New Alphabet by Marina Adams & Norma Cole

BOMB 114 Winter 2011
114 20Cover
Adams 114

Marina Adams, from New Alphabet, 2010, 12 × 12 inches, gouache on handmade Indian paper. All images courtesy of the artist.

Adams Newalphabet 02

Marina Adams, from New Alphabet, 2010, 12 × 12 inches, gouache on handmade Indian paper. All images courtesy of the artist.


         OF LOVE
           AND OF POSTERS”

going back to an absent source,
between object and score
brushing away flies with my thoughts
the size of postcards burning
“three beautiful women from Prague”—I thought he said “burning”
talking about the picture

realism:—war is kind is the title of a
poem the guy told me, a shell in the kernel,
those fluttering flags at the top of the tower, shadow of an arc
against the wall, sunspots on shadow wars

a woman looks at the toe of her boot inventing the present and presuming
a kind of accuracy or at least
theatricality, tensions between elements
almost implausible, a fugue, a kind of
authorial sampling, funnels

of forms of violence “evidence-based”—


—Raphael Rubinstein

Missing something? Twenty more years to see & smell the Mediterranean again (perhaps). White hair. Beautiful white heart on the froth in the bowl of café au lait this morning. C.C. in her vest and white shirt. I have just set my cigarette on fire. A book just flew over. Next time you are in town, we’ll meet. Did it say more oil or mere oil? Then it was too short. How could I have missed it?



says Pasternak. Step away when the song is about to fall into the air. Everything gets short like those old etchings. Complete in your mind the balcony of history. Her white blouse untucked in this heat, car keys glittering in his hand as he walks away. A man falls onto the deck, hit but not sunk. He sits on the chair, looking over at the other chair. When we consider history—be quiet! Redeemable, we will get you a new dream. My memories, I leave them to you.

Marina Adams is a painter living and working in New York and Parma, Italy. Her work has been exhibited in the US and Europe. She had a one-person exhibition at Magazzino d’Arte Moderna in Rome and a recent solo exhibition at CUE Art Foundation in NYC. She is a visiting art professor at Rhode Island School of Design. An installation shot and individual images of New Alphabet can be seen at

Norma Cole’s most recent books of poetry are Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988–2008 and NATURAL LIGHT. A book of essays and talks, TO BE AT MUSIC just appeared from Omnidawn Press. Cole has received awards from the Gerbode Foundation, Gertrude Stein Awards, Fund for Poetry, and Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.

This issue of First Proof is funded, in part, by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation and the Thanksgiving Fund.
Additional funding is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, and readers like you.

James Little by LeRonn P. Brooks
464937842 04142017 James Little Bomb 35

“The reward is getting through the tough stuff. And that’s what’s perplexing about the art thing. When I was going to school there were kids that could draw their asses off. There were kids that were better draftsman than me, for certain. But no one was more determined than me.”

Peter Bradley by Steve Cannon, Quincy Troupe & Cannon Hersey
Pbradley Bomb 1

“I don’t want to mention names, but there are several black artists that would like to shoot me today because they weren’t in that show. Some of them are dead, but the ones that aren’t dead still give me a lot of bullshit every time I see them.”

Oral History Project: Stanley Whitney by Alteronce Gumby
​Stanley Whitney

“My work was just like art history; it was all Velázquez, Goya, Cézanne, and Soutine. But when I saw Morris Louis I saw a way into the present.”

Originally published in

BOMB 114, Winter 2011

Featuring interviews with Jim Nutt and Gladys Nilsson, Rochelle Feinstein, Rae Armantrout, Tristan Garcia, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, The Bug, Sarah Michelson, and Adam Pendleton.

Read the issue
114 20Cover