Monday, July 28, 2008

Recently Received or Acquired

Tom Morgan by Derek Fenner


Dave Brinks, The Caveat Onus: Book Two, Book Three, and Coda
(Lavender Ink, 2008).
Megan Burns, Memorial + Sight Lines (Lavender Ink, 2008).
Marcella Durand, AREA (Belladonna Books, 2008).
Peter Lucas Erixon, Last Remnants of the Wild (Trombone, 2008).
Derek Fenner, My Favorite Color is Red (Bootstrap Press, 2005).
Michael Ford, Olympia Street (Trembling Pillow, 2008).
Ryan Gallagher, Plum Smash and Other Flashbulbs 
  (Bootstrap Press, 2004).
Tom Morgan, On Going (Bootstrap Press, 2007).
Stacy Szymaszek et al., Autoportraits (OMG, 2008).
John Wieners,  A Book of Prophecies (Bootstrap Press, 2007).
Geoffrey Young, The Riot Act (Bootstrap Press, 2008).
Lila Zemborain, Mauve Sea-Orchids, trans. Rosa Alcalá &
Monica de la Torre (Belladonna Books, 2007).


Peter Lucas Erixon, Björn Gidlund with Gus Loxbo, First Session:
April 22, 2008 (XONLUN, 2008).
Anne Waldman, Akilah Oliver, Ambrose Bye, Matching Half 
 (Farfalla Press, fast speaking music, 2008).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Seven by Seven Reading Series, August 11th

7x7 It's all about 7 poets at 7 min at 7pm at 7th St.  & First Ave The International Bar back patio 120 1/2 1st Ave Monday August 11 Gary Parrish, Lydia Cortes, Brenda Iijima, Greg Fuchs, Marcella Durand, Jonas Mekas, Phyllis Wat.
Hosted by stephanie gray *************************************

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From the 82nd Airborne to Naropa's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

If you’re a young writer and thinking of going to school, then this is a short story-line about what it took for me and what I found and kept along the way.

In February 2001, I got out of the Army after three years of jumping out of planes.  C-CO 2/325 AIR, 82 Airborne (the AIR stands for airborne infantry regiment), based at Ft. Bragg NC. I took a trip back to Texas, where my father lives in a small town outside of San Antonio, where I went to high school (Boerne TX). I stayed with him a few weeks and showed him my first writings, first poems, short stories. I had some money for college from the GI Bill and had heard of Naropa when I was a kid, wanted to go there. My Pop called me on a Saturday to come over to his house and when I got there he had the application printed out  in little stacks on the floor. I told him “Dad they only take the cream of the crop there, they’re not gonna take me.” He said “Gary, fill these things out and we can see what they say, you never know” and he was right. I got a phone call about a week later for an interview. The lady on the other end of the line’s name was Samantha Wall, she asked me a few questions about myself, how often I wrote, what I liked to read, had I ever been to Boulder? She was kind to me, to this day I know that without her my life would look radically different, I owe and think of her often. She took the time to help me put my ducks in a row and get accepted to Naropa. I remember being outside my Pop’s house and screaming my poems in his yard, rain coming down around me, neighbors peeking through the curtains.

I had three hundred dollars and an old car (which I abandoned when I got further west) I left Texas for Colorado in the early morning. Landed in Boulder January 2nd 2002 and went to Naropa’s campus right off and just walked around. Rented a room from a lady in the paper. The woman’s mother had been part of the Jim Jones Cult and died in the mass suicide of his followers in the 80’s. She had been a teenager when the group left from San Francisco, her and her brother stayed and survived but lost their mother. I lived with her for a month but she wouldn’t let me smoke in the house, so I moved into a small place with Sean Burke, who I had met the first day at orientation. Sean liked that I had about five hundred books of poetry and prose, he would sit on the floor and just read for hours. Our friend Todd D’anna moved into the flat at the end of the semester. The place was small but we didn’t need anything, we had food and paper, mostly just goofing off but learning about poetry, which none of us knew much about. I mean, we had been writing with no direction, no education or real history pertaining to poetics. Still putting in the work, still gulping white paper.

I studied for the next four years with some of the best writers and poets this country has to offer. I learned from Anne Waldman (who taught me that I’m ten feet tall inside), Lorenzo Thomas (I was his last TA at Naropa, learned about voice), Maureen Owen (taught me about the series poem and poetics in general) , Jack Collom (taught me I could write anywhere and anything, collaboration with anyone, finding poetry while teaching and listening to children), Anselm Hollo (the big dog, I just listened to him and tried not to say anything stupid, read and reread his poems like I do even today) , Steven Taylor (my first poetry teacher, told me that it was up to me), Jill & Reed Bye (who tried to teach me meter and prosody, helped to build my ear and make me a better man in general), Bhanu Kapil (who taught me about beauty), Keith Abbott ( taught me prose and film writing), Bobbie Louise Hawkins  (who taught me how not to be a shmuck all the time, lessons in dignity and class), Akilah Oliver (what it takes to keep going and how to hold your head up high), Junior Burke (how to see the picture from many points) so many people gave me a hand.

Every student I encountered taught me something. They are writers and poets that made a difference to how I see and interpret poetics and writing: Jamba Dunn, Emily Crocker, Andy Peterson, Leann Bifoss, Amy Matterer, Jessica Rogers, Stefania Marthakis, Liz Guthrie, Jeremiah Bowden, Sabrina Calle, Tom Peters, Tyler Burba, Rob Giesen, Kevin Kilroy, Jennifer Rogers, Celeste Davis, Meredith Forbes, Roy Montez (from childhood). Too many in this lineage to count and name, look for them in the text of the future.

What I want to articulate is if you’re a young writer sitting in a two-horse town or a tenement with screaming children and want badly to go to school, then I know something about that. I know if your dirt poor and want to write, a path can appear to you. Or if your wealthy but awkward and think money is a crutch, I know about that too. I know about what it takes to change the course, to make a sea change. I think I learned about courage most of all during my time at Naropa, just having the courage to live my life. The sojourn not the destination is what became important to me and is still important to me today in Brooklyn. 


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Anne Waldman's Red Noir is now at SPD.

Waldman, Anne
farfalla press
ISBN: 0-9766341-4-7
Price: $15.00

Poetry. Cross-Genre. Anne Waldman is a poet, professor, performer, curator, and cultural activist, and the author of over 40 books and small press editions of poetry and poetics. RED NOIR is a compilation of selected pieces intended for performance in the theatrical sense. "This long-overdue collection makes songs out of play and play from a series of laments, science fictions, cultural histories. RED NOIR turns phrases inside-out as it tunes itself to the nonsense of a world breaking our heart. As always, Anne Waldman is there, bold and brilliant, to sing it back to us"--Thalia Field.

Cover collage created with original artwork by George Schneeman and Ambrose Bye.

Pick it up from SPD, Here

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lost & Found: A Review of Rob Geisen's paper thin by Trinidad "Trino" Sánchez Jr

I first heard of Trinidad "Trino" Sánchez Jr at a poetry reading in San Antonio, Sun Poets Society, I think, maybe from Rod Striker? They had copies of his book Why Am I So Brown (March/Abrazo Press 99) and read a few poems of Trino's out loud to the audience. It stuck and so a year later we meet in Denver, I was coming in the city from Boulder for readings at the Mercury Cafe. We talked for awhile and had some drinks and read poetry. I saw him often over the next few years (Poetry readings in Denver or San Antonio) and counted him as a friend and fellow traveler. To me he was not just a Chicano poet (I do consider him a central figure there), but also he was a scribe for the higher word and he built his treasures for what comes after this world.

Unfortunately we lost Trino about two years ago, he had been hospitalized after suffering two strokes. Naomi Shihab Nye said of Sánchez, "Everyone adored him, he was one of the most-loved literary community members — he was a prince."

Recently Rob Geisen, Boulder poet, wrote me with this review and remembrance attached.

"After paper thin and the Penny Lane Anthology came out we went to the Mercury Cafe in Denver to try and sell some books. That's where I met Trinidad. He was amazing. A great poet and really nice guy. We hung out all night. He introduced us to everybody--and a couple of weeks after that he sent Gary and Tyler a review he'd written of my book paper thin."

Never published, we thought we might share that with you now.

Rob Geisen
paper thin (farfalla press 04)

Years ago my good friend and poet Charlie Owsley was surprised to find that I had different shelving for my books of poetry by Chicano poets, Black poets and poets without color. He then began to ask me the purpose of doing this and was I discriminating in some literary way! I replied:...A color had nothing to do with it, this system helped me to know immediately where my favorite poets were shelved.

Years later, Denver, Colorado, when I made the move somehow the books got shelved alphabetically regardless of the ethnicity of their author. Sunday, January 23 2004 I am reading paper thin by Rob Geisen, his other books include beautiful graveyards poetry and novels crushed, September's Coming and death aboard a really fast train.

Paper thin by Rob Geisen is the first publication by farfalla press, a new press out of Boulder by Gary Parrish and the decision was a wise one.In the intro Gary calls him the American Neruda and after reading the first 20 pages, I think of how many colors paper comes in and how perplexed I am now that I library the books alphabetically I'm not sure whether to place him on shelf G for Geisen or Great lines to steal, L for Love, F for fucking good, A for American Neruda, N for New Favorite or P for paper thin or poets delight!

