Monthly Archives: April 2013

“Last Day” Raffle for Leopold Bloom Book This Week

BLOOMFans of James Joyce and beautiful books have a unique opportunity this week to help bring to life the first-ever collection of the wit and wisdom of Leopold Bloom, the everyman hero of Joyce’s epic novel Ulysses. The Baltimore-Dublin creative team behind the project has announced a very Joycean raffle to wrap up their fundraising campaign on the Indiegogo website.

Jamie Murphy, a designer and letterpress printer in Dublin, and Steve Cole, a James Joyce fanatic from Baltimore, announced in March their collaboration to bring Bloom’s unique blend of warmth, insight, and quirkiness into the world as a limited edition letterpress book handcrafted entirely in Ireland. Book blogger Billy Mills of The Guardian praised the project and its crowdfunding strategy as an innovative fusion of old and new communication technologies.

The new book will be called “The Works of Master Poldy,” a title invented by no less an authority on Leopold Bloom than his wife, Molly. In the final pages of Ulysses, Molly Bloom imagined publishing just such a book herself filled with the odd and funny things that would pop out of “Poldy’s” mouth.

This week’s raffle offers the creative fruits of Jamie and Steve’s first collaboration: a set of five large (21”x30”), colorful hand-printed posters of excerpts from Ulysses. The “Ulysses Strands” limited-edition broadsides were exhibited in June 2012 at the National Print Museum in Dublin as part of the city’s annual Bloomsday celebrations. The set, now sold out, was priced at $200 (150€). The slideshow below shows you  the whole set, which were printed by Jamie and Mary Plunkett at the Distillers Press, National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

The raffle opens today and concludes with a drawing on May 2 in Baltimore.

Entering the raffle is easy. Anyone contributing online to the project’s Indiegogo campaign between April 28 and May 2 is automatically entered in the drawing for the set of “Ulysses Strands” posters. The minimum contribution is $10 (7€). If you contribute $100 (75€) or more, you receive four chances to win.

Each Indiegogo contribution level also comes with some great perks created just for this project, from Bloomsday 2013 bumper stickers and hand-printed postcards to an exclusive video tour of Joycean Dublin, a special day in Dublin with the “Master Poldy” team this Bloomsday, and a deluxe edition of the book. Descriptions of all the are on the campaign’s Indiegogo page.

The drawing will be held on Thursday, May 2, in Baltimore at the James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant (616 S. President St., @JamesJoycePubMD). Steve will be on hand at 5:30 p.m. with several of the “Ulysses Strands” posters to discuss the project and offer those in attendance some special raffle options. He will select the raffle winner at 8:30 p.m. EDT. You do not need to be present to win (but it will be a lot more fun!). The winner will be notified immediately by e-mail.

The “Master Poldy” Indiegogo campaign closes this Friday, May 3.

“The Works of Master Poldy” is due to be completed in time for this year’s Bloomsday celebrations of Joyce’s Ulysses on June 16. A special exhibit on the project in Dublin will be announced soon.

For more information about “The Works of Master Poldy” project, contact:

Steve Cole, Baltimore ( LiberateUlysses project

Jamie Murphy, Dublin ( The Salvage Press

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‘The Long Now of Ulysses’ Opens in May

Stephen Ross, University of Victoria

This spring and summer, Leopold and Molly Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, Buck Mulligan, Blazes Boylan and the whole Ulysses entourage will be featured in student-curated exhibit called “The Long Now of Ulysses” in the Maltwood Gallery of the McPherson Library at the University of Victoria.

The exhibit has been driven by the belief that Ulysses is finally a novel of the everyday. It is co-curated by the graduate students of Dr. Jentery Sayers’ “Introduction to Digital Humanities” and Dr. Stephen Ross’ “The Modernist Novel” courses at the University of Victoria. The students developed the exhibit methodologies, selected content, and produced rationales, while the faculty handled logistics and provided guidance.

The rubric of the “long now” combined with an experiment in selecting excerpts to produce an often surprising set of displays anchored in Ulysses but by no means restricted to it. The “long now” situates cultural products such as novels, films, poems, paintings, music, architecture and design – as well as practices, beliefs, and ideologies – in historical contexts that are at once broad and deep. In this respect, the “Long Now” lets us treat Ulysses as a launching pad for considering enduring issues of concern, and to reassert the importance of cultural production as a means of engaging with the long now of our own cultural moment.

The experiment in selection accepts the challenge of those devotees of the novel who claim that you could open it anywhere and find something interesting and provocative: we developed an algorithm to identify the excerpts we would use for the exhibit. Given that the novel is set on June 16 and was published in 1922, we have taken 6, 16, and 22 as significant numbers. Starting with the first page of each episode – using the 1922 first edition now available in digital facsimile on – we counted six pages in and sixteen lines down from the top of the page and then excerpted 22 lines of text.


