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09 December 2006

AddAll Search on Brad Vice's The Bear Bryant Funeral Train


A controversial book. Accusations of plagiarism. The vultures are circling over a tiny speck on the landscape of US publishing. The book is pulped but has the carnage only started? It must be over when the vultures head off in search of fresher game.

But coming in low and fast, leaner carnivores start buzzing the scene in ever tighter circles. You can spot the letters UB & RBC** emblazoned on the undersides of their buff wings, so they must be a new life form, some mechanical monster only camouflaged to look natural.

The more apt metaphor we are more familiar with than with the one I painted above is found in the phrase "there is no bad news in Rock N Roll." . . not a metaphor at all.

I decided to use that box pasted above all the CPE posts to see if there were any copies of Brad Vice's The Bear Bryant Funeral Train that survived the pulping by the U of Georgia publishers. My question was "How many and for How Much are they going for on the used book rare book marketplace.

Though blogaulaire would prefer that you practice running the AddAll search box yourself from the blog by inputting title and author on your own, the title of this post is also a link to the the page of results that AddAll gave today (it will not necessarily be the same tomorrow if the item sells well).

Here is a summary plus two copies of two book descriptions from that results page:

16 titles offered up for sale and the prices run from US $11.50 to $450

University of Georgia Press 2005 First edition. Hard cover Fine in fine dust jacket. Great shape, like new, never read. Rare copy of controversial book. Most copies destroyed by publisher due to plagiarism controversy. Glued binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 170 p. Flannery O"Connor Award for Short Fictio. Audience: General/trade.


Athens - The University of Georgia 2005 . 1st edition . Fine / fine . Hardback. The controversial Flannery Connor Award winning collection of stories. This title had to be withdrawn from sale and pulped following accusations that the author had plaigerised extensively from a much earlier book, Carl Cramer`s Stars Fell On Alabama. Consequently only a handful of copies have come onto the market - one copy realizing $ 900. This copy is in a perfect as new and unread condition. Scarce. ISBN 8203 2745 X Athens - The University of Georgia 2005 82032745X1 GB


Seemingly Semiotic Sentences Upon Viewing Video Clips Online


Browse over to McSweeneys

Then skip over for a view of a couple videoclips at the Wholphin Screening Room

Blogaulaire enjoyed the experience (though my sound disappeared on the long metrage item; long = + 8 min into the clip)

HERE are a few phrases I thought up all on my own to describe the genres of three of the clips that were presented at Wholphin and a couple McSweeney publications I have read:

  • 3rd person voyeurist fiction
    (with a pretense of cinema verté)

  • 1st person confessional fiction
    (with a pretense of honesty without pretence)

  • Feeds from a plain vanilla fixed video camera recording the urban landscape
    (with the pretense of being uncut)

  • Deconstruction of a holiday-greeting-card message

(with the pretense of knowing more than Hallmark Cards)

  • NOT stories. Not built, narrated nor signifying something else. The degree zero POV (point of view).

(with a pretense that POV zero is camp AND profound - not a cliché)

  • Mystery in the banal.

(with the pretense of overcoming the banal via mockery)

08 December 2006

Brad Vice Reacts to Plagiarism Controversy in Alabama, USA


See Blogaulaire's Comment:

(Title is the LINK to quotes below:)
A Worse Vice

Remember Brad Vice, the Alabama native who had his book, The Bear Bryant Funeral Train, pulped and who was stripped of the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction after being accused of plagiarism? Well, he's got an essay defending his actions in the new issue of Oxford American, and after reading this quote I have a feeling that Mr. Vice might want to drive many a mile out of his way before crossing into the state of Alabama again:

Bear Bryant was always smiling from signs and billboards looming over the highway, and his houndstooth hat was painted on awnings, rooftops, and rotating signs. In this regard, it couldn't have been much different to grow up in Berlin in the 30's or Baghdad in the 90's. I almost called my book The Ayatollah of My Hometown.

