Welcome to the Poison Pie Publishing House!
Home to a Literature of Non-Idiomatic Improvisation

Featured Book:

Proceedings of the International Congress on Exploratory Meta-Living
a post-existential fantasy generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process
full text online; free, anonymous access; serially published on a daily basis in 2018

Blog & News Updates:

On-going Blog Series: A Survey of Bestiaries; updated each Saturday

April 15, 2018
On the Ideomotor Phenomenon
Our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, Hebeloma Crustuliniforme, unabashed Champion of Apophenia, challenged us to improve our communication with the spirit world. To this end, some months ago we commissioned a planchette and board from the workshop of Dark Balaur in Kiev. It recently arrived. While we cannot yet report any amazing revelations from beyond this physics-based reality, we can at least show an image of the board resting in the eldest dogwood tree residing in the front yard of the Poison Pie Publishing House.

 

April 4, 2018
H.P. Lovecraft
Recently we listened to an audiobook of the short story, The Silver Key, written by H.P. Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937). The same admiration of this text of an admittedly flawed author, which we felt when we first read the words, came upon us again. Weeks later we were induced to reproduce an extended passage here.

He had read much of things as they are, and talked with too many people. Well-meaning philosophers had taught him to look into the logical relations of things, and analyse the processes which shaped his thoughts and fancies. Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other. Custom had dinned into his ears a superstitious reverence for that which tangibly and physically exists, and had made him secretly ashamed to dwell in visions. Wise men told him his simple fancies were inane and childish, and even more absurd because their actors persist in fancying them full of meaning and purpose as the blind cosmos grinds aimlessly on from nothing to something and from something back to nothing again, neither heeding nor knowing the wishes or existence of the minds that flicker for a second now and then in the darkness.

They had chained him down to things that are, and had then explained the workings of those things till mystery had gone out of the world. When he complained, and longed to escape into twilight realms where magic moulded all the little vivid fragments and prized associations of his mind into vistas of breathless expectancy and unquenchable delight, they turned him instead toward the new-found prodigies of science, bidding him find wonder in the atom's vortex and mystery in the sky's dimensions. And when he had failed to find these boons in things whose laws are known and measurable, they told him he lacked imagination, and was immature because he preferred dream-illusions to the illusions of our physical creation.

So Carter had tried to do as others did, and pretended that the common events and emotions of earthy minds were more important than the fantasies of rare and delicate souls. He did not dissent when they told him that the animal pain of a stuck pig or dyspeptic ploughman in real life is a greater thing than the peerless beauty of Narath with its hundred carven gates and domes of chalcedony, which he dimly remembered from his dreams; and under their guidance he cultivated a painstaking sense of pity and tragedy.

Once in a while, though, he could not help seeing how shallow, fickle, and meaningless all human aspirations are, and how emptily our real impulses contrast with those pompous ideals we profess to hold. Then he would have recourse to the polite laughter they had taught him to use against the extravagance and artificiality of dreams; for he saw that the daily life of our world is every inch as extravagant and artificial, and far less worthy of respect because of its poverty in beauty and its silly reluctance to admit its own lack of reason and purpose. In this way he became a kind of humorist, for he did not see that even humour is empty in a mindless universe devoid of any true standard of consistency or inconsistency.

--H.P. Lovecraft from "The Silver Key", written 1926, published January 1929 in Weird Tales, full text dagonbytes.com.

 

March 30, 2018
Cleromancy

The editor of the Poison Pie Publishing House wrote a short treatise on the material tools of cleromancy, intended as an introductory chapter to an instructional monograph entitled, A Practicum on Divination via Cleromancy. After the introduction was completed, the author of the text received a message from afar instructing her to renege, at least for the time being, on the agreement. Thus, it appears that the practicum will not be published. We present the introduction here alone, without the remainder of the text, to prevent our efforts from being entirely wasted.

 

March 17, 2018
Indefatigable Null_Sets
We have added two new Null_Sets visualizations of work from the Poison Pie Publishing House to the gallery. These visualizations were created by converting the text files of a written work into an image using the Null_Sets script created by Amy Szczepanski and Evan Meaney. The Null_Sets website is located here. The image shown here is the visualization of the novel, The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv, written by David Keffer in 2016. Also uploaded is the visualization of the novel, 2017: The Year of the Every-Day Magician, written by David Keffer in 2017. These visualizations join a host of other works in the Null_Sets gallery at the Poison Pie Publishing House.

 

March 13, 2018
Kickstarter: We Failed!
The deadline for the Kickstarter project for a hardcover version of 2017: The Year of the Every-Day Magician passed without reaching the funding target. The staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House are not too upset about this. It was an experiment and the possibility of failure is essential for a genuine experimental process. Furthermore, typically, failure is a more ready gateway to wisdom than is success. Did we learn anything from this experiment? We confirmed only a joyful hypothesis of ambivalence. In any case, we have a limited stock of hardcover books. If a reader in the United States is interested, contact the PPPH editor and we should be able to come to an agreement to get you a copy at virtually the cost of the book and shipping.