The algorithm itself is not random, but the results are. This constraint forced our students to branch out from the text into both its immediate contexts and the long now of modernity.

The resulting creative and curatorial work is often astonishing. The students responsible for curating the content combed through the University of Victoria Art Collection and Special Collections at the UVic’s McPherson Library; hunted up historical artifacts such as newspapers, hair curlers, and shaving kits; and produced original artwork to illustrate the “long now” of Ulysses.

Nausicaa Print

photo copy


Others designed software that can help focus time for the sort of deep attention that Ulysses requires and repays so handsomely:


Some created Facebook profiles for the main characters in the novel:


And some guessed at Bloom’s potential Google search history:

how do we survive the death of our child

As this little sample shows, Joyce’s novel continues to inform our engagements with the everyday reality of modernity, and to shape how we understand so many of the key issues that confront us everyday. Now if only there were a little book of Bloom’s sayings one could turn to for a clever closing phrase …


The exhibit opens 17 May 2013 in the Maltwood Gallery at the McPherson Library of the University of Victoria and runs through mid-August. If you will be in town for a visit, vacation, research, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, or simply because your flight got cancelled, please drop by and say hi.

Poldy on Screen: Scenes from ‘Bloom’ (2004)

Have we got a treat for fans of James Joyce’s Ulysses! By special arrangement with Gerry Murphy and Sean Walsh, we are presenting during our BLOOMarathon fundraiser today five scenes from the film ‘Bloom,’ starring Stephen Rea (

Each scene shows Leopold Bloom in a different episode from the book. The first scene (below) shows Bloom leaving home and Molly in the morning. We will add the other scenes here as the Indiegogo fundraising targets listed below are reached.

You can always check the current funds raised — and add to it — right here.

Leopold Bloom leaves home on the morning of 16 June 1904

Bloom enjoys breakfast and visits the toilet

Bloom at the funeral of Paddy Dignam

Bloom and The Citizen in Barney Kiernan’s Bar

Bloom in Dublin’s red-light district

The find out more about our “Master Poldy” project and the perks we’ve made for contributors, visit our Indiegogo website. The campaign ends Friday, May 3.

A ‘Ulysses’ Goddess: Ken Cotter Interview: Part 2

Ken CotterHere’s the second part of my interview with Cork singer/songwriter Ken Cotter, who’s new CD “Anatomy of a Goddess,” yet another creative expression inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses, is set to release right around Bloomsday this year. For our special BLOOMarathon fundraiser today, Ken is releasing the first song from the album right here. The link to “Dawn” is at the end of this post. – Steve Cole, Baltimore, Md.

How did the story and thoughts on the pages of Ulysses or your impression of them grow to become an entire album?

The concept of the album from the start was to create a contemporary set of songs based on, or inspired by Ulysses. I wanted to intertwine the subjects I like to explore in my songwriting with themes and motifs from the novel like love, loss, loyalty, betrayal, compassion, desire, a yearning for times past and so on. I knew I didn’t want to write a kind of ‘rock opera’ or create a direct musical representation of the narrative. I also didn’t want knowledge of Ulysses to be an absolute necessity for the listener, but rather would provide a valuable added layer. It was important that the songs could stand alone while at the same time being laced with references to Ulysses.

In my head, I think of the text in my songs as being like a hyper-linked webpage where the lyrics and phrases can lead you to a deeper narrative if you want to click on them.

Musically, I drew very little from the music in Ulysses. I wanted to create something modern and true to my own songwriting identity rather than leaning on the early 20th century Music Hall songs that pepper the novel. I did however create three ‘segue pieces’ or ‘vignettes’ between the songs. These are entirely based on Ulysses and are parts of the project where I unapologetically indulge my passion for the novel.

As an example, one of these vignettes is called ‘Radio Ulysses.’ It sounds like someone is trying to tune in a radio. As they scan there’s a sports commentator announcing the SP of the Gold Cup race in Ascot (of course won by outsider Throwaway at 20:1- a dark horse!). There’s an old time tenor singing a ballad in a pub (actually my dad!). And finally there’s an American preacher stating that the ‘Deity ain’t no nickel dime bumshow’ backed by a southern-chapel style Hammond organ. All these ‘scenes’ are readily recognizable to the Ulysses reader.

