playful cubes for storytelling, brainstorming ideas or playing games in three dimensions

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Diffusion engaging with the community, online and out in the world.


an ongoing programme enabling residents at Proboscis studio to create eBooks and StoryCubes for their own projects.

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eBooks & StoryCubes created for learning and educational purposes


Browse the collection of Diffusion Shareables: eBooks & StoryCubes

Articles tagged with: poetry

Home » eBooks, One-Off Shareables
Nature In Exile by Hazem Tagiuri
Submitted by on July 16, 2012 – 3:44 pmOne Comment

Download A4 | US Letter 440Kb PDF Read Online

About : A collection of fleeting poems that give voice to nature, in all its fine and savage guises.

Hazem Tagiuri is a writer and member of Proboscis. He blogs for, co-runs and contributes to City As Material, and is a commissioning editor for the Material Conditions series alongside Giles Lane.

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  • John Dhu
    i love the new ebook by Hazem and i found this by accident.
    Comment posted on 7-24-2012 at 10:44

Home » City As Material, eBooks
Sketches in the City by Radhika Patel, Mandy Tang & Hazem Tagiuri
Submitted by on May 25, 2011 – 11:15 amNo Comment

Sketches in the City 1 A4 | US Letter PDF 1.4Mb Read Online
Sketches in the City – British Museum A4 | US Letter PDF 1.4Mb Read Online

About : An offshoot of City As Material, Sketches In The City is an occasional series of observational expeditions in various locations across the capital. Mandy, Radhika and I sketch, take photographs and write poems and prose to form a collaborative eBook with underlying themes. Focusing mainly on people and interactions in public places – places that shape, and are in turn shaped, by the people in them – we’ve produced two books so far, and are working on a third.

Sketches In The City was our first attempt, created as a result of visiting the busy Victoria and Waterloo train stations – places which reveal an interesting insight of the human character when bored or stressed. Highlighting the material we collected on the day, this tidy scrapbook was an playful experiment with little interpretation or narrative, letting us take the time to view hectic environments from a different perspective than usual and refine our creative processes.

Sketches In The City: British Museum showcase the unique architecture and exhibits in the British Museum, looking at how visitors observe and interact with them and one another, as well as their grasp on the intangible knowledge that exists amongst that which we can see and touch.

Published May 2011

Radhika Patel is a marketing assistant at Proboscis. Having completed her Future Jobs Fund placement with Proboscis (Nov 2010-April 2011) she is working on developing new marketing strategies.

Mandy Tang is a creative assistant at Proboscis. Having completed her Future Jobs Fund placement with Proboscis (July 2010-Jan 2011) Mandy’s work is focused on visual notation and illustration of projects, ideas and activities, as well as developing a special StoryCube game, Outside the Box, for encouraging outdoor play.

Hazem Tagiuri is a creative assistant at Proboscis.Having completed his Future Jobs Fund placement with Proboscis (July 2010-Jan 2011) Haz’s work involves blogging on about zine culture; assisting with planning and running the City As Material project and working on a research project with the University of Cambridge.

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Home » eBooks, One-Off Shareables
Scribbles by Hazem Tagiuri
Submitted by on August 3, 2010 – 5:08 pm2 Comments

Download A4 | US Letter PDF 840Kb

About : Scribbles is an eBook portfolio of my poetry, with no connecting theme, designed to be basic, yet visually appealing. Possibly useful for sending examples of work to publishers, magazines or other writers in a portable and attractive format.

Published July 2010

Hazem Tagiuri is a Creative Assistant at Proboscis as part of the Future Jobs Fund Placement scheme. He has an interest in film and literature, and will be exploring the use of Bookleteer in the zine and small publishing scene.