 

February 14, 2018
United at the Rock Against Racism
A column appeared in the Knoxville New Sentinel today by the PPPH author, David Keffer, highlighting the many efforts at the University of Tennessee to rise above the turmoil, attempting to be fomented by the on-going graffiti and upcoming visit of a white supremacist group. The column is here.

 

February 10, 2018
Kickstarter: 2017: The Year of the Every-Day Magician

Without undue fanfare, the Poison Pie Publishing House has launched its first Kickstarter project. If funded, this project would result in the publication of a hardcover version of 2017: The Year of the Every-Day Magician, a post-existential fantasy generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process.

The novel follows two neighborhood boys, Oscar and Omar. Oscar is a member of a white working class family, whose fortunes are in decline. Omar is the son of first-generation immigrants, professionals from Iran. These two boys navigate a friendship in the social landscape reflecting the political events of 2017 as they happen and the social tensions created by the current president and his policies.

The novel is subtitled, The Rise and Fall of the Renegades of the American Muslim Registry. It responds directly to the president's suggestion, voiced during his campaign, to create a list of all Muslims in the United States, citizens or otherwise. That such a registry has not come to pass is a result only of the vigilance of those who reject such a list as inherently immoral.

The purpose of this Kickstarter project is to provide a high quality hardcover book to bibliophiles, who would like to hold a physical copy of the novel in their hands. The book will be six by nine inches in dimension and approximately 395 pages in length (365 pages of story plus indices and front matter). The book will feature a hardcover binding with cream interior paper (60# weight). The dustjacket will be made of paper (80# weight) with full-color exterior ink and a matte finish. Beneath the dust jacket the book will be bound in a black linen material with gold foil stamping on the spine. The project runs through Monday morning, March 12, 2018. The full text of the novel remains online via free, anonymous access at the Poison Pie Publishing House (link).

 

January 31, 2018
Nicole Mitchell
Today we received a copy of Arcana VIII: Musicians on Music in the mail. We flipped through the table of contents and decided to read the contribution from the American flautist and composer, Nicole Mitchell, first. We found this passage to be in a very different vein than the previous interviews and writings by Ms. Mitchell. Here we share a quote from the book.

Outside that wall, I have to say, it's not that it's magical. It's untouchable and unseeable, but it's real. You know, better than that, if you practice your connection to the stars enough, you can go anytime you please...And even better, I'm tellin' you, there are no consequences, no punishments and no side effects except joy and more strength. Can you imagine? I'm thinking, maybe we can build a bridge from pain to hope and insight and take all our families there...Maybe our barcodes can even be rubbed off? This new awareness, this realm of making, this dark maroon cloud, it's a hidden choice that we all have, but it's been so lied about and covered up with opaque abuses and accusations and candy wrappers. It's hard to find. I wanted you to know! I think the bridge was discarded by the shoebox designers thousands of cycles ago. It was taken from our schools because they feared it would weaken our obedience. Only some of our elders remember now. In truth, it's a birthright to our species, perhaps the most important one. A gift directly from the blue marble that we all depend on, and now, like sight, the vision behind one's closed eyes to the maroon clouds of otherness is a mine of our mind where we can excavate new designs of sound, paper, ink, words and on one can stop us. You know when you know, you know. No one can take that from you.

--Nicole Mitchell, from "What Was Feared Lost", collected in Arcana VIII: Musicians on Music, edited by John Zorn, Hips Road, New York, 2017, p. 223.

 

January 1, 2018
2017: The Year in Review at the Poison Pie Publishing House
In the year 2017, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House produced three books: two novels and one illustrated grimoire.

2017: The Year of the Every-Day Magician, subtitled A Second-Hand Account of the Rise and Fall of the Renegades of the American Muslim Registry was recorded in real time. It is a post-existential fantasy generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process. It was serially published on a daily basis in 2017, resulting in a novel composed of 365 passages each nominally three hundred words in length. The full text of the novel remains online via free, anonymous access.

The novel follows two neighborhood boys, Oscar and Omar. Oscar is a member of a white working class family, whose fortunes are in decline. Omar is the son of first-generation immigrants, professionals from Iran. These two boys navigate a friendship in the social landscape reflecting in real-time the political events of 2017 and the social tensions created by the current president and his policies.

