VLAK ITINERARIES is a new series of ebooks, which will be periodically made freely available in this space. The series is an imprint of VLAK magazine, whose most recent iteration, VLAK 4, was just published and launched in Prague, New York, San Diego, London, Berlin, and is available for ordering at www.vlakmagazine.com (VLAK 1, 2 & 3 are also readable online). This announcement coincides with the series’ first publication.
VLAK means train in Czech, and as such, it runs through the crossroads where many of today’s experimental poets, essayists, collage artists gather, or head in their own directions. VLAK magazine also expresses its Dutch meaning of (flat) surface, creating a surface of intensity that cuts through the virtual constellations of landscapes of contemporary poetics.
That is to say, VLAK magazine each time collects 100s of pages (more than 400 in VLAK 4) of poetry, essays, prose, stories, essays, visual art, from many corners of today’s poetic spectrum. For example, VLAK 4 includes work by British militant poet Sean Bonney, whose virtuous anarchist invectives stand in stark contrast to the rigorous, calculated Conceptualism of American poet Vanessa Place.
Physically too, VLAK emphasises its surface tension, resting heavy & square in the reader’s hand. Its unusual dimensions entice not only a subtle aesthetic intuition, but also seduce the physical body of the reader. VLAK (as Craig Dworkin has elegantly written elsewhere about footnotes, PDF ) puts the reader’s body “into motion: the eye moves, the head tilts, the hands and fingers work the pages,the arms and torso shift as the book is handled and manipulated.” And like a footnote, VLAK constitutes a space of possibility, for asides to diverge from a main train of thought, or to indicate construction sites at crossroads for as of yet unarticulated thoughts.
VLAK ITINERARIES follows VLAK’s poetics, simply collecting that which is too poetically concentrated to print. By themselves, these ebooks are intended as nodes in an always incipient space of irrelevant asides and irreverent marginalia. They will exist virtually in this space, available for free download, and offered in a printable format.
The first edition is N.O. LE DÉTOURNEMENT by Véronique Vassiliou, translated and with an afterword by Louis Armand.