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"and tapping my laptop with dots."
February 4, 2011 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Poet Publishes 10,000-Page Poem. David Morice wrote one 100-page poem every day for 100 days–producing a 10,000-page poem. How the book was bound and printed. Opening lines of the epic poem: "Today the sky above Iowa City / is cloudy with tiny droplets / gently blowing in the wind / and tapping my laptop with dots. / In front of the University/ Main Library, Gordon sits / on a marble wall, camera / posed to video the beginning / of this poetry marathon." Image of the massive book.
posted by Fizz (68 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Poetry is the one medium where quality is supposed to trump quantity every single time.
posted by hermitosis at 7:17 AM on February 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Can you get that on Kindle ?
posted by lobstah at 7:18 AM on February 4, 2011


I'm going to wait for the paperback edition.
posted by chavenet at 7:18 AM on February 4, 2011


"Sing, Muse, of the...that's good...no, really, that's enough....you...you can stop now....."
posted by Bromius at 7:18 AM on February 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Excerpt from page 3462: "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..."
posted by explosion at 7:23 AM on February 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


But is it good?
posted by Jahaza at 7:24 AM on February 4, 2011


I am not sure that showing less restraint than Wordsworth is something to be proud of....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:25 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sure you felt the artistic need
but for me it's a case of tl,dr
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:26 AM on February 4, 2011 [23 favorites]


Equally notable is that he was able to make his site look like it was made for Geocities circa 1996.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:27 AM on February 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ugh. Why is so much conceptual art terrible conceptual art?

Btw, as someone who actually uses 10,000-page books in real life, the technique for printing them . . . is to split them into volumes.

CWAA.
posted by grobstein at 7:28 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Writing a 100-page poem pretty freaking intense itself. But doing it 100 times in a row?
Sheesh.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:28 AM on February 4, 2011


"Mr. Morice, we've a bit of a problem. We just noticed that the letter 'e' is not working in our press. Is that going to alter the purity of your text in any way?"
posted by Fizz at 7:32 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey check out Wikipedia for an overview of this guy's career -- some of the other stuff he's done seems more interesting to me.
posted by grobstein at 7:35 AM on February 4, 2011


That's not writing, it's typing.
posted by Beardman at 7:41 AM on February 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


of this poetry marathon 21

21 Μαραθώνας: designating that plain in Zembla named for the battle whereby the Athenian shield warded off the cruel Persian spear. Popular memory senselessly accords the greater honor to the Spartans and their vain stand at the Thermal Gates, but my sympathies are correctly Attican. It is a fact that whenever I myself took part in the Zemblan marathon (a race) upon the Zemblan Marathon (the plain), I arrayed myself in the style of Pericles the Great.
posted by Iridic at 7:42 AM on February 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


That's not writing, it's typing.

That's not typing, it's data entry.
posted by Sailormom at 7:46 AM on February 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ugh. Why is so much conceptual art terrible conceptual art?

Wait, is this conceptual art (a la Kenneth Goldsmith) or is it just bad and long?
posted by aught at 7:47 AM on February 4, 2011


This is fantastic news. If there's one thing the world of poetry needs today, it's 100,000 new pages of hastily dashed-off, lightly edited free verse.
posted by No-sword at 7:49 AM on February 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Poetry aside, the book binding process is pretty fascinating.
posted by lucidium at 7:52 AM on February 4, 2011


Also, if you're going to write triple-spaced single-word-per-line passages, it's not going to be hard to get to that 100 page limit. Stunt book is stunty.
posted by aught at 7:52 AM on February 4, 2011


Holy cow do we ever get snarky sometimes.

I have no interest in 10,000 pages of stunt poetry, but I like living in a world where someone does. I like living in a world where someone glues 10,000 Barbie heads to their van, I don't want to drive a vehicle like that but it doesn't mean I don't appreciate it.

The whole exercise was worthwhile just to use the term stunt poetry.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:01 AM on February 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Suddenly War and Peace and Atlas Shrugged seem a lot more readable.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:02 AM on February 4, 2011


I read a 10,000 page book of stunt van conversions.
posted by notyou at 8:14 AM on February 4, 2011


I'd.
posted by notyou at 8:14 AM on February 4, 2011


stunt poetry:

Well, I'm not the kind to kiss

and tell

but ive been seen with

farrah
ive never been with anything less than a 9

so fine
posted by tigrefacile at 8:14 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Remember, kids. Stunt poetry is dangerous. It should only be attempted by trained stunt poets.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:18 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The University Main Library should be so proud.
posted by LSK at 8:24 AM on February 4, 2011


The photo is wonderful though I wish they had given more thought to the cover. Then again, perhaps it harmonizes with the content.

