Welcome to the Poison Pie Publishing House!

News Updates:

April 15, 2014
The Faerienomicon is Published
The Faerienomicon, an illustrated Encyclopedia of Faerie for children and adventurous adults, is published. The paperback version of the book is now available in the shop. The free electronic version of the book is now available at the Poison Pie Publishing House.


April 2, 2014
A Literature of Non-Idiomatic Improvisation: A Condensed Statement

With the publication of The Faerienomicon by the Poison Pie Publishing House and the corresponding claim that the writing within the book was generated via a non-idiomatic, improvisational process, we at the Poison Pie Publishing House have been virtually inundated with virtual requests for clarification of the term. While a lengthy article on the subject written in a scholarly style is available, most folks want a short and to-the-point description.

Non-idiomatic, improvisational writing is a creative process by which a writer generates passages outside existing genres of literature without the aid of either a previously written draft or extensive post-editing.

Non-idiomatic, improvisation originated in music and the musical analogy remains useful in understanding its application to literature. Music is generated via both improvisation and composition, two forms that typically have readily identifiable differences and relative strengths and weaknesses. So too can writing be generated via improvisation and more traditional composition. The same characteristics, both thematic and stylistic, that distinguish improvised music from composed music are apparent in the comparison of the analogous literatures. There exists a freedom and spontaneity in improvised writing, which attracts those with "an impatience for the gruesomely predictable" (D. Bailey). At the same time, improvised writing may be vulnerable to a lack of complexity, unless the writer engages in an intensive regimen of practice, which maintains the improvisational creative faculties at the ready. Such a model is again taken from the explicitly stated practice habits of non-idiomatic, improvisational musicians.

Some musicologists eschew the term, "non-idiomatic improvisation", since, once a non-generic style is created and invoked multiple times, it becomes a new idiom. The Poison Pie Publishing House embraces the term "non-idiomatic improvisation" as an ideal toward which one strives, an endless process in which each subsequent creative act is disconnected from the previous. An appealing way to think of non-idiomatic improvisation is as a Zen riddle. Once you create a non-idiomatic process, it no longer exists.

This condensed explanation is also available via free, anonymous download here (pdf file).


February 10, 2014
The Seven Wondrously Replicating Elemental Coins
The Poison Pie Publishing House proudly announces the publication of its first fantasy role-playing module, The Seven Wondrously Replicating Elemental Coins created by David J. Keffer. The module was motivated by the acquisition of a set of gorgeous fantasy role-playing coins minted by Osborne Coinage and funded in December, 2013 through Kickstarter. The module provides an adventure in the form of seven dungeon delves through which the party can acquire the coins. The module can be freely and anonymously downloaded here. If the module and/or the coins pictured therein look interesting to you, a set of coins can be purchased at the Rare Elements Coin Store. There is a Rare Elements Coin Facebook page as well. (Disclaimer: The Poison Pie Publishing House has no official affiliation with Osborne Coinage.)


January 27, 2014
With The Mushroomnomicon unleashed upon the world, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House turns their attention to the next installment of illustrated stories. While the name of this new endeavor has not yet been made public, certain broadsides have been released that hint at creatures that may reside within its covers. A new broadside, 4 dragons, has been posted in the broadside page of the gallery. Readers familiar with the The Mushroomnomicon will recognize only one of these dragons. Each dragon was designed by one of the four authors of The Mushroomnomicon. Can you make a one-to-one correspondence between dragons and father, mother, sister & brother?


January 5, 2014
A New Year's Message
Looking back, 2013 was another productive year for the Poison Pie Publishing House. We published seven novels in 2013, written between 1993 and 2013, including The Ruins of My Daughter's Cities: An Imaginary Travelogue. These novels helped us surpass our goal of publishing twelve novels in the first twelve months of our existence, September, 2012-August, 2013, (we actually published fourteen novels in this time period). We also published another illustrated book, The Mushroomnomicon, to critical acclaim. We also released our first published essay, A Literature of Non-Idiomatic Improvisation.

