Several days after my October post, STYLING SANPAKU, a collection of my texto-visual poetry, came out under my imprint. Another publisher held onto it for two years, after which I decided to self-publish it, using Jonathan Penton's Make It New Media as the POD printer. It hasn't been reviewed as yet and I'm looking for prospective reviewers. If you're intersted, plesae contact me at email@example.com. Prospective readers can purchase a copy at Amazon.com:
Sanpaku is a Japanese term that describes a condition in which the whites appear on three sides of a person's eyes. A Wikipedia entry describes the myths surrounding it:
“When the bottom part of the white part of the eye known as the sclera is visible it is referred to as 'Yin Sanpaku' by the Chinese. According to the myth, it represents physical imbalance in the body, and is claimed to be present in alcoholics, drug addicts and people who over consume sugar or grain. Conversely when the upper sclera is visible this is called 'Yang Sanpaku'. This is said to be an indication of mental imbalance in people such as psychotics, murderers and anyone rageful. Stress and fatigue may also be a cause.”
Since the reader may consider the perceived meaning of any of the collection's poems as being within the range of Sanpaku behavior, my wife, Elaine Kass, painter Ed Rubin and I gave the book the above cover, which should address the Yin and the Yang of it.
Chalk Editions has published an ebook of ANY MOMENT, one of the manuscripts that's helped to keep my file cabinet full the past few years. Until recently, the publishers experienced difficulties while posting it to their site, so I've delayed my publication announcement. I'm not sure, but I think the notion of Chalk Editions officially announcing of its publication has gotten lost in the electronic shuffle, so I'm announcing it and providing the link:
Chalk Editions is one of the major ebook publishers now giving exposure to cutting edge writers and I'm very pleased to be on board. I've often credited Peter Ganick, one of Chalk's editors, as an importantliterary influence. As editor of Potes and Poets Press in the late 1990s, he exposed me to Language and Visual Poetry, which opened the floodgate of ideas I'd stored in my head since studying bass with Bertram Turetzky and reading John Cage in the mid-1960s. Thirty-five or forty years is a long gestation period, but I'm pleased with the results that have finally emerged over the past ten or eleven years. Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, the co-editor, has given my work strong support over the years, as well. He deserves credit for the cover art, as well as for guding the work into print through uncooperative software.
ANY MOMENT was an attempt to open my use of poetic form so that its structural fluidity would allow readers to determine their own sequence for reading the work moment by chosen moment, as it were. While preparing it for Chalk Editions, I discovered I had already done a number of things with text and graphics that I was telling myself I should try in the future. Once again, cliches about forest and trees apply. I didn't realize I was a “visual poet” until Michael Rothenberg told me two months after the 2005 Visual Poetry exhibit curated by Carlos Luis in Miami in 2005, where many of my colleagues had work on display. So, now I'm open to trying things I haven't tried---if I can say for certain I've haven't already tried them.
I want to give special thanks to Matina Stamatakis for her beautiful presentation of “Anchor What” in her Venereal Kittens blogzine. Presenting it as a photographic negative was a touch of genius:
To me, the page seems more vivid than the white background I used when composing it. Stamatakis also published several of my other poems there:
and the magazine features a plethora of other accomplished poets, some whose names are new to me. Stamatakis herself is a poet worth paying serious attention to. If you haven't visited Venereal Kittens at
Check it out. It's a treat.
One of my nicer critical surprises came via Jefferson Hansen's blog:
In a commentary on the work of Debra DiBlasi, Miekal And and me in the latest Moriapoety, Hansen say this about the work that appears in the issue (click on link):
Writing about nonrepresentational language is also difficult. How do we contextualize a line such as “salmon feet" in "The Future Brings"? Obviously, we can't, if we try to look at it from a representational point of view. Instead, we have sound and rhythm.
How do we say this piece, and these pieces, work, as I think they do? How are they different from a child randomly putting magnetic poetry words on a refrigerator? What skill does it take?
It has tremendous energy, coming I think from all the active verbs, including some interesting ones such as "mottle." The energy itself is excessive, pushing the language and spilling beyond semantic limits and into alternative spaces. It's exciting. Finally, the poem is an event, not a meaning. It's about this excessive excitement, together with the rhythm and sounds riffing throughout.
This is the answer to why it's better than magnetic poetry: there's a controlled excessiveness, that breaks the taboo of "making sense," but does so in a musical way that keeps the poem from spinning apart.
And I don't think there is any more to say.
This explains my own work to me in what I consider a very perceptive way. A writer deeply rooted in free jazz, Hansen recognizes the role free jazz took in shaping my work. In 1966 I became deeply interested in listening to and playing “energy music,” so explaining my work as a kind of “energy poetry” sounds and feels pretty right to me.
I'd like to thank Jeff, with whom I've had infrequent contact at best, and say a few words about his own fine work. As a poet, Jefferson Hansen is one of the few practitioners who can capture the rhythms of jazz effectively in his own poetry, as he did in his excellent Lyrical Eddies, a series of poems inspired by the music of Marilyn Crispell. As a fiction writer, Hansen's And Beefheart Saved Craig incorporates elements of John Dos Passos and Raymond Federman as well as his own techniques of juxtaposition to create a fiction with visual and documentary overtones about the life of a dysfunctional family and one son's efforts to survive it. I recommend both books highly. Hansen is a fine writer whose work just came to my attention in the past year. It's been a very welcome discovery.
I would also like to thank Michael Jacobson, editor of the New Post-literate” a Gallery of Asemic Writing for publishing “Bordered Question.”
Jonathan Penton and the staff of Unlikely 2.0 deserve high praise for their anthology, Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind, a collection of the quality fiction, poetry, visual poetry, photography, essays, music and videos that have appeared in Penton's magazine over the years. Penton and his staff, in particular reviewer Gabriel Ricard, have given my work strong support. The anthology also keeps alive my 1988 jazz poetry recording “Sex Queen of the Berlin Turnpike (,” which also features the late and legendary saxophonist-flutist Thomas Chapin, bassists Mario Pavone and Joe Fonda, and percussionist Brian Johnson.
Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind also features work by Belinda Subraman, Martha Deed, Steve Dalachinksy, Jim Andrews and Jim Leftwich among the many writers worth your time and attention. The following link will bring you to a sample of the anthology's offerings: