captain beefheart electricity

bibliography - books


bi-annual volumes of new writing

DON VAN VLIET four poems and three drawings
8 pages - 3 drawings - 1 colour drawing - 4 poems

usa 1 november 1982 paperback conjunctions 0 941964 05 1
usa 1 november 1982 cloth conjunctions 0 941964 06 x limited edition
234 pages - 15 x 23 cm


in interviews in the early seventies, don van vliet often confessed that he combined his musical occupations under the pseudonym of captain beefheart with other artistic outlets. two cites from that era are:

* (interviewer:) there was talk of a book of poetry. (don:) 'singing ink', yeah. i'm going to put that out. i'm looking for a backer on that. i want to make sure it gets out and i get some money for it. it's a book of poetry. and there's a novel called 'old fart at play'. i already have it written. the novel is really good. it'll replace tom sawyer. not only that, i've got ten more full-length novels written. i wrote forty pages a day for five years. i could fill your office with the stuff. [usa 31 january 1972 circular]
* i have written 10 full length novels, 30 or 40 plays, 15,000 poems and produced 600 paintings. [england 12 february 1972 new musical express]

so, as it seemed just a short matter of time, we impatiently waited for all the books he would publish. and waited, waited, and waited.... but ten years after his promise he had brought out seven álbums - but nó book, not even óne page....


in hindsight, the last record he released, 1982's 'ice cream for crow', coincidentally was followed by the first clear signs of a different career in art. although his alter ego didn't really intend to stop with making music, he slowly was drawn into other directions. for example: around that time he was asked to provide some non-musical contributions to 'conjunctions', a rising legend among literary journals.

but when the third issue of the 'bi-annual volumes of new writing' came out late fall 1982 don van vliet's debut in the world of books wasn't as spectacular as everyone had expected. he shared the publication with nineteen other people, and though the index mentions 'four poems and three drawings' but doesn't count the reproduction on the front page, together that still only makes a total of seven and a half page....

all the drawings are 'untitled' and from 1980 (the 'doc at the radar station' period), except the one on the cover which is dated as '1982'. the felt-on-papers inside the book are placed 'opposite' to poems with a title, but there is no relation between them. although the reproductions are almost the size of a whole page (to be precise: 11,5 x 14 cm), they are much smaller than the original sketches, unfortunately.

captain beefheart / don van vliet - books -
                        various writers 'conjunctions 3' - usa 1982
                        -front page with drawing

the DON VAN VLIET section:
poem 1982 HOLLOW SMOKE
and drawing 1980 untitled (1)
and drawing 1980 untitled (2)
and drawing 1980 untitled (3)
and book cover colour drawing 1980 untitled (4)

CONCLUSION: wonderful stuff
MY ADVICE: try to get a copy
(or request a reprint)


more notes:

* the note about this contributor goes:
DON VAN VLIET is an avant-garde composer and artist known to many under his alias, captain beefheart. his new album 'ice cream for crow' was just released this fall; a videotape of the title track was included in the museum of modern art's performance video series in september.

* the colour cover drawing was reprinted in the usa 1 august 1983 heavy metal 'an old fart at play' feature
* a tiny 4 x 5,5 cm reproduction of the drawing 'untitled (1)' had been previously published in the usa 1 january 1981 musician #29 'captain beefheart's iridescent logic' feature
* 8,5 x 10,5 cm reprints of the three black and white drawings, and the poem 'the smith that cleans our stars' were published in the italy 1996 book pearls before swine ice cream for crows

the other writers:
gustaf sobin - guy davenport - michael heller - toby olson - cid corman - ann lauterbach - robert creeley - michael palmer - gilbert sorrentino - james purdy - robert fitzgerald - nathaniel tarn - coleman dowell - michel deguy - jackson mac low - michael mcclure - anne waldman - dennis tedlock - bradford morrow (also editor) - rené char - cecile abish - theodore enslin


[updated 210122]

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