My philosophy being that if you are going to steal a line, steal a fucking good one! I can't tell you how many lines I wanted to steal just in the first 20 pages but did not want to chance being arrested by Denver police! Choices became difficult...I knew that I would not remember them all and that maybe I should just go back to the book, enjoy the read and invite you to join me.

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Denver - January 2004

Monday, July 14, 2008

Brooklyn Rail:Poetry Round Up Reviewed By Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Current Issue

Lewis Warsh,
(Granary Books, 2008)

Lewis Warsh—luminous waltz. These writings possess an otherness, an alterity that persists as they switch from verse to prose to poetry. The introspective narrator achieves a sui generis quality, unlike anything you’ve read before.

Sometimes structures surface. “Consecutive Sentences” suggests non-sequiturs, but Warsh pushes the ball forward by repeating words or themes. Similarly, by hopping from pronoun to pronoun in section 13 of “The Flea Market at Kiel,” he frames the reflecting pond. The traces we follow aren’t strictly linear since “we’re changing contexts at full speed.” Still, it’s clear someone is talking directly to us: “Finish this sentence…."

The poet draws from copious notebooks, making observations that toggle between philosophical and pedestrian. His convincing balancing act admits the proposed and the overheard.
“Or more to the point,” the poems resonate. The titles of the thirty-five poems are laconic and catchy: “Flight Test,” “Disorderly Conduct” and “Last Cigarette,” But the poems are proliferous as Warsh circles his target and reports in from advantageous vantages.

You can get wonderfully lost in these poems where “We float out past the reef & the rocks.” Present and past commingle, propelling the words into the future. Memories, places, people and experiences are banked. The poet’s steady voice kindles them as he breathes through the lines.

Cristina Peri Rossi,
State of Exile
(City Lights Books, 2008)

Li Po, Ovid, Dante, Tsvetaeva… what a venerated tradition the exiled Uruguayan poet, Cristina Peri Rossi shares. When her searing work was banned for criticizing government brutality, she fled the juntas of the ’70s and began a journey without a destination at the age of 31. “Exile is a blind river winding from country to country.” The poems are so intensely personal that they remained private for thirty years.

“Rage… pain… compassion… sorrows…” are the stuff of this heartrending but gutsy collection. The sea, ships, maps and birds haunt the pages. Poverty, nostalgia and despair are painted with direct, terse strokes. Even language, a poet’s best friend, now unfamiliar, reinforces the numbing isolation.

The dream of returning, testament to a fierce love of country, offers false hope in a world where “we lose what we win/ and what was won/ is lost in the flight.” Peri’s spirit soars in spite of the crushing anguish.

A diary of displacement, loaded with disappearances, the spare works cut as they catalog loss. Every smallest thing is missed: “a chair/ a lamp/ a blooming privet/ the sound of the sea/ all lost, // weigh as much as Mama’s absence.”
Finally, Rossi notes in her forward, she has made a home in Barcelona and finds “redemption in love.”

August Kleinzahler,
Sleeping If Off in Rapid City: Poems, New and Selected
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008)

A good poet can take you on a trip and make you feel like you’re right there. A great poet gets in your blood—you become the bard. August Kleinzahler casts his landscapes with just the right combo of big words, colloquial phrases, colors, names, flora and fauna to remind you how poetry can be closer to life than any art form.

Using every kind of language, from pithy clichés to startling invention, Kleinzahler renders the world with stylish pizzazz, registering the decay while championing the character. From boarded up Dairy Queens and old factories to “what was once the amusement park”—a theme of loss permeates, casting a Romantic gloss over all.

Portraits of humanity and nature call out like a semi’s horn as we travel along Route 9 or I-95. Hobbyists, actors, alkies, janitors and couples populate the delicious discourse, along with geographical, geological and gastronomical particulars. In “Traveler’s Tales: Chapter 12,” Kleinzahler asks the burning question for all of us who want to believe: “What is the function of art in society today?” Maybe it’s to keep language sharp, spry and supple and supply us with a notion of the sublime. To nail the right detail, e.g., the “spindrift of grunion spume,” and to conjure a spellbinding “atmosphere of mystery.”

