Do you remember your first alphabet? It might have come in the shape of a book with funny pictures depicting animals and objects beginning with a, b, c etc. Or maybe it was a school poster with all the letters, both capitals and lowercase, in an easy to read font. The alphabet is forever inscribed in all of us as the beginning of all reading and writing and that is what makes Derek Beaulieu’s ABC – An ABeCeDarium so special. It’s not an alphabet for novices but rather one for those who are eager to relearn what an alphabet can be and how it can be used.
In ABC Beaulieu uses two outmoded techniques – ink and dry transfer letters – to create an alphabet which is far removed from the one we learned at school but no less beautiful. The dry transfer letters are old and seem to be falling apart, their outlines fractured and parts of individual letters missing completely, creating a kind of beauty which is perfectly in tune with a society where the meaning of words and sentences seem to be crumbling. The ink adds another layer of refreshing destruction to these ragged letters. Blots, splashes and stains further obscure their original shapes. This is indeed an ABeCeDarium, an alphabet so original and strange that it requires a neologism. Browsing through a list of words with the same suffix I stop at crematorium, planetarium and sanitorium. They seem all to have some sort of kinship with Beaulieu’s ABeCeDarium.
Derek Beaulieu, ABC – An ABeCeDarium, 32 pages with 26 plates printed in black and white, handbound with a handmade cover. Edition of 99 copies. 8 EUR + postage.
Derek Beaulieu is the author of 8 collections of poetry including with wax, fractal economies, ascender / descender, kern, frogments from the frag pool (co-written with Gary Barwin) and Please no more poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu (Ed. Kit Dobson). He has also written 6 collections of conceptual fiction, the most recent of which are a, A Novel (Paris: Jean Boîte Editions, 2017) and Konzeptuelle Arbeiten (Bern: edition taberna kritika, 2017). He is the author of two collections of essays: Seen of the Crime and The Unbearable Contact with Poets. Beaulieu co-edited bill bissett’s RUSH: what fuckan theory (with Gregory Betts), Writing Surfaces: fiction of John Riddell (with Lori Emerson) and The Calgary Renaissance (with rob mclennan). He is the publisher of the acclaimed no press and is the visual poetry editor at UBUWeb. Beaulieu has exhibited his work across Canada, the United States and Europe and is an award-winning creative writing instructor. Derek Beaulieu was the 2014–2016 Poet Laureate of Calgary, Canada.
Selected titles by the same author:
a, A Novel. Paris, France: Jean Boîte Editions, 2017.
Konzeptuelle Arbeiten. Bern, Switzerland: edition taberna kritika, 2017.
En vision av Linjeland. Stockholm, Sweden: Chateaux, 2016.
The Unbearable Contact with Poets. Manchester, uk: If P then Q, 2015.
SLOT no. 11. Stockholm, Sweden, November 2015.
Local Colour: Ghosts, variations. Malmö, Sweden: In Edit Mode Press, 2012.
Local Colour. Helsinki, Finland: ntamo, 2008.
dsol. Oslo, Norway: Forlaget Attåt, 2008.