One of the most influential, if rarely seen, visual poetry books of the post-war avant-garde, Pomerand’s Lettrist masterwork elaborates a psychogeographic story of the bohemian Parisian neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés through punning prose-poems and dazzling, rebus-like “metagraphics” on facing pages.
Pomerand’s SAINT GHETTO OF THE LOANS (1950) is one of the earliest, and perhaps most formidably sustained examples of the Lettrist’s engagement with verbo-visual expression. This expanded, bilingual edition also includes the book’s original preface by the filmmaker Jacques Baratier, the author’s idiosyncratic resumé of his published works, a contextualizing afterword by Michael Kasper, as well as a complete bibliography and filmography, which reveals the breadth and scope of Pomerand’s Lettrist activities.
Poetry. Art. Jewish Studies.
"The Second World War destroyed more than cities and people, it destroyed language. Pomerand’s solution was to create a whole new language, and then translate it back into French. Here, finally, we have an English translation of that French translation, alongside Pomerand’s new language, one that the present disaster suggests we might still need." — McKenzie Wark
"Every twentieth-century art movement has certain works that acquire mythic status by their combination of idiosyncratic oddity and rarity. This fascinating work—playing with meaning and image, vision and reading, familiar reference and invented language—has mainly been known through reproduction of a handful of its pages and this exciting republication will finally bring attention to this amazing piece of graphic experimental writing." — Johanna Drucker
"Fortunately for the uninitiated, Pomerand’s often otherwise unyielding esoteric ciphers are interpreted here in both French and English. … Readers today owe its dauntless translators, Michael Kasper and Bhamati Viswanathan, an unredeemable debt of thanks for this rarest of book’s republication." — Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle, Rain Taxi
"This gorgeous book of politically charged urban rebuses was written in Paris in 1950 by Pomerand, the associate of Isidore Isou, who led the artistic Lettrist movement into the French headlines with its postwar provocations. ... Reading this book rekindles the radical mid-century: exciting, unintelligible and essential." — Publishers Weekly
In 1945, after several years in the French Resistance, Gabriel Pomerand (1925-1972) returned to Paris where, together with Romanian refugee Isidore Isou, he launched the Lettrist movement, catalyzing a loose collective of avant-garde writers, visual artists, filmmakers, and cabaret performers in in postwar Left Bank Paris. The Lettrists espoused a philosophy of constant creative renewal in which, among other things, letterforms were to be the basis, the underlying principle, of future artwork. Along with their followers, Pomerand and Isou instigated dozens of performances, exhibits, and publications in a decade-long burst of energy. As the mouthpiece of the movement in its first years, Pomerand organized scandalous public lectures, gave reputedly remarkable performances of sound poetry, painted oils, and made an award-winning short movie. His prolific output over the years included innovative artists books and novels, as well as screenplays, cultural criticism, and book reviews.
Author City: USA
Michael Kasper is a translator, experimental essayist, and creator of a dozen artists books. He has translated the work of Belgian Surrealists Paul Nougé, Paul Colinet, and Louis Scutenaire, French Lettrist Gabriel Pomerand, and German avant-garde visionary Paul Scheerbart.
Author City: USA
Bhamati Viswanathan is an independent legal scholar and the author of Cultivating Copyright: How Creative Industries Can Harness Intellectual Property to Survive the Digital Age (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2021). She works to empower artists of color both at home and in the developing world.
Author City: USA