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Home » eBooks, StoryCubes, Transformations
The Octuplet: Story of Our Lives by Babette Wagenvoort
Submitted by on July 7, 2009 – 8:50 amOne Comment



Download A4 | US Letter PDF 3.4Mb
StoryCube 1 PDF 1.6Mb
StoryCube 2 PDF 1.6Mb
StoryCube 3 PDF 1.6Mb

AboutThe Octuplet: Story of Our Lives is the first published story in English by Dutch visual artist and illustrator Babette Wagenvoort. It tells the strange story of eight human-beings living inside their mother, while they prepare for their future. One of the octuplets seems better equipped for life than the others…  Much like Babette’s visual work this story balances between reality and fiction, between poetry and prose.

Published July 2009 in the Diffusion Transformations series

Babette Wagenvoort (MA RCA) is best known for her red drawings from the series ‘Life According To A Rectilinear Personality‘, which she published daily on her website for years.  As an illustrator she has worked for several publications like VPRO Gids, De Volkskrant, Vrij Nederland, Opzij and Hollands Maandblad in The Netherlands and the BBC, Le Gun and Dazed & Confused in the UK. Her drawings can be found as commissioned public art works and animations in schools, as wallpaper designed for Maxalot, but also as wall drawings, animations and installations within more regular exhibition spaces. She teaches drawing at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague and is curator of ‘Volkskrant Oog‘, an online platform for artists of the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. A new book with Babette’s drawings called ‘Mood Swing – An Alphabet of Moods’ will come out in July/August 2009.

*** a classic landscape eBook & StoryCubes created with the new Diffusion Generator ***

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Home » eBooks, Featured, Short Work
Le Corbeau / The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe tr. Stéphane Mallarmé
Submitted by on July 2, 2009 – 2:04 pmNo Comment


Download A4 | US Letter PDF 666Kb

Selected and Introduced for Short Work by Bronac Ferran, independent researcher and writer and Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven still causes a shiver to flow through my body now, re-reading it many years after I first heard it. This is poetry of feeling. There is a sense in which one is there, doomed forever to consider what the raven means with his incantation ‘Nevermore’. In this version, Poe’s near hallucinatory intensity is combined with a translation into French by the great poet Stéphane Mallarmé and stark images by Edouard Manet to form a magical combination.

Mallarmé and Manet, fountainheads of modern poetry and painting, were good friends in Paris in the 1860s and 70s. There were many points where their lives touched – indeed they lived in the same street and met almost daily. Mallarmé’s house was a kind of early social network node – the meeting point for a group of artists and poets called Les Mardistes who met on Tuesday evenings. We see in this work, a rare example of a great poet and great painter working in true confluence – both responding to another work and in the process, both honouring and transforming it. In many ways, this work seems to me to be a milestone – in advance of Mallarme’s later work – which broke with conventions of form and presentation in deeply significant ways. The influence of Mallarmé in terms of his dissolution of form, breaking down of the poetic into its essential parts and core components, sifting out sound, silences, analogies and tonal clarities has been acknowledged by many great 20th artists – from May Ray to Pierre Boulez and John Cage. His singular experiments which beautifully combine abstraction with performativity appear ever more significant over time as we look today at the emergence of software code and machine language as drivers of 21st cutural expression. His experiments with form exploring and revealing underlying latencies may be seen as a linguistic and poetic decoding. These were exciting developments that led directly to many of the most important aesthetic and cultural innovations of the 20th century and preceded the emergence, in particular, of serialism, concretism and forms of machine/computer art. We trace these experiments into process-based and open works of the 60s including Computerized Haiku, computer poetry devised by Margaret Masterman (with Robin McKinnon-Wood) of the Cambridge Language Research Unit as well as earlier tense exchanges between Boulez and Cage on the importance of otherwise of chance in composition and performance. Now, in the 21st century, when remix and recombinant processes are accepted as mainstream and hypertext is common we can only imagine what it might have been like to take those first steps, to reorganise the order of things and shift a cultural modality forever.

Bronac Ferran
London, 2009


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer and critic, famous for his stories of the macabre, and often credited as the creator of detective fiction.

Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) was a French poet and critic, perhaps best known for his typographic experimental poem, Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard.

