Wednesday 18 May 2016


The first reprinted batches of CBe books in the new look are now in – shown above, alongside the pebbles from Brighton beach that cued the colours for the Ponge. Apt, given that the longest (prose) poem in the book is ‘The Pebble’: ‘a pebble is a stone at the precise moment when its life as a person, an individual, begins, I mean at the stage of speech.’

The reason for the new look is in a previous post. A retro look. Not-too-happy memories of academic paperbacks of, say, the 1990s. Happier memories of the two-tone mobile library van that came round to the village in Yorkshire where I grew up in the 1950s. The below is a 1968 Orkney Islands library van – the one I remember was brown and cream, a swooshing curve dividing them, and that I can’t find an image of it – or even something like it – on the net is a reminder that the net is not a repository of ‘everything’, in fact most things are not there at all.

Some of the first books I read came out of the library van. I didn’t know that I was supposed to start a book on page 1 and then read through the pages in consecutive order – I thought I could start with the chapters that sounded most exciting (‘The Pirates Attack’) and then get round to the others if I was still interested. This still seems a valid and perfectly reasonable way of reading a book.

For any new orders of J. O. Morgan’s Natural Mechanical, the above is what you’ll get. For Francis Ponge’s Unfinished Ode to Mud, trans. Beverley Bie Brahic, there are still a few old-style copies left (so, for a while, you have a choice). The insides are the same. That you may have already got these books is of course no bar on ordering them again.

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