by Laura Hutson
"[Language Lessons: Volume 1] will be Third Man Books' first commercially available tome and signifies a strong intent for Third Man entering the universe of publishing."
That's pretty big news for fans of well-curated literature. Third Man Records has lately become a reliquary for refined taste across disciplines (e.g. taxidermy, art shows and film), and this signals the development of another branch of the yellow-and-black media powerhouse.
Poetry Sucks! founder Chet Weise and TMR's Ben Swank are spearheading the production, which will include a 321-page hardbound book of contemporary poetry and prose, two vinyl LPs of jazz, psychedelic punk, poetry, blues and pop, and five pieces of art (including works by Tim Kerr and Hate illustrator Jim Blanchard!) suitable for hanging. Fans of TMR will doubtless remember the quality and caliber of similar ventures, but the multimedia structure of Language Lessons, as well as its capacity to become serial, seems more aligned with ultra-cool limited-edition mags like Aspen.
It's available for pre-order now, and will be in stores on Aug. 5 for 50 bucks. Here's the full release:
Language Lessons is a 321-page hardbound book, co-edited by Chet Weise and Third Man’s own Ben Swank, full of contemporary poetry and prose including over 20 award winning and / or nominated contemporary poets and authors such as Dale Ray Phillips, a Pulitzer Prize nominee in fiction, C.D. Wright, a National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle winner in poetry, and Adrian Matejka, a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry. Language Lessons is two vinyl LPs of jazz, psychdelic-punk, poetry, blues and pop from artists such as William Tyler, Destruction Unit, Ken Vandermark, Sampson Starkweather and more. Language Lessons is 5 pieces of frameable broadsides of poems by C.D. Wright, Frank Stanford, Brian Barker, Jake Adam York and Chet Weise with original art from former Big Boys guitartist Tim Kerr, one-time Hate illustrator Jim Blanchard, intertwangle-ist folk artist Butch Anthony and more. That’s a lot of bang for your buck… and it all comes housed in a hard-case clothbound sleeve. Has any other record label ever created such a thing? Are we mad?!
We are not mad. As previously mentioned, LL:VI will be Third Man Books' first commercially available tome and signifies a strong intent for Third Man entering the universe of publishing. Third Man Books, like Language Lessons, will be fearless, imaginative, and eclectic. We hope to be a welcome addition to what is already a very compelling and thrilling independent American literary landscape.
Language Lessons: Volume I is now available for pre-sale direct from the Third Man Store and will be available in discerning book and record stores the world over from August 5th.