Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Light within the Wind (qbdp # 121)

"airlIGht" (qbdp # 121, 30 Nov 2006)

Holiday Inn, Room 335, Batavia, New York

After the third night of travel and mailart, I've reverted to my bare minimum number of cards: five. But even these took me a while. I had to select an appropriate fidgetglyph from the small collection I carry with me on my travels, to stamp my address on the card just right, to determine the colored inks I would use, and to create each of the five cards. This is one of my newest fidgetglyph, created yesterday in Caneadea, New York, and revised a few times until it evolved into this form.

I used an identical set of "vintage" postcards I purchased at With Pipe and Book (a used bookstore and pipe store in Lake Placid) as the canvas for my fidgetglyphing. It's a quaint little card, with a beautiful rendition of the word "Postcard" and one of those muddy landscapes common on old postcards. I thought it fit the fidgetglyph well.

The few recipients of "airlIGht" (qbdp # 121) were as follows:

1. Ruth and Marvin Sackner

2. Bob Grumman

3. Roy Arenella

4. Dan Waber

5. qbdp

un violon d'ingres

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Voice of Lois, Dan, and Aubrey (qbdp # 120)

"Voici l'oiseau dans l'arbre" (qbdp # 120, 29 Nov 2006)

Webb's Lake Resort, Room 311, Mayville, New York

I'm tired from yesterday's creating and today's traveling and presenting, so I cut back to a set of a dozen cards today. (It would've been thirteen, but I produced one version of the fidgetglyph that wasn't acceptable.) This card was made more difficult by the slow addition of watercolors.

"Voici l'oiseau dans l'arbre" (Reverse, qbdp # 120, 29 Nov 2006))
The card took so long to create that I gave up on including a message on the back of each card. Instead, I used bits of the stamp sheet I was using in place of a message.

Those receiving "Voici l'oiseau dans l'arbre" (qbdp # 120) were as follows:

1. Ruth and Marvin Sackner

2. Bob Grumman

3. Roy Arenella

4. Dan Waber

5. Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

6. Wayne Alan Brenner

7. Reneé Wagemans

8. D. Mask

9. Ryosuke Cohen

10. Jassy Lupa

11. Steve Dalachinsky

12. qbdp

un violon d'ingres

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Letter to Garcia, et al. (qbdp # 119)

"Dear _____" (qbdp # 119, 28 Nov 2006)

The Inn at Houghton Creek, Room 12, Houghton, New York

Sometimes, I'm a bit too ambitious, and tonight was one of those times. I decided to take twenty large postcards I picked up at the beginning of the month at the Hotel Saranac of Paul Smith's College and to write a faux epistle on the back of it to just as many people as I had postcards. The process of writing this multi-colored letter was time-consuming, but I'm drawn into the mesmery of this kind of work, even as I wear myself out (temporarily, at least) doing it.

The recipients of "Dear _____" (qbdp # 199) were as follows:

1. Bob Grumman

2. Ruth and Marvin Sackner

3. Roy Arenella

4. Dan Waber

5. Lisa Jr & Elizabeth Zois

6. Dees Stribling

7. Jay V. Stribling

8. frips

9. RF Côté

10. Ficus strangulensis

11. Mick Boyle

12. Haje Holmström

13. Pati Bristow

14. fat red ant

15. Pablo Wright

16. richard canard

17. Guy r. Beining

18. Miguel Jimenez

19. Guido Vermeulen

20. qbdp

un violon d'ingres

Thursday, November 16, 2006


David B. Herriman, "An Outer Space Fish Ghost" (Jun 2006)

Last week at work, the postcard above appeared in my mailbox. What I find remarkable about this is that the card is not addressed to me--isn't, actually, addressed to any specific person--yet someone decided I was the person best to accept this correspondence. I never speak about mailart at work, and only occasionally about visual poetry, but somehow I became the recipient of this card. Good enough.

