The Saucer Has Landed!

In honor of Donald Trump‘s historic election loss we’re bringing back an out-of-print classic from our Absurdist Texts & Documents series:

The thirteen poems penned by screenwriter/director Ed Wood during his lifetime will not to be found in the Ed Wood, Jr. Collection at Cornell University. Cornell is home to the original draft of Wood’s screenplay  “Grave Robbers from Outer Space” (released in 1959 as “Plan 9 from Outer Space”), as well as his rare novels  Killer in Drag (1965), Death of a Transvestite  (1967), and others. There is not, however, a single shred of Wood’s poetry. The only evidence that “the world’s worst filmmaker” was also a poet of equivalent talent are several dozen rejection letters, including one from The New Yorker for a poem entitled “shreik” [sic].

According to Wood’s second (?) wife, the poet renounced his efforts as “pure crap” in 1968, and buried these thirteen unpublished works at the La Brea Tar Pits in California. A few days later, she attempted to retrieve the pages, but they had vanished from their unmarked grave. Wood subsequently coined the term “poesy-snatchers” to explain what had happened to his missing body of work.

Nearly 30 years later the poems were discovered inside an abandoned flying saucer that landed in Lodi, New Jersey. In 1996, the poems were published privately in a limited edition by a small press in Coronado, California under the title Selected Poems — despite the fact that the book represents Wood’s total poetic output.

Black Scat is proud to bring these lost odes back from the dead in a glowing, unexpurgated chapbook. We have erred on the side of caution and retained the original title for—who knows?—perhaps the bard will revisit our planet and dump some more gems.

BRING ME THE HEAD OF FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN!

Jason E. Rolfe‘s mesmerizing new chapbook, THE PUPPET-PLAY OF DOCTOR GALL, is a shadowy existential drama — an absurdist murder-mystery set in Vienna in 1820, with a cast of curious characters: Franz Joseph Gall, The Stranger, Ernst Sieber, Tomas Hocheder, Madam Denebecq, and Count Sedlnitzky.

Are they mere puppets whose every move is directed from above by Madam Denebecq, a self-titled mechanikus? Or are they all too human, performing their lives before our very eyes? And who, in the name of heaven, has stolen the head of Franz Joseph Haydn?

We had intended to reveal the answers to these questions but, alas, it’s too late. The lights have dimmed and the audience is holding its collective breath (if breathe they do).

Order your copy before the curtain rises.

No strings attached.

June Buffoonery!

Last month we were tickled pink and apple-green to announce
a new collection by THE master of the absurd, Alphonse Allais
. For June, we’re JUST PLAIN pickled to unleash THIS anthology of unadulterated nonsense — nonsense in all its merry infestations,  from subtle emanations to cartoon lunacy.

LE SCAT NOIR BEDSIDE NONSENSE is profusely illustrated and packed with AMUSING stories, songs, games, WORDPLAY & poesy by an international roster of inspired misfits.

Featuring: Mark Axelrod, Tom Barrett, Angie Brenner, Ken Brown, Norman Conquest, Caroline Crépiat, Haley Dahl,  Farewell Debut, Paul Forristal, Ryan Forsythe, Penelope Goddard, Jean-Jacques Grandville, Simon Hanes, Rhys Hughes, Alexei Kalinchuk, KKUURRTT, Rick Krieger, David Moscovich, Jason E. Rolfe, Paul Rosheim, Bob Rucker, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Doug Skinner, Terry Southern, Yuriy Tarnawsky, Tom Whalen, and Carla M. Wilson.

It’s the perfect antidote  for  summer lockdown  — and  no mask required.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

back cover

In the Wings, Some Special Things For Spring & Beyond

from LE SCAT NOIR BEDSIDE NONSENSE

As we hunker down in our shelter here in Northern California, we remain busily preparing books to help you endure these terrible times. Alas, the crunch has hit everyone and small, independent bookstores  and presses are struggling to stay alive. Please consider ordering a title or two from our list  here. You can also donate to Black Scat via  this direct PayPal link  which will help us to keep bringing out titles such as the forthcoming works below. Thanks for your support.