Plagiarism is one thing but out-and-out stupidity (emphasis added) is another. If you're going to be selling your book to Alabama fans, people who for the most part put the Bear at the left hand of God Almighty, then you can't be calling him the Ayatollah and drawing even loose comparisons with Hitler and Saddam. It's a bad, bad idea. Trust me, I lived in the state (of Alabama) for too many years not to come away with a healthy respect for the things you can and cannot talk about. I think it was Eddie Murphy who once said that you can speak bad of me all you want but you best not talk bad about my mother. In Alabama, they don't care if you say bad things about Mom, but you damn sure better tip your houndstooth and pay all due respect to the Bear."


Blogaulaire comment:

I know little about this US-Alabama attack on this author Brad Vice because of his so-called plagiarism. It all strikes me as over-kill by the Alabama University Press and the media, I am glad the author writes in his own defence

What interests me most is how the blog owner at Syntax of Things thinks it a dumb faux pas to make nasty remarks by comparison about your home State (or Province in our Canadian case). The author in question here, Brad Vice, is Alabama born and Alabama bred. In Quebec we know this scenario all too well. There is a hell of a difference between talking about your own experience growing up in Quebec and just plain out and out dissing the other side of the (any, I guess) linguistic frontier.

In my comment on calling Vice 'stupid' for comparing Alabama to Iran under the Ayatollah or Berlin in the '30s, I try to reset the compass of another blogger. Anyone who feels like they are being railroaded by their homeland in the name of homeland identity cum security is very likely to engage in a few exaggerated comparisons with other forms of fascism. IMHO

07 December 2006

The Penguin Blog


Penguin - ABE Collaboration:

(From a PENGUIN CLASSICS spokesperson) "next week in collaboration with abebooks we're auctioning off signed copies of all five of (the Designer Classics) - the number ones in each case - to benefit the charity English PEN."

So the link between ABE and the new book publishers grows 'solider and solider' day by day. Pretty soon used book dealers will start debating whether new book sales hurt the market for the used.

If you browse down the Penguin blog, you will be tempted to run out and buy the latest Forbes issue. It is devoted to features about the publishing industry in the face of new digital markets for downloadable content and, basically, entertainment.

Backlists, Libraries, Old Inventory : What Did Archivists Forget?


Did you, used bookseller, ever answer the phone and hear a special plea from one new customer who MUST FIND those out-of-print books, documents and periodicals? Sometimes it is from an author-scholar writing a local history from a unique angle about local or regional culture.

That type of call, we all know, will set your mental wheels spinning and may preoccupy your mind while you browse your own boxes and shelves. The next time you are out 'shopping' the tag sales or offering an evaluation - (that euphemism for price bidding) on some estate's 'old books', that one phone call will stick in your mind and, if it touched a nerve, may very much influence what you buy and what you skip over.

This sort of phone call plus email came into the bookstore where I work. It concerned a history of Montreal poets (English-language poets to be a tiny bit more precise) that the caller is writing with a guarantee of publication. Ever since this initial contact, that exchange with a potential customer has preoccupied my thoughts and sent me even deeper into my never-ending research and physical searches for poetry periodicals, chapbooks, collections and even ephemera.

We will be blogging some of what shows up in the coming weeks. Please: if your own experience with selling books has sent you on either a profitable chase or simply another wild goose chase (upon receiving just one serious, potential customer call), if a request suddenly rekindled that flame for acquisition in a specific topic or genre, then please COMMENT upon your experiences on this blog. I promise to respond and try to relate to all comers.

06 December 2006

Used Book Search-Box Above


CPE has added a utility for readers so that you have access to as the many, many used book titles currently being sold online. As many book offerings as the current state of Internet technology is able to deliver onto your screen.

(If you wonder, as I always do, "How Many?", try out any book or other title you have lying around the room you are in now.

This search box will remain at the top of CPE's homepage every time you return to read a daily CPE post.*

If you enter: AUTHOR: Betsy Warland
.............. TITLE: left blank
.............KEYWORD: Women's Press

Your search will bring up 46 entries. You can purchase any of them from through the Meta Vendor Sites from the book dealers' entries that pop up after this AddAll webcrawler engine completes the look-up process. (My searches use most from a large list; you can configure your own by customizing these options.)