David B. Herriman, Note (6 Nov 2006)

It is an interesting card. Both the image on the front and the message on the back are mass-produced photocopies. Only the woefully inaccurate address is handmade. Yet, despite this mass production, the whole card reads just like a piece of mailart. Possibly without knowing it, David Herriman has become a mailartist, sending off these quirky cards making weird scientific claims.

un violon d'ingres

Monday, November 13, 2006


Jim Leftwich, Alphacards (9 Nov 2006)

Jim Leftwich uses index cards for art more than anyone else I know, and I remain amazed at how deftly he can use a simple technique to develop a visually stunning result. I provide a few of the cards from today's envelope as evidence.

un violon d'ingres


Jassy Lupa, "Death to High School" (9 Nov 2006)

It is great to receive another card from Jazzy with her loose but beautiful handwriting and her careful little paintings. This one is a bit sad, corroborating Jassy's note that she's busy, working too much, and dealing with illness. My good wishes to Jassy. I'll be sure to write her a note the next time I send out a card.

un violon d'ingres

Fractal Imagination

Brain Cell 657 (31 Aug 2006)

Ryosuke Cohen, the best-named Japanese mailartist in the business, sends me another copy of his Brain Cell, this one from August 2006. I wondered why he sent me this issue, but it might because he has added one piece to this normally three-piece zine. A usual Brain Cell consists of an envelope that never needs postage stamps to be mailed to me, a large sheet of paper covered with colorful rubberstampings, and a small trifolded sheet listing all the participants in the issue and their addresses.

This issue, however, includes another sheet, folded in threes then in twos, that includes a two-page essay dated June 2006 and entitled "Mail Art --- Networking Art." This essay covers a lot of ground quickly: the importance of collaboration and sharing in mailart, his point of view that mailart is slowing down, and how artists can learn from nature.

un violon d'ingres

A Circular Rectangle

Circulaire 132 # 7, Page 2 (October 2006)

It's been a while since I've received anything from the great RF Côté of Québec, Québec—of course, that's only because I didn't send him anything for many months. And it is wonderful to receive mailart from reg again. What an imagination and what style he has. Today, I received in the mail a copy of Circulaire 132 # 7, which is something like an assembling, but reg stitches together the various pieces received from artists from all over the globe.

There is plenty of beautiful stuff here: an interesting (and short) article on V-Mail (written in French, of course), complete with illustrations, scads of artist stamps (including one by Renée Wagemans that resembles a small piece of chainmail), a little advertisement for this blog (complete with logo by Mick Boyle), a little poetry booklet produced by Richard Hansen (part of his Poems-for-All series), a little comic printed in color, a couple of collages, one of the spliced photos produced by Dan (of Portland, Oregon), and announcements on mailart projects. This is what a mailart zine is supposed to be!

un violon d'ingres

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Mailartist is Born

Jay Stribling, "Day After Guy Fawkes' Day 2006" (6 Nov 2006)
Jay Stribling, whom I've never met--along with his brother and my friend from college, Dees Stribling--are obsessed with correspondence, specifically postcards. Dees has mailed me literally hundreds of postcards over the years, and in the past couple I've begun to mail Dees postcards at quick clip as well.

But Jay I don't know. I've corresponded with him, but in a weird way, sending him messages about as personal as the one above from him. But I love his handwriting, his clear intelligence, and his interest in minute detail. And this weekend, I decided that his type of correspondence is clearly a form of mailart. He just doesn't know it, and he might not even know what mailart is. Yet here I have made him a mailartist.

un violon d'ingres


frips, Beetle (5 Nov 2006)

What can I say? frips, once again, does a simple and amazing thing. This giant cut-out beetle, sewn by machine to a cardboard card is quite a beautiful surprise.

un violon d'ingres

Cashword for All

Steve Dalachinsky, "Cashword Collage" (2005 and 30 Oct 2006)

Steve sends me a collage that he describes as "cashword collage/b&w xerox of original color (w/ elements added)/dalachinsky 2005 #1 of 1." Pretty hilarious. Steve, a poet, follows this with a weird little poem on the back of the card:

