Edited by Miles Champion, NOT-SO STORIES collects four decades of short story collaborations by Clark Coolidge and the late Larry Fagin, with accompanying drawings by Glen Baxter.
NOT-SO STORIES collects the bulk of Clark Coolidge and Larry Fagin’s collaborative prose made over some forty years, along with a selection of the drawings Glen Baxter produced with the stories in mind, also over a roughly forty-year period, from the late 1970s to 2019. The twelve stories were collaboratively found rather than written, using a “soft” version of the three-column newspaper cut-up technique William S. Burroughs began experimenting with in early 1964. Taking New Yorker–style magazine fiction (typeset in three columns) as source material, and looking for narrative connections between columns rather than reading horizontally across them, Coolidge and Fagin reorganize their source texts into Picassoid objects that jut out from reality at thoroughly odd yet delightful angles (think of Alice, hopped up on resurrectine, exploring The Palace at 4 a.m.). The earliest piece, “What Ever Happened to Agnes Mason?,” dates from spring 1969, and the most recent, “The Two Miracles,” from summer 2011. Two of the collaborations were issued privately by Fagin: Third Down and God to Go (1991) and Guidelines without Realizing (2000); the other stories, and Baxter’s drawings, are published here for the first time. Not-So Stories exhales a carbon dioxide of English nonsense over the city of second-generation New York School literary collaboration, and will surely appeal to anyone who has ever enjoyed a few moments in the company of Tonto Lavoris or Schnozz Lombardi. Attractive paperback with full-color Baxter blast on the front and highly covetable Ed Ruscha blurb on the back. The ideal stocking stuffer, while stocks last.
“Not-So Stories is a bouncing ball of 100 percent energy and fast-flying lingo and the whole package is on fire. It’s loose and tight at the same time. A xylophone of thought bubbles. Maple-flavored oatmeal shot from a gun. C’mon, it’s all here—get your ticket punched!” —Ed Ruscha
Poetry. Fiction. Art. Collaborations.
Clark Coolidge is the author of Poet, THE LAND OF ALL TIME, To the Cold Heart, 16 Poems for Philip Guston, and SELECTED POEMS 1962-1985, among countless others. Born in Providence, RI, in 1939, Coolidge lives in Petaluma, CA, and plays drums with Thurston Moore and the free jazz band Ouroboros.
Larry Fagin is the author of Dig & Delve (with Trevor Winkfield), Complete Fragments, Eleven Poems for Philip Guston, and PEACHES & GRAVY: SELECTED POEMS 1966-2016, among others. He was the editor-publisher of Adventures in Poetry magazine and press, and the cofounder of Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church. Fagin was born in New York City in 1937; he died there in 2017.
Glen Baxter's many books include Loomings Over the Suet, Blizzards of Tweed, Speech with Humans (with Clark Coolidge), and Almost Completely Baxter: New and Selected Blurtings. His art is often exhibited in New York, Amsterdam, Paris, and London. Born in Leeds (a tiny suburb of Belgium) in 1944, "Colonel" Baxter makes his home in London.