Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Publishing Journal: March 21, 2013

This is not Cesare Pavese but Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937). Here is how Wikipedia writes up Gramsci:

Antonio Gramsci was an Italian writer, philosopher, politician, political theorist, sociologist, and linguist. He was a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.

Not just “imprisoned” Mr. Wikipedia but confined in prison for twenty years and then executed. The journals and letters Gramsci wrote in this confinement are some of the greatest documents of the 20th Century. I regret that the bookshop’s priceless 3-volume boxed mint set of Gramsci’s writings were one of the victims of our recent “sale.”

 This morning I can look over the first finished copies of my book
“obert Smithson.” I printed it yesterday, F & G (folded it and collated it, “fold & gather”) and sewed the signatures together. Further joining of the book’s five signatures is accomplished by gluing the sewn signatures together and pressing them overnight (in a bookpress I bought 45 years ago, from Gaylord Brothers.*
     Meanwhile, I had printed the covers. Since they’re “jet print” and color, and printed on coated card stock (C1S in the papertrade vernacular = coated one side) they have to dry a couple of days.
I also designed a way to reproduce the lengthy fold-out cover of Pan Smithson did on my commission in 1956, and I printed that, too, and glued it into my new book as a “paste-in fold-out”). This morning I get to open and read my book, its first copy off the press, a special moment. I am sending this first copy to Nancy Holt, Smithson’s widow, to whom my book is dedicated. I think Nancy would agree she and I were Bob’s first supporters and probably his most influential friends and comrades.
     In the same series as the Smithson Book, I have published a memoir I wrote and published on Dorothy Day. And I’m 50% done on the third volume in this series of memoirs of geniuses who influenced me lifelong: Thomas Merton. I intend three more books: Thich Nhat Hanh; Father Daniel Berrigan; Teo Savory.
*The Gaylord Brothers book press cost $12.50 then. It is exactly 10X that amount now, $125, an interesting example of the “value of the dollar” in my working lifetime.
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