After spending a lot of the summer editing and publishing other poets’ work (or working on collaborative projects), I felt it was time to start issuing some more of the pieces I’ve been writing recently. The first of these is KSE #60, IN PERSPECTIVE, pieces I wrote during my travels in North Texas earlier this month. While up there, I saw an amazing art exhibit–THE MIRROR AND THE MASK: PORTRAITURE IN THE AGE OF PICASSO– at the Kimball in Fort Worth. I was especially captivated by the works on display of some British artists–David Hockney, Vanessa Bell, Francis Bacon, and Stanley Spencer. All artists whose work I know, but I’d never seen in-person any of the many pieces of theirs featured in this exhibit. As I had been writing during my time in North Texas (stopping to see the mind-blowing Jandek concert in Fort Worth on the 21st), I looked at the paintings in terms of how they were created and how the artist transferred his/her vision to the canvas, particularly in terms of perspective and choice of materials. I put my poetic notes through a process similar to what I felt Hockney or Bell might have done, and the result is the new chapbook IN PERSPECTIVE, which I’ve dedicated to Vanessa Bell.
IN PERSPECTIVE is a very small-print-run chapbook, only 15 copies. It’s also illustrated in a similar manner to FANTASMATA 2007 and PYTHAGORON TWO. I’m not selling any of these myself–Volcanic Tongue will be the only outlet selling it. Byron Coley may get one or two extras, but other than that these will be sent one copy each to poet/artist friends.
I’ve been printing up more copies of Luis Cuauhtomec Berriozabal’s chapbook WITHOUT PEACE today. It’s been a great success so far, as it should be. Luis’s ability to get inside the consciousness of the kind of characters most people write off or avoid is amazing. There were a number of these character perspective (oh, there’s that word again!) pieces in his book RAW MATERIALS, mixed with pieces in other styles and voices, but WITHOUT PEACE is a sustained eight-part suite in the consciousness of one character, and it’s both a tour-de-force and a beautiful piece of writing. Luis had submitted WITHOUT PEACE to an editor five years ago, but that editor just sat on it. Well, that editor’s loss is the reader’s gain, now that Kendra Steiner Editions has issued it in chapbook form. I should add that Luis is a true gentleman, and it has been a pleasure to work with him on this project! If you haven’t read much of his work, try to score a copy of RAW MATERIALS and also do an internet search of his name, as he’s got a lot of work online (which is where I first discovered his writing).
Another chapbook that will blow readers away is one I didn’t publish, although I wish I did! PLANET ALI, by the Australian poet Glenn W. Cooper, a book of 20 poems investigating and celebrating different aspects of the phenomenon that is Muhammad Ali. Some pieces are historical, some imaginative, some imagined history–all move as slyly on the page as Ali did in the ring. This is a great concept for a book, and Cooper really pulls it off. It’s published by Blind Dog Press in NSW Australia. Their e-mail address is blinddogpress at gmail dot com. As with Luis, Glenn too has a number of poems available free online–well worth googling!
For those who enjoyed ROCKET ATTACK USA!!!, the first in the Cinema Poetry Series, I’ve been working on the second and third books in that series: the second being CACTUS BARRIER, inspired by a z-grade western of the same name made here in San Antonio in 1951; the third being HYPNOS, inspired by the 1967 Italian film HYPNOS FOLLIA DI UN MASSACRO, also known as TELEDROME (and yes, it foreshadows Videodrome in a number of ways), starring the American spaghetti western actor Robert Woods and also Fernando Sancho. I hope to have at least one of those finished and edited by the end of August, and the other I’ll aim for having done by the new wave of chapbook releases due in October. Hope you find these two interesting. You can see the cover of ROCKET ATTACK USA!!! at the Volcanic Tongue website.