In my interview with Orange Alert, I mentioned the two “real” poetry books I have done for Word Mechanics of Palm Springs, California. I do have a supply of each of those that I sell along with KSE product at readings and bookfairs, and I would be happy to sell a copy of either or both of those to anyone who wants one.
TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY: THE LABOURS OF HERCULES IN THE LONE STAR STATE is a 24-page, 12-poem sequence that is a modern re-casting of the classical 12 “labours” of Hercules, but set in contemporary Texas, documenting a quest of spiritual discovery that begins in Las Cruces, New Mexico, makes 10 stops along the Interstate-10 corridor in Texas, and winds up in Lake Charles, Louisiana among the low-grade casinos. This is done in a beautiful letter-press edition handcrafted on 200-year-old equipment. It’s officially out of print and is selling on Amazon for $22.40 (!!!!!!!!!), but you can get it in North America for $8.00 postpaid (the cover price), and $10.00 postpaid elsewhere (overseas request a paypal invoice).
The second book, written throughout 2005 and published in early 2007, is POINT LOMA PURPLE: THE LIFE AND WORK OF KATHERINE TINGLEY (1848-1929). This is a 96-page perfect-bound book containing the 3300+ line historical poem in 18 sections, each one paralleling the same-numbered section of the Bhagavad-Gita to a greater or lesser degree. It tells the story of pioneering spiritual leader Katherine Tingley (1848-1929), who in the last few decades of her life set up a Utopian community at Point Loma, California (outside San Diego) and who was instrumental in bringing Eastern spiritual thought to general American audiences (following in the footsteps of Ralph Waldo Emerson and others earlier in the 1800’s). With the activities of Kendra Steiner Editions, I have not had a lot of time to promote this book (to the lament of the publisher!) so it has not received much exposure so far, and the publisher could not afford to take any ads to support it (WM took ads in THE PROGRESSIVE and UGLY THINGS and elsewhere to support TWELVE GATES). As a 3300+ line narrative historical poem, it’s quite different from my usual KSE output. Though technically still in print, unless you have been in an indie bookstore in South Texas or Central California, you’ve probably never seen this book (and it was never distributed through Volcanic Tongue). Katherine Tingley lived a long life, and I tried to capture its many fascinating stages as well as capture the texture of life in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I spent a few years researching the book, so while reading it you can bone up on your history of the waning days of the Transcendentalist era, the various theories of stage acting in the 1880’s, and the European export of low-budget American silent westerns in the 1920’s. And if that’s not enough, as a bonus appendix, you get both the first KSE chapbook, FOUR TEXAS STREAMS (KSE #1), and the most popular early chapbook, PROTOTYPE (KSE #4), a suite of poems about the character “Mara” in Uvalde, Texas, a chapbook that has moved various jaded post-modern ironic cynics to tears! POINT LOMA is available for the cover price of $10 in North America postpaid, and $12 postpaid overseas (request Paypal invoice for overseas orders).
I’m very proud of each of these books (and thankful to WM for putting them out!) and hope you’ll consider taking a chance on one or both of them. You the reader can be the judge of their value, but I can promise you that nothing else like either of these books is being written or published today. As usual, check (or well-concealed cash) payable to Bill Shute, 8200 Pat Booker Rd. #399, San Antonio, Texas, 78233.