What’s My Motherfuckin’ Name?
2009 marks four decades of me being a published poet
in this once greatest country so try and find any of my
books in your local bookstore and you’d be shit out of
luck yet if I had similarly wasted my life doing
almost anything else I could be retired by now with a
modest check and better teeth but all I’ve got to show
are consequential words across an empty white space
– Happy Hour’s epigraph
The eleventh issue of Four Minutes to Midnight is a radical break from the format of the last four issues, consisting of Happy Hour, a book of 60 poems by F.A. Nettelbeck, lavishly illustrated by Sophie Jodoin, and Fugue XI, printed and bound as a slim edition of 28 pages. Production details include a double bump of silver ink on black cardstock covers, bright pink endpapers and a hand stamped bellyband holding the books together. Interior pages are printed on Rolland Enviro100 paper (FSC 100% post-consumer fibre, chlorine free process using biogas energy). The double-issue is printed in an edition of 350 copies.
Nettelbeck has long been a fixture in the American literary underground, authoring over 20 books of poetry and prose, and having published the works of such writers as William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Wanda Coleman, John M. Bennett, and John Giorno. His groundbreaking cut-up/collage poem Bug Death (published in 1979), challenged the limits of contemporary poetic form, and carved a path for the types of explorations we’re making with Four Minutes to Midnight today.
This issue has been almost two years in the making, and though it features fewer contributors than previous issues, it marks a far deeper collaboration with the artists involved. We’re extremely proud to be bringing the amazing and important works of Nettelbeck and Jodoin together in Happy Hour, and the Fugue is without a doubt our most refined yet, composed from the words of over 20 contributors by John W. Stuart, Hillary Rexe, Sara McCulloch and myself.
Every form of contestation against this tyranny is comprehensible. Dialogue with it is impossible. For us to live and die properly, things have to be named properly. Let us reclaim our words.
This is written in the night. In war the dark is on nobody’s side; in love the dark confirms that we are together.
– Fugue XI’s epigraph by John Berger
We’re very excited about this issue and what it represents for the evolution of Four Minutes to Midnight. Many thanks to F.A. Nettelbeck and Sophie Jodoin for sharing their craft and showing such trust in us. Many thanks to our collaborating editors, Hillary Rexe and Sara McCulloch, who have given us so much of their time and energy. A special thank you to Laura Broadbent, who helped polish the Fugue with her astute and timely reading. Finally, much love to our printers, Kata Soho for their patience and dedication to the project.
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