UPDATE The Z Collection is available for ordering on line.
My staff of thousands insisted on a plug for me: The Z Collection: Portraits & Sketches — my reflections on many of the writers and artists I have known, worked with, or written about — is being published by AC Books in New York in time for the fall book season and is now listed for sale in the U.S. and Europe. (See below).The title seems like a reference to “The X Files,” but I had something else in mind: the hidden “Z closet” at Harvard’s Houghton Library. An archivist once showed me its treasures concealed behind a locked door: Charles Dickens’s screw-tipped walking stick, the one he used to protect himself from escaped convicts on the Romney Marshes; T.S. Eliot’s straw boater; two locks of hair (William Wordsworth’s and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s). Behind another locked door was Emily Dickinson’s entire writing room: the desk she worked at and the piano she played; the family portraits she looked at on the walls; her pinky ring and the wax sealing device she used to seal her letters; a sampler she cross-stitched as a child. Artifacts give history a physical presence, though we turn to dust. This collection is not a walking stick, a straw boater, a lock of hair, or a writing room. If it turns out to be an object worth keeping around, preferably on an open shelf, so much the better. Consider it a time capsule made of words.
Softcover 5 x 8 inches,
Retail price: $15.00
The Z Collection shines a penetrating light on a score of writers, both mainstream and countercultural, among them William S. Burroughs, Norman Mailer, Nelson Algren, William Styron, Paul Theroux, E.L. Doctorow, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. It makes them vividly present in ways you won’t find elsewhere. They sail into view propelled by invaluable insights and historic perspective. This “time capsule made of words” is full of literary surprises.
— Heathcote Williams (Whale Nation, Shelley at Oxford, and Of Dylan and His Deaths)
Postscript: Aug. 20 — Crossposted at IT: International Times.
PPS: Nov. 8 — The Z Collection is available from the U.S. distributor RAM, and from the European distributor Idea Books. In San Francisco, City Lights Books carries it in its store at 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133. (Tel: 415.362.8193) In Manhattan, the Strand Bookstore carries it at 828 Broadway, NY 10003. (Tel: 212.473.1452) In Los Angeles, Skylight Books carries it at 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. (Tel: 323.66.1175) Amazon has it listed (as temporarily out of stock to be delivered when available). If you prefer to order online via Amazon, from book sellers who actually have it in stock, you can do so by clicking this link.
Hell, since I’m into self-promotion, here’s a little bookspread (something like the manspread that selfish NYC subway riders indulge in):