Check it out Here

Two poems by Stefania Irene Marthakis

from A Filmmaker’s Handbook

Red breath

My legs, the actress cries in despair, they are so very strange. Cut to three lines on a shoulder or expectation. Cut to an organ of the body not instrument falls. Falls into the stomach or where you don’t consider her. The color red plays to herself in the mirror. Arrives as loops we are caught in. Pull through clay. Red is a color you dig through. Name six things that repeat. Railroad tracks lay down and convenient chains increase traffic, make it harder to get around town. The French suggest long shots in a cramped apartment. Birds offer brightly colored flowers and beetle shells. The actor rolls a cigarette. She watches his hands. He pulls at his chin in the mirror. He feels old. She says, I love you or I need a ladder. No large movements made. The film should end. In a town she has never been or the actress looks directly into the camera.

Stranger in Vacationland

The new town was placed in the film before we arrived in the actual new town. The similarities astounded. A chance for happiness. With arriving the director opened up a notebook from years earlier. I write from notes she said I do everything from notes. Then she realized how large. A field and yes there were still stars up there. Enough shots of the actress arriving and leaving as singular. For the first time the director saw arriving as two. The camera work had become overwhelming. As seen from a car. Blue and green. Blue and green. Two eagles a good sign. But what of all this rain. Too many props and no baby in this scene. The actor said lightening will usually do you in. The cast looked for clues in their stomachs and in junkyards. The director’s films had connecting themes. Could we have built from there? An unfortunate deer twitched on the highway. And we never order any mannequins for this film. I ordered them three years ago. I say get Blondie on the phone. Tell him I still feel lucky and meet me at the diner. He knows which one. I have heard new ideas on building.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Miranda July "How To Make A Button"

This video is courtesy of Danai Vardali, Vice Magazine UK and their new on-line project VBS.TV

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Megan Burns: Memorial + Sight Lines

Megan Burns
Memorial + Sight Lines

The water in this two part collection is on the rise, but the poetry acts as levee. Burns walking the saturated streets in memory, with or without an absolute for the bodies around her:

what is dead treads so close to us

a pile of sticks

mercury, boy messenger of the gods

with cupped hands

a Madonna with no shoulders upon

which her mantel rests

a sky blue mottled with words I would

put here to describe her fate

The poet sculpts in her memorial the artifacts of her neighborhood. Those that have found shelter and those who move with the waters current. Like Akhmatova witnessing the effects of the Gulag or Hitchcock filming the aftermath of the Holocaust, the poet here acts as medium for the world that is watching on television, dry and safe. The traceable language inside these stanzas are filled with detailed observation of objects and people. We Read:

floating the water-soaked

bodies both soft and rough

peeling skin in the grasp

what water can bear

I am willing to sing

and enough said

a monstrosity caresses

Burns communion with the weather lifts her voice in song. The delicate handling of single poems in the Sight-Lines section of the book shows the reach of her own poetic style in and out of mourning. Burns has crafted this book with the pieces that are now unrecoverable, resting easy in the world that shows light and dark equally. This book is a true triumph and lasting record for those who could not speak.

Gary Parrish

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Felt like Basho at Bernadette Mayer’s 9th Annual 4th of July Celebration

Believe it. The drive upstate was beautiful, several shades of green along the road. Wonderful, tranquil, forests, fresh air, very meditive. We (myself, Amy, and Simon) pull up to the drive way around a little curve in the road. Drive took about three hours , we arrive and jump out:

Highlights: Philip and Bernadette’s house is gorgeous, converted church space, fresh paint on an outside porch , long sprawling field where two creeks merge. The inside of their home is warm, reminds me of the movie The Big Chill, this weekend reminds me of that movie somehow. There is a sense of family, a tricycle in the backyard, everywhere places for a child to play. I see children, outside as I reach for a beer from the cooler and roll a cigarette, start to smoke. A little boy comes up to me while I’m rolling, he tells me not to smoke, me thinking this is little Buddha, A tiny Buddha is here in front of me, I put out my cigarette, I sit down and watch these children play. I feel better, I start to get my papers in order to read.

Amy tells me that Bernadette has a laugh like her mother, it fills the house, she reads poems that she’s written in the last few days. Gems, her mind as crisp as ever.

Philip’s poems lead in wonderful directions. His voice and ear I have not encountered before. Later, as we drove away, I found myself thinking about his stanzas and line breaks. How precise and economic his images are placed. Great poetic chops.

Pierre and Nicole have made sangria. The sangria is no joke, I have two glasses and can’t feel my legs. Pierre shows me a book that he’s reading from that was published in Luxemburg (I think) his home town. The book is called Aljibar I , and is gorgeous. He tells me that he’s on his way to Naropa for the last week of the SWP. His class has elements of translation of text into new text that had been one text in the past. I love it. Pierre reads a poem for Kerouac and Nicole sings a Kahlo diary excerpt, her voice like a nightingale. Soft but great pitch and sound, clear to the audience and lovely..