For the sample Warland search, the number 7 result is copied (without formatting) below:

The Bat Had Blue Eyes

Warland, Betsy 6.99 Biblio Used Book Attic

Georgetown, Ontario, Canada: Womens Press, 1993. In The Bat Had Blue Eyes poet Betsy Warland mines her memory for the secrets of her early years, the storiesbehind the one she knows. "A phenomenal literary experience awaits you here." - London Free Press. ISBN: 088961184x. New /no Remainder Mark. Trade Paperback. New. POETRY POETIC WORKS AUTHOR. Catalogs: Biographies & Memoirs.

Nothing beats trying out the used book searches on your own. Be bold. Put in a publisher and a year in the keyword slot. Try a topical, proper noun like "Kingston, Jamaica". Anything.

Your browser should come back to Cheap Priceless Editions after a search if you hit "Back" a few times. But just in case, bookmark the address; use your 'History' list if need be. But DO return . . often.

* (This is a feature for you; no advertizing revenue comes to me from use of this feature; it was not placed on the page through anything but my personal initiative.)

05 December 2006

African Rockers : In French


I Discover a Parisian ROLLING STONE:

Shopping the book corners in resale shops, at least here in Canada, serves as a substitute for loading up on magazines and pulp. Keeping up through periodicals like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice or Liberation and local cultural rags becomes too expensive (in print versions)for most of us (except for an occasional splurge in an airport boutique when on a long trip).

Then there is the Internet.

What is surprising though is that in Montreal the secondhand market is good for finding titles on popular culture. I do not mean the latest issues of magazines because most of these go into recycle bins at curbside in the weekly pick-up (or so it seems). I mean the things like the book I found for $2 yesterday: Helene Lee. Rockers d'Afrique, Paris; Albin Michel, 1988. ISBN: 2226031391

Francophone 'fusion' and rock musicians from French West Africa make Montreal a regular stop on their tours, especially for the Nuits d'Afrique Festival. But unlike the spoken artists of the white-bread North American stripe, fusion and world beats do not set up lit tables at the door and sell both CDs and print material (only the CD is hyped at these venues). We become familiar with the sound but not the background . . unless . .

. . . we pick up what we can in the used bookstores and the recycle shops. Once we discover a book or magazine with a good article (which is always better than the local coverage in the dailies) we can even start building a library with quality and focus without spending a wasted fortune on hit-and-miss purchases.

Quoted below is the Wikipedia entry for the author of the book I found yesterday. Even though 'my' title is 8 years old, Wiki alerts me that Helene Lee came out with a title (2005) in English that is a must read: The First Rasta: Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism as well as another (2004) in French that I have to get my hand on: Voir Trenchtown et Mourir or I will be the one who "dies" WITHOUT SEEING Trenchtown.

Helene Lee is a French journalist specialized in Jamaican and West African music.

She started as a journalist in 1979 for Libération and was one of the first to defend the world music in France.
Her early works on African artists helped establish artist like Salif Keita , Alpha Blondy, Ray Lema or Tiken Jah Fakoly. She has published different books related to the Jamaican culture contributing to the development of the reggae music in France and is considered as an expert of the rasta culture. Other works include documentaries and translations.

She took her name after her wedding with a rasta from Negril, Joseph Lee.

Lee, Helene (1988). Rockers d'Afrique: Stars et Légendes du Rock Mandingue. Albin Michel, France. ISBN 2-226-03139-1.

Lee, Helene (1999). Le Premier Rasta. Flammarion, France. ISBN 2-08-067540-0.

Lee, Helene, Davis, Stephen (foreword) (2005). The First Rasta: Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism. Chicago Review Press, USA. ISBN 1-55652-558-3.

Lee, Helene (2004). Voir Trenchtown et Mourir. Flammarion, France. ISBN 2-08-068405-1.

