Editor Vincent Katz made his own selections from Vanitas, offering to us two essays and a poem for reproduction here. These selections give you a solid taste of the free-range intelligence of the authors to be found in his magazine, so let me mention as well the freedom of form, the raw physical sophistication of the pages. Bound in 8x11 inch folio size and featuring a center section of glossy pages on which you'll find color reproductions of Jim Dine's visual art, Vanitas makes use of open space, wide margins, and layout specific to the various poems to give a consistent, clean presentation that gives one a feeling of relaxed and easy smartness. It's highbrow without condescension. --JP
Selections from the first issue
Announcing VANITAS: a new journal of poetry, writings by artists, criticism, and essays. VANITAS will come out annually, a forum for international voices with an emphasis on coming to grips with current world situations. Each issue will contain writings by artists whose primary modes are non-literary and will feature the work of a visual artist. This artist will contribute text and images in a color insert, in addition to an image designed for the magazine’s cover.
The first issue of VANITAS, released in June, 2005, features poetry by Charles Borkhuis, Daniel Bouchard, Michel Bulteau, Elaine Equi, Clayton Eshleman, Drew Gardner, Nada Gordon, Richard Hell, Fanny Howe, Ann Lauterbach, David Lehman, Judith Malina, Sarah Manguso, Carol Mirakove, Ange Mlinko, Nick Piombino, Carter Ratcliff, Morgan Russell, Jerome Sala, Marianne Shaneen, and Anne Waldman.
There are essays, critical texts, and other writings by Ricardo Abramovay, Martin Brody, Alvin Curran, Jordan Davis, Carter Ratcliff, and Morgan Russell. Nada Gordon writes the first “Word” piece, in which a word chosen by the editor is examined by a writer in whatever way she or he chooses. A short text by Francis Ponge is translated by Laird Hunt.
Jim Dine is the first issue’s featured artist. In addition to the cover image, Dine has created the logo and numbering that will be used on all future issues of VANITAS. Dine contributes a selection of his recent color poem photographs, as well as two new, handwritten, poems, and two short texts.
VANITAS is edited and designed by Vincent Katz. It is distributed by Small Press Distribution. Katz also edits Libellum books, chapbooks thathighlight longer poems, essays, lectures, and other writings that might have a hard time seeing the light of day.