The Thoroug

the cellf
w/in the
cell fish--

That should hold us in good stead.

un violon d'ingres

Oh, Peace Train Take This Country, Come Take Me Home Again

Pati Bristow, "Peace" (3 Nov 2006)

Pati Bristow responds to a recent card from me (one months delayed on my part) with another peace-related item, this time a postcard. On the back of the card, she let's me know of the location of her weblog.

un violon d'ingres

The Future in the Present

Roy Arenella, Two-Way Arrow (2 Nov 2006)

When I'm on schedule (which isn't nearly often enough), I post information about my qbdp mailings before anyone has a chance to receive one, so recipients could (as Roy Arenella has often noted) see what they're going to receive long before they receive them. This card of Roy's, illustrated with a double-pointed arrow (representing coming and going), includes a note from Roy in anticipation of one of my cards to him. (The other review of the card was "The Archi've one I enjoyed but feel it's more potential than fulfillment," which might be pretty accurate.) Roy's other note was that he had no "sound method for procuring" blank diaries whose sequence of dates fit particular years. I'm still looking for one that will work for 2007. I'm currently using a 1905 diary for my 2006 jottings.

un violon d'ingres


John M. Bennett, Various Small Publications (Oct 2006)

Another small packet of mini-publications from John M. Bennett arrived in my mailbox, including a couple of tacky little pamphlets (TLPs) and a postcard. All of these are collaborations, since John subsists on collaboration.

un violon d'ingres

Flame Flower

Jim Leftwich, "Tritoma" (28 Oct 2006)

Jim sends me a small sheaf of new visual poems, including this beautiful shaped poem about, I have to assume, the flowers of the genus Tritoma. And the words bea uti full y confirm this.

ecr. l'inf.

Leaves of Fall

Jennifer Hill-Kaucher, "for The Fall Leaves Variations" (Nov 2006)

Dan Waber has released yet another card in the series, The Fall Leaves Variations, this one another one by Jennifer Hill-Kaucher. I keep reveling in her use of italics. Such a good choice for these little concrete poems, this one a simple replication of a leaf in full tumble.

un violon d'ingres

My Daughter Lives in Queens

Roy Arenella, "'Only the Dead Know Brooklyn.' But Everybody Lives in Queens" (20 Oct 2006)

I love this photograph of Roy's, and in response I'll note that I have relatives buried in Queens and my daughter lives there as well.

Most remarkable about this card is Roy's note that his wife was in Room 22A of the Beekman Towers two days before I was in Room 22E. Too bad we missed each other. But I wonder how often such things happen without my ever knowing.

un violon d'ingres

Something for Dessert

Dessert, Senior Exhibit, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas, Texas (2 Nov 2006)

Jay Stribling, brother of my friend Dees, sends me a postcard announcing his son Robert's participation in his senior exhibition. I couldn't make it to the show, and I didn't get word out in time for anyone else to attend. And, hey, Jay doesn't even think of himself as a mailartist. So why post this card? Because I've just decided that Jay is an unknowing mailartist, and I wanted to start with a colorful card. (PS I received another copy of this card from Dees himself. Too bad I didn't show for the event.)

un violon d'ingres

An Improbable Flock of Seagulls

Dan, Seagulls in Formation (16 Oct 2006)

I received a postcard from the surnameless mailartist Dan (of Portland, Oregon), and the card consists of a wonderful bit of photographic legerdemain. Photos of twenty birds (hey, maybe they're not all seagulls) are set up in a 4X5 grid and laid against a clouded sky. It's all a strange insertion of the human hand into nature. Now, all I need to do is return a photograph to Dan, who requests such in return.

un violon d'ingres

The Word as Seeing

Roy Arenella, "Point & Shoot" (7 Oct 2006)