Some of the songs are explicitly based on episodes of Ulysses like ‘Nighttown’ and ‘Rain Clouds Gather’ (which is based on Cyclops). The song ‘Dublin’ is about Joyce’s self-imposed exile from his beloved city. Others like ‘NWxW’, ‘Light Up The Room’ and  ‘Small Craft Warning’ explore the voyage of life and love, whether newly departing or faltering, by referencing Leopold and Molly’s life. All the songs are coloured by my own experiences and observances.

Let’s talk about one of your songs that you feel has a particularly strong link to Ulysses. What specific ideas or themes from the book shaped the song?

For me the song that sums up the entire concept very well is ‘Dawn’. This is a song inspired by my own warm relationship with my late father, and how some of the best times we spent together involved music and singing, often into the early hours of the morning.

I think of the father-son motif in Ulysses – mine being opposite to most of the disastrous versions in the book. But more specifically I draw on Leopold Bloom’s nostalgic reminiscences of nights spent listening to Molly sing (at Mat Dillon’s house in Roundtown for example). Much of the good times Leopold and Molly spent together involved music.

The text quoted at the start of ‘Dawn’ is Simon Dedalus’ reminiscing about his childhood in Cork listening to Italian sailors singing their barcaroles. The end of ‘Dawn’ features Joyce’s incredible description of a song crescendo. I draw on these reminiscences and emotions to emphasise the sense of nostalgia and longing in my own song. I draw on Joyce’s thesis that music has the strength to evoke powerful emotional memories that can attack or sooth an aching heart at will.

‘Anatomy of a Goddess’ was always primarily to be a music album, and my personal narrative would always take precedence over the general concept. So as Joyce ended up with something completely different to Homer’s epic, I always intended to stray at will from Ulysses when I needed to. I wanted to create something unique and true to me while at the same time, warmly embracing this beautiful novel, which has become such an obsession.

Preliminary Schedule for BLOOMarathon: April 27

BLOOMarathon 2013A Joycean “Bloomsday in April” blossoms early tomorrow, Saturday, April 27. BLOOMarathon is a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses and an Indiegogo fundraiser for “The Wit & Wisdom of Leopold Bloom,” the first collection of Bloomisms being letterpress printed in Dublin right now.

The BLOOMarathon Preliminary Schedule (below) unfolds on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and this blog starting at 8am EDT (1pm Dublin). The hour-by-hour schedule shows the Indiegogo fundraising goal that needs to be reached each hour for the marathon to keep rolling for up to 12 hours.

BLOOMARATHON Events Schedule

Follow @LiberateUlysses on Twitter (#blm13) and Facebook for schedule updates. And watch our Indiegogo fundraising total climb throughout the day at

Join us for a rollicking early Bloomsday online and help put “The Works of Master Poldy” over the top this weekend. The campaign ends Friday, May 3.

‘BLOOMarathon’ Social Media Extravaganza April 27

BLOOMarathon 2013

The Irish Times and The Guardian have spread the news: Leopold Bloom, the everyman hero of James Joyce’s Ulysses, will get his very own book this Bloomsday.

To make this first-ever collection of Bloom’s quips and musings happen, Dublin designer Jamie Murphy and Baltimore Joyce fanatic Steve Cole are right now raising funds with an Indiegogo online campaign that ends May 3. With just over a week to go to meet their ambitious goal, the team is hosting a nonstop fundraising marathon this Saturday, April 27, that uses all varieties of social media (but no phone banks).

This epic event – dubbed BLOOMarathon – is a celebration of Joyce’s Ulysses that will include up to 12 hours of nonstop videos, music, chats, Ulysses tweetings, guest appearances, and more orchestrated across multiple Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels and blogs.

BLOOMarathon kicks off at 8 a.m. EDT (1 p.m. Dublin) on April 27. After the first two hours, the marathon’s running time will be driven solely by new contributions to the team’s Indiegogo site. If hourly fundraising targets are reached, the show goes merrily on. If not, the curtain comes quietly down.

Steve and Jamie have lined up an exciting roster of events and guests that you are sure to enjoy. A complete schedule will be posted here on Friday, April 26. For updates follow @LiberateUlysses and @2lysses on Twitter (hashtag #BLM13) and “LiberateUlysses” on Facebook.

Please join us for a rollicking Joycean online day this Saturday – an early Bloomsday for everyone! – and help Jamie and Steve put “The Works of Master Poldy” over the top.

For more information about the project, click HERE. To find out more about “Master Poldy” designer and printer Jamie Murphy and The Salvage Press, click here.

Hot Off the Press: ‘Master Poldy’ Bloomsday Perks

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Die-hard Ulysses fans have looked in vain for YEARS to find just the right way to express their admiration of James Joyce’s masterwork on their car bumpers and living room walls. Well this Bloomsday that search is finally over!

