Keeping Gus book by my bed.
Reading it with the iPad so I can look stuff up.
Lives like his make me want to have several more……
Some wonderful history of poets and writers and a community bookstore.
When I received the email from Nikki Blaisdell-Ivey and Larry Goodell about their proposed Living Batch book, I had just been indulging in a Living Batch moment. I was reading my used paperback copy of The Good Soldier Schweik, remembering how I’d bought it—ostensibly at the one dollar used cost, but forty percent discounted because I was a Living Batch employee way back there in the 70s. Funny, I’d read the book soon after I purchased it, and now, almost forty years later, I am reading it again and the past comes rushing in on me like a pack of unfed dogs. I’d been thinking often lately of the Batch, how it had been an important part of my life for a large amount of time—two tours as an employee (eight years in the 70s, and then after a two-year hiatus of hiding out in Arkansas, a six-year stint…
View original post 2,199 more words
Photograph by Nicole Blaisdell Ivey
It has been said that Gus Blaisdell—writer, philosopher, critic, and educator at the University of New Mexico—was a force of nature. His critical essays addressed photography, film, painting, and philosophy, among many other subjects. Blaisdell delighted in his friendships with celebrated figures in the arts and humanities, which included photographer Lewis Baltz, philosopher Stanley Cavell, writer Evan Connell, poet Robert Creeley, and art critic Max Kozloff. Blaisdell lived a life surrounded by books—he was a passionate reader, as well as being an editor, publisher, and a bookstore owner. Gus Blaisdell Collected (University of New Mexico Press, $40) is a sampling of his writings, selected and edited by William Peterson who writes “Gus’s writing revolved around the quest for knowledge of the self and the search for understanding our human placement in the world.” Of particular interest in this volume are his takes on Joel-Peter Witkin, Frank Stella, Lewis Baltz, and Allan Graham. About Blaisdell, critic Dave Hickey wrote, “Gus was the absolute, undeniable, real thing. One of the few.” This long-overdue book contains introductory essays by philosopher Stanley Cavell, literary critic David Morris, and an editor’s preface by Peterson, all of which gives the reader insight into the workings of the mind of this legendary figure.
Guy Cross editor, publisher THE magazine
*Photograph by Nicole Blaisdell Ivey
I came to the Batch in the mid eighties. I had been managing the UNM Bookstore’s general book department for a number of years and shared many book conversations with Gus [Blaisdell]. Gus invited me to join the Batch as buyer and manager together with Jeff Bryan. I joined Sigrun, Larry, Geary Hobson, Seth Fiedler, Eileen Jackson. The store deeply felt the loss of Carl Christensen. The recent move around the corner from Central to Cornell had been jarring, and perhaps my arrival was also a jolt.
The storefront at 106 Cornell SE was a narrow space but it reached quite surprisingly far back. Over a few years, we cleared out moribund used book inventory, a new clerestory brought in more daylight, a floor plan evolved in a zig-zag down the center guiding the browser – like a pin-ball machine – all the way to the back. Some particularly dilapidated couches…
View original post 1,383 more words