women’s Revolution'," Abdullah Öcalan
"New Wars and Autonomous Self-Defense in Kurdistan," Nazan Üstündağ
Dispatches From Rojava," El Errante / Paul Z. Simons
Rojava: To Dare Imagining," Dilar Dirik
"The Mastery of Non-Mastery," Michael Taussig
Acknowledgments & Bios
Sources & Resources
The Charter of the Rojava Cantons

Opening the Seals

book blurbs: 
Paperback, 6"x9", 158 pp., $16

“I believe that we can bring the deepest language from the mind. This language. All of it. I believe that when we listen deep, deep as cavefolk cut, we find the scratch or cough in stone from which the letters rose, still rise — the written language that comes before all speech… For we are primates of the sign.’’

OPENING THE SEALS represents poet Robert Kelly’s workings, starting in 2000, with the radical suggestions by the historical linguist Patrick C. Ryan towards the reconstitution of what he calls Proto-Language — a linguistic substrate, ca. 100,000 BC, to all extant human languages — the real Nostratic before Nostratic, ‘our’ language. Ryan argues for a set of meaning-bearing monosyllabic sounds, that work like roots or racemes or perhaps leitmotifs in subsequent languages.

In Kelly’s poems, each section begins with one of the Meaning-Bearing Monosyllables, and “meditates as well as I can contrive on the sound and its range of meanings. And let me say that it is the range of meanings that Ryan finds subtended or implied by the syllable that first caught my attention and excited me: not so much, then, the sense of the sound as a root, but the sound as a complex aural seal, which has to be opened to find all the meanings it proposes — and thus connects…. As if the secret affinities of all things and processes in the world were already encoded in these beast sounds our sweet mouths still fashion.’’

ROBERT KELLY is the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature at Bard College and codirector of the Bard WrittenArts Program. He was the founding director of the Writing Program of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, and is a contributing editor of Conjunctions.

2016 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints

book blurbs: 
2016 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints Radical Heroes for the New Millennium! James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective Autonomedia's Jubilee Saints Calendar for 2016! Our 24tht annual wall calendar, with artwork by James Koehnline, and text by the Autonomedia Collective. Hundreds of radical cultural and political heroes are celebrated here, along with the animating ideas that continue to guide this project — a reprieve from the 500-year-long sentence to life-at-hard-labor that the European colonization of the "New World" and the ensuing devastations of the rest of the world has represented. It is increasingly clear — at the dawn of this new millennium — that the Planetary Work Machine will not rule forever! Celebrate with this calendar on which every day is a holiday! 32 pages, 12 x 16 inches, saddlestitched isbn 978-1-57027-308-7: price $9.95 : 32 pages Pay for two, and we will send a third calendar for free!

Placing Space, Picturing Time

book blurbs: 
Charles Stein's work comprises a complexly integrated field of poems, prose reflections, translations, drawings, photographs, lectures, conversations, and performances. His essay on Terry Winters' paintings examines a body of work that develop an abstract language that explores the interaction between information and imagination.

World War of Small Pastries

book blurbs: 
Translated by Shawn P. Wilbur & Joan Roelofs

From the Preface by Peter Lamborn Wilson:

94 pp. 4.5" x 7", $10.95 Fourier enjoys the honor of being the first thinker to push Rousseau to the logical conclusion of a complete condemnation of Civilization. Not only did he blame it for what we call Capitalism, he also saw it as the source of the evil of Work as “alienation’’ (to use Marx’s term). The fact that we must labor at what we do not love in order to “make a living’’ defines the essence of Civilization’s primal error.

Fourier ascribed his big revelation to a rigorous application of Newton’s law of attraction, not just as a cosmic force but also as a social force. Fourier realized that Passion, far from being the cause of “sin,’’ might actually serve to enable the emergence of a human society (he called it Harmony) in which everyone does exactly as they please; as a result, everything will be done well (passionately) and everyone will be happy. And if everyone is ecstatic and joyful, how could there exist any disorder or violence?

The present text is excerpted from Le Nouveau monde amoureux, Fourier’s magnum opus on “the New Word of Love,’’ which was too hot to publish during his lifetime. Food and sex are his answers to all problems. And if Fourier exalted erotic pleasure, he went even farther in his obsession with food….

Cosmonauts of the Future

book blurbs: 
This is the first ever English-language anthology collecting texts and documents from the still little-known Scandinavian part of the Situationist movement. The book covers over three decades of writing, from Asger Jorn’s Luck and Chance published in 1953, to the statements of the Situationist Antinational set up by Jens Jørgen Thorsen and J.V. Martin in 1974. The writings collected gravitate around the year 1962 when the Situationist movement went through it’s most dynamic and critical moments, and the disagreements about the relationship between art and politics came to a culmination, resulting in exclusions and the split of the Situationist International.

The Situationists did not win, and the almost forgotten Scandinavian fractions even less so. The book broadens the understanding of the Situationist movement by bringing into view the wild and unruly activities of the Scandinavian fractions of the organisation and the more artistic, experimental, and actionist attitude that characterised them. They did, nevertheless, constitute a decisive break with the ruling socio-economic order through their project of bringing into being new forms of life. Only an analysis of the multifaceted and often contradictory Situationist revolution will allow us to break away from the dull contemplation of yet another document of Debord’s archive or yet another drawing by Jorn. There is a lot to be learned from the history of revolutionary failure. It is along these lines that this book points forward beyond the crisis-ridden capitalist order that survives today.

