Exhibits in the ‘The Book of the Book’ Gallery

The Book of the Book, for Stanley Millet

The Backgammon of the Book of the Book

The Backgammon of the Book of the Book, for Marvin Surkin

Dean Esmay

Ancient sufi wisdom juxtaposed with modern artistic expression using computer technology its authors never could have envisioned. Way cool.




many incarnations difficult to imagine even by the authors of the book are possible

por ejemplo

it can be laminated and carried about for use as a placemat in restaurants, or at home

it can be printed and left in conspicuous and inconspicuous places

its url can be widely sent via mass email programs


not a day goes by when i do not thank al for the internet

4.12.2005 3:57am



the following came to me in the course of a telephone conversation this morning with the marvin surkin to whom the backgammon of the book of the book is dedicated, and who lives in cuernavaca (sometimes) and who is also the author of this classic.

work is a word that badly needs re/membering – in the Lord Robert Duncan sense

work = anything one does that is not done for money

(the usual use of the word is now replaced by the phrase “earn money”)



who who hath not the joy of the work

legs it in sadness
to the post office and returns
from the post office in sadness

who who hath not the joy of the work
thinks his sky a hat that pinches

who who hath not the joy of the work
does not know his belly’s a cauldron (sic) of barley brews
his house a book his book a dome his dome a sky his animals the eyes of the gods

who who hath not the joy of the work
consumes his own arguments
plays another’s instruments

happy the one who has found the joy of the work



Nice Work If You Can Get It was the most frequently recorded tune of Billie Holiday.

She recorded it 7 times. The first was in 1937 and then almost yearly, from 1954 until her passing.

i know this because of the complete spreadsheet discography of Lady Day that is available here and came to me from the remarkable website of Alberto Varela some years ago.

When i initially downloaded this treasure, the first questions i put to it were what were the songs Lady recorded only once, and what was (were) the most frequently recorded.

i wrote the most Estimado Alberto, thanking him for his Very Good Work, and inquiring if it might be possible to obtain audio files of the songs in the two categories.

It was, and thanks to him (and you for reminding me), the complete chronological recording of Nice Work is available here today.



and before you ask what were the unicos…mostly they are well known

one, however, is not. it was recorded in two takes in 1957.

this is Take 2


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