First Published in 1875
Sourced from Project Gutenberg

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Home » eBooks, One-Off Shareables
Tweetomes : some epithets on practices of pithy exchange by Giles Lane
Submitted by on March 3, 2009 – 8:36 amNo Comment


Download A4 | US Letter PDF 260Kb

About : These 30 epithets form a kind of experimental prose poem that uses the 140 character constraint of the micro-blogging service Twitter as its structure. They were composed as a contribution to the catalogue for Larissa Hjorth’s CU: the presents of co-presence, a project exploring SMS culture. Each epithet was prefaced with the hashtag #tweetome and first published via Twitter on February 22nd 2009. 

Published March 2009

Giles Lane is an artist, researcher and teacher. He founded and is co-director of Proboscis, a non-profit creative studio based in London where, since 1994, he has led projects such as Urban TapestriesSnoutMapping PerceptionExperiencing DemocracyEveryday Archaeology; and Private Reveries, Public Spaces. Giles is a Visiting Tutor on the MA Design Critical Practice at Goldsmiths College (University of London) and is a Research Associate of the Media and Communications Department at London School of Economics. Giles was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2008 for his contribution to community development through creative practice.

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Home » eBooks, One-Off Shareables
The Tongue Conceals Time by Shae Davidson
Submitted by on February 21, 2009 – 8:37 amNo Comment


Download A4 | US Letter PDF 281Kb

AboutThe Tongue Conceals Time uses randomly grouped words and phrases from print and electronic media to create poems that celebrate the hints of chaotic beauty found in happenstance associations.  The poems and tales embrace absurdism as well as the emergence of patterns and structures in seemingly dissociated material.

Published February 2009

Historian and poet Shae Davidson currently serves as a member of the Creative Synthesis Collaborative, and has worked as an instructor, researcher, and museum director. His prior publications include historical essays, reviews, and policy analysis; his poetry has appeared in journals in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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Home » Publishing on Demand, Transformations
Submitted by on November 21, 2008 – 4:08 pmNo Comment

why are we who we are?  what do we want to become?

Transformations is the latest series of Diffusion commissions curated by Proboscis. Proboscis is commissioning a diverse range of writers, artists, performers, thinkers and makers to respond to two questions from different perspectives, why are we who we are? and, what do we want to become?

As we get into the swing of the 21st Century our notions of identity, personal and societal, are subject to new arrays of emerging pressures and responsibilities. Our aspirations for change and growth are being re-thought as we grapple with the growing awareness of environmental changes which may already be beyond our control. How have we reached this point? Where do we go from here?

Transformations seeks to address these fluid notions of identity and aspiration by commissioning works that subtly reflect on individual identities, urban identity and pharmaceutical, biological and technological interventions. Over the next few years we will be inviting selected contributors to add their voices into this mix – through essays and artists books (eBooks) as well as in three dimensions (StoryCubes).

Add Your Voice
For the first time we are experimenting with a new approach to selecting works for this series – publishing as a conversation. Readers are invited to submit their own proposals for the series (through the comments section of this site) – we will provide accounts for the Diffusion Generator (soon to be re-launched as Bookleteer) for readers to become authors and create their own eBooks or StoryCubes,  the best of which we will publish as contributions to the series. We are not asking for quick responses, but for measured and considered contributions to the series – putting an eBook or a set of StoryCubes together is significant creative act. Get in touch if you are inspired by the works we have selected and published so far and have a proposal for a work of your own.

The Contributions

Sponsorship Opportunity
We are seeking a sponsor for Transformations who shares our ethos of collaboration, public authoring and creating cultures of listening. Please contact us for more information.

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Home » eBooks, Short Work
Sea Shanties
Submitted by on November 18, 2008 – 12:10 pmOne Comment

Sea Shanties Volume 1 A4 | US Letter PDF 360kb
Sea Shanties Volume 2 A4 | US Letter PDF 395kb

Selected and Introduced for Short Work by Francis McKee, director of Glasgow International (2004-08), CCA Glasgow and Research Fellow at Glasgow School of Art.