Dave Brinks acts as a master of ceremonies, he is perfect. Before the reading starts he shows me three manuscripts that he’s been working on in New Orleans’s and abroad. He tells me that they are writing themselves. He makes a pot of Jambalaya that feeds twenty people, has crawfish and alligator sausage in it. I think he had to bring his own spices from home, the food is gourmet. His poetry is gourmet and his face lights up everyone in the room.

Brenda and Atticus, are by far the coolest people I know here. Atticus is wearing a straw hat and looks, no shit, like Errol Flynn. Brenda reads a poem for Brad Will, who we lost in Mexico to a fascist regime, thug motherfuckers who rape Mexico from the inside out. Brenda’s poem is heartfelt and stands in place of her friend who I’m sure is around this house in spirit.

Andrei Codrescu telephones in his poem from around the world.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Books Received: Peter Lucas Erixon: Last Remnants Of The Wild

Peter Lucas Erixon:

Last Remnants Of The Wild: Meditations and Exercises

Erixon has managed to infuse the deep sense of nature presented in this beautiful collection with our waking walking world. His lyric and economic value of consonant clusters and rolling vowel sounds break into a new crest from page to page. A truly rare and totally wonderful book.

- Gary Parrish

Dust and Breeze is an American novel with a European ‘soul’ resonance, a study of human beings at rock bottom. One can very well call it existential – It is concerned with how we ought to live our lives. --- Today the base, deconstructive elements dominate the arts. Peter Lucas Erixon attempts to show how a reconstruction of worth and meaning can come about. Dust and Breeze is a song of praise to dialogue.

Magnus Ringgren, Aftonbladet

Erixon’s prose explodes in the skilful scenes which surround Michael Burkin. --- The pictures become denser and press upon us with implacable clarity. --- It is easy to like Dust and Breeze. It is an original book about a recapturing of life, melancholic and urgent, strong in its hesitation, weak in its entrenchment, near to life in a way which is characterized by first hand experience. It is a story to take seriously, to linger with.

Heidi von Born, Svenska Dagbladet

The language is beautiful and without ornament, accurate and demanding and in my reading the author takes yet another successful step ahead in his ever changing writing. --- Strict and ascetic as always, one can say that he discusses the personal responsibility, the social life and the ego’s need to heal wounds, forgive and go on. It is seriously meant and therefore none the less heartening. A song to life.

Tomas Larsson, Östersunds-Posten

To purcase from Trombone Press click Here

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rain Taxi Review by Mark Terrill: Lewis Warsh, Geoffrey Young and Edmund Berrigan

Inseparable: Poems 1995-2005
Lewis Warsh
Granary Books ($17.95)

The Riot Act
Geoffrey Young
Bootstrap Press ($15)

glad stone children
Edmund Berrigan
Farfalla Press ($16)

Mark Terrill writes in his introduction:

Despite their differences in age, lineage, and poetic temperament, these three poets, and especially these three new collections of their poetry, have much in common, and provide an exemplary overview of what’s happening at the cutting edge of avant-garde contemporary American poetry. All three poets have been greatly influenced by the New York School and Language poetry, as well as by the Black Mountain and San Francisco Renaissance poets. A common denominator that runs through all three poets’ work is their use of montage and pastiche, extending and refining the techniques originally employed by the Dadaists and the later cut-ups of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, as well as Ted Berrigan’s great cut-up masterpiece, The Sonnets. (Indeed, the presence of the late Ted Berrigan seems to hover over the work of all three poets.) Another shared legacy is that of the Language poets’ foregrounding of the material aspects of language while moving the concept of an authorial “I” to the background, sometimes eschewing the idea of a central narrator or even a linear point of view in its entirety. On the other hand, all three of these poets are also comfortable with first-person narrative monologues, proving that they are not locked into any particular poetic dogma or regime. In this era of post-postmodernism, the perception of language, both as material and vehicle, has gone through many changes, and these three poets are acutely aware of those changes, as evidenced by these three new collections.

Want to see Mark Terrill's Rain Taxi review in its entirety
click Here

4th of July Weekend Reading

9th annual Bernadette Mayer upstate NY Poetry BBQ & Reading

Saturday, July 5, 2008 @ 1:00 p.m.

stellar line-up of poets includes:

Philip Good, Bernadette Mayer, Pierre Joris, Nicole Peyrafitte, Peter Gizzi, Tom Gizzi, Brenda Coultas, Simon Pettet, Dave Brinks, Ed Sanders, Harris Schiff, Phil Johnson, Nanette Morin, Eric Sweet, Frank Sherlock, Gary Parrish, Douglas Rothchild and Sam Truitt.