04 December 2006

France's Adoration for Edgar Allan Poe


Poe deserves every kind of attention we are able to give him as a poet and as a pioneer, including a pioneer in lifestyle as related to one man's artistic production. The Poe I learned in public school did not teach me this. What made me think about Poe's importance and the esteem French poets since Baudelaire have held him in for a century and a half was a couple of puchases I made in book stalls today.

I am not blogging on Poe to name drop or to lay out a lineage of French poetic influences related to this early 19th century American poet (nor to influence my Quebecois readers; I'm addressing American English speakers if anyone). Today I found and purchased one Poe book and a single 33 1/3 vinyl recording of two poems by Poe.

In front of me on the stand with my mouse is the "Golden Treasury of American Verse". This is a "Spoken Arts" recording (Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: R61-382). On the record, the Poe grooves fall between Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman. The readings are by Alexander Scourby, who offers listeners with a turntable his fantastic interpretation.

Listening to Scourby, the vowel sequences in the lines, the way he works the enjambements, his subtle vocal rhymes and how he quickly continues unrhymed expressions of connected thought -- all of this goes far beyond the classroom obsessions our readings gave to those hard-line endings with "never-more" as we intoned The Raven.

Scourby's reading of Poe softens the American accent so much it enlightens me as listener and makes me ready to better comprehend the absolute unqualified admiration that the French literati has shown down through time for everything Poe wrote. (Including the other poem on the Scourby "Spoken Arts" recording: To Helen.)

One might think that I'm hanging everything on the fact that Baudelaire bothered to translate Poe (while enthusing over the man). Or that Mallarme' adoration of this American predecessor has unduly influenced me. Or that I am, perhaps, in awe Poe's poetics (I am not). Oh, maybe a little I am.

But let us turn to my other purchase in the book stalls today (which cost me 49 cents minus the 50% reduction "one-day-only" in the discount store).

With this book buy, I discovered that Paris-Match puts out a hardbound collection of Classics; a "numero culturel 'hors serie'". (No comment about the usual crap 'en serie' that Paris-Match puts out every couple weeks in the normal run of their magazine!)

Well, American compatriates, remember how in the school system they offered us Edgar Allan Poe as the poet between Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman? In the pedagogical review of poetry as taught, Poe got little more than equal treatment with Emily Dickenson, as we worked up the timeline toward Robert Frost. (One must wait until University before studying the 'American' T. S. Eliot and then the confessional poets ((if we were lucky))- who may include, in more advanced studies, Allen Ginsberg with a couple of Haiku thrown in . . . for the extremely accellerated student). Wait for graduate school for Ezra Pound and maybe Robert Creeley or Ann Carson . . . (Shit, I DID end up dropping names; and Canadian ones at that; SORRY).

Where was I? Denis Levertov? Livesay? Acorn? Earle Birney? No, no. Paris-Match. P-M has no, zero, awareness of Canada nor even Quebec poets of the stature of Gilbert Langevin.

So forget all this name-dropping of Northern poets.

Point being: Paris-Match and all the Parisian media DO fall in the line with their permanent fixation upon Edgar Allan Poe! And rightly so.

In the Paris-Match "collectors' series of special edition in deluxe bindings" the list includes 16 "Giants" of World Literature. POE is the only author listed in all capital letters, and he falls between Victor Hugo and Baudelaire in the magazine's list of the greats. (All of these deluxe books are beautifully illustrated titles that run about 140 pp -- all with copious illustrations in color.

This is a reflection of the regard and exsteem accorded Poe in that country. The featured authors include Dante, Cervantes and Shakespeare, to only name a few in a list that includes Voltaire and Goethe.

Maybe I will blog a bit more on Poe later. I will attempt to receive copyright clearance to upload an MP3 conversion from the Spoken Arts recording as well. I believe that there is a goldmine here for North Americans to better help them understand this fascination that some Europeans retain still for the "original" sources of North American culture . . . and how the 'marginal' in American culture will remain central to what has world appeal around the globe.