I cannot but wonder how many pages Mssrs Fifield of the previous post would have writ to reject it.
posted by Jode at 8:26 AM on February 4, 2011


Ok, so sometimes quantity does NOT trump quality.
posted by herrdoktor at 8:29 AM on February 4, 2011


Also, if you look at the formatting - each page has lots of white space. The word count is around 100 words per page. The whole first book has only 7700 words - which would only be around 20-25 pages of essay. That's a lot, but it's not really a whole lot to write in a day if that's all you write. That means that the final book could really be condensed into a 2000 page volume (or better, four 500-page volumes.)

What a waste of paper.
posted by LSK at 8:35 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lois Griffin: ...This place is paradise!

Old Man: "Sure is. Except for Randy Newman."

Lois Griffin: "Randy Newman?"

Old Man: "Yup. Just sits there all night and day singing about what he sees."

Randy Newman (playing piano): “Fat man with his kids and dog, drove in through the morning fog. Hey there, Rover, come on over.”

Lois Griffin: ...it’s nice to have music while we eat.

Randy Newman “Red-headed lady, reaching for an apple. Gonna take a bite, nope, nope. She’s gonna breathe on it first. Wipe it on her blouse. She takes a bite, chews it once, twice, three times, four times, stops. The wife is thinking, takes a long, hard look at Randy. Five times, fat old husband’s walking over.”

Lois Griffin: Let’s get the hell out of here.

Randy Newman: “Yeah, they’re walking down the road."

All: “Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left…”
posted by Naberius at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Then again, Iowa's "Center For The Book" has a new "the Book".
posted by LSK at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2011


Blasted stunt poets. Might as well print the phone book.
posted by Mister_A at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2011


That book unnerves me. There is something jaw-like and tooth-like and monster-like about it.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:38 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Might as well print the phone book.

What's a phone book?
posted by Fizz at 8:39 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, if you look at the formatting - each page has lots of white space.

You know, even really good poets do that. Graphic designers, too.
posted by msalt at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would it even be possible to read a book that thick (with that type of binding) without it coming apart? I suppose you'd have to recline and sprawl the whole thing across the bed. As you progressed through it, you'd shimmy to the right with the book stationary so it wouldn't fall to the floor. Carrying it further than from one room to another would require a dolly to keep the pages from coming unbound. Lifting it and rotating it 90 degrees to put on a bookshelf — which it would fill entirely — would surely be a disaster.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:46 AM on February 4, 2011



You know, even really good poets do that. Graphic designers, too.


Well respected Canadian poet bpNichol plays with white space all the time.
posted by Fizz at 8:52 AM on February 4, 2011


Hey, it's Dr. Alphabet! I'm proud to have co-written a verse with him (a much, much shorter one) - I still remember his Poetry Comics from the 1970s.
posted by rory at 9:06 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the photo. Amazing. A ten thousand page book, like Jim Woodring's giant pen, makes the world a more magical place.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:31 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


A ten thousand page book, like Jim Woodring's giant pen, makes the world a more magical place.
posted by Fizz at 9:32 AM on February 4, 2011


Ah yes-- thanks for the link to the pen, Fizz! And thanks for this post.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:39 AM on February 4, 2011


I just picked up Omeros by Derek Walcott. Omeros is epic in length and also, you know, Walcott has a nobel prize in literature.
posted by Shit Parade at 10:11 AM on February 4, 2011


just think what this could

do to an elephant if

shot from a cannon
posted by pyramid termite at 10:13 AM on February 4, 2011


I feel tired just looking at the image.
posted by SylviaAspevig at 11:11 AM on February 4, 2011


JOKE'S ON YOU. David Morice is mathowies pseudonym. The middle 9,000 pages are just metafilter comments, arranged in no order, with the metadata stripped out.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:48 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh holy crap, I know this idiot, "Dr. Alphabet." . I wrote an article about being forcibly subjected to one of his poetry "performances" while I was in elementary school. That article also describes one of his earliest projects, he wrote a poem one mile long. He scribbled on paper rolls from adding machines, and taped them together. Then he unrolled it out in the street and just discarded it where it was. I think of that as sort of being like toilet papering your neighbor's house, except he TPed a mile of the city with lame poetry. I recall reading some of the poem and thinking it wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

I am also horrified to discover that this book was bound by my alma mater's Book Arts program. I was thinking of applying to do an MFA in that department. But if they take idiots like Dave Morice seriously, I am having second thoughts. Certainly their 10,000 page book is another stupid stunt, the binding is again worth more than the writing in it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:57 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. Wake up on the wrong side of bed this morning? Those Poetry Comics that rory mentioned were pretty excellent.

