Pyriform Press is a small press run by Ellen Redbird. It publishes short runs of handbound books and anthologies of creative texts. It also publishes the journal Nerve Lantern: Axon of Performance Literature. Unofficially, but for all intents and purposes, Pyriform Press is a not-for-profit. Any money from sales goes to covering part of the cost of materials, printing, publicity, and postage. In other words, it’s a labor of love.



Definition of Pyriform


Pyriform Press was founded by Ellen Redbird in 2000 while she was earning her M.F.A. in Writing & Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University. During Redbird’s first summer, the Distinguished Professor of Poetics, Anne Waldman, encouraged her students to publish each other’s writing. Consequently, the first Pyriform Press release was Vintage Coins, poems by David Gardner. Not long after, came Laura-Marie Taylor’s poetry book, Inside & In Real Life.

Naropa students were also encouraged to start literary journals. They could try letterpress printing, learn book arts, desktop publish, publish online, photocopy, and get the work out there in whatever form one could afford. (Insert romantic stories of yore about using typewriters, ditto sheets, and mimeograph machines in apartments on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.) In this way, communities can be built.

Other Pyriform Press books include anthologies: Electric Spandex: anthology of writing the queer text with kari edwards and several books of poems written by students Redbird taught in private workshops.

The poem/performance ritual The Ascension Prophecy|{PAPER} #9 by La Vonne Natasha Caesar was released in 2015.

An on-going project, from 2001 to present, is the journal, Nerve Lantern: Axon of Performance Literature. From 2001-2004, Redbird edited the first five issues, folding thousands of pages by hand and binding them with waxed linen thread. Contributors include Anne Waldman, Carla Harryman, Ric Royer, Kevin Killian, Michelle Ellsworth, and many more. Issue 6 was published in 2013 when Redbird came back from a hiatus. The work Redbird gets to read and publish is a pleasure, and she’s happy to be part of a performance writing community.

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Definition of Pyriform

Pyriform Press LogoPronunciation of Pyriform

1. pear-shaped

1. shaped like a pear
2. full, clear, even, and resonant: said of sung tones

—Webster’s New World Dictionary

go pear-shaped
UK informal
1. if a plan goes pear-shaped, it fails

Cambridge Dictionaries Online

— See doubt


226. Can I give the supposition
that I have ever
been on the moon
any serious consideration at all?

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty


Pear-shaped: In glass blowing it describes a failed circular blown vessel. If overheated, the glass becomes too fluid and distorts under gravity as it cools, resulting in a pear-shaped vessel. This was particularly important with early experiments with cathode ray tubes, where creating a large spherical glass vessel was necessary.

—See cathode ray tube


The cathode ray tube (CRT) is a vacuum tube containing an electron gun (a source of electrons) and a fluorescent screen used to view images. It has a means to accelerate and deflect the electron beam onto the fluorescent screen to create the images. The image may represent electrical waveforms (oscilloscope), pictures (television, computer monitor), radar targets and others.

—See images


481. […] It is as if I were to see a painting
(say a painted stage set) and
recognize what it represents from a long way off at once
and without the slightest doubt. But now
I step nearer: and then I see
a lot of patches of different colours, which are all
highly ambiguous and do not
provide any certainty whatever.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty

—See CRTs


CRTs have also been used as memory devices, in which case the visible light emitted from the fluoresecent material (if any) is not intended to have significant meaning to a visual observer (though the visible pattern on the tube face may cryptically represent the stored data).

—See memory


506. “If my memory deceives me here
it can deceive me everywhere.”
If I don’t know that, how do I know if my words
mean what I believe they mean?

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty



• represent •
blown vessel •
resonant • moon •
tones • glass
• uncertainty • or crt •
memory • screen • how do I
know • shaped • cryptically • not
intended • plan • to have significant
meaning • visible light • fluid
• failure • definition

full • represent • blown vessel • resonant • moon • tones • glass • uncertainty • or crt • memory • screen • how do I know • shaped • cryptically • not intended • plan • to have significant meaning • visible light • fluid • failure • definition

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