Texts by: Asger Jorn, Jørgen Nash, Jens Jørgen Thorsen, Bauhaus Situationniste, Jacqueline de Jong, Gordon Fazakerley, Gruppe SPUR, Dieter Kunzelman, J.V. Martin, and Guy Debord. Translated by: Peter Shield, James Manley, Anja Buchele, Matthew Hyland, Fabian Tompsett, and Jakob Jakobsen.

Bio: Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen is an art historian and political theorist. He is associate professor at the University of Copenhagen and has published books and articles on the revolutionary tradition and modern art. Jakob Jakobsen is an artist and political organizer. He ran the Copenhagen Free University, cofounded the artist run TV station tvtv and has participated in exhibitions all over the world.

304 pages, 5.75 x 8

Duke & Jill

book blurbs: 
From a review by Mike Lindgren: For years I have been clamoring for a book that collects all of the hard-to-find Duke and Jill stories of my friend and mentor, the downtown writer and poet Ron Kolm, and finally I have been obliged. Thanks to Bud Smith and his Unknown Press, these iconic tales of the East Village of yore are now snugly in place between two paperback covers.

Some background is in order. Ron Kolm is perhaps best known as one of the co-founders of the Unbearables, a loose literary collective of writers and poets who take their founding principles from a grab-bag of postmodernist dicta, including the literature of constraint and the concept of the temporary autonomous zone: a scruffy tribe of proudly low-rent situationists.

Kolm himself came to New York in 1970, worked at the Strand alongside Patti Smith and Richard Hell, and made a name for himself as a poet and editor in the downtown scene’s burgeoning literary underground. Along the way he started writing, almost as an afterthought, a series of comic riffs based on the misadventures of a pair of scruffy anonymous losers he had come to know in the bars and seedy squats around St. Mark’s Place, then a festering hub of the East Village’s proto-punk scene.

The resultant stories seeped out gradually by installments, appearing in such now-legendary periodicals as Between C and D and Public Illumination Magazine. Separately, they were amusing, ribald, scabrous slices of life on the margins in a city that has now vanished. Taken collectively, they represent not only a cultural document of major historical importance but a sharply fresh set of urban parables, a group of surreal micro-narratives whose gruff wit and anarchic energy remain strikingly appealing.

“Duke and Jill do drugs,” goes the now-famous opening of the first tale. “They live on the corner of Avenue A and 10th Street, in a mostly burnt-out building… Bad things keep happening to them.” The cunning parody of the sing-songy rhythms of a children’s primer establishes the tone of sardonic whimsy that will run through the tales collectively, as well as establishing a subtle irony. Duke and Jill really are children, as it turns out, not in the Rousseauvian countercultural utopian mode — hippie platitudes come in for constant mockery and contempt in these stories — but in a far harsher sense. Their lives are dominated by the child’s self-absorption, by an essential amorality and inability to postpone gratification. Duke sees the world around him not through the child’s eyes of wonder and beauty, but as an alien terrain full of threats and menaces; he is no more able to plan or work or conceive of consequences and results than a toddler, and as a result his world is a whirling grotesquerie of drug-addled catastrophe.

The vitality of the book’s recording of a very specific time and place in the history of urban bohemia also transcends that of the mere historical. A central tenet of Kolmean aesthetic theory, which I intend to treat more fully in a series of future monographs, is the concept of witness, an idea that Kolm shares, however unlikely it may seem, with certain religious and spiritual traditions. The true writer, Kolm avers, writes not out of a desire to express himself, but rather in response to an uncentered but compelling sense of obligation, a duty to record the emotional contours of the narrative landscape in a kind of supra-categorical imperative. However sordid and unseemly Duke and Jill’s existence, it somehow still demands documentation — and that gives the stories their radical authority. Kolm is fond, in conversation, of praising a piece of vivid writing as having “the stink of reality” — a phrase he has borrowed from Ezra Pound, and a quality he bestows as a compliment. Duke and Jill have the stink of reality to spare.

And it is this authority, in turn, that establishes these stories as the truest reflection of their zeitgeist that we are likely to have. The deeper into the new millennium we get, the more the period these stories document — that is, the early 1980s — begins to sink into a hazy, sepia-toned reverie that is quite at odds with the reality of the time, with its violence and despair and fraud and paranoia. Even many of the participants or survivors of the era, one notices, are hard-put to resist romanticizing the period or speaking of it in nostalgic generalities. This is part of why the Duke and Jill stories remain so bracingly corrective and relevant. Duke and Jill are the farthest thing possible from rebels or revolutionaries; they are lazy, untalented, larcenous, petty thieves and criminals, and Kolm is ruthless, even gleeful, in documenting their greed and fecklessness. The stories have no redeeming morals, no pat endings — and despite the conclusion’s elegiac tone, which echoes Joyce’s “The Dead” as surely as the beginning references children’s literature — no future. That is their beauty, and their doom.

106 pp., paperbound, 5" x 8", $13.00

Syndicate content