Yeah, he's a popularizer of poetry. That involves a certain amount of hucksterism, but he's no Tao Lin.
posted by msalt at 12:16 PM on February 4, 2011


Oh holy crap again, I read the incoherent "Foreword" to this book, it has that damn 1 mile long stunt poem in it.

His Foreword reminds me of an old bit in a Kurt Vonnegut's book that he wrote while he was at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. One of the characters tells a writer he can tell he's a closeted homosexual by the way he formatted his index. I can sense something similar here, the Foreword shows obvious signs of dementia manifesting as logorrhea.

One of the people in this department of Book Arts just won a Macarthur Genius Grant. But with people like Dave Morice around, the department sounds more like a collective idiot-savant. This project exemplifies it. It's an unusually advanced and elaborate binding that makes the book unreadable by anyone, for content that is of no interest to anyone.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:19 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pardon the hair-splitting here, but if I read the description correctly, this is really 100 separate pieces of 100-page writing, that add up to 10,000 pages, and took a third of a year to finish up.

I'm saving up my praise for a 10,000 page poem that was written in under a half an hour. (looks at stopwatch) ....And GO!
posted by CNNInternational at 1:24 PM on February 4, 2011


but he's no Tao Lin.

No. Tao Lin's a much better writer.
posted by aught at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Marcel Proust scoffs.
posted by Senator at 2:46 PM on February 4, 2011


Speaking of incoherent. Or is your comment meant as parody cds?

I think the appropriate word here - in respect of the 10,00 page book - is ... audacity. Stunt? Sure, but that's not necessarily meant as a negative. It's book art. It's meant to make you stop and think what is it that makes a book or a poem or typing energy or binding technology worthwhile. Or, what is a book or a poem, for that matter? It's intentionally provocative in a quiet, nerdly way and it will no doubt go on display next to tunnel books and pop-up books and books in tins and books in bins. It's evocative. It challenges. It's art.
posted by peacay at 4:08 PM on February 4, 2011


Okay, submit your 10,000 page poems.
posted by CNNInternational at 4:18 PM on February 4, 2011


Dave Morice is a prankster. Sorry if you took this too seriously. There's a zen lesson in there somewhere.

Also, as mentioned, Poetry Comics is really excellent.
posted by ovvl at 4:32 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


At last! Upending the Redundant Conundrum will be read and appreciated by the masses! My life's work was not in vain! Take that, Bob Dylan!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 PM on February 4, 2011


From the Wikipedia article: "His 81-word thesis, Poems, contains 9 small poems, averaging 9 words apiece. It is the shortest thesis in Writers Workshop history."

You have to admit, he's got range.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 6:56 PM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Reading through the wikipedia page I realize that during my time in Iowa City I encountered this guy's work on more than one occasion. Anyone who has driven out to Coralville Lake has seen the giant wooden nickel. His other wooden nickel project is quite interesting, with contributions from Kurt Vonnegut, Jim Henson, and Johnny Cash among others.

He's certainly capable of silly stunts, but that is part of what makes enclaves like Iowa City worth having.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 7:17 PM on February 4, 2011


As someone who worked as a printer for a while, assuming that is actually one huge bound book, I'm impressed. I could care less about the contents, that book is a work of art.
posted by Splunge at 7:28 AM on February 5, 2011


He's certainly capable of silly stunts, but that is part of what makes enclaves like Iowa City worth having.

IC is already too full of bad poets and their bad stunts. I blame Morice, in part, for establishing that niche.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:42 PM on February 5, 2011


Jesus, did he steal your wife or something?
posted by msalt at 1:49 PM on February 5, 2011


msalt, if someone wants to be a clown, he should join the circus.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:30 PM on February 5, 2011


I'm just kinda shocked to hear that Iowa City is full of bad poets. I mean, damn, isn't that kinda, you know, something to be proud of? Cause, hey, that means Iowa City is up there with New York and San Francisco!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:19 AM on February 6, 2011


I'm just kinda shocked to hear that Iowa City is full of bad poets.

I'm pretty sure every university town is full of bad poets (speaking as someone who's lived in a half-dozen university towns and who is also - ahem - a poet).
posted by aught at 5:43 AM on February 8, 2011


But you're a good poet, right? ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:54 AM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was that question addressed to me?

I am a professional writer, but I am not a poet. I do not write poems. The best thing I can do for the world of poetry is to never contribute to it at all.

Morel, and others of his ilk should do likewise.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:34 AM on February 8, 2011


But you're a good poet, right? ;-)

Heh. Honestly, I don't know anymore. But, dadgumit, I know BAD in other poets when I see it, tell you what. ;-)
posted by aught at 1:44 PM on February 8, 2011


aught, you're A-OK in my book, simply for using the word "dadgumit".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2011


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