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Tenement Press is an occasional publisher of esoteric,
accidental, angular, & interdisciplinary literatures.

My head is my only house unless it rains

Don Glen Vliet

Were a wind to arise
I could put up a sail
Were there no sailI’d make one of canvas and sticks

Bertolt Brecht, ‘Motto’
(Bucknow Elegies)

Laura Lee Burroughs (St. Louis, 1918),
from the William S. Burroughs papers;
℅ the Henry W. & Albert A. Berg Collection
of English & American Literature,
the New York Public Library 

Magnolia or Redbud                                                                       
Flowers for Laura Lee Burroughs
Dominic J. Jaeckle

Tenement Press / John Cassavetes II
181pp (Approx.)


£17.50 / Forthcoming July ‘24

With an afterword by David Keenan
& collage works by Lucy Sante


In the late 1930s, The Coca-Cola Company aimed to spearhead a campaign to better establish their product as a household staple and enrapture the middle-class homemaker’s market. A Trojan horse, the resulting promotion was run through the distribution of a ¢10 mail-order publication via Good Housekeeping on flower arrangement. Three illustrated editions, authored by St. Louis resident Laura Lee Burroughs, that would explore the practice of domestic and decorative horticulture as a means of sitting a bottle side-by-side with a bouquet: Flower Arranging: A Fascinating Hobby (Volume I and II) and Homes & Flowers: Refreshing Arrangements.

In 1940, the first of Burroughs’ works was offered to the public to a thunderous reception. More than a million and a half copies were printed to meet the degree of demand, and a second and third volume would follow in 1941 and 1942. Following the first outdoor wall advertisement for Coca-Cola—a hand painted sign Cartersville, Georgia, 1894—the replacement of the spring-sealed Hutchinson bottle with the signature hobble-skirt design of 1915, and the company’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations, 1935, the campaign cemented Coca-Cola’s market centrality and enflamed its suburban appeal.

Mother of author William S. Burroughs, Laura Lee’s work sits as in poetic counterpoint to her son’s subsequent experiments with collage and cut-up—a formal flower arrangement of his own—and the poems collected in Magnolia or Redbud mimic the Burroughs brand of appropriation and textual re-combination by borrowing words and phrases pooled exclusively from Laura Lee’s three publications for Coca-Cola as a basis from which to essay an afterwork out of the family habit. 

For the attention of ‘brick & mortar’ bookshops,
preorder copies of Jaeckle’s Magnolia or Redbud 
via our distributor, Asterism Books.

Lucy Sante, © 2024

My mother returning to me is one of the primal images of my life. Added to all this, I could not help marvelling, is what booksellers call a sort of brogue. These are all part and parcel of this precious book, which go to make up the sum of its treasure to me ...

David Keenan, from his Afterword,
‘Redbud, or Her First Voyage’

Magnolia or Redbud is a beguiling, intoxicating mystery garden. In its hothouse alcoves, groves and bosquets, figures and figurations merge into shadowy projections that flit between domestic and psychic scenes. Like cut flowers, Jaeckle’s poems sit in a medium that both nurtures and traps them, formally thwarting their speaker’s quest for secrets and centres. What to do with the floral impulse to locate a centre, when the centre is understood to be a trojan horse filled with market forces, and the alienated variegations of desire? Jaeckle demonstrates how the cut-up’s disruption is also its irrigation, suspending these poems in quiet menace and beauty.

Daisy Lafarge

Dominic Jaeckle’s strange homage—is it really?—to William S. Burroughs’s mother Laura Lee takes the form of poetic assemblages that are invariably funnier and more subversive than the language of their anodyne source material would suggest. But this beautifully composed volume also goes beyond the more familiar uses of the cut-up, fashioning an unpredictable array of gifts through its trance-like modalities: These perishable arrangements / are the needle that holds our colder climates together.

David Grubbs

Lucy Sante, © 2024

Dominic J. Jaeckle is a writer, editor, and publisher. Jaeckle curated and collated the irregular magazine series Hotel and its adjacent projects, and publishes works of experimental and esoteric literature in English and in first-time English language translation via Tenement Press.

Lucy Sante’s books include Low Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), Kill All Your Darlings (Verse Chorus Press, 2007), The Other Paris (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2015), Maybe the People Would Be The Times (Verse Chorus Press, 2020), and the memoir, I Heard Her Call My Name (Heinemann, 2024).

David Keenan
is the author of five critically acclaimed novels; the cult classic, This is Memorial Device (Faber & Faber, 2018), which won the London Magazine Prize; For the Good Times (Faber & Faber, 2019), which won the Gordon Burn Prize; The Towers The Fields The Transmitters (White Rabbit, 2020), Xstabeth (White Rabbit, 2020) and Monument Maker (White Rabbit, 2021), which was a Rough Trade Book of the Year. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Magnolia or Redbud is a manuscript owing to an ongoing project called Veronica Lake, Walden Pond, & River Phoenix—a cumulative train of thought, a series of spines, a ‘Legend of Duluoz’ in which the author argues with varied objects of attention in a borderless field of enquiry.

1.            36 Exposures
2.           Magnolia or Redbud (Flowers for Laura Lee Burroughs)


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