Descriptions of Literature, 2019
Gertrude Stein, Handwritten by Erica Van Horn
Number of pages: 144
Dimensions: 150 x 140 mm
‘Coracle Press: Descriptions of Literature’ by Gertrude Stein and handwritten by Erica Van Horn.
“Gertrude Stein’s sentences Descriptions of Literature were written by hand. Her line length was not made by any particular decision. The length of her lines was determined by the width of her ruled notebook page. I did not worry about my line length being shorter than hers. I did not even think about it. Her sentences went from handwriting and later they were typeset and now they are handwritten again. This is just the way things sometimes happen.
Writing someone else’s list has been a joy. Handwriting these sentences by Stein has provided me with a glorious kind of escape. It is not my writing. It is her writing. I am not the author. I am the writer. But as I am writing her writing, it demands all of my attention not to change things to make them into my own.
As I write one of her sentences in this list of descriptions, I decide that the sentence I am writing right then is my absolute favourite of these sentences and then when I am involved in another sentence and I have to write it again and again to get it written right, I decide that that sentence is my favourite in this list of sixty-six sentences.
Having a favourite is just a small thing because I am immediately on to the next sentence and once again I must copy and consider and write as carefully as my poor stiffening hand will allow. This is an exercise in restraint but it is a freedom too. I love the physical and hypnotic movement of my pen on the page. I love writing by hand.”
Erica van Horn
About Coracle Press
Coracle Press is a small and completely individual publishing press which has been operating for over 35 years.. Writer and artist Erica
Van Horn and poet, artist and editor Simon Cutts, direct it now from a small
farm between the hills of South Tipperary, Ireland. They have been there since 1996. However, they began in London in the nineteen seventies, as publisher, gallery,
and a space for books. Their last London book shop project project was ‘workfortheeyetodo’ in the mid-nineteen nineties. They also had a Norfolk connection. They worked out of a studio in Docking and between 1989-2012, printing many of their works from a printer, Crome and Akers, based in King’s Lynn.
From their remote spot in Ireland, they continue as printer-publisher, editor of
spaces. They describe their practice as ’employing many of the devices and formats of hypothetical
publishing inherent in the small press’. Their books have both critical and playful
dimensions. But they are also steeped in poetry – they call it a residue of poetry – concerned with the mechanisms of the book as a manifestation of the poem
itself. They are also mindful of their many collaborations with other artists and writers, which evade any clear category.
Being open to new ideas and approaches marks all their projects. Limiting their scope or over-categorising their content or defining their range does not interest them.
The books themselves are not so concerned with craft tradition,
limited-ness of edition, hand-made paper or elaboration of binding. While each one has its unique character and appearance, what they want to achieve is the plain and simple case-bound book, the sewn paperback. They are working constantly at extending the category of ephemera. Making quirky visions, askance views, eccentric perceptions widely available is what they are all about.
Visit their blog at www.somewordsforlivinglocally.com