Published: 1 April 2014
Print: 5.5×8 in., 32 pp.
$12 scribed | $6 scribe-it-yourself kit
eth’s interest in scribal transmission is driven by our work as medieval scholars, and as editors and publishers—we want to see what happens when a text is copied out by hand rather than produced via print or digital technologies. Bruce Andrews—a leading member of the first generation of “Language writers” to emerge during the 1970s—calls for a means of overturning perceived hierarchies in language and poetry. “The key,” he writes, “to see how best to involve or implicate the Reader” (capital R). He characterizes this opening of the text as “a move toward participatory democracy—away from the Author’s sovereign authority,” with the goal of “empowering” the Reader. “But”—he asks—“what kind of Reader could be empowered? And what kind of textual experience is best equipped to deliver or make possible this Reader?” While attending to the nuances and complexities of rethinking scribal practice—the de-romanticizing of the hand as a technology undertaken by Jonathan Goldberg, the confused and confusing gendering of scribal vs. print transmission explored by Wendy Wall, and the concepts of chirographic presence and scribal communities that Harold Love and Arthur Marotti attempt to explain—scribal practice, and its attendant errors, seems a productive place to look.
With that in mind, Pattie McCarthy, whose works frequently explore medieval tropes and language, seemed especially well suited for a scribal project. Of this collection, she writes, “These fifteen poems are from ‘genre scenes,’ which is a series of ekphrastic poems responding to paintings of interiors and/or paintings of women working in the home. I started the series to learn more about the 17th century Dutch genre scene— including how its historical reception has reflected cultural response to the domestic— but the series extends back as far as the 15th century and the secularization of mother-child images, and comes into the present with work by contemporary artists Kate Kern Mundie and Elżbieta Jabłońska.”
Note: This book can be purchased as a hand-written book, or as a scribe-it-yourself kit. Prices include shipping within the U.S. and Canada; if ordering from elsewhere, we may contact you about additional shipping costs. Our handmade books are distributed separately from our printed books, so they will not show up in the same shopping cart. Contact us with any questions.
Pattie McCarthy is the author of six books of poetry, including the forthcoming Nulls (horse less press) and Quiet Book (Apogee Press). A 2011 Pew Fellow in the Arts, she teaches at Temple University.