“A Note on This Very Finest Edition of The Collected Poetry of Algernon Theodore Ruthven,” by Rick Kast

Dec 2nd, 2020 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

In this limited edition of the The Collected Poetry of Algernon Theodore Ruthven you have acquired an example of the very finest techniques and materials available in the making of books today, a fitting tribute to the poetry of this brilliant reclusive poet.

The text of this fine volume is in Carolingian minuscule, the calligraphic standard of Jerome’s Vulgate Bible, and set in the old style by highly trained typesetters who are direct descendants of Benjamin Franklin.  The printing was on special paper made of crumbled buckwheat toast (the favored early morning repast of the poet—in uncrumbled form) combined with starches derived from aged merganser guano using a process known only to a diminishing population of Moldovan dwarves.   The printing itself was done on extremely rare antique equipment bought from a bankrupt publisher of Wankel engine manuals.

Signatures were stitched with threads painstakingly derived from the silk of spiders found only in the most remote forests of Borneo and glued with adhesives made from the anal glands of hamadryas baboons.  The headband is made of strips from the array of cardigan sweaters worn by the poet in his unheated sod hut outside Batavia, New York, where his greatest poems were written.

The endpapers are printed onto paper made from pulps extruded from baobab splinters left after encounters with African bull elephants in musth.   Their marbled design seeks to reflect the congealed oatmeal and honey found in the bowl on the table of the poet’s hut after his unfortunate death in an apparent attempt to scratch a rash over his femoral artery with a fish-boning knife.

The cover is tanned leather made from the hides of wild onagers.  (Rest assured that this art of fine book production has not been achieved at the expense of this endangered species because the hides obtained were of animals culled because they exhibited symptoms of equine dementia.)  The raised bands on the spine are meant to reflect the furrows in the poet’s brow in the famous picture of him laboring over his celebrated poem, “The Lattice of Life on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.”

This limited edition of The Collected Poetry of Algernon Theodore Ruthven is introduced by the poet’s longtime friend and fellow poet, Arthur Covington Pottinger, who famously remarked at the poet’s funeral:  “We shall not see his like again, or, if we do, we will likely take it for something else entirely.”

Original commissioned illustrations are by Gladstone Limerick, whose work has graced many volumes of poetry and prose, has been called “daring” (a quote sometimes misstated as “damned weird”), and about which the noted art critic Clive Forebusher said, “Think of the most extravagantly original work of William Blake.  Then think again.”

Only five hundred numbered copies of The Collected Poetry of Algernon Theodore Ruthven will be produced and then all elements of the production will be destroyed.  Everyone involved in the production of the volume, including the Moldovan dwarves, has signed an NDA.

Congratulations on your discernment and taste in obtaining this rare and beautiful volume as a part of your library, a treasure to be proudly read, exhibited, and passed down in your family.


Rick Kast was an English major, then went to law school to learn a whole new bag of tricks.  He writes fiction that he hopes is more interesting than the fiction he’s read in the factual recitation sections of his opponents’ briefs, and humor pieces that are much funnier than his opponents’ oral arguments.  His fiction has appeared in Sixfold and The First Line.   When not writing he enjoys listening to music, good food and drink, and engaging in snappy repartee with robotic phone calls.


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