Friday, October 23, 2015

two chapbooks found in a DC bookstore

Poems by Peppino
self published
Fairfax, VA

One of the poems in this 29 page collection is entitled “Everyone is Born a Poet”. There are more letters of certificate in this staple-bound nightmare than poems. And no, dear poet, you are wrong: not everyone is born to be a poet any more than everyone is born to walk on the moon. And I am being generous to this author. My guess is that he wrote most of his life and wasn’t really taken serious as a poet except by poetry societies around the country. But as Groucho Marx famously observed, “I would never be a member of any organization that would have me as a member.” (Okay, I am slightly paraphrasing). But, alas, I will acknowledge the man. He probably was a dear man at that. His kind of poetry is a disservice to modern poetics all the same and I pulped this chapbook the moment I posted this.

Voices from the Struggle
Poetry from the Movement to End Poverty
Published on the University of Pennsylvania campus

Poems from homeless and former homeless people in the greater Philadelphia region representing a number of End Poverty organizations. It’s an interesting object. The poems come from the gut and the street. They are raw. There is no polish, no attempt at refinement. That’s not what this is about : it’s a call for action. Unfortunately, the action that is what is called for is unlikely to be achieved without a revolution and that won’t end poverty either, really. It is the treatment of the poor that needs to change. These are not lepers, they are fellow citizens who for whatever reason have slipped off the grid. The Wall Street crowd may dismiss them as “takers”, the way Mitt Romney did during the last Presidential campaign but they are like any other citizen of this country – only poorer. Poverty is not in and of itself a sign of failure any more than wealth is a sign of success. Many wealthy people were born into that privilege. It’s a matter of birth. It ought not to be inherited but it is. In the same way, helping people out of poverty ought to be a priority of the policy makers in Washington, DC. but it isn’t. Special interests rule the day. That’s the saddest commentary I can make on this tiny chapbook, it needs to be remade every year! EVERY SINGLE YEAR

Thursday, October 15, 2015

2 from the shelves of a public library....

It's an odd thing to find chapbooks on the shelves of a public library since they are little slivers of nothing and who on earth (besides me, apparently) looks for them? The two I found in Alexandria, VA have been languishing in their nearly invisible state for 13 years or more. I am likely the first person to take them out in a decade. I am surprised they weren't purged, honestly. It must be that they were local and gifted to the library. and they are :
Coming Through the Wry
Viette Sandbank
Praying Mantis Press
Alexandria, VA
(c) 1982

A local author on a local press. Never heard of Praying Mantis Press before. Could be that the author was also the publisher. 1982 is a long time ago now. This copy is signed by the author. 30 page staple-bound chapbook. No meat on the bone here. Am acknowledging the existence of the book.

Ingeborg at St. Elmo's
Ingeborg Carsten-Miller
self published
(c) 1999

This chapbook was created for a specific reading which took place at St. Elmo's (coffee house) in the Del Ray section of the city of Alexandria, VA. So, another local author on a local press. There is nothing rewarding within. It meant something to the author since in 1999 St. Elmo's was a new swinging thing. It isn't anymore. The poetry is very vanilla pudding. There's a poem in the chapbook for the nursing house that the author lived in. YYYYYYYYYEAH.