EECCHHOOEESS is Norman H. Pritchard’s second and final book, originally published in 1971 by New York University Press, and now reissued by DABA. Pritchard (1939–1996) was an American poet affiliated with the Umbra group. Active in New York’s downtown art, film, and theater scenes in the 1960s and early ’70s, he taught writing for some time at the New School for Social Research, and published only one other book of poetry: the collection The Matrix: Poems 1960–1970 (Doubleday, 1970).
Pritchard’s writing is visually and typographically unconventional. His methodical arrangements of letters and words disrupt normative optical flows and lexical cohesion, modulating the speeds of reading and looking by splitting, spacing, and splicing linguistic objects. His manipulation of text and codex resembles that of concrete poetry and conceptual writing, traditions from which literary history has mostly excluded him. Pritchard also worked with sound, and his dynamic readings—documented, among few other places, on the album New Jazz Poets (Folkways Records, 1967)—make themselves heard on the page.
EECCHHOOEESS exemplifies Pritchard’s formal and conceptual sensibilities. A book of ascents and descents, mirrors and doublings, opaque signs, and stuttering repetition, EECCHHOOEESS provides an entryway into the work of a poet whose scant writings have only recently achieved wider recognition. DABA’s publication of EECCHHOOEESS is unabridged and closely reproduces the design of the original 1971 volume.