Grey Suit Editions: Our books part 2 – Larger Publications

Click on each title for the link to more information!

Gertrude Mabel May – An ABC of Gertrude Stein’s Love Triangle – by Gwendolyn Leick.

Written by Mabel Haynes’s granddaughter following the fortuitous discovery of her grandmother’s connection to Stein, this is an innovative exploration of an intimate, complex relationship between three women.

While this book doesn’t follow a chronological form, its subject could be said to begin with Gertrude Stein’s first novel, Q.E.D., which was never published during her lifetime. Q.E.D. represents Stein’s attempt to deal with her first love affair with May Bookstaver, who was also the friend and lover of Mabel Haynes. All three were students at the same Boston medical school: “they came of age in the gilded age and were of a class that expected them to display themselves with the right cut of their garments, the right sort of bearing to carry it off.” While the impact and influence of these women on Stein’s writing has been examined, this is the first time the lives of the women themselves have been fully explored.

The Step is the Foot  – Dance and its relationship to Poetry by Anthony Howell

This fascinating study into the relationship between dance and poetry – the “step” of dance, and the “foot” of verse – presents a complex, intricate interlacing of disciplines. Dappled with personal anecdotes alongside probing evolutionary questions, historical depth and contemporary insights, it is at once thought-provoking and engaging.

The author’s experience as both a dancer and poet inform his unique investigation. He ascribes his long-held passion for both to a deep-rooted childhood awareness of rhythm: “Rhythm is common to both pursuits. Increasingly I have come to feel that dance is a language and that language is a dance.”

Collected Complete Poems – by Iliassa Sequin

Iliassa Sequin was born in 1940 on a small island in the Cyclades, where her father was a high school teacher. Soon after the family moved to Athens.

With musicality in language uppermost in her concerns she developed an original poetic style and this led to her being befriended by Odysseas Elytis (later a Nobel prize winner). Family opposition to her career as a writer and an actress prompted her to move to Germany. From then on she flitted between Germany, Italy, France and Sweden becoming a friend of Peter Weiss and Susan Sontag, Giuseppe Ungaretti, André du Bouchet and Paul Celan. John Ashbery published her work in the Partisan Review, and a sequence of her quintets was published by Peter Gizzi in O-blek Editions. Later she moved to Britain, and married the artist Ken Sequin. Her work is notable for its musical beauty, its distinct structure and particular typographical decisions. She died in the winter of 2019.

The Cross of Carl – An Allegory – by Walter Owen

First published in 1931, The Cross of Carl is a book describing trench warfare with a visionary intensity. It is a masterpiece of the imagination, and one of the most terrifying books you will ever read. The Times Literary Supplement review, on 16 July 1931, called the book “A war allegory” that, “brings back the ugly side of war psychology; it is a description of one of the ‘corpse factories’ of legend – an unbearably ghastly description… This record of what the author himself describes as “an abnormal pathological process” induced by the psychic perturbations of the War, is put forward in the belief that the experience may foreshadow some sort of development in the collective consciousness of mankind.” It was foresight, in a way, but of something more horrible, which would be the Nazi holocaust of World War II.

 

The Step is the Foot

Interesting review by Alan Price in the Fortnightly.  And now another great review – In SANGLAP – Indian literary magazine – written by Swati Joshi.

Anthony Howell interviewed by Scott Thurston – Stride Magazine

Scroll down for more info and other reviews and comments.

Dance and its relationship to poetry

Very nice review at LOVEREADING

Love Reading’s review of THE STEP IS THE FOOT: DANCE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO POETRY

This consummately fascinating study into the relationship between dance and poetry – the “step” of dance, and the “foot” of verse – presents a complex, intricate interlacing of disciplines. Dappled with personal anecdotes alongside probing evolutionary questions, historical depth and contemporary insights, it is at once thought-provoking and engaging.

The author’s experience as both a dancer and poet inform his unique investigation. He ascribes his long-held passion for both to a deep-rooted childhood awareness of rhythm: “Rhythm is common to both pursuits. Increasingly I have come to feel that dance is a language and that language is a dance.” I found the “Which Came First?” chapter especially compelling. The author’s exploration of humankind’s transition to bipedalism and language takes in fascinating linguistic and archaeological theories, and links the shift to bipedalism to the development of reflective thought, and to walking as an expressive activity. 

Suffused in spirited intellectualism and a global perspective, this is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry, dance and exploring the history of humanity through the lens of the arts.

JOANNE OWEN

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Dear Anthony,

My initial enthusiasm was not misplaced. Your book falls into my ideal category of the “unpublishable”. (I have one such in my bottom drawer). What I’m saying is that there is not a single commercial publisher that would touch this book and for this alone it is commendable. I don’t always share your viewpoints, and sometimes not your enthusiasms either. I remember going to see an exhibition of ice age objects at the British Museum and feeling troubled by some of the descriptions saying this or that object was probably used for purposes of performance art. I don’t think one can convincingly apply that label. It is just too modern a notion and carries too much baggage for it to ever feel true for me. Ritual, yes, certainly and of course ritual has its aesthetic. Also I’m afraid I have virtually no sympathy for Freud who falsified so much in order to demonstrate his various theories. Years ago, I began to write about this but found the subject too depressing to be able to continue. The essays on art and literature are absolutely riddled with untruths and I don’t think they were innocently applied.

This said … this said … I think The Step is the Foot is an incredible achievement, full of insight and never less than fascinating; it is also a window into your creative world. Beautifully written, it is revelatory in so many ways that I felt myself continually pushed in one direction and then another. It is provocative in the best sense of the word while at the same time generous in its inclusiveness. I simply loved the section on the threshing floor dance, which can be so easily translated to the tammurriata as performed at the religious festas on the slopes of Vesuvius and which has it origins in Dionysian rites. And your words on the tango are beautifully expressed. A couple of years ago I read an academic book on the history of the tango which, although informative, doesn’t come close to what you manage to say in a few paragraphs. It is, and will remain, one of my “secret” books, and certainly one of the best I’ve read in ages. Once again, thank you for this wonderful and important gift.

As ever,

Marius Kociejowski 

There is also an interesting article on Nietzche’s interest in dance 

This touches on some of the same notions that engage The Step is the Foot.