Looking forward there are at least five potential projects for the coming year, including a new novel of non-idiomatic improvisation, a new illustrated story and the the tinkering with of an archival novel, as well as two pending projects with new authors. 2014 should be an exciting time for the Poison Pie Publishing House. Details will be provided as arrangements coalesce.

Here at the Poison Pie Publishing House, we wish you all the best intentions for the upcoming new year.


November 11, 2013
The Poison Pie Publishing House is proud to announce the publication of an essay titled A Literature of Non-Idiomatic Improvisation. In this freely distributed document, a description of the literature of non-idiomatic improvisation is provided. An analogy with the established field of non-idiomatic improvised music is continuously employed to define a literary counterpart. Elements of both the non-idiomatic nature and the improvisational nature of literature are identified. Five works of fiction by established authors are evaluated in terms of these criteria. Finally, one work of fiction by an author who identifies himself as a writer of non-idiomatic improvised literature is discussed.


September 6, 2013
We post a link to a new poem, Bicycling in Heavy Morning Fog, by David Keffer.


July 29, 2013
A new version of the broadside, 4 nymphs (redux), is posted online. This broadside features four nymphs in felt fingerpuppet form designed by Ms. Ruth Keffer, soon to be in the fifth grade. One of these fingerpuppets appears in the illustrated book, The Mushroomnomicon, published by none other than the Poison Pie Publishing House and now available in paperback, online and narrated formats. The original version of the poster is available in the broadside page of the gallery.


June 27, 2013
The Mushroomnomicon by the Keffer family has been published in paperback format. The Mushroomnomicon is an ancient tome of the Cult of the Mushroom, containing secrets of the eldritch universe beyond the comprehension of mortal men. Herein, the tale is told of how the Mushroomnomicon was stolen by agents of the ancient Dragon of the White Wasteland and how a brave group of adventurers sought to retrieve the book and return it to a safe place. The story is told with felt fingerpuppets and photographs from wild places in East Tennessee and North Carolina. It is intended for both children and adventurous adults. It is available in the shop.


June 5, 2013

Today we present a trio of brief quotes on the subject of purpose and individuality.

To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
--attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, origin unknown.

The great tragedy of our times is that too many people spend their lives doing work that is contrary to their own natures.
--Evan Parker
from Music and the Creative Spirit: Innovators in Jazz, Improvisation and the Avant-Garde by Lloyd Peterson
Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland, 2006, p. 242.

In fact, our greatest contribution to others, and to our self-development as well, lies in the direction of developing precisely along the lines where our greatest uniqueness lies.
--Charles Musès
from Destiny and Control in Human Systems
Kluwer-Nijhoff Publishing, Boston, 1985, p. 171.


May 30, 2013
The Ruins of My Daughter's Cities by David J. Keffer has been published in paperback and ebook formats. "The Ruins of My Daughter's Cities" is an imaginary travelogue of a father and daughter through cities invented as the basis for providing a better understanding between them. The novel borrows literary devices from Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities" and "Cosmicomics". It also was written with Calvino's criteria for literature, taken from "Six Memos for the Next Millennium", in mind. The novel was written from September, 2012 to April, 2013 in Knoxville, TN. It is available in the shop.


April 25, 2013
15 novels written by David J. Keffer from 1993 to 2013 (most of them published by the Poison Pie Publishing House) have been rendered as abstract visualizations, which can be viewed here. These visualizations were created by converting the text files of each novel into an image using the Null_Sets script created by Prof. Amy Szczepanski and Prof. Evan Meaney in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and the Art Department respectively at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Null_Sets website is located here.


December 10, 2012
The Sutra of Reverse Possession by David J. Keffer has been published in both paperback and ebook formats, available from the shop. "The Sutra of Reverse Possession" is a novel of non-idiomatic improvisation, written from 2010 to 2012 in Seoul, Korea and Knoxville, TN.



archived news updates
archived reviews
archived quotes