David Ossman's book of poetry is beautifully written with poems inspired by Ossman's morning meditations on Mount Baker with his coffee, interrupted by the antics of his cat. His collection of poems is published by Egress Studio Press in a limited edition of 150. Each book is signed and numbered by the author below the colophon at the back of the book.
The publisher, Anita K. Boyle, made each of the books one at a time. Each page and cover was individually folded before binding and trimming. The binding is in two signatures, sewn to the cover using a needle and waxed linen thread. An outer cover wraps around the inner cover, so the final book has a square-spine. Each book is illustrated with six linoleum block prints cut by Anita K. Boyle. The originals were printed on handmade paper made inside Egress Studio from 100% cotton rug yarn, and are also available through Egress Studio.
About the Author: David Ossman
David Ossman is probably best known as a co-creator of “the Beatles of comedy,” The Firesign Theatre—Grammy nominees, their works collected by the Library of Congress. He has been a life-long poet, as well as playwright, novelist, memoirist, performer, radio writer-producer and co-creator of the Firesign’s literary legacy.
Born in Santa Monica, California in 1936, Ossman and family lived around that state, (and in Mexico City for a couple of years) before settling in Los Angeles, by the USC campus, near Downtown, a streetcar ride from Hollywood. All of the cinematic noir LA locations he grew up in have significantly contributed to his work, along with the influence of an early friendship with Ray Bradbury.
Ossman and his wife Judith Walcutt have lived on Whidbey Island for over thirty years and their residence in the Northwest, with a view of Honeymoon Bay, has inspired the collection at hand, The Old Man Poems. Written over several Island seasons, the Old Man observes the state of the Mountain (Mt. Baker) and often shares his morning meditations with his new kitten. The entire collection of 75 poems was completed for a reading celebrating Ossman’s 75th birthday. Of course, as the Old Man was still around, an extended coda follows after the sudden death of his Firesign partner, Peter Bergman. There are other obits as well, along with a species of small observations, in small poetic forms, “sumi strokes,” Ossman says.
Other poems written during these “Old Man” years, mostly concerned with larger world events, particularly the Endless War, have been collected in Marshmallows & Despair, published by Neopoiesis Press. His essential volume of interviews, The Sullen Art, published by the University of Toledo Press, collects the earliest radio conversations with Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Denise Levertov and twenty other emerging writers working in New York in 1960. Ossman’s two period-set comedy-mystery novels and two memoirs with comedy scripts come from Bear Manor Press, along with Firesign’s literary archive from records, radio, stage and film, edited by Ossman.
On Whidbey Island, Ossman has often been seen performing in literary cabarets at the Ott-Murphy Winery in Langley. His collages and other art works are represented by the Rob Schouten Gallery, also in Langley. Local TV watchers know his face from The Cook and the Comic (only seen on WhidbeyTV) and Island concert-goers recognize him from performances of Peter And The Wolf at one of the local churches. He has even read poetry to surprised passengers aboard an Island Transit bus.
The Old Man's Poems by David Ossman
Limited edition of 150 copies
Published in 2019
60 pages, binding sewn in two signatures
Six linoleum block Illustrations
Wrap-around cover offers square spine