Roy Arenella is always pushing towards a poetry of the eye. He is the ultimate poet/photographer, merging word with image, as he does here with the simplest tools: rubberstamps. The giant round lens of the camera does double duty as an O, fully merging the visual image with the visible WORD. In the tiniest note, Roy--who can write smaller than anyone else I know--writes, "This (clearly condenses) is what I've been trying to say." Because his mailart is about making points, this poet/photographer/philosopher.

un violon d'ingres

The ABZs of Boys

Dan Waber, Boys, A-Z: A Primer (2 Oct 2006)

Dan Waber, in an impressive show of technical mastery along with a soupçon or more of Oulipian spirit, has put together a solid little booklet examining the sexavigesimal structure of our written language. What he does is this: he names each boy with each letter of the alphabet in sequence, creates a simple drawing of a boy's face out of the appropriate letter of the alphabet and a few squiggles of the pen, then he writes a four- or five-line and twenty-six-word light-verse poem about that boy.

To make this more difficult is the point of each poem: to begin each word in the sexagesimal series with a different letter of the alphabet, each letter presented in alphabetical order. So Adam's poem starts "Adam builds computers," ending with "zippers," and Oliver's begins with "Oliver Plays Quiet Riot," going to the end of the alphabet and around, ending with "now."

Dan even continues the fun into his "A Bio" and to the back-cover blurb, which goes like this:

All boys come disguised, especially from girls.
Here is juicy knowledge, lessons maybe no one
previously quilled. Relax, sit tight,
uncover villains while x-raying y-chromosome zone.

Most remarkable of all, is that these little stanzas still make literal sense!

un violon d'ingres

Broadcast IUOMA

My latest mailing from Ruud Janssen, of IUOMA central in Breda, The Netherlands, consisted mostly of notes to be and bits of advertisement for the YouTube incarnation of IUOMA, so I figure it best just to point people in that direction. See below for one of the essential videos on the site. All of this makes me wonder about the direction of mailart, away from the mails proper and towards other modes of transmission, even other modes of creation. Mailartists, of course, have always been involved in art activities beyond the world of mailart. This is just a new one.

un violon d'ingres


Dan Waber, "Prototypes of Punctuation for the Translation of Dreamed Poems # 3 (for Márton Koppány) (October 2006)

Dan Waber continues his interesting neopunctuation project, an homage to conceptual poet Márton Koppány, with this third numbered prototype. Ostensibly influenced by the I Ching, this piece of punctuation appears to sit at a constant lavender slant, all of which suggests some kind of connection, and some deeper meaning those of us without the secrets of the mark cannot fathom.

un violon d'ingres

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blue Lake, Blue Word (qbqp # 118)

qbdp # 118: "S/&" (5 Nov 2006)

The Hotel Saranac of Paul Smith's College, Room 412, Saranac Lake, New York

I drove up to Saranac Lake today (a Sunday, of all days) with a couple of colleagues. We will be giving a day-long workshop tomorrow in this pretty little village in my Adirondacks. It's good to be back in the mountains, and this is a nice little hotel, but I'm tired and made only the simplest of cards tonight. I've been carrying around a tiny little fidgetglyph for a while, and tonight was finally the night I wrew it in blue onto a vintage postage. On the way here, we stopped in nearby Lake Placid and visited the famous bookshop, With Pipe and Book. I found a rack of vintage cards (for a steep 75 cents apiece) and bought a couple of sets of cards.

Tonight's card appears on the back of a painted card of "Blue Mountain from Main Street, Blue Mountain Lke, N.Y. Adirondack Mountains." It was a blue-themed card of a blue-named mountain and a blue-named mountain's lake and a blue-named mountain's lake's hamlet, so I had to pick it up. Also, I love Blue Mountain Lake for many reasons.

The literal handful of recipients of "S/&" (qbdp # 118) were as follows:

1. Ruth and Marvin Sackner

2. Bob Grumman

3. Roy Arenella

4. Dan Waber

5. qbdp

un violon d'ingres