Wednesday, July 25, 2007

chapbooks 18

This time there is a theme! Location, location, LOcation!!!

Closing Night
Jeff Rath
One Moment in Time (self published)
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

In June 2007, I got to hear Jeff Rath read his work for the first time. Astounding. Where has this poet been? The answer is simple enough: living in a cabin in Lancaster County, PA. This self published chapbook, along with his public readings in Lancaster and elsewhere brought Jeff to the attention of Le Hinton, who runs Iris G. Press out of nearby Wrightsville, PA. Iris G has published a full book of Jeff’s work, including a number of poems from this chapbook, under the title of ‘The Waiting Room at the End of the World’ (Iris G Press 2007)

‘Closing Night’ is a reflective body of work. 20 short poems. Color image on the front cover. Poems dedicated to some of his heroes; Carl Sandburg, Neal Cassidy. He lights a cigarette to each as well as to empty, smoke-filled bars at closing time and one can almost hear the Tom Waits playing in the background. Jeff’s work is real. He isn’t writing about something he hasn’t lived, hasn’t experienced for himself.

Apparently there is an earlier chapbook which is quite out of print, as is ‘Closing Night’, yet I highly recommend you get a copy of ‘The Waiting Room…’ and take in for yourself this remarkable talent.

Poets Pen to Play Pretend
Kyle Simmons (aka boog)
Self published
Pottstown, PA

boog is a 16 year old phenom. This small chap is very well done for a kid who is also in a band, makes visual art, and takes high school chemistry. I hope to see more of this young man’s work, if poetry remains a strong interest for him. But, we are talking about a teen here, so – time alone will tell.

Alan King
Self published

To the people this collection is dedicated to, and the scenes that are herein mentioned, as well as the artists also seasoned through these poems like dressing on a salad; you know it – you live it – it’s your world. To anyone else, this work is superficial and self-referential. Um, SAVE A TREE.

Experimental Forest
#5 The Paper Sword Episode
Anneville, PA

In a different phase of my life, my own work appeared in this journal. It’s a journal in the guise of a chapbook and this issue focused on the Paper Sword group from the Harrisburg, PA area. The two editors moved away from the written word for visual arts, and with that shift ended the publication. Yet, in it’s heyday, Experimental Forest did a great job representing and capturing the late 1990s – early 2000’s in Central PA.

37 pages. Front cover illustration by Gene Hosey. Three of the poets associated with the Paper Sword group were also the driving force behind the final item that I will be reviewing this time;

The Blue Guitar
Winter/Spring 1989
Harrisburg, PA

This 11’ x 9’ journal is a little bigger than a chapbook per se, but it is also lean and mean. The apparent brainchild of poet Rick Kearns, this first volume featured the work of Kearns, Lance Clewett, and Gene Hosey; all of whom also appeared in the Experimental Forest #5 issue.

The Blue Guitar was conceived as an art and literature quarterly. This is the first issue. I don’t know what became of the idea or if there were other issues. It was a great start all the same. Harrisburg area needs this type of literary presence, and with the emergence of Iris G Press, I am hopeful that Le Hinton will be able to capture at least a little of that energy in his own Fledging Rag journal that appears alongside the books on Iris G imprint. Please find it in your heart to support Le and Iris G.