Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Lucky Girl by Tatyana Brown (2012)

Lucky Girl
Tatyana Brown
self published

This chapbook is the opposite of the recently mentioned "Heartbeats" which was a 75 page staple bound "chapbook" (should have been a book with a spine); this chapbook is 44 pages and does have a spine, with no words on it. What exactly is the point of that?

This collection is a good marker of the history of poetry in the United States in the Internet age; self-published surface poetry which isn't quite prose and isn't quite poetry and isn't quite good but the author was able to bring it out and she did. And I am acknowledging it. It seems a touchstone to the Instragram poets of dubious talent or knowledge. I am sure that I am coming across as a grinch, perhaps I haven't had enough coffee this morning. Or perhaps I get tired of reading "me" poetry.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Heartbeats by M'Lou Getz (1985)

M'Lou Getz
C. Michael Spain and Assoc., LTD
Loveland, CO

As much as anything, this is an acknowledgment entry: this woman brought out this book of poetry. It was brought out as a staple bound chapbook although at 75 page, it ought not to have. It should have been a book with a spine. The author was wife of a Episcopal priest to whom she was married to for over 45 years. Her poems are quaint and in that regard, comforting. It is not my cup of tea, but it many people would be gratified to read through it. It's heartfelt which counts a great deal in this age of internet "poetics". And that alone is saying something.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

No Half-Measures Here by Michelle Brooks (2003)

No Half-Measures Here
Michelle Brooks

I would add additional information about this chapbook but it's uncertain. This book was the 2003 winner of The Ledge Poetry Chapbook Award. I had to research online to find out that The Ledge is the name of a magazine that does indeed sponsor the contest and that the magazine is located in Bellport, NY but none of that information is IN the chapbook.

I digress. It's a good starting point for Ms. Brooks who has two collections published since this "tiny" as well as a novel. Everybody's got to start somewhere!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Platonic Blow and My Epitaph by W. H. Auden (1985)

The Platonic Blow and My Epitaph
W. H. Auden
Orchises Press
Washington, DC

A number of years ago now I had a copy of this tiny booklet containing two poems. It was published in 1985 by Orchises Press which at the time was located in Washington, DC. The Press is now firmly located in Alexandria, VA just south as the river flows. I was taken then as now by the disclaimer on the front cover "Please Read Before Opening - This is a piece of homosexual pornography. If such material shocks or offends you, do not open this book...." and it goes on from there on the inside cover so in order to read the full explanation or apology or whatever the publisher was attempting to say, one needs to actually open the book that they were just warned against doing. Interesting. And, yes, there is porn - in words. The flashing red description of this booklet would suggest PORNOGRAPHY which in most minds would be visual and not in print. I have a book by Stanley Fisher, an obscure bit of mimeo from the 1960s that has pornographic images on the front and back cover. No attempt to hide anything there.

I said I did have - because I mailed the copy I had to a friend and figured I would never see another copy of it again. And I can happily say that I was wrong. For the Auden completist, this is worth having. Orchises has gone on to publish dozens of titles, none as thin or primitive as this one which suggests that it's early in the life of the press.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

The Hancock Shakers (1961)

The Hancock Shakers
Edward Deming Andrews
Shaker Community, Inc.
Hancock, MA

The history of the Shakers is fascinating in the US. Shakers were more than a community of believers, they were also craftspersons of distinctive and original works of furniture and art. This 39 page booklet is in actuality the first publication of previously unpublished manuscript records including the documents "A Book of Records kept by Daniel Goodrich" and "Manuscripts found among the writings of Deacon Daniel Goodrich, Senior after his decease." Deacon Goodrich, one of the principle founders of the Hancock Society, died in March, 1807, at the age of 68.

This is a gem of a booklet and especially collectible among members of this community. It was also beautifully done.

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Tokyo Stroll by Herschel Silverman (2002)

A Tokyo Stroll
Herschel Silverman
Sisphus Chapbook Series #5

Sometime before 2007 I had a postcard exchange that led to a packet of chapbooks arriving from NYC - based poet Steve Dalachinsky. One of the items he sent me was this tiny chapbook by Herschel Silverman. Part of the same series that produced his own chapbook which I mentioned back in 2007 (chapbook #16), the cover art was by Yuko Otomo. Since it was signed, I prompt put it in my collection without - unfortunately - another thought until today when I was reading the original article by John Clellon Holmes in which he first used the term "Beat Generation" and along the border on the first I saw this piece and said to myself "Hey, I know that name!" and then I went into my catacomb of chapbooks and found this gem.

As if often the case with talented but mostly forgotten individuals - once the spotlight has been turned off, so too does the attention. This chapbook consists of two poems: Lift Off #21: A Tokyo Stroll and Cittee Cittee Cittee #2 which first appeared in Talisman #13. The article by Levi Asher does him more justice than I could possibly and it is interesting to note that a book of his collected work does use the same title as this "little sliver of nothing". He is not forgotten.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

all small caps Anthology 2 (2008)

all small caps
Anthology 2
Wendell, MA
(c) 2008

This is a regional publication for the reading series that was located at the Deja Brew in Wendell, MA. These publications are very good to have since they give one a breath and depth to the poetry happening in areas outside of NY or SF (or wherever popular opinion would suggest that art happens). This particular volume is dedicated to a recently deceased poet named Doris Abramson. Some of her work appears in the anthology, along with poems by Heather Willey, Mark Hart, Janet MacFadyen, Bill O'Connell. Mathew Kane, Adam Golaski, Candace Curran, Howard Faerstein, Dina Stander, Andrew Hughes, Dustin Williamson, and bg Thurson. The only poet in this collection I heard of is the last poet in it. Brenda Iijima - Yo-Yo Labs. It's a worthwhile regional collection to have.