Rescuing an innovative American novel from literary oblivion
First ever reissue of ICE NEVER F, Gil Orlovitz's woefully neglected 1970 experimental novel.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, March 1 2019 3:00 AM UTC +00:00.
Originally published in 1970, Ice Never F was Gil Orlovitz's second published novel, and was virtually ignored when it was first released. It was part of a proposed trilogy that included Milkbottle H (1967) and the unpublished Will Frank Marry Mary?, a manuscript copy of which may exist in his estate's archives. Although Milkbottle H was published first, Orlovitz wrote in a short autobiographical piece that appeared in the Winter 1958–1959 issue of The Literary Review that he was then at work on Ice Never F, the first installment in a series of semiautobiographical experimental novels "provisionally entitled Now."
Despite an extensive search, I could find no reviews of the book from when it first came out. However, Milkbottle H was praised by reviewers, primarily in the United Kingdom. Here are some blurbs from the back cover of its paperback edition:
"A major work of fiction by any standards. It has a breadth and intricacy of vision, an audacity of technique, and an unwearying energy of expression that puts it in the very front rank. Milkbottle H is a major event in the history of the American imagination." — The Scotsman
"Not since Joyce has anyone used words with such magnanimous clarity.... This book is one of the great, if not the greatest, literary achievements of our time." — Cork Examiner
"Milkbottle H is a great book, an experimental novel-into-poem. For anyone interested in the widening possibilities of the modern novel, or in gaining insight into a tragicomic human experience, the reward is immense." — London Tribune
The only online review of Ice Never F can be found on S.D. Stewart's excellent literary blog, Lost Gander: https://lostgander.wordpress.com/book-reviews/ice-never-f-by-gil-orlovitz/
And how obscure is this book? As of today, not a single used copy of the original edition can be found on any online used bookseller's website, Amazon, Abebooks, etc.
About Gil Orlovitz
Although virtually unknown today, Gil Orlovitz was once a very highly-regarded — and often controversial — "underground" writer who was published in numerous magazines and anthologies in the 1950s and 1960s, alongside other writers who would later achieve greater notoriety (Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, etc.). Here's a quote from the 1964 anthology, Today's Poets, edited by Chad Walsh:
"His work is known only to a handful of poetry lovers who read the verse magazines and purchase slender books issued by publishing houses with names like Inferno Press and Hearse Press. He is nonetheless one of the finest — the most versatile — poets now writing in English. Long before the San Francisco Renaissance exploded with public and police clamor and articles in Time, Orlovitz was writing with a Dionysian frenzy combined with perfect control of language that has been equaled by few, if any, of the Beats."
His fascinating, yet ultimately tragic, life was only touched upon in the September 8, 1973, New York Times obituary: "Gil Orlovitz, Poet, Died in July; Traced to City Paupers' Grave."
An in-depth biography of Orlovitz, which includes details of his involvement in the famous 1957 Howl obscenity trial, can be viewed and/or downloaded from the Tough Poets Press website here:
Dimensions: 8.27" x 5.83" x 0.67" (210mm x 148mm x 17mm)
Where the Money Will Go
As with my previous Kickstarter projects, my goal is simply to break even and get the book out there. For this campaign to be successful, I will need to raise $930. In the interest of full disclosure, here's how it all breaks down, assuming 62 U.S. pledges at $15 each:
Kickstarter's 10% cut: $93.00
Printer set-up fees: $49.00
ISBN and bar code: $85.00
Cost to print 62 copies and ship to me: $394.89
Cost to package and mail 62 copies domestically ($3.71 each): $230.02
Cost to print 10 copies and ship to Orlovitz's estate: $76.34
My profit: $1.75
About Tough Poets Press
Tough Poets Press is a one-person independent publisher of rediscovered offbeat literary fiction and non-fiction founded in 2015. To date, I've published nine books thanks to the generous support of the Kickstarter community, including:
What Are They All Waiting For? Stories, Poems & Essays: 1944-1962, an anthology of long out-of-print works by Gil Orlovitz.
Risks and challenges
There are really no risks or challenges. This will be my tenth book so I've got the process down to a science. With the exception of the acknowledgments page, which will be updated when this Kickstarter campaign has ended, the book is complete and ready to go to the printer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter