A DIGITAL PONTOON
Back in the late sixties, I wrote an experimental and formally innovative work of fiction entitled The Pontoon Manifesto. It’s had various print incarnations, some better than others in terms of relaying the intended meaning of my experiment.
Forty-five years on, I am proud to present a new and unlimited edition electronic Pontoon powered by a web-based randomizer which reorders the paragraphs at the click of a button. This gives The Pontoon Manifesto new life in a technological form unavailable at the time of its writing.
According to Richard Kostelanetz, critic, curator, editor, and visual poet, “Henry James Korn’s Pontoon Manifesto is a pioneering modular fiction.” This late 1960’s literary experiment anticipated major themes, characters, and plot points in my forthcoming 2015 novel Amerikan Krazy. The Pontoon Manifesto was initially floated in a pair of early 1970’s paperback offshoots of New American Review.
For the Print Purists
In 1975, my experiment was reprinted by the poet Larry Zirlin as a limited edition artist book in the form of a deck of cards to be shuffled and read in any order. This may be one of the best ways to read the manifesto, and limited copies of this original collector’s edition are still available — drop me a note if you are interested in acquiring a numbered/lettered copy. Physical copies should also be available on Amazon.com shortly as well.
I’d love to have your reviews and thoughts once you’ve had the chance to check out my “manifesto.” Feel free to post them on GoodReads.com at your leisure. Additional information about The Pontoon Manifesto including selected exhibitions, selected collections, and its publication history can be found here: The Pontoon Manifesto.
REVIEWS & COMMENTS
‘Thirty-three fictional beginnings to be shuffled and read in any order?’ I did it and I’m hooked.
-Alexandra Garrett, NewLetters, Beyond Baroque Foundation Los Angeles, 1975
Korn’s persona is a latter-day Huck Finn on his raft riding out of yesterday into today, graduating from innocence to the no-sense world of Tanguy, Ernst, Dali and Kafka. This post-McLuhan Shandyesque card-read, play-book is elegant, whimsical, politically satirical and truly surreal.
-Arlene Zekowski, Small Press Review, Dustbooks, Paradise, California, 1975
A fictional house of cards designed to destroy the everlasting sanity of librarians everywhere.
-Bill Katz, “Best Small Press Titles of 1975” Library Journal, New York, 1975
The Pontoon Manifesto can be read as many ways as it can be shuffled, creating a new plot with every reading. In trusting his reader to create the fiction, Korn appears to believe my mind contains as many interesting possibilities as his own.
-Tom Montag, Learning to Read Again: Some Notes on Eight Recent Books, Cat’s Pajama Press, Chicago, 1976
Free from an established view of art and literature, Henry James Korn challenges us to take up the gauntlet and write our own stories.
-Loris Essary, Assembling Assembling, Pratt Graphics Center exhibition catalogue edited by Richard Kostelanetz, Assembling Press, New York, 1978