Susan Howe and David Grubbs: Thiefth

, 2015

Originally released on CD in 2005 and out of print for a decade, Thiefth is the first of four collaborations between poet Susan Howe and musician David Grubbs. Limited to 100 copies, this special edition includes a 12x12 inch letterpress print by Susan Howe, produced by Grenfell Press, accompanied by a hand-stamped LP in letterpress sleeve. Howe and Grubbs were first brought together when the Fondation Cartier in Paris proposed a collaborative performance. Grubbs had been a dedicated reader of Howe’s for more than a decade, and the opportunity to work with Howe’s poetry and her voice immediately intrigued.  In late 2003, the two set about to create performance versions of “Thorow” and “Melville’s Marginalia,” the two of Howe’s longer poems that comprise Thiefth.

Drawing from the journals and letters of Sir William Johnson and Henry David Thoreau, “Thorow” evokes the winter landscape around Lake George in upstate New York and the historical violence of our national identity. Howe and Grubbs engage the lake’s icy surface as well as the voices that haunt the unseen world beneath. “Melville’s Marginalia” explores Herman Melville’s notations in books he owned and loved— marginalia in which he sometimes argued with the authors. Grubbs brings together a diverse collection of sound sources, referencing Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata, Howe’s splitting of words, melting snow, and flight patterns overhead.  Thiefth features contributions from Swedish reed player Mats Gustafsson and Greek cellist Nikos Veliotis.  

A: Thorow (15:08)
B: Melville's Marginalia (19:46)

Susan Howe: reader
David Grubbs: piano and computer
Mats Gustafsson: baritone saxophone and fluteophone on “Thorow”
Nikos Veliotis: cello on “Thorow”

Recorded by Ross Bonadonna at Wombat Recording Company, Brooklyn, with additional recording by Tim Iseler at Soma, Chicago, and Mats Gustafsson in Gustavsberg, Sweden. Mixed by DG at Black Faurest. Initial mastering by Doug Henderson at micro-moose. Mastered by Rashad Becker.

Edition of 100 on 150g vinyl.
Special edition 12x12 letterpress print produced by Grenfell Press.

Author of more than a dozen books of poetry and three of literary criticism, Susan Howe’s collection of poems, That This, published by New Directions, won the Bollingen Prize in 2011. Her earlier critical study, My Emily Dickinson, was reissued in 2007 with an introduction by Eliot Weinberger. Howe held the Samuel P. Capen Chair in Poetry and the Humanities at the State University New York at Buffalo until her retirement in 2007. In 2014 Christine Burgin and New Directions published Howe’s Spontaneous Particulars: The Telepathy of Archives, and in fall 2015 New Directions will publish both The Quarry, a selection of previously uncollected essays, and a new edition of her classic study, The Birth-Mark.

David Grubbs has released twelve solo albums and is the author of Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, The Sixties, and Sound Recording (Duke University Press). Grubbs was a member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and he has performed with the Red Krayola, Will Oldham, Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, and Loren Connors, among many others. He is Professor of Music at the CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, where he also teaches in the MFA programs in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) and Creative Writing.

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