Saper 2016

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Saper, Craig. The Amazing Adventures of Bob Brown: A Real-Life Zelig Who Wrote His Way Through the 20th Century. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016.

1450-1950, collection of hand-drawn visual poetry published in 1929 (no first editions exist; 1959 reprint does); published by Harry and Caresse Crosby’s Black Sun Press in Paris:

"the process of reading 1450-1950 follows an intimate discovery of a literally marginalized poetry (since the invention of the printing press). Brown's collection is an extension of Gutenberg's creative legacy from 1450 and, at the same time, a resistance to the standardized lines of type set." (153)

the Readies machine:

"Bob wanted to conjure a machine that would not be out of place in a popular science fiction story in a pulp magazine." (154)

"Recognizing punctuation marks as analogies for cinematographic zooms, close-ups, and special effects makes reading into a new, unfamiliar process; using punctuation as hieroglyphic analogies for visual and emotional meanings might seem obvious today when we create emoji or emoticons by using punctuation marks in precisely this way. Using punctuation for visual rather than reading cues makes reading into a dramatic scene, or an allegory about the process of reading as the words run on 'before the eye continuously.'" (156)

"Bob Brown sent a copy of the Readies manifesto to Gertrude Stein, and she loved his invention and laughed aloud as his playful presentation of plans and ideas. She answered his plan with an essay celebrating 'Absolutely Bob Brown, or Bobbed Brown,' alluding to Brown's calls to process all texts in a telegraphic cut-up styles that eliminates all unnecessary words. With Stein's poetic allusion in mind, the readies' writers and editors bobbed sentences as flappers bobbed (cut short) their hair"

announced the Readies in three versions: The Readies (1930/2014), a condensed version in transition (1930), and a follow-up version in an appendix in Readies for Bob Brown's Machine (1931); also included a different approach to preparing texts for machine in Words (1931/2014), which miniaturized to less than 2-point font size and required magnification to read; in a later novel You Gotta Live (1932) he wrote a preface int he readies style