Saturday, June 30, 2007

chapbooks 17

Kristen Gallagher
Form of a bank
dumbie copy.

Kristen Gallagher is a poet and is the publisher of handwritten press. This small ‘experiment’, this poetic exploration of Buffalo, New York is not identified as a handwritten press book because, at the time of this incarnation of the book, it was not finalized AS a book.
This ‘experiment’ is a combination of text and image that is sparkling the unexpected and the sublime. Worth tracking down, please contact Ms. Gallagher if interested.

About TEN poems
James Hoff
Ugly Duckling Presse
Brooklyn, NY

The history of Ugly Duckling Presse is an interesting one, and their relationship with the author dates to the beginning of the Presse. Ugly Ducking has done some interesting work and used Constructionist materials for covers; wall papering for example.

‘about TEN poems’ is an early effort by the Presse, and it feels that way. It is cheaply made, bound by an elongated rubber band, printing Xerox paper (it seems to me) and typed on a typewriter that needed a serious cleaning. For those familiar with the work of James Hoff, this has got to be a keeper. However, I have to say SAVE A TREE.

Walden Vision Quest and other poems
andy levesque
self published

I found this chapbook in a used bookstore in northern Virginia. It’s signed by the author. Once I googled the author, I found that he is the host of the Walden Pond poetry series as well as a graphic designer. That explains the layout and attempt of the book which has images on each page, presumably to correspond with the text. I have been to the website,, and have seen the way it exists online. However, the book ought to have been in full color to appreciate the complete picture. As it exist as a chapbook, it’s a muddy mess. Neither the web address nor any contact info exists within the chapbook. One does not know that the author has a companion CD, nor that he is the host of the poetry series, or anything else. These oversights are glaring since as I suggest the chapbook by itself is fairly bland.
Mr. Levesque’s work is very naturalistic and reflective. He is trying to carry the torch of Thoreau and mostly does so very well. I would merely suggest that if a reprint were to be done of this book, it be done in full color.

The Homecoming
James Gerald Koch
Old Mountain Press
Vienna, Georgia

I learned of a Press I had not heard of previously here. I was also “schooled” on poetry by someone who was a Gulf War veteran. I don’t appreciate being schooled by someone who hasn’t been to school (for creative writing, much less for poetry). The poetry here is Dr. Suess rhyme scheme with political and moral overtones. Not the least bit interesting. SAVE A TREE!

What’s With Modern Art?
Frank O’Hara
Mike & Dale’s Press
Austin, Texas

Great title chapbook, edited by Bill Berkson, and published with permission by the O’Hara estate. Besides the writing, the coolest thing about this chapbook is that the publishers here, Mike and Dale, went on to form Skanky Possum journal which has become well known in literary circles for the writers they have brought to print and the quality of work they have achieved. 33 pages.
Rare to be sure, but worth it for O’Hara completists.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Chapbooks 16

Back from the Park
Denee Dubeau Zah
Green Zone
New York, New York
© 2006

Zah’s chapbook opens with the poem, Ming, which has the opening line “This book is so well-made I can’t bear to write in it”. Whether irony or hyperbole, that’s about the highest praise this book can give. Self praise. The poems are not breathtaking and the stapled 8 1/2” x 11” size makes for an awkward storage issue. If in fact this chapbook was meant to be saved; or stored. The cover is from a beautiful painting by ‘J. Brooke’, uncredited. It’s got to be an early Green Zone chapbook – a learning as one goes book – since the quality of presentation simply is not visual here. Later chapbooks by the same mystery publisher are extremely well done. This one was not. I fear that the tree was wasted in this effort – SAVE A TREE!!!!

Emergency #3
New Orleans, LA
© 2000

A 48 page rant by Ammi, whose Emergency #3 I got first-hand when a swarm of New Orleans writers and poets descended on the city of Brotherly Land back in 2002. It was a most curious evening and a series of curious chapbooks on display. I scooped up one of everything and have been picking through them in this blog. I do so as much to bond with the city that that mob of writers came from as for the merit of their work. As is the case here, It’s a bit of whiny post Gen-X angst. SAVE A TREE!!!!!!!!

The Portuguese Letters
Steve Dalachinsky
Sisyphus Press Chapbook series
© 2000

Steve Dalachinsky has been published by several small presses. This effort is one of the better ones. Green cover with cover art by Yuko Otomo. Contains 5 letters (poems). For those familiar with his work from his Free Jazz collaborations, it’s worth collecting his written work as well.

Yukon Poems of Robert W. Service
Sourdough Edition
Filter Press
Palmer Lake, Colorado
© 1967

For those who love to read the poems of Robert Service, or of any of a list of 47 other writers in this series by Filter Press, this book is quite a find. Fully illustrated with period piece images, it sings of the time. Definitely worth it for those in the know. (not my cup of brandy though)

Dances in Dialogue
Sharon Rees Eiferman
Zenobia Press
Bryn Mawr, PA
© 1991

This is a 30-page chapbook with cover image of unknown married couple, parents or grandparents of the author. There are some poems in this collection that are very good and it would have been interesting to see what might have happened had the author concentrated on only poems about writing, the muse, and poetry itself. Yet this is not a tight and focused grouping of poems and the various strands unwound for me upon reading.

Ms. Eiferman has been a fixture on the campus of Philadelphia Community College and has conducted workshops across the region for many years. I am unaware of any additional books of hers, nor of the press itself.