Beyond society’s canons of literature there are the outlaws – songs and stories that survive in the wild. Sea shanties are among the hardiest of these forms and all the more remarkable for having their roots in a vanished world of sailing ships. There is a raw surrealism in sea shanties that is bred from endless nights in the belly of tomb-like wooden hulks floating on deep swelling oceans. The wild ramblings (‘Cape Cod kids ain’t got no sleds/They slide down the hills on codfish heads’) are tempered by the disciplined, rope burned, rhythms of the nautical work song. It is this emphasis on hard manual labour, combined with a sailor’s wicked word play, which gives these songs their enduring appeal. You can sense their influence behind Shakespeare’s sea song in The Tempest:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that does fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.

And you can hear them lurking in the sailors’ song in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon – ‘Sumatra, where the girls all look like Cleopatra, and when you’re done you’ll simply barter…’ Sea shanties move with a swagger. They tempt purple prose and have given birth to long rambling movies from Moby Dick to Pirates of the Caribbean. They’re proof that not all our genetic code is in the marrow – some of it is in songs like these.

This selection is taken from the collection of Andrew Draskóy on his website Shanties and Sea Songs. As he suggests these lyrics are best heard sung and three good albums provide a starting point:

  • Sailor’s Songs and Sea Shanties (Highpoint, 2004)
  • Blow the Man Down: a Collection of Sea Songs & Shanties (Topic, 1995)
  • Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys (Epitaph, 2006)
November 2008

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Home » StoryCubes, Transformations
Pharmaceutical Cubes by Kenneth Goldsmith
Submitted by on October 3, 2008 – 2:33 pmOne Comment

Pharmaceutical Cubes PDF 1.2Mb 

About : While watching the 6:00 nightly news on one of the major U.S. television networks recently, I was struck by the amount of ads placed there by the pharmaceutical industry. From bladder control to mood-enhancement, an elderly viewership is clearly receptive to these types of products. But what struck me more than the frequency with which these ads ran was the fact that half of the, say, two-minute ad was given up to a double-speed announcer warning of the drug’s side-effects. For a full minute, what sounded to my ears like a new type of sound poem emerged: a litany of complaints and horrors that arise from steady use of these “wonder” drugs. The text was spoken so fast that I could barely understand what was being uttered.

Curious to know more, I went on the drug’s websites and found more than I ever could imagine. Zoloft, for example, provides a 43-page information PDF beginning with a chilling opening paragraph entitled “Suicidality in Children and Adolescents.” The first sentence reads, “Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.” It’s a numbing document for reasons both having to do with the terrifying content as well as the sheer amount of it: Zoloft is nearly 7,000 words long.

I have often talked about how today in writing, quantity has trumped quality; it is the writer’s job to manage the amount of available language. In sculpting these documents, I found my perfect material. Squeezed into 1-point type, then justified, I created columns of unreadable texts: words as texture. When folded into cubes, these warnings – secretly embedded into the pills we take – are reconstituted into three-dimensional forms, creating a new type of placebo. If language, as William S. Burroughs claims, is a virus from outer space, then this panacea for our psychotropic ills – delivered in linguistic torrents – proves Burroughs right by having opposite effect of virally compounding our diseases rather than curing them.

Published October 2008 in the Diffusion Transformations Series

Kenneth Goldsmith‘s writing has been called “some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry” by Publishers Weekly. Goldsmith is the author of ten books of poetry, founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb, and the editor of I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, which was the basis for an opera, “Trans-Warhol,” that premiered in Geneva in March of 2007. An hour-long documentary on his work, “sucking on words: Kenneth Goldsmith” premiered at the British Library in 2007. Kenneth Goldsmith is the host of a weekly radio show on New York City’s WFMU. He teaches writing at The University of Pennsylvania, where he is a senior editor of PennSound, an online poetry archive.
More about Goldsmith can be found at:

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Home » eBooks, Residencies
Despair by Lisa Hunter
Submitted by on August 13, 2008 – 12:26 pmNo Comment

Download A4 | US Letter PDF 3Mb

About : This eBook is the second in a series of publications that make publicly accessible a number of rare archival documents and books in the collection of the Dundas Museum and Archives. Normally not available to the public due to its extreme fragility, a poem from the 1853 publication A Floral Forget Me Not, by Henry F. Anners, has been reproduced with a number of related botanical illustrations from the book. The eBook will be utilized as a component of an education program focusing on the Victorian use of the “language of flowers.”

