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The Drill Press Catalog


Cover of Put it Down in a Book


by Tom Bradley

The title comes from Yitzchak Luria:

Writing is impossible because all things are related.
I can hardly open my mouth to speak without feeling
as though the sea burst its dams and overflowed.
How then shall I express what my soul has received,
and how can I put it down in a book?

Rather than interpreting that as a cry of despair, or an expression of mystical awe (which is how the good rabbi consciously intended it), Tom Bradley has accepted Yitzy-baby's utterance as a challenge. Allowing the "sea to burst its dams and overflow," acknowledging that "all things are related," he has refused to find writing impossible, and has put it down in this book about writing itself.

Put It Down in a Book is organized in two parts, Theory and Practice. In the former Tom examines the all-relatedness of certain recent fiction and poetry to older literature and scriptures, meanwhile providing an overview of textual transmission, starting with oral-improvised verse and continuing through the mud tablet, the scroll, the codex and the web.

Part Two furnishes practical applications of the theories propounded in Part One. The reader is edified with such works as "Graphic Presidential Sex," "Between You and the Man-sized Prophylactic With the Zipper," "Slimy Pope (On the Succumbing of Karol Wojtyla)," "Holiday in Hiroshima," "Learning From the Smart Dead Beatle’s Bad Example," "Foul Fiend Flibbertigibbet," and, of course, who could forget the ever-poignant "Support the Troops by Giving them Posthumous Boners"?

Put It Down in a Book climaxes with a couple of critical appendices from the estimable Israeli journalist Barry Katz. In an interview he and Tom discuss, among several dozen other things, the commingled themes of mustard and pederasty in his recent Bizarro cult novel, Lemur. And, in "King Kong vs. Godzilla: Tom Bradley Happy-Fucks Osaka," Barry Katz provides reportage of a reading Tom gave in that purgatorial burg. There were motorcycle punks, Yakuza gangsters and extreme rightist fanatics all over the place.

Read an excerpt at Exquisite Corpse.

"When is the world going to wake up to the genius of Tom Bradley?"
—Andrew Gallix, editor and publisher of 3:AM Press

"I love the contradictions in Bradley's work: the subtlety beneath the rollicking humor; the precision, in his more political work, underlying the scathing tone; and the power of his language throughout."
—Val Stevenson, editor of nthposition Magazine

"Tom Bradley is a writer of truly extravagant gifts…It is remarkable to me that anyone who writes at such length could have an ear as fine as his for the rhythms of prose—but every sentence is considered, balanced and felicitous…I'd be hard pressed to think of any writer who has Bradley's stamina, his range, his learning, his facility."
—Stephen Goodwin, author of Blood in Paradise

To see more of Tom Bradley's works in print and to read more about Tom, visit tombradley.org.

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