As part of our project to publish “The Works of Master Poldy” with The Salvage Press, we have created a big colorful letterpress poster and stickers as perks for backers of our project on Indiegogo. The slideshow above shows off the final results, all designed by Jamie Murphy in Dublin. Still to come: Postcards!

Jamie designed the set of three stickers last week using wooden type from Distillers Press at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Jamie scanned the final prints and emailed them to me in Baltimore. My job is to get the stickers commercially printed and ready to send to our backers well ahead of Bloomsday 16 June.

Next Jamie tackled the promotional poster for the book. The main text for the letterpress poster (also using Distillers Press’ great type collection) comes from the character Lenehan, who observes that Leopold Bloom is “a cultured allroundman” and has “a touch of the artist” about him.  That  description is juxtaposed by several choice “Bloomisms.”

The posters are printed on the same 170gsm Zerkall mould made stock as Jamie will use on the book. The type was set by hand in a variety of faces including 30 point Granby Inline, 10 line DeLittle Caslon Italic and several sans and grotesque wood types. Measuring 38.5 x 53 cm, it was printed on the same Adwest flat bed proofing press as he’ll use on “The Works of Master Poldy.”

We hope you like these pretty printed perks — a taste of what’s to come in the full ‘Book of Bloom.’ If you haven’t pitched in yet, the time is now! Our Indiegogo campaign ends Friday, May 3. Please back “Master Poldy” today at:

— Steve Cole

‘Master Poldy’ Project Featured in The Irish Times


Master printer Sean Sills (left) and Jamie Murphy at NCAD’s Distillers Press

Our “Works of Master Poldy” project was featured today (April 13) in a great article in Dublin’s he Irish Times newspaper. Congratulations to Jamie Murphy, Sean Sills, and the wonderful Distillers Press at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin for making this all possible!

The article comes just as we reach the midway point in our six-week Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to make the first-ever book of Bloomisms from James Joyce’s Ulysses a reality by the Bloomsday. Help us make it happen by spreading the word about the project and contributing what you can before May 3.

Here’s how:

See Dublin and ‘The Book of Bloom’ this Bloomsday

VIDEOperksHow would you like to receive a very special slice of Dublin and James Joyce’s Leopold Bloom this June to enliven your Bloomsday celebrations? And all for about the cost of a night on the town.

As part of our collaboration with The Salvage Press of Dublin to bring out a limited letterpress edition of the first-ever collection of Leopold Bloomisms, inspired by Joyce’s Ulysses, we have just added two new perks to our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.  For a very reasonable contribution, we will bring the Dublin of Ulysses and our upcoming ‘The Works of Master Poldy’ to your computer screen in glorious HD video.

Option #1: Video Tour of ‘Master Poldy’ – You’ll be one of the first to see the complete ‘Works of Master Poldy,’ fresh off the presses in Dublin. In this exclusive video, designer & printer Jamie Murphy and editor Steve Cole will walk and talk you through the whole book, page by page. This video will only be available to contributors on June 15.

Option #2: ‘Ulysses’ Video Tour of Dublin We take you on an exclusive video tour of Dublin as we visit many of the city’s Ulysses locales and meet Joyceans and Dubliners along the way this June. This video will only be available to contributors on June 15. With this option you also receive the Video Tour of ‘Master Poldy.’

Our Indiegogo campaign runs for just a few more weeks, so don’t dawdle! While you’re at our site, take a look at our Updates and Gallery and you’ll see the book and our other letterpress perks taking shape. We’d love for you to be a part of it!

Support Molly & Leopold Bloom for Bloomsday 2013

Touch of the Artist

Our “Book of Bloom” Indiegogo campaign continues until May 3.

We are 2 weeks into our 6 week fundraising campaign to bring the first-ever collection of Leopold Bloom’s thoughts and sayings to life in a letterpress printed edition we’re calling “The Works of Leopold Bloom.” If you haven’t contributed yet please help us out today!

We want this book to help those unfamiliar with James Joyce’s Ulysses experience something of Bloom’s all-too-human world view. For Joyce junkies the book will be a fresh look at Bloom through his quips & quirks. And to make this experience really special, we’re bringing out our “Quotations from Chairman Bloom” in a large-format hand-printed volume that will be a wonder to behold and hold.

Truth be told, the idea for this Joycean undertaking is not ours. We stole it. Not from a living being, mind you. We lifted it from no greater an authority on Leopold Bloom than his own wife, the erotic and unfaithful Molly Bloom. Mrs. Bloom, in her bed at the end of that eventful day in 1904, muses admiringly about her spouse: “I declare somebody ought to put him in the budget if I only could remember the one half of the things and write a book out of it the works of Master Poldy yes.”

Take a look at our 4-minute video on the project, from Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press of Dublin.