Ugly Duckling Presse: Songs of S. by Robert Seydel
This edition presents the cycle of poems in its entirety and uninterrupted, with an afterword by Peter Gizzi, and an additional booklet—"Maybe S."—composed of visual materials that at different times were meant as an accompaniment to the text.
Shortly before he died in 2011, at the age of 51, the reclusive artist Robert Seydel submitted a manuscript of poems to Ugly Duckling Presse. He was uncertain whether to pair these "songs" of one of his many invented personae with (S.'s) collages and drawings, or to seek a publisher that would let the poems stand on their own.
Seydel described his character as follows: "S. occupied an apartment in a house in Amherst, Massachusetts, on a gray street around the corner from Emily Dickinson's manse on Main Street. Not that much is known about him as a person... But he wrote prolifically ... and kept a journal, and made collages and drew as well ... These pictures betray, as do his songs, a certain lack of proficiency, while simultaneously developing a stance of innocence and reverie far from the precincts of the technical. His poems, journals and pictures were found, along with a great library of books, in his apartment, which he abandoned quite suddenly."
ROBERT SEYDEL (1960-2011), a professor at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, was an artist and writer who left behind a layered and original body of work. Seydel’s interrelated series incorporated collage, drawing, photography, narrative and lyric writing, often using various personae and fictional constructs, such as Ruth Greisman whose works are collected in Book of Ruth (Siglio, 2011) and A Picture Is Always A Book (Siglio, 2014). Songs of S. is embedded with eclectic knowledge and marked by an unrelenting sense of play.