"COLD MOUNTAIN" (1966)
Nichol published separate but parallel mini-series of chapbooks, pamphlets, postcards etc alongside grOnk. There was also the Ganglia Concrete Series, the Singing Hand Series, the 5¢ Mimeo Series, Tonto or Series, and the 35¢ Mimeo Series (just to name a few). The Singing Hand Series is particularly interesting as it was published from 1965 to 1966 and so pre-dates grOnk by several years. Nichol used this series to publish work by David Harris and d.a. levy as well as a couple works by himself. The piece which I've digitized here is "COLD MOUNTAIN" which Nichol has annotated in the "Ganglia Press Index" by writing "burnable mimeo edition (never ordered & thus never released)." The piece is undated but it was likely published (though not distributed) in 1966 and would have sold for 10¢. I've created a pdf of "COLD MOUNTAIN" but, as it's a kind of flip-book - a resolutely bookbound genre whose materiality does not translate into the digital - my description here will hopefully augment the digital version. The piece is about 3 x 3 inches, with four strips of paper folded in half and a single sheet inserted in the middle - all of which are stapled together. It has clearly been written with a typewriter and while the structure of the poem doesn't necessarily depend on the typewriter, the precise distance between letters no doubt helped to visually create words that ascend and descend as along the contours of a mountain. Opening the small pamphlet we read, "MOUNTAIN / COLD / TO / GO"; flipping to the back page we read, "RETURN / FROM / COLD / MOUNTAIN."
Already its charm, not to mention the meaning behind its material structure, is lost in this kind of description as well as in the digital scan of the front and back pages - for, as we turn over each strip of paper that is marked with a single word, we find directly underneath two or three other typewritten lines which we can read along with the word on the verso, the words above, and even the lines on the next strip of paper. In other words, following on Raymond Queneau's unreadable Cent mille milliards de poemes from 1961, "COLD MOUNTAIN" is a more modest - though still compelling in its minimalism - work of potential literature.
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- grOnk Series 2 issue 6: John Riddell's "Pope Leo: El Elope"
- grOnk Series 2 issue 4: Barbara O'Connelly's "THERE WERE DREAMS"
- Ganglia Press Index, compiled by bpNichol (1972)
- Transformational Unit (1971)
- The Cosmic Chef: An Evening of Concrete (1970)
- The Origin of the Term "Dirty Concrete"