Monday, August 25, 2008

oh please, no (2)

I have 5 chapbooks that are headed for the grand PULPER but I want to warn you of before hand;

Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Jerry Falwell
Old-Time Gospel Hour
Lynchburg, VA

Ronnie Reagen-era paranoia and holy viper filth and venom. This is a representative portrayal of the desperate times that were the Republican decade of Reagen and Bush. The horror of fear fed hatred and Bible thumping justifications.

This needs to be pulped. At once!

Ceiling of Mirrors
Shane D. Allison
Cynic Press
Philadelphia, PA

Mr. Poem
B. Z. Niditch
Cynic Press
Philadelphia, PA

Wolf Poems
Joseph Farley
Cynic Press
Philadelphia, PA

Beat Ballad Blues
Joyce Carbone & Joseph Farley
Taggezzine Specials
San Diego, CA

I don’t understand Farley and Cynic Press. They fluctuate between this sort of Xerox copy extremely pitiful junk and really well made and creative work. I am sure that it makes sense to him. But not to me, too many trees were felled for this mess. NO no NO

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chapbooks 25

Autumn Sequence
Jan Freeman
Paris Press
Northamption, MA

This handsome 8” X 8” chapbook with drawings by Siena Sanderson looks like a museum catalogue. That’s a compliment. Someone was paying attention to details. Great conceptual piece, well executed. It’s a keeper (should you find a copy, only 300 were printed)

The Poet Laureate of People Who Hate Poetry
Kathy Skaggs
Time Barn Books
Nashville, TN

24 pages, 5 1/2” X 7”. Glossy cover with painting on front and photo of poet with some quotes on the back. I have written about Time Barn before, they are a great little outfit.

Sleeping with the Enemy
Christine Zawadiwsky
floating island publications
Point Reyes Station, CA

Extremely well made and fetching book. It’s 26 pages with a spine and fantastic. Worth tracking down!

Drunkard Boxing
Linh Dinh
Singing Horse Press
Philadelphia, PA

Gil Ott touched Philadelphia with his presence for many years. Recently a book award in his honor has been established. Among the many things he accomplished with beginning Singing Horse Press which at the time of this particular release had brought out 20 titles, including Robert Fitterman Among the Cynics which I reviewed some time ago. Philadelphia Publishing Project began with this book in an effort by Singing Horse to present the work of Philadelphia based poets to a more national audience.

This handsome 36 page slightly larger sized book is a fine representation of the work by Linh Dinh, with cover art by the poet. If one were collecting chapbooks of Philly poets, this one ought to be high on the list.

Living in Our Skin
John Michael Irwin
The MIRA Poetry Project
Philadelphia, PA

I picked this up in the Philadelphia Free library during one of their monthly purges back in 2003. Technically it is a book with a spine but it’s also all of 49 pages long. This copy is an ex library book and in rough shape. I googled the author and the publisher without much success. It’s a Philly thing so those who were on the ground in the city during the early 1990’s might be able to fill me in on this.

I heard that the author had developed AIDS and moved home, but facts are fuzzy and shrouded with faulty memories and indifference. Out of sight, out of mind and ultimately forgotten.

Irwin had brought out a chapbook in 1973 called Between 10th and 11th (mail room books). This is an exploration into a text that I might again return to -

Thursday, August 14, 2008

chapbooks like messages in a bottle

Since beginning this blog on the topic of chapbooks I have noticed, among many things, that one thing that keeps popping up in my head while writing is how I am helping to keep the memory of the author and in some cases the publisher alive by merely mentioning them. Chapbooks are often a stepping-stone in one's career as a writer or artist and that's extraordinary then to held a piece of that history. But they are also the history of the moment - whichever moment that might be.

I have had the pleasure of hearing from a number of poets whose work I have written about, often to thank me for doing so. (no one has told me to stop, which is a good thing)

The reasons for creating a chapbook differ widely but there is one thing that is the same with all of them: the need to get the work "out there". Chapbooks then are like bottles tossed into the oceans, filled with the thoughts and musing of the author, and with any luck are found by someone who likes what the poet/writer/artist has done.

And I have had the good fortune to write about them. Of course not all bottles are found. Some sink or are destroyed by storm, which is the risk each of us takes in making something that is distributed beyond our own hands. Some ought to have never been made, and I will continue to call those as I find them; write about them, state SAVE A TREE when necessary, and promptly recycle them for the pulp they are only worth.

Reviewers tend to write well of everything so that they attempt to stay on everyone's good side, but sometimes it's the job of the reviewer/critic to tell the emperor he is indeed naked.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned, more to come.