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Or Less
Em Press
Out of Print
[20] p., 9.75 x 5.75
Limited edition of 50.

This poem’s lexicon a summer’s munificent notes, composed with the screen off or, in the garden, on a black-enameled manual. Tricks to circumvent the internal editor. Project: to magnify, clarify through diminution. I resisted the assignment as though someone had given it. Set rational, irritable limits:
9 items or less (market express lines) in 25 words or less (contest rules). Pressing against excessive.

Handset in Centaur and Arrighi on Ingress Antique. The cover is Larroque Fleurs. Printed letterpress in an edition of 50.

This is the first Em Press letterpress chapbook, created in a San Francisco State University graduate art seminar, a practicum in book design and letter press printing with Master Printer Peter Rutledge Koch, at the Press in Tuscany Alley, San Francisco.

          “The formal word-grid introduced by Robert Duncan…suspended a bridge and laid down a model that connects Olson’s tumultuous page consciousness and Agnes Martin’s calmly graphed canvas to contemporary variants – word-on-word pieces (sometimes in a series) – developed since then.
          Essentially a quadrant, Duncan’s poem section is formed by six columns of words to be read vertically and horizontally. It was inspired – via Pound – by Fenollosa’s work on the Chinese written character as a medium for poetry, enriched by the Italian Renaissance paradigm of “the magic square.”
          …[W]e can imply Duncan’s profound connection to Olson’s page as a graphically energetic site in which to manifest one’s physical alignment with the arrival of language in the mind. This emphatic visual concurrence generated a kind of lithographic “stone,” inscribed over the next thirty-year interval, discharging both the Duncan/Olson ghost print and a variety of original documentation, claiming the magnetic formal shape of the Agnes Martin grid for entirely new translations of formerly “unspeakable” material unearthed by a number of women poets in the last two decades…
          Figure 14 was written and hand-set by
Dale Going, then printed at her own Em Press as the chapbook, Or Less (1991). The book’s epigraph is from Helen Frankenthaler: “But it kept getting more and more beautiful in the wrong way.” The word-field is one of nine pages – each a variation on whatever word (of the nine words making up the grid) was em-boldened in the field of the page. That word is then responded to in the facing text.”
Kathleen Fraser, pp 184-8 in “Translating the unspeakable: Visual poetics, as projected through Olson's ‘field' into current female writing practice," Translating the Unspeakable: Poetry and the Innovative Necessity, University of Alabama Press, 1991