Published August 2008

Lisa Hunter is Collections Manager at the Dundas Museum and Archives, a community history museum in Dundas, Ontario, Canada.  In addition to caring for a large social history collection, she develops exhibitions and related community outreach projects.  She has worked in a variety of roles in museums and galleries across Canada, and holds a Master of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto.

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Home » eBooks, Residencies
Forget Me Not by Lisa Hunter
Submitted by on August 12, 2008 – 9:30 pmNo Comment

Download A4 | US Letter PDF 2.2Mb

About : The Dundas Museum and Archives has in its collections a large number of archival documents and books which cannot normally be accessed by museum visitors, due their extremely fragile nature.  Forget Me Not is the first in a planned series of eBook publications that will make these archival materials accessible to the public, despite their conservation restrictions. During a residency with Proboscis in July/August 2008, Lisa Hunter produced this edition, which utilizes an 1853 work in the museum’s collection by Henry F. Anners, The Floral Forget Me Not. In the eBook, an excerpt of the original text is paired with contemporary photographs of a Victorian cemetery, giving readers a glimpse into the literary, aesthetic, spiritual and social aspects of the time.

Published August 2008

Lisa Hunter is Collections Manager at the Dundas Museum and Archives, a community history museum in Dundas, Ontario, Canada.  In addition to caring for a large social history collection, she develops exhibitions and related community outreach projects.  She has worked in a variety of roles in museums and galleries across Canada, and holds a Master of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto.

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Home » StoryCubes
Alec Finlay StoryCubes at Arc Projects, Sofia, Bulgaria
Submitted by on July 18, 2008 – 6:41 pmNo Comment


Alec Finlay has made two wooden box versions of his StoryCubes which are being exhibited in Thoughts Within Thoughts at Arc Projects Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria (21st June -26th July 2008).

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Home » eBooks, Short Work
An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope
Submitted by on June 11, 2008 – 4:59 pmNo Comment

Parts I and II A4 | US Letter PDF 450Kb
Part III A4 | US Letter PDF 280Kb 

Selected and Introduced for Short Work by Sebastian Mary Harrington, associate at the Institute for the Future of the Book.

Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism (1711), written when he was only 20, laid the foundations for many of the artistic and critical hierarchies that have remained constant since in the literary world.

The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in London saw the growing mechanisation of print publishing, and a concurrent boom in both literary production and criticism. Equally, new sales and distribution models increasingly enabled writers to make a living independent of the aristocratic patronage that had been their commonest means of support in earlier times. 

The glut of writing, and divorce of that writing from the values and aesthetics associated with the ruling classes, prompted a vigorous tussle for critical supremacy among those who believed themselves qualified to pronounce on literature. A widely influential – and hotly contested – intervention in this tussle, Pope’s Essay on Criticism seeks to antedate his creative activities in the Greek and Roman past, by replacing the overt eulogising of aristocratic values with an insistence on the primacy of the classical canon. Pope aims to draw from this composite ancient and modern canon a set of precepts from which his contemporary literature and criticism can be judged. 

The age of the blogosphere has seen an equivalent explosion in writing, criticism and debate. While few now read Homer, Pope’s essay addresses questions of authority, quality and cultural legitimacy that, online, are as vigorously contested as ever. 

Sebastian Mary Harrington
June 2008 

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) is one of the most acclaimed English poets of the early eighteenth century. Amongst his well known works are The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, Essay on Man and his translations of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey.

