Welcome to the Poison Pie Publishing House!

Featured Books:

A Bestiary of East Tennessee is an encyclopedia of the creatures, mundane and exotic, dwelling in East Tennessee and other proximate locations. Illustrated in felt by the Keffer family, the book is filled with felt finger puppets, photographs from wild places and informative descriptions.

The Implacable Absence is a Non-Idiomatic Improvisational Duet, in which a mushroom man, a talking bug and a doppelgänger traverse Faerie, Nirvana, the World of the Dead and other planes of existence in search of the Deadly Galerina, a reclusive deity from the Kingdom of Fungi.


News Updates:

January 20, 2016
Snow Day!
Although nary an inch of snow has yet fallen, the promise of snowfall in the afternoon has shuttered schools across the city of Knoxville. Rising early, our ritual of preparation for a day of work was thwarted by this news. Instead, a poem emerged unexpectedly before the sun had risen: A Prayer for the Unequal Distribution of Talents.


January 1, 2016
2015: The Year in Review at the Poison Pie Publishing House
2015 proved an exception to the rule, for all of the hypothesized plans of the Poison Pie Publishing House came to fruition, an outcome that had not previously been achieved nor one that the staff expects to reproduce again. Looking back at the goals of the previous End-of-the-Year Report for 2014, the Poison Pie Publishing House anticipated six works, including (i) a first volume of poetry, (ii) the next instalment in its eclectic series of post-existential novels generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process, (iii) another illustrated book by the Keffer family of East Tennessee, (iv) a light-hearted fantasy role-playing module for children, (v) modest tinkering with an archival novel yet to be published and (vi) whatever other unruly beast happens to rear its head. While it may defy belief not only did the first five works come to pass but numerous other unruly beasts, some long dormant, surfaced. For those keeping track at home, the full list of works from 2015 includes

  • A Bestiary of East Tennessee, an encyclopedia of local creatures, mundane and fantastic, rendered in felt by the Keffer family
    (PP-028-I, September 1, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1516965366)

  • Jacob's Dream, an eclectic collection of illustrations, imaginative descriptions and prayers associated with the angels observed ascending and descending the ladder in Jacob's vision from Genesis 28:12 by David & Ruth Keffer
    (PP-027-I, April 3, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1511500777)

  • A Prayer Book for the Damned, a book containing twenty-seven prayers, which deviate from tradition primarily in that they are more open in acknowledging the uncertainties, reservations and short-comings of the one making the prayer, by David J. Keffer
    (PP-026-P, July 9, 2015, paperback ISBN-13: 978-1503052253)

  • A Bride for Chubbernut, a module containing sixteen light-hearted delves for role-players, young and old, in which the party travels as guard to Chubbernut, a bullywug crown prince, as he seeks to discover the meaning of love by completing tasks assigned to him by a legendary matchmaker, by David J. Keffer
    (PP-025-M, January 14, 2015, no ISBN)

  • novelwise, a treatise on wisdom by process of elimination, an archival novel from 1995 by David J. Keffer
    (PP-030-T, September 2, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1517098735)

  • A Practical Introduction to Applied Statistics for Materials Scientists & Engineers, a technical monograph by David J. Keffer
    (PP-031-T, September 21, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1517521936)

  • A Practical Introduction to Numerical Methods for Materials Scientists & Engineers, a technical monograph by David J. Keffer
    (PP-030-T, September 21, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1517356675)

  • The Leg & Other Stories, a volume of thirteen selected short stories written from 1991 to 2013, in which one finds a type of carnage generally avoided in polite company, by David J. Keffer
    (PP-032-S, ISBN-13: 978-1517719401, not yet published: pending author's approval)

  • The Augur in the Arbor Inn, a tautological myth of evolution by David J. Keffer
    (PP-033-N, written December, 2014-July, 2015, not yet published: searching for a good home)

  • An International Journal of Exploratory Meta-Living, the open-source journal published five issues in 2015, on subjects ranging from the literary to the musical, including An Hour of Keiji Haino for a Sunny Day, which was subsequently translated in Japanese

Somewhat embarrassed by an unseemly productivity, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House have set more modest goals for 2016. They hope to bring a new post-existential fantasy generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process, The Portable Library of Hong Samud, to life. They entertain the possibility that an illustrated book might yet emerge from the work being conducted in the experimental laboratory. Additionally, they remain open to unanticipated opportunities.

To our readers, we, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House, thank you for your patronage and support and we look forward to another mutually creative and unpredictable year.


December 20, 2015
Roscoe Mitchell: The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note
Unbeknownst to much of the Earth's population, during the late 1970's and continuing through the 1980s and 1990s into the early part of the twenty-first century, the Italian labels Black Saint and Soul Note documented jazz outside the mainsteam as well as some music that has left the jazz moniker far behind. In more recent years the ownership of these recordings has changed hands and CAMJazz is releasing box sets centered on the many individual stalwarts of the labels. While various luminaries (Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, and Steve Lacy large and small) are well-documented, often in decade-spanning form, the series also includes box sets with a truly astounding representation of musicians of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), including Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and Muhal Richard Abrams. The reissue of these records is in step with a renaissance of interest in the work of the AACM from the cultural margin that went unnoticed by most listeners during decades that almost no one associates with creativity from the corporate music industry. The favorite reissue of the year 2015 is another box set of an AACM musician, namely Roscoe Mitchell. [More...]


