JIM D. DEUCHARS
“THELONIOUS FAKEBOOK” (KSE #236)
volume 71 in the Sound Library Series
poetry chapbook, $5 ppd. anywhere
payment via paypal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com
Now 71 chapbooks strong, KSE’s “Sound Library Series” has been devoted to varied investigations of the relationship between music and poetry. The results have been diverse, and KSE has been happy to provide a literary laboratory for this kind of experimentation. Poets as different as Brad Kohler, Christopher Cunningham, Adrian Manning, David Keenan, A.J. Kaufmann, Stuart Crutchfield, Bill Shute, and Michael Layne Heath have done entries in the series, and the music investigated has ranged from John Cage to Brian Eno to Kim Fowley to Ennio Morricone to Sonic Youth to Arcesia. When the series began, the first few volumes were devoted to poems inspired by European sound library music (hence the sound library tag). This seemingly disposable yet richly atmospheric music served as a backdrop to “movies in the mind,” which were then transferred to the page. And the series “Jes Grew” from there. We’re now entering our SEVENTH year of Sound Library poetry chapbooks, and number 71 is certainly one of the best and most visionary.
Pittsburgh poet Jim D. Deuchars is a totally original poet who owes little to any “school” of poetry…there might be a smidgin of Cummings and/or Berrigan, but references points such as Nabokov or Joyce would be just as helpful, or not helpful. Better to just investigate his work. His first chapbook for KSE, PIECES OF EIGHT (KSE #96) was a kaleidoscopic poetic study of the various possibilities of the concept of the number eight…and lest you think that might be tedious and academic, keep in mind that Jim is a punster of the first rank. And there are so many levels of irony, I’d need a flow chart to keep them straight.
As a longtime resident of one of the greatest American cities, Pittsburgh, Jim desired to do a kind of history/core sample of the city, inspired by W. C. Williams’ Paterson and Olson’s Maximum Poems, but 100% Jim D. That Piitsburgh series of chapbooks has turned out to be a trilogy, with two volumes already completed and published (and, alas, now out of print, although we hope to see the entire trilogy published in book form in the future): ALLEGHENY RISING (KSE #114) and MONONGAHELA ABSTRACT CONSTRUCT (KSE #155). As you can see, each is rooted in one of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers, and the third and final chapbook in the trilogy is due in 2013. I can’t wait!
So much for Jim’s backstory. Now what about THELONIOUS FAKEBOOK? Thelonious Monk was a complete original. Though he emerged around the same time as bop, and though he played as a sideman in his early years on a Coleman Hawkins session, he had his own sense of time, of rhythm, of non-traditional harmony. And as a composer, he produced compositions that allow for a wide variety of interpretations and that somehow take whoever is playing them into Monk’s world. Think of the many recordings of Steve Lacy interpreting Monk and how endless those possibilities are. In a sense, this chapbook is Jim Deuchars playing Monk compositions, except in this case the tunes have been transposed into poetry. As the author himself describes this work, ”it’s a fakebook in the literal sense. Each piece charts the head of that given Monk tune. I just scored ’em in poetry, rather than western standard notation.” What more needs to be said? This is a bold undertaking, and Jim has spent at least a year on this work (when I visited him while in Pittsburgh in May 2011—see the pic from that visit—he was starting it).
In Jim’s new chapbook, THELONIOUS FAKEBOOK (KSE #236), he has quite literally attempted to take the form and structure and aesthetic of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk and transpose them to the world of poetry. Years of thought and decades of listening have gone into this, and IMHO, the chapbook is an amazing success. Jim is one of the most creative thinkers in poetry today, and I’m proud that KSE has been behind his work for a number of years now. Remember, this totally original and important creation can be yours for only $5 postpaid anywhere. Just send payment via paypal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com
And why not pick up some of our other excellent literary offerings while you are at it, only $5 each, all hand-assembled, hand-crafted, and in editions of under 100 copies, where you never know what combination of cover stock and inks and papers you will get with any given copy of any chapbook…try some of the following:
KSE # 216, JOHN SWEET, “Brave Retreat”
KSE #232 , BILL SHUTE, “Tonalist Fury,” Volume 70 in the Sound Library Series
KSE #234 BILL SHUTE, “Shades of Night Descending: Florida Nocturne Poems, Book One”
KSE #197, A.J. KAUFMANN, “Love Lions of Paris”
KSE #193, MICHAEL CASEY, “The Wall Board Knife”
KSE #181, JOHN SWEET, “Continuum.”
and a reprint of this in-demand piece from 2008-2009
KSE #106, A. J. KAUFMANN, “East West Train”
Brad Kohler, Bill Shute, Jim D. Deuchars (Pittsburgh, May 2011)