Siglio Advocate 2018

Four new books for our 10th year

by Mirtha Dermisache, Ellie Ga, Karen Green and Dick Higgins

Image above from Frail Sister by Karen Green.

In 2018 Siglio is celebrating its 10th year of fiercely independent publishing, driven by its feminist ethos and its commitment to artists and writers who obey no boundaries, pay no fealty to trends and invite readers to see the world anew by reading word and image in provocative, unfamiliar ways. Since its inception, Siglio has seen publishing itself as an act of resistance to the literal, the authoritarian and the facile (see the Siglio manifesto “On the Small and Contrary”).

We continue this mission in 2018 with a defiantly eclectic list by artists and writers—Mirtha Dermisache, Ellie Ga, Karen Green and Dick Higgins—who resist categorical distinctions, envisioning image, language and the space of the book in expansive and utterly imaginative ways.



Mirtha Dermisache: Selected Writings (March)


Ellie Ga: Square Octagon Circle (September)

Frail Sister by Karen Green (October)

Artist and writer Karen Green’s second book originated in a search for a woman who had vanished: her Aunt Constance whom Green knew only from a few family photos and keepsakes. In her absence, Green has constructed an elliptical arrangement of artifacts from an untold life. In this rescued history, Green imagines for her aunt a childhood in which she is bold, reckless, perspicacious, mischievous; an adolescence ripe with desire and scarred by violation and loss; and an adulthood in which she strives to sing above the incessant din of violence.

Constance—one half of a sister-duo put to work performing as musical prodigies in the dirt poor town of Oil City, Pennsylvania during the Great Depression—escapes as a teenager to the U.S.O. and tours a ravaged Italy during World War II. Soon after she returns to an unsparing life in New York City, she disappears. Green traces her dissolution in a deftly composed trove of letters Constance writes to her beloved sister and those she receives from a dozens of men, along with her drawings, collages and altered photographs. Frail Sister invites the reader to be an archivist, or even a detective, sorting through the fragments of a missing woman’s life.

Though told mostly from Constance’s point-of-view, Frail Sister is also haunted by the voices of the transient, the absent and the dead. Men—some kind, some nefarious, some an ineluctable cocktail—write to Constance, smitten by her stage persona. The letters (a few real, many invented) expose not only the quotidian reality of war but also the ubiquitous brutality it throws into relief. There are more ghosts—an array of Jane Does, women whose loss of identity and violent demise Constance threads in anticipation of her own.

Nimble, darkly funny, and poignant, Frail Sister examines the thin membrane between resiliency and fragility, the love of family and its inevitable betrayals. Frail Sister is possessed by the disappeared, giving voice to the voiceless, bringing into a focus a life disintegrating at every edge.

Dick Higgins: Intermedia, Fluxus, and the Something Else Press (October)

Edited by Steve Clay and Ken Friedman

There are few art-world figures as influential—and as little known—as Dick Higgins, co-founder of Fluxus, “polyartist,” poet, scholar, theorist, composer, performer and, not least, the publisher of Something Else Press. In 1965 he restored the term “intermedia” to the English language giving it new dimension to recognize the dissolution of boundaries, the expansion of liminal spaces between traditional modes of art making, and the open field for new forms that cannot be compartmentalized. His own contributions to intermedia are many—as a participant and instigator of Happenings, as writer and composer straddling traditional and vanguard forms, among others—but it was Something Else Press (1963-1974) that redefined how “the book” could inhabit that energized, in-between space. 

Something Else Press was as much a critical statement and radical experiment as it was a collection of books by some of the most luminary artists and writers of the twentieth century: Gertrude Stein, John Cage, Ray Johnson, Dieter Roth, Bern Porter, Emmett Williams, Robert Filliou, George Brecht, among many others. Along with his Great Bear Pamphlet series and the Something Else Press newsletter, Higgins exploited and subverted convention book production and marketing strategies to get unconventional and avant-garde works into the hands of new and often unsuspecting readers.

Edited by Granary Books publisher Steve Clay and Fluxus artist Ken Friedman, this judiciously curated and indispensable compendium of essays, theoretical writings and narrative prose dives deep into the ever-influential ideas that Higgins explored in theory and practice. Clay and Friedman have chosen works that illuminate Higgins’ voracious intellectual appetite, encyclopedic body of knowledge, and playful yet rigorous experimentation in a selection that includes many writings long out-of-print or difficult to find. 

Higgins, as the publisher of Something Else Press, has had an enormous influence on Siglio and its mission, and we’ve been honored to reprint one of his first Something Else Press titles, The Paper Snake by Ray Johnson, as well as model our complete edition of Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) by John Cage on his Great Bear Pamphlet publication of “Part III.” Our ephemera series is also inspired, in part, by the Great Bear Pamphlets and other Fluxus printed matter. Finally, Siglio is a fan of Alison Knowles (who, when Higgins proposed the name “Shirtsleeves Press,” said: “That’s no good. Why don’t you call it something else.”). Knowles’  “A House of Dust” appears as a excerpt in It Is Almost That: A Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists and Writers, and the complete text in the It Is Almost That (Box).


Due to highly popular demand, you can now print out your own Ubu/Trump stickers here!