“The only book in the English language to rival Tolstoy.”—George Steiner

We recently released two collections of provocative literary essays by British author John Cowper Powys: Powys on Books and Sensations  and Visions Visions Visions. This fall, we’re publishing  the first volume—(over 450 pages!)—of Powys’s extraordinary two-volume novel, Wolf Solent (1929). Eccentric and mystical, this  literary masterpiece was hailed by Henry Miller as “utterly bewitching.”  V. S. Pritchett called it “…a stupendous and rather glorious book… beautiful and strange as an electric storm.” Margaret Drabble said:“Powys’s work is full of paradoxes and surprises.” We’re proud to present this trio of titles in handsome uniform trade paper editions designed by artist Norman Conquest.

 

Nonsense in all its merry Infestations… from euphonic poesy to madcap cacophony

Coming in June, Le Scat Noir Bedside Nonsense is just what the doctor ordered for quarantined readers—a heady dose of innovative silliness and offbeat amusements. Edited by Norman Conquest, the anthology is #39 in our Absurdist Texts & Documents   series—packed with art & texts by Mark Axelrod, Tom Barrett, Ken Brown, Caroline Crépiat, Haley Dahl, Ryan Forsythe, Paul Forristal, Penelope Goddard, Simon Hanes, Rhys Hughes, Alexei Kalinchuk, KKUURRTT, Rick Krieger, David Moscovich, Jason E. Rolfe, Paul Rosheim,  Thaddeus Rutkowski, Terry Southern, Yuriy TarnawskyTom Whalen, Carla M. Wilson, and other characters.

A CLASSIC OF EROTIC LITERATURE IN A SPANKING NEW TRANSLATION

Thérèse Finds Happiness by the Marquis d’Argens is the 18th century  precursor  to  the 1967 French novel Emmanuelle. This libertine classic’s potent erotic episodes are interspersed with discourses on a philosophy of pleasure contrasted with  pervasive religious hypocrisy. The novel is noteworthy for its antipathy to the sexual repression of women during “The Age of Enlightenment.” It also happens to be extraordinarily humorous.

Richard Robinson has produced an exquisite new translation of Thérèse philosophe for the  contemporary reader. Thérèse Finds Happiness will be available later this year under our New Urge imprint. 

Also forthcoming from New Urge Editions:  contemporary novels by Jessy Reine and Tom Bussmann. Watch this space for other surprises.

from LE SCAT NOIR BEDSIDE NONSENSE

In case you missed it…

…now’s the time for a dose of Alphonse Allais.

MASKS  is quintessential Allais — a pataphysical text admired by the Surrealists (André Breton included it in his seminal Anthologie de l’humour noir). It was celebrated by the French group Oulipo, and has been the subject of scholarly studies by the writer and semiotician Umberto Eco, Francis Corblin, and others. Originally published in France under the title “Un drame bien parisien,” this Black Scat chapbook third edition has been adapted and illustrated by artist Norman Conquest, and includes an introduction and notes on the text by Allaisian scholar Doug Skinner. CLICK HERE to order on Amazon.

Stay home and read it in good health.

APRIL FIREBALL

APRIL FIREBALL is HOT—nine early short stories by master fictioneer Tom Whalen. These texts were published between 1972 and 1996, and are previously uncollected. This must-have edition is framed by two stories that reflect the times and wars going on when they were written: “The Ride” (1970, Vietnam); “April Fireball” (1994, the Balkans).

April Fireball marks Whalen’s third title in our Absurdist Texts & Documents series.

Click here to order on Amazon.

Tom Whalen’s books include Elongated Figures, Dolls, Winter Coat, The President in Her Towers, and The Straw That Broke. His translations of short prose by Robert Walser can be found in Selected Stories, Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories, and the forthcoming Little Snow Landscape and Other Stories.


 

FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH

The Pope’s Mustard-Maker (Le Moutardier du pape) was the last work that Alfred Jarry finished, a few months before his death in 1907. It is a bawdy three-act farce loosely based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, with a huge cast and lively songs bubbling with rhymes and wordplay.

Readers who know Jarry only from Ubu or his novels may be surprised that he wrote operettas, but his are fully Jarryesque, with his usual gusto for smutty jokes, legend, folklore, puns, wild invention, and popular theater. In his hands, Pope Joan becomes Jane, who runs off with her lover and disguises herself as pope. How will she pass inspection on the slotted chair? What will she do when her husband shows up? And has there ever been another production number celebrating the spiritual virtues of enemas?

A sublime translation from the French by Doug Skinner.

Click to order this avant-garde masterpiece