Year-End Report: 2010

Finally I made it into Wordship II, moving out of Wooster Street, which I inhabited for over 35 years, sleeping there last in June; and it's been for sale with Halstead ever since. Relocating took longer than I imagined, and become more expensive, even though I did almost everything myself, albeit with assistants working directly for me, packing books, moving boxes, and then unpacking books and organizing shelves. Many months later I'm still not done setting up my new place: 1051 Wyckoff Ave., Ridgewood, NY 11385-5751, 646-524-3462.

I underestimated how much it would cost and how many vultures would hit on me on the way. About the latter vermin, I'm writing a memoir titled THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A NO-COST DELAY about how to identify in advance incompetence and potential thievery. What happened to me shouldn't happen to anyone else.

Economically, these are grim times. Too many people known to me are either unemployed or scratching desperately to maintain earlier income levels, much like the Big Banks, often at a threat to their reputations and thus their futures.

I wouldn't have made it without continuing assistance from the artist Alexis Bhagat, who squeezes me between other activities, and more occasional help from my archivists Allison Laplatney and Mahina Embers, among others. Not only do they work but they make me work--very hard. Within a 5000 square feet footprint+ a balcony with 2500 square feet, Wordship II now houses 20,000 books, Archae Editions (books of mine new and recycled), 30 running feet of lp records, a few hundred cds, perhaps 150 indexed DVDs, my professional archives, visual art by both myself and others, tapes both audio and video, and a lap pool in which I swim almost every night before bedtime, even as the water is turning cold. For a dated photograph of the exterior before the graffiti was removed, consider the photos on Google Maps.

About my new neighborhood, I have little to say, except that I expect that in a decade more people like me will reside around here. My principal contact with the larger world is the recently renovated L-train that gets me to Union Square in 20+ minutes and comes often during the day. The train itself has become the new SoHo or the East Village, uniquely connecting younger artists and bohemians, much as St, Marks Place once did or, say, the Main Line train in Philadelphia uniquely connects another sort of like-minded people. For a recent interview with me about the L-train, skip beyond the opening ad on http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/33950716

Because of the relocation, I've done less writing than publishing, untypically for me. Autonomedia published my Skeptical Essays, which are what the title says they are, with Igor Satanovsky's brilliant cover that redoes Mt. Rushmore with my puss beside H. L. Mencken, Emma Goldman, and Mark Twain. See: http://www.amazon.com/Skeptical-Essays-Richard-Kostelanetz/dp/1570272123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288284892&sr=1-1

My favorite coconspirator in poetry, John M. Bennett, put my InSerts along with a book wholly his and Unfinished Fictions that he and I wrote together as http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-sock-sack-unfinished-fictions-more-inserts/6334732. Raymond Farr III, a publisher new to me, did my Fict-ions and This Sentence back to back under his Blue & Yellow Dog Press. Bartleby in Brussels finally released his handsome Thrice, which includes my Kosty the Ghostwriter that resets a Herman Melville text in a contemporary setting. Redfox in Ireland redesigned and printed my Erotic Minimal Fictions (perfectbound) in small format. Alternating Currents asked to do Fulcramorepoems, also in a small format; Ray Hammond at NYQuarterly to do Three Longer Poems, while Gary Metras' Adastra Press will letterpress his selection of my Minimaxims. (He rightly complains that too many other publishers nowadays are copying rather than, as he does, printing.)

Archae Editions published the monumental Micros Stories with 900 pages brilliantly designed by Louis Bury in a limited edition of 26 hardbound copies. May we wager that this last title, especially, will be acknowledged in some future books about American Literature? While making a list of texts of mine that are available only on the Internet—that can't be printed without significant loss—I realized that I'd already done a collection of Virtual Chapbooks and so added that title, albeit still in progress, to my bibliography. Lists can be found in my eponymous website.

South Florida's preeminent Books & Books mounted an exhibition of my Black Writings, twelve dark words large ink-jet printed one apiece on very black paper. Aweseomly elegant, these must be seen first-hand to be believed; reproductions are insufficient. May they be exhibited elsewhere.

For a devotee of New York City beaches, 2010 was a glorious summer with more warm sunny days than I needed, typically making my decision to “beach it” as noon, going to the A-train, and returning for dinner. I swam and bodysurfed at my favorite Beach 60th Street in the Rockaways. Meanwhile at the NYU swimming pool I've continued springboard diving, even learning new dives, incredible though that might seem, now that I'm seventy (really?).

Most of the coming decade should be devoted to cleaning up my legacies, acknowledged in critical histories and encyclopedias of poetry, fiction, American culture, music, and book art—recognitions that come when people unknown to me admire enormously one or another work of mine, no matter how obscure or disadvantaged its beginnings. My complimentary task is then earning enough money to support all the assistance I need, not only in care-taking at Wordship II, but in producing definitive editions of audios, videos, and texts that didn't get through commercial channels. Given these daunting responsibilities, anything else should reluctantly be regarded as a distraction, including friends' cultural events of the sort that I might have attended before (please excuse me) and, say, political criticism and book reviewing to which I've probably devoted too much attention over the past decades.

Looking forward to the coming decade, may I hope that you do as well, with my best wishes.