December 19, 2015
Seijaku: Last Live
As many know, the Poison Pie Publishing House has hosted An Unofficial Keiji Haino Website since 1995. Some portion of the enjoyment in maintaining such a resource is associated with picking up each new experiment in Haino's discography (currently numbering about 230 recordings) as it is released. Haino is absolutely a practitioner of non-idiomatic improvisation. In thinking about a favorite release of 2015, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House settled on the double cd, titled Last Live by Seijaku (meaning silence), a trio which featured Haino on guitar and voice, Mitsuru Nasuno on bass and Yoshimitsu Ichiraku on drums. Due to health issues of Ichiraku, the performances of Seijaku have come to a premature end. This final live show captures the trio at their peak. The release features Haino's unique blend of unabashed rock-inspired non-idiomatic improvisation, his electric guitar pyrotechnics and his frantic, shouted vocals coupled to a rhythm section that embraces a rhythm that defies all attempts to have the underlying patterns recognized! Recorded on December 24, 2012 at Club Goodman in Tokyo, it is our favorite new record of 2015. It is released on the independent Japanese label, doubt music.


December 19, 2015
The Augur in the Arbor Inn
In 2015, David J. Keffer has finished the writing of a novel, a post-existential fantasy generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process, titled, The Augur in the Arbor Inn. The novel provides an investigation of our modern relationship with the principles of evolution, as espoused by Darwin, through the form of a narrative. Because the novel falls outside established genres, it is difficult to find a good home for it. Attempts to engage traditional representatives of and liaisons to the publishing industry have been met with indifference, if acknowledged at all. As such, a link to an open query letter describing the unpublished manuscript has been posted here. Interested parties are welcome to contact the editor. In the absence of broader interest, The Augur in the Arbor Inn was printed in a limited, private edition of ten.


December 7, 2015
Radio Show: Voices from the Golden Age of Non-Idiomatic Improvisation
As a culmination of the Fall semester, 2015 offering of The Golden Age of Non-Idiomatic Improvisation at the University of Tennessee, the instructor of the course, David Keffer, collaborated with a student in the course, Amanda Fuchs, for an evening of radio showcasing one track from twelve varied practitioners of non-idiomatic improvisation. The show aired On December 7, 2015 on WUTK (90.3 FM). Supposedly, there is a streaming recording of the show available on the web. If we can locate it, we will post a link to it. In lieu of the music, a copy of the associated document listing the music played and providing a quote for each musician, which hints at their underlying motivations, is archived here.


October 30, 2015
Experimental Laboratory
The population of the experimental laboratory continues to grow with the arrival of new residents. These bird faeries of East Tennessee have migrated to this page to pass a mild winter. All of the puppets are designed by Ruth Marie Keffer.


October 23, 2015
Anthony Braxton
Today we feature a quote by the American musician, improviser and composer, Anthony Braxton (June 4, 1945-). Here we present both a passage as well as a schematic and its interpretation from volume three of Tri-Axium Writings (1985).

The present reality of participation in western culture can be viewed as profoundly detrimental to transformational expansion or spiritual resolidification and/or world unification - and this is true regardless of level of functionalism or specifics. If we are to ever hope for positive change, then some attempt must be made by the composite people on this planet to come to terms with the third degree of the 'responsibility of the position' - because this degree of participation is the highest degree for the 'greater good of all humanity'. To really view the realness of this concept it is necessary to apply its criterion of examination to the basic thrust of this book - that being, information dynamics and the reality of creative music.

The schematic above can be rendered in words as, "The world expansion principle related to political dynamics is understood in the following three contexts: (1) source transfer via the composite focus of the expansion condition as revealed through composite research, (2) information solidification via composite continuance as defined by both the implications of thrust continuance and bi-aitionalism, and (3) transition via a path of particular progressionalism informed by economic dynamics."

--Anthony Braxton, from Tri-Axium Writings 3, Synthesis Music, distributed by Frog Peak Music, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1985, p. 492-493. (Schematic interpreted by David Keffer)


October 19, 2015
Jorge Luis Borges
Today we feature a sentence by the Argentinian writer and scholar, Jorge Luis Borges (August 24, 1899-June 14 1986).

Mir Bahadur Ali is, as we have seen, incapable of evading the most vulgar of art's temptations: that of being a genius.

--Jorge Luis Borges, from "The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim", collected in Fictions (Ficciones), translated by Anthony Kerrigan, Grove Press Incorporated, New York, 1962, p. 39-40.


September 6, 2015
Ninth in the Series of Promotional Flyers for A Bestiary of East Tennessee
The Poison Pie Publishing House presents the final entry in a series of promotional flyers for the illustrated book, A Bestiary of East Tennessee. Here is the ninth instalment, featuring the narrarator, M. Anxo, and his traveling companion, Execrabilia.



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