Small Press Distribution table at UDP:D.
Open for business, fridays and saturdays, 10 to 5.
Ugly Duckling Presse has two new ventures we must put our eyes to! In Brooklyn, they’ve opened up UDP’s Pop-Up Bookstore: Third Factory, a temporary storefront at their HQ in the Old American Can Factory. Third Factory will be stocked with books, chapbooks, letterpress prints, and ephemera from UDP, Archipelago, Belladonna*, Akashic, and many more […]
EMILY: I just have a few questions to ask… You’ve been published at several other presses before UDP. How do they compare?
ROB: UDP is another planet! And all of the participants and members of the collective are lovely alien ugly ducklingswith a massive commitment to contemporary poetry. This is unusual.
ROB: Unusual in that UDP is committed to non-mainstream poetry and other difficult writing, and has somehow managed to design, produce and promote books as if they were a much larger publishing house. Their commitment to thriving as a poetry press—in this economy especially—is remarkable.
EMILY: How was writing and publishing No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself. a different experience than Notes on Conceptualisms?
ROB: Almost no similarities at all… except size. Notes on Conceptualisms is a collaborative critical book, a sort of handbook, that Vanessa [Place] and I wanted to get out quickly because we thought it might be useful to the conversation that was percolating around Conceptual Poetry. No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself. was a long, solitary piece… and very sad.
EMILY: So where did you find the inspiration for No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself. ?
ROB: The inspiration for writing it?
ROB: That’s a really good question. Okay, I’m always interested in the kind of problems that are current in poetry and I’m often looking to write texts that intersect (or accentuate) as many of these “problems” as possible. Of late, there’s a compelling conversation about the re-appearance of authorship and new ways to think about subjectivity in quotational writing practices, and I wanted to turn up the volume on that conversation by constructing a sort of collective subjectivity (which, by the way, I’ve been working with for a decade or so). So that was a big inspiration. Another inspiration or problem for me was working in verse form — what I would call a revisit of poetic form, because a lot of what I write doesn’t look like poetry. No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself. looks like poetry. Poetry is a kind of field of feeling and affect, and I wanted to call up that mechanism. For over a year, I was working with Keats’s form in Ode On A Grecian Urn, but it wasn’t satisfying because there was no way around parody… the poetic form wasn’t revivified, it just sounded silly. Around this same time, Josef Kaplan told me he was really getting a lot out of Schulyer’s The Morning of the Poem which I went back to and immediately got excited about the form he uses. Using Schuyler’s form, for me, takes the poem right to the edge of this embrace-critical distance binary. Given my other books, I would imagine that a reader might wonder why I’m using this fairly elevated verse form, but then the content does seem to adhere to it. Obviously, I’m trying to have it both ways… I find that position — in No Wait… — to be more infected with unresolved issues… which, for me, is a little like inspiration.
EMILY: So, throughout the book, your protagonist refers to himself as ‘I’. Is he based off of anyone, or a collective thing?
ROB: I do want to emphasize the ‘I’. I think we’re at a moment in poetry and art, where the disappearance of the ‘I’ has been already fully absorbed as a theoretical concept, and the re-appearance of ‘I’ it worth investigating… even if the ‘I’ is understand much more as a fictionalized, mediated construct. So, in No Wait… the found sources are composed to build an “I” that is more collective than the singular, personal ‘I’. It isn’t based off of any known person; it’s an avatar of an unemployed male in his mid-20s who listens to a lot of Metal.
EMILY: Okay, I have one more question left. Do you have any ideas for future books, or are you waiting for inspiration at the next party?
ROB: I don’t really know… I’m not convinced that I’m done with this stuff of collective affect. Right now I’m working on a piece tentatively titled The Meaning of Life, where I’m collecting global articulations to this age old question. Maybe I’ll find the answer, and if I do I’ll be so happy to share that.
- (Emily Costello, intern at UDP, interviewing Robert Fitterman; 2/10/14)
A reading and celebration of Robert Fitterman’s No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself., Josef Kaplan’s All Nightmare, and Mike Taylor’s not knowing at Pierogi Gallery.
Poets & writers reading at UDP’s Third Factory last night (2/9/14): Dan Owen (hosting), Jarrod Annis, Carly Dashiell, Sara Falk-Mann, Woody Leslie, Emmalea Russo, and Carl Schlachte.
Made by Woody Leslie while working at UDP’s Third Factory.
Third Factory (newly named) at sunset.
Photos from UDP’s new temporary book shop & gallery. The snowstorm led to a quiet day inside, but it’s looking good. Lots more books and things coming to fill out the space soon. Stay tuned for more!
UDP’s new temporary gallery space & book shop at 242 3rd St in Gowanus. We’ll be here for a couple weeks, selling our books and books from other presses, hosting readings & events, as well as using the space to make books. Stop by to see what we’re working on, or peruse the shelves.