What You Will, a new book of poems by Kyle Schlesinger! It’s done! It’s out! & it wants to live in your home!

Poems by Kyle Schlesinger
44 pages, double signature pamphlet stitch with folded jacket
4.375” x 8.75” (closed)
Letterpress printed in three colors from photopolymer plates
Edition of 100
All copies are signed by the author
$20 (plus shipping)
Out of Print



Still no title. I think it will probably have to wait until the end. The writing began in earnest in over the weekend, finally, and as this long weekend approaches, maybe there will be significant progress. What follows is the middle of the in-progress draft, two braided threads of text:


& it can cut deeply & it will be impossible to put it back together again; you can never read the same book twice, you can never go home; time passes; every piece of light is brand new in the unstoppable wave of time; & your hands are hopelessly wounded, scrawled with characters, words, gestures, trembling; terrifying machines in the terrifying light; try and try, your hands will never arrest the book in time; all you can do is bleed &

—a morning with folds, fast heartbeats, folds, and joy; joyful light shining through this glass, this stain; it is the morning, a blemish, a blush; the already scarred face of a new day; gorgeous in the light and twisted like that; red like that; read like that; brown, white, blue, yellow, white; and sheets turning folding; waking in the wake of this light; this day; this light; this day; this light; this day; this light; always new in every repetitive push; this terrifying machine; this time; this day; this light; turning and the light pushes through, awkward, groaning, fumbling, the light passes bashfully; this morning; stripped down to thick & bright, this white gorgeous in the way that it is read; never a sight as such in darkness; never a site as such in darkness; this is joy; this morning; this sight; this is sight; and waking; this morning; made; this light; unmade; folds; the mechanics of these things are incredible; movement, the way movement happens; always new; this day; this light; as such; thick & hanging, everywhere; like that; just like that—

& this is the ultimate measure of time &

—this is where we can begin, thankfully;

I spent some time playing around with different structural conventions, on how to break the phrases in way different from the “natural” sentence. I don’t know if this solution will be the one actually used, but we’ll see—I do like the rhythm. I’ve also been thinking about the punctuation conventions of early manuscripts, before the rules of punctuation had solidified at all.

And the “normal” text is written only using “you” and “it” as pronouns, while the italicized text is only written using “it.” Very simple structural choices or exclusions like those can help to build very strange texts.



The following excerpt is from the article “The State of the Book: A Conversation,” by Johanna Drucker and Buzz Spector, which is in the printed Printeresting edition of The California Printmaker (the journal of The California Society of Printmakers), p. 20. [Ed. Note: Totally worth buying and reading and owning.] This particular part is Johanna Drucker:
But as we shift towards the multi-platform possibilities that the current media environment offers, what changes will it make to our work? I find it very useful to use all media for their distinct capacities—aesthetic, production, distribution, affordability, etc.—but know […] that media only offer opportunity, they don’t determine anything. As I’ve said many times, the technical ability to produce avant-garde typography (i.e. Futurist and Dada compositions) was present in Gutenberg’s shop. The cultural disposition towards such innovation did not exist. Such work could not be conceived. Sure, shaped poetry has a long history, into antiquity, and all written language makes use of graphic affordances, but mixed font, diagonal, radically cut-up typographic work has as much to do with the bombardment of the senses in urban spaces by polyglot and multi-modal communications in verbal forms (radio, posters, newspapers, journals, advertising, film) as with technical innovation. [emphasis added]
I think that the point that Drucker is trying to make here is an important one: that any media in and of itself has no “natural” state, no “natural” progression that the work in that media inevitably follows. “Media only offer opportunity” to human and institutional agents. This is also the whole point of The Nature of the Book, by Adrian Johns, which talks about how everything we take for granted about books & print was not always so, and were constructed over time, differently in different places, through an extraordinarily complex set of conversations, arguments, laws, and practices. To cite a modern example, the Internet is not inherently and naturally “democratic,” and could/can/is be used for insidious and/or overt social control—all in the name of justice, of course.

What does this mean for us, now, in the opening stages of a possible shift from print to electronic text? It means that we shouldn’t let corporate/media/money interests tell us what the future is—it means that we must share in the active shaping of it. Which is why this is such an exciting time to be doing all of this writing, publishing, making, designing, shaping, becoming, occupying, sharing, talking…



It’s always a strange thing to finish a large project. Suddenly an absence, and not-knowing creeps back in, nestles under the covers. But there is rest. Hopefully today What You Will will arrive in Austin, and I can hear what the author thinks. We’ll see.

Ordinarily we would release the book as soon as it’s finished. With this one we’re waiting a bit, mostly because of Thanksgiving. (The release will be Monday, Nov. 28.) Which is good, because it will give us more time to coordinate the release and promotion. And promotion is something that NewLights need to work on, as noted in some earlier posts. And also distribution logistics—I’m still not happy with how shipping options are set up with our PayPal buttons. But there is time to work all of that out, and it’s not necessarily interesting to anyone but me.

This morning I was thinking about a “book trailer,” which is something that I’ve seen other small presses doing, for at least a couple of years (maybe more?) now. Usually they’re videos. We’re not really set up for video production, so maybe if we do a trailer it will be in digital book form, images and text from the finished piece, plus images and text from the process of making it.

But perhaps the most important question at this point is, “Now what?” Not in the sense of what book is coming next, because the publishing schedule is set for at least the next year, but in terms of what NewLights can be/do. Where do we take things from here? That question, of course, is always there, but sometimes it is repressed by a series of tasks-at-hand, only to come rushing back in every quiet moment, hanging, a filter through which all of our breath gathers, a window through which all of this sunlight passes. A new day shivers. It is winter, the air around us is cold. And so warmth blooms in action.