Much of the inspiration behind a literature of non-idiomatic improvisation comes from non-idiomatic improvised music. The novel was improvised in the following manner. The author wrote a passage each day while listening to a different album. For the curious, several indices were generated, noting the artists, labels, countries and years of the recordings. The page numbers in the index correspond to a book, which currently does not exist, in which each page contains the writing from a single day of the year. Thus an entry of "1" in the index corresponds to January 1, 2017 and an entry of "365" corresponds to December 21, 2017. The index is posted as a pdf file here.

An Ornithological Grimoire of East Tennessee is a book of spells derived from birds dwelling in East Tennessee, illustrated in felt, featuring bird-themed finger puppets designed by Ms. Ruth Marie Keffer. More information on this book can be found here. A full-color, perfect-bound paperback version of the book is available from lulu.com.

 

The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv is a flight of fancy in two hundred and one parts, in which a girl, orphaned by crows, explores the various islands of the Sea of Birds with the intention of populating a library of her own design entirely with bird-shaped books. It is a post-existential fantasy generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process from March 16, 2016 to December 21, 2016 in Knoxville, Tennessee. At the beginning of 2017, a private printing of a limited hardcover edition was produced. The author reputedly sold not a single copy of this lovely, little novel, opting instead to give them all away exclusively to people who had not asked for them.

Also of note in 2017, An International Journal of Exploratory Meta-Living published two interviews, one with the American pedal steel guitarist, Ms. Susan Alcorn and one with the new Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Ms. Hebeloma Crustuliniforme.

The staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House is no longer setting annual goals. Even with this much lower standard, namely thinking, idly if possible, about potential activities in the following year, we are somewhat dismayed to report that they have nothing to offer as to what they might do with the next year.

To our readers, we, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House, thank you for your patronage and support and we look forward to another mutually creative and unpredictable year.

 

December 28, 2017
Twelve Sides of Vinyl from Derek Bailey
Unexpectedly (at least to the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House) three lps originally released in the 1970's and 1980's on the Incus label have been reissued, each with an additional lp containing unreleased material. We briefly discuss the reissues in this review.

All three reissues feature the British non-idiomatic improvisational guitarist, Derek Bailey (January 29, 1930 - December 25, 2005) either solo or in duos with the American saxophonist, Anthony Braxton (born June 4, 1945), and Dutch drummer, Han Bennink (born April 17, 1942). Of the twelve sides of music, seven have been previously released and five are previously unreleased. There is a special joy in unanticipated delights at year's end.

As a matter of coincidence, the on-going novel, serially published on a daily basis at the Poison Pie Publishing House, 2017: The Year of the Every-Day Magician, A Second-Hand Account of the Rise and Fall of the Renegades of the American Muslim Registry, has associated with each daily passage a piece of music, to which the author listened during the creative process. For the month of December, the author chose to listen to releases by Derek Bailey, with each day featuring a different collaborator or ensemble. (The particular details of each piece of music are noted after the passage.)

 

December 16, 2017
Ten Excellent Records of 2017
In 2017, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House made a concerted effort to investigate music as it was released, as opposed to indulging in a predisposition to mine troves of music many decades old. In this review, they highlight ten exciting records containing various strains of non-idiomatic improvisation released in 2017.

 

 

December 15, 2017
Roy Poonawala - Classmates EP
Roy Poonawala released his debut record, the Classmates EP, on November 30, 2017. The release is available via bandcamp. The EP collects the hit single Cool Kids Club featuring Nina. More details of the release are available at the discogs.com entry. If one wonders whether this Poonawala bears any relation to Ms. M. Poonawala, whose work is featured in the Experimental Laboratory of Symbology and the associated Experimental Cemetery of Symbology housed within the recesses of the gallery of the Poison Pie Publishing House, wonder no longer. Our sources confirm that such a relation exists.

 

December 9, 2017
The Music of Keiji Haino in the Year 2017
In the calendar year of 2017, eleven recordings were released or reissued, which included some contribution from Keiji Haino. In this review, all eleven contributions to the Haino discography are examined collectively. By our own reckoning, the media on which these releases appeared included: lp (2), lp with digital download (3), lpx2 (1), lpx2 with digital download (1), cd (1), cdx2 (1), book with cd (1) and dvd (1). These releases were issued by labels based in the following countries: Japan (4), the United States (3), Australia (1), Belgium (1), France (1), Germany (1) and the United Kingdom (1). [Link to review.]

 

December 2, 2017
A ghru from the Ninth World Bestiary 2 of Numenéra.
Bestiaries of 2017
With the arrival of December, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House would like to share some favorite books and music that they have encountered over the course of the year. They begin today with a discussion of several bestiaries published in the calendar year 2017, then deviate from their assignment and discuss two related books, which they thoroughly enjoyed: Underworld Races & Classes (Adventure-A-Week Games) and Cerulean Seas: Beasts of the Boundless Blue (Alluria Publishing). [Link to review.]

 

 

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