by The Song Cave

My Mother Laughs
Chantal Ackerman
The Song Cave - 20.00€ -

First published in France in 2013, My Mother Laughs is the final book written by the legendary and beloved Belgian artist and director Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) before her death. A moving and unforgettable memoir, the book delves deeply into one of the central themes and focuses of Akerman's often autobiographical films: her mother, who was the direct subject of her final film No Home Movie (2015).

With a particular focus on the difficulties Akerman faced in conjunction with the end of her mother's life, the book combines a matter-of-fact writing style with family photographs and stills from her own films in order to better convey the totality of her experience. Akerman writes: With pride because I finally believed in my ability to say something that I'd had trouble saying. I told myself, I am strong for once, I speak. I tell the truth.  

Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) was a Belgian film director, screenwriter, artist and professor. She is best known for her film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), which was dubbed a masterpiece by the New York Times. During her 42 years of active filmmaking, Akerman's influence on queer, feminist and avant-garde cinema remains unmatched, her films highlighting a near-physical passage of time. Akerman's films have been shown at the Venice Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, among many others.

Translated by Corina Copp.

Published June 2019. 

Nioque of the Early-Spring
Francis Ponge
The Song Cave - 18.00€ -

Translated from the French by Jonathan Larson.

On the 50th anniversary of its publication, The Song Cave presents the first English translation of Francis Ponge's NIOQUE OF THE EARLY-SPRING. Ostensibly a book written to honor the season itself and the cycle of time, upon its first publication in Paris, May 1968, these notes took on a greater metaphorical meaning within this context, addressing the need for new beginnings and revolution.  

April is not always the cruelest month. In these stray notations dated early April 1950, Ponge provides a latter-day version of Stravinsky's 'Sacre du printemps' or of William Carlos Williams' 'Spring and All', a vernal enactment of all the resurrectional energies of a spring-time-to-come, as witnessed firsthand at the farmhouse of 'La Fleurie' in southern France. When subsequently published in Tel Que in May 1968, eighteen years later, Ponge's rural, pastoral text now acquired a specific urban history and Utopianism, its Lucretian 'Nioque, ' or gnosis, now speaking to the gnomic revolutionary slogans of the Left Bank barricades: 'Be realistic, demand the impossible, ' 'Beneath the cobblestones, the beach.' Jonathan Larson's careful engagement with Ponge manages to seize what is most prosaic about his poetry--its fierce communism of the ordinary, its insistence that taking the part of things means taking words at their most etymological everydayness. - Richard Sieburth  

This startlingly fresh and necessary document of the 1950s by Francis Ponge comes to us via the all too rare feat of true poetic reenactment. Understanding that each poet creates language anew, Jonathan Larson has found a poetics suitable for the occasion of Ponge's own poetic logic In this rendering, Larson's absolute care and attention to syllabic weight and measure, to the syntax and length of each line as it unwinds, allows us--as readers--to come into the drama of a text newly made, in other words, to discover a new poem in its very making. Yet, none of this comes at the cost of accuracy or through the subjugation of the original at the hands of one wielding the imperial language This is no mean feat in this day and age and, by way of Larson's exquisite ear, we are again given the poignancy and urgency of Ponge's own moment. - Ammiel Alcalay

Notes on Choreography
Merce Cunningham
The Song Cave - 25.00€ -  out of stock

On the occasion of Merce Cunningham's centennial comes this edition of his classic and long-out-of-print artist's book Changes: Notes on Choreography, first published in 1968 by Dick Higgins' Something Else Press. The book presents a revealing exposition of Cunningham's compositional process by way of his working notebooks, containing in-progress notations of individual dances with extensive speculations about the choreographic and artistic problems he was facing.

Illustrated with over 170 photographs and printed in color and black and white, the book was described by its original publisher as "the most comprehensive book on choreography to emerge from the new dance ... [which] will come to stand with Eisenstein's and Stanislavsky's classics on the artistic process." By the time these notebooks were published, Cunningham had already led the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for 15 years, and had collaborated with Cage and others on milestones such as Variations V (1966) and RainForest (1968), the latter with Andy Warhol, David Tudor and Jasper Johns.

Along with his essay collection Dancing in Space and Time (1978), Changes is one of the most significant publications on Cunningham's enduring contributions to dance, which developed through collaboration with John Cage to incorporate formal innovation with regard to chance, silence and stillness.

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