Scholarship

Having produced book art (along with more conventional volumes) since the late 1960s, I eagerly opened Betty Bright’s handsomely produced No Longer Innocent: Book Art in America 1960-1980 (2005), wishing that it would be definitive, only to discover that it wasn’t. Told by its publisher that my essays on the subject were respectfully acknowledged, as indeed they were, thanks, I was surprised that none of the book-art books I produced before 1980 were mentioned—not my first collection of visual poetry, Visible Language (1970); not Come Here (1974) in which very few words are visually enhanced sequentially into an erotic narrative; not my ladderbooks Modulations and Extrapolate (both 1975); not my binding two complimentary books back to back—Short Fictions/I Articulations (1974) and “The End” Appendix/“The End” Essentials (1979); not One Night Stood (1977), which publishes the same text in two radically different formats; not Inexistences and Tabula (1978), which have blank pages behind their opening frame; not my loose-leaf books Obliterate (1974) and And So Forth (1979); not the stack of large cards I titled Rain Rains Rain (1976); not the three books composed entirely of numerals; nor the Assemblings that I co-produced annually during the 1970s. Nothing, nada, zilch. How infuriated I become (justifiably?) as I remember all these titles.

Then I discovered that the major book-art books of other authors were similarly slighted:

—“Sloppy ‘Scholarship’ ” (1997, 2006)