Our story…

…has yet to be told in its current unfolding.

But here is a bit about our name, “is a rose press.” It comes from Gertrude Stein. Here is what Phrase Finder (UK) reports about it:

A rose is a rose is a rose…

The line is from Gertrude Stein’s poem Sacred Emily, written in 1913 and published in 1922, in Geography and Plays. The verbatim line is actually, ‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose’:

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
Loveliness extreme.
Extra gaiters,
Loveliness extreme.
Sweetest ice-cream.
Pages ages page ages page ages.

When asked what she meant by the line, Stein said that in the time of Homer, or of Chaucer, “the poet could use the name of the thing and the thing was really there.” As memory took it over, the thing lost its identity, and she was trying to recover that—”I think in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.”

Stein was certainly fond of the line and used variants of it in several of her works:

– Do we suppose that all she knows is that a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. (Operas and Plays)

– … she would carve on the tree Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose until it went all the way around. (The World is Round)

– A rose tree may be a rose tree may be a rosy rose tree if watered. (Alphabets and Birthdays)

– Indeed a rose is a rose makes a pretty plate. (Stanzas in Meditation)

The University of Pennsylvania Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing provides these additional citations of the phrase:

When I said.
A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
And then later made that into a ring I made poetry and what did I do I caressed completely caressed and addressed a noun.
“Poetry and Grammar,” Lectures in America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), p. 231.

Civilization begins with a rose. A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. It continues with blooming and it fastens clearly upon excellent examples. (As Fine as Melanctha)

Lifting belly can please me because it is an occupation I enjoy.
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
In print on top. (Bee Time Vine)

Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we dont go around saying is a is a is a Yes, I’m no fool; but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years. (Four in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1947).

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One thought on “Our story…

  1. Pingback: Beginning… | is a rose press

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