First Published in London 1711
Sourced from Project Gutenberg

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Home » StoryCubes
StoryCubes by Alec Finlay
Submitted by on April 20, 2008 – 12:32 pmOne Comment

Alec Finlay Cube 1Alec Finlay Cube 2

cube (after Ludwig Wittgenstein) PDF 1.5Mb
cube (score/fold) PDF 1.5Mb

About : This pair of cube poems can be viewed – or made – in the context of Finlay’s other poetic forms: the mesostic name poem; circle poems and the related windmill turbine text designs and wordrawings; and the grid poem and sliding puzzle poem objects derived from these. The text ‘your finger / my thumb’ was originally used in a performance collaboration with Dan Civico, for which Finlay made a handwritten circular wordrawing from these two phrases, while Civico folded origami cubes. Together with Guy Moreton and Michael Nedo, Finlay published Ludwig Wittgenstein: There Where You Are Not (Black Dog, 2005), a consideration of the Wittgenstein house at Skjolden in Norway.

Published April 2008

Alec Finlay (1966, Scotland) – Artist, poet and publisher, lives and works in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Finlay has produced a series of card cut-out nest-box schema, in collaboration with Jo Salter (available free from His most recent publications are two fields of wheat seeded with a poppy-poem (Milton Keynes Gallery); Specimen Colony (Liverpool University Press) and One Hundred Year Star-Diary (platform projects). He is is currently showing in herz:rasen at Kunstlerhaus Vienna (until July 6), where he is exhibiting Labanotation: the Archie Gemmil goal (2002), a collaboration with Robin Gillanders; and now then at the Bluecoat (Liverpool). His next exhibition, thoughts within thoughts, a duet with Pravdoliub Ivanov will open at Arc projects (Sofia) in late June 2008.

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Home » Publishing on Demand, Short Work
Short Work
Submitted by on March 12, 2008 – 12:47 pmOne Comment

Short Work consists of public domain texts sourced from Project Gutenberg re-published as Diffusion eBooks. As the title suggests, each is a short work of fiction, poetry or prose intended to be enjoyed in those frequent moments of inbetween-ness that punctuate modern life. The initial selection includes works of satire, experimental writing and poetry chosen for their continuing power to affect the way we see the world.

The eBooks
William Blake – Songs of Innocence & Experience
Saki – Beasts and Super Beasts
Gertrude Stein – Tender Buttons
Jonathan Swift – A Modest Proposal
Samuel Johnson – Three Essays (chosen by Bill Thompson)
William Hogarth – The Rake’s Progress
William Hogarth – The Harlot’s Progress
William Hogarth – Industry & Idleness
Thomas Paine – Common Sense (chosen by Alex Steffen)

Update (13/04/2008) : We’ve invited several friends and collaborators to choose their own public domain texts to re-publish as Diffusion eBooks which we’ll be posting every month or so. Today we’ve added the first of these,  selected and introduced by technology critic and journalist Bill Thompson, who has chosen Three Essays by Samuel Johnson.

Update (05/05/2008) : Alex Steffen, editor of Worldchanging, has selected and introduced Common Sense by Thomas Paine.

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Home » eBooks, Short Work
Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
Submitted by on March 12, 2008 – 12:45 pmOne Comment



Tender Buttons – Objects A4 | US Letter PDF 397Kb
Tender Buttons – Food (Part 1) A4 | US Letter PDF 323Kb
Tender Buttons – Food (Part 2) A4 | US Letter PDF 326Kb
Tender Buttons – Rooms A4 | US Letter PDF 359Kb

About : Tender Buttons is an experimental piece which re-defines a series of common-place words and phrases.

First Published in 1914
Public Domain Text from Project Gutenberg

Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an avant-garde American writer who lived and worked in Paris for most of her life.

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Home » eBooks, Short Work
Songs of Innocence & Experience by William Blake
Submitted by on March 12, 2008 – 12:43 pmOne Comment

Songs of InnocenceSongs of Experience


Songs of Innocence A4 | US Letter PDF 340Kb
Songs of Experience A4 | US Letter PDF 390Kb

About : two books of poems reflecting the hopes of radical change and reform of the age contrasted with the more sombre mood of the post-revolutionary period in France and in England.

First Published 1789 & 1794
Public Domain Text from Project Gutenberg

William Blake (1757-1827) was a poet, painter and printmaker. His radical and mystical inspiration set him at odds with his times and he remains one of the most visionary of English artists.

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