The Creative Writing Program • Department of English • University of Texas at San Antonio • One UTSA Circle • San Antonio, TX 78249
AMERICAN LETTERS & COMMENTARY
Co-Editors
David Ray Vance
Catherine Kasper



Editor Emeritus
Anna Rabinowitz


Cover Art
Nancy Kuhl
Widow’s Menu


Intern Extraordinaire
Christopher Guzman


Graduate Assistants
Laura Ellis
Christy Gutierrez
Issue #20


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Special Feature
ephemera

Joe Brainard

from A Happy New Year Scrap Book

Kenward Elmslie

Card for Barbara Guest

 

Card for Barbara Guest

Miho Nonaka

An-Pan Man

Barbara Duffey

Gone
Gone

Gone

Fortune Teller Redux

Nancy Kuhl

Day By Day: Phylum Press, Poetry, & Ephemera

Phylum Press

Outstanding First Sentences

Logan Esdale

Gertrude Stein Citings (Numbers are the Only Words)

Buzz Spector

Errata

Julie Carr
& Nancy Kuhl

Mirage

Cathy Eisenhower
& Nancy Kuhl

Blank Document

Richard Deming
& Nancy Kuhl

Winter 2000

Cameron Gearen
& Nancy Kuhl

Widow’s Menu

Lara Odell
(With Logan Esdale)

from Opiate of Words



Poetry & Prose:
Cristiana Baik • Elaine Bleakney
• Karina Borowicz • Ian Brand •
Joseph Campana • Patty Crane
• Jordan Davis • Joe Francis Doerr •
Tyler Flynn Dorholt • Haines Eason
• Robert Fernandez • Lea Graham •
Amira Hanafi • Carolyn Hembree
• Christine Hume • Kristina Hummel •
Catherine Imbriglio • J.L. Jacobs
• Pierre-Albert Jourdan • D Sprung Kurilecz • Jason Labbe • Eric Linsker
• Camille Martin • Eugenio Montejo •
Trey Moody • Kelly Moore
• Rachel Moritz • Kirk Nesset •
Bob Nickerson • Simon Perchik
• Michelle Naka Pierce • Emma Ramey •
Joan Retallack • Frank Rogaczewski
• Christopher Salerno • Jason Schwartz •
John Taylor • G. C. Waldrep
• Josh Wallaert • Jonathan Weinert •
Sue Hammond West • Elizabeth Winder
• Jordan Windholz •

ephemera


While it can be said that all art is ephemeral (like the human beings who create it), a distinction is often drawn between large edition works, and small editions of twenty-five or ten or one, between so-called “significant” works and “ephemera.” In this issue, we focus on the latter: those unique, singular (or nearly so) items that often escape the gallery wall or the distributor’s warehouse. These artworks include the handmade card, bookmark, or pamphlet, the poem sent via postcard, the drawing shared amongst a small group of friends, the paper “object.” They travel the mail system to arrive in letter boxes. Occasionally they end up in library special collections. Just as often they’re discarded or lost. We feature “ephemera” as a reminder that art can be everywhere and because ephemera captures a political spirit, one that defies monetary systems, marketing offices, and the declaration of public approval/disapproval. Its joy leaps into the world without great expectations or massive constraints. We are honored to include notable works by Joe Brainard and Kenward Elmslie, along with an array of pieces from Phylum Press, edited by Nancy Kuhl and Richard Deming. We are especially grateful to Ron Padgett for all his kind and valuable assistance with the Brainard and Elmslie materials. We also wish to thank Nancy Kuhl and The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. In addition to the usual AL&C bookmark and postcard (our regular contribution to the world of ephemera), we include at the end of this issue, a tangible poem/object by poet Barbara Duffey for you to assemble. Enjoy!


—Catherine Kasper and David Ray Vance