Finally, after nearly 2 years. Now they will be sent to the author, Kyle Schlesinger, so that he can sign them. They will officially be released and available for purchase in exactly two weeks, on Monday, November 28.



Each book begins with a series of notes: the specs of the project, lists of related ideas, attempts at written sections, etc. Often all of these things swirl around in my brain for days or weeks before I actually sit down to write them. But actually writing them down is important, for a variety of reasons: 1) it records ideas so that they are not forgotten, 2) it takes ideas out the nebulousness of the mind and helps to build specific connections between them, 3) it begins to give the idea a (loose) shape, and 4) when the ideas are outside of my mind/voice, I can evaluate them more objectively and effectively.

The conceptual composition grows. It is not always a temporal-linear growth—sometimes it’s necessary to return to the beginning, either to harvest a particular idea, or to reboot a project that is getting out of hand. Things change.

What follows is the current state of the notes for a new project, the next book, a small insert to be included with the next issue of JAB. Other pieces can be found in posts below, and the image above is a second visual mock-up.

Letterpress & offset. Initial idea: use each medium for its strengths. New idea: use each medium for its weaknesses, or for qualities outside of transparent reproduction.

What is offset not good at?

Cover each page in multiple layers of opaque white, building back up to the silence of the page/white morning light. Print text with hard impression still visible under the offset layers. Different colors/shapes under the white? Different colors of paper? (The Heads)

What about solid black? Or black & white? Or other solid colors?

A book about light? Newton’s Opticks. Photographs. What about actual reproduction driven to abstraction? A photograph of the Rothko blinds in the morning. Close-ups of her skin in the morning light—filling the frame and covering the debossed text.

New plan. Offset, CMYK photo images of color fields in the morning light. Letterpress text, in negative, on top of those, in transparent colors and/or opaque white. Two or more “braided” lines of text. Use of perimeter text idea.

Writing without pronouns? Or indeterminate pronouns?
How do we move in the morning? Where does the world lie? As blinking, breathing, rising. It turns. It is suspended.

How do we move in the morning? Where does the world lie? As blinking, breathing, rising. Turning. Suspended. As light as such. Something in the spine stirs, folds, folds over. As blue light, now white light, stretches. The window sagging in the light. The light dizzy in the window. Morning. Reading. Stretching. Stretching over and across. Lines across an open body. Folding.
Perimeter text could be a “list”: turning, moving, breathing, etc. Maybe not. Definitely not.

Font for interior text? Low contrast roman. Palatino? Centaur? Poliphilus? Investigate cost. Italic paired, instead of sans serif? Needs to print well in negative. Placard for perimeter text, possibly Arial/Helvetica.

How do the lines connect? What is each line? Above example could be perimeter. Could also be italic. Does use of italic make the “poetic” voice subordinate to the “theoretical” voice?

Structure: the page as unit (how many words?). Two sections of main text, each readable independently, forwards or backwards, and also able to be read in linear order. “Blank” sections? How to use? The swerve. Too much? Too “written?”
Reetum vel init adio esequat. Ut vel delisis nummy non ut doloboreet dunt vulluptat, sequat.
Tat. Duisit la facilit lumsan vel ercillaortio con velisci llandrem nullan et velisissim am, vullaorem alit, quis ametum quismod dit nim nonse magna feu facipsu scilit wis augue dolorer incin henim doluptat. Atin ullamet lumsan volesse feuis dolor in utpat. Ut lum acinit alit volore ming ea auguer susci tem vel utpat, cons ex et incipit augiam, core dolum dolore cor si bla alit adigna facillandre dolor se ver si blan vel erat, conulpu tpatue feu facidunt wis aliquat, quat dit nulla cons ea con henim dolor at incil et, quam, cons enit dunt autpat praesenit autatumsan utat. Duismod olobore dolore vel dolessenibh et velenismodo eu facin enibh el iurem dolenim zzrit in henim ipit, conullan ulluptat. Ut lan estrud min esse minci bla feugait estrud te feum zzriure dolortin eugait delit prat. Ut at. Ut il deleniam in vullutat Um nisi. Rud tis niamet nulput ad modolore te ea
165 words per section. Rough estimate.



& designing is writing. The image above is the first go at a layout/structure for the spreads of the next book. Just roughing it in.



Entangled. Now that binding has begun, it’s hard to think about anything else besides getting these books done. They will be finished by the end of the week, even if I move at a moderate pace. After they’re finished, they will all be mailed to Kyle to sign, and then when they come back to me, they will be released and available. Probably in about 2 weeks. At last, at last.

Compiling, collating, stacking, binding. This is one of the strangest parts of the whole activity—when all of those fragments are drawn together into a moving whole. Ostranenie. The book never looks how you dreamt, never looks how you remember. It takes its shape gradually, through folding and sewing, and then through pressing and trimming. It expands, it contracts, is hewn from space and time, plane, line, and point, bending, sagging, twisting, moving. An object in the world, subject to. As light as such. Always almost there, almost done, almost there, almost done, almost there, almost done. And so on. It bends.



This is the first part of a new project, the base layers/sequence for our first offset/letterpress combo book. 

It's amazing how weird and plastic-looking the "pages" look in this viewer. The final book will not only look like (and actually be) a real book, but there will be many other layers and text and other fun things as well.



Printing is complete. Final count: 202 press runs. & binding has begun.