Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

January 14, 2008

KSE #83, RIMBAUD IN THE CITY: 10 SNAPSHOTS, now available

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 7:29 pm

We’re proud to welcome the distinguished Australian poet GLENN W. COOPER to the Kendra Steiner Editions poetic crew. Mr. Cooper lives in Tamworth (which seems like Australia’s version of Oklahoma!) in NSW and has published some of my favorite chapbooks of the last few years: FIRST TOUCH (Bottle of Smoke Press), PLANET ALI (Blind Dog Press, an entire book of poems relating to Muhammad Ali), and his most recent, SOME NATURAL THINGS (Kamini Press). All three are still available, and a quick Google search should bring up ordering information.

Cooper’s work features a lean muscular style, a dry self-deprecating wit, and a distinctive line with use of caesura and ampersands. Cooper’s voice emerges clearly in every piece, leading us along and pulling us through, finding the magical in the seemingly mundane.

After reading PLANET ALI, I contacted Glenn and asked him if he would be interested in working on a suite of related poems for KSE, and he mentioned that he’d been working on a collection of poems featuring legendary French poet Arthur Rimbaud washed ashore in the contemporary world. Rimbaud, who died in his late 30s, wrote most of his major works early in his life and spent his latter years travelling and living in far-flung places such as Africa, Indonesia, and Cyprus…so it’s not too much of a stretch for Glenn W. Cooper to extend his life and his travels to modern day Australia/America/Europe (take your pick). Rimbaud’s story could be the story of any poet stuck in another world  and trying to find something meaningful among the madness—-it may well be YOUR story! Glenn finished the sequence in December, we edited it down to 10 poems and sequenced it, and now this quirky, powerful, funny, and moving collection is available to YOU for just four dollars. 

 The poetry and life of Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) continue to be seized upon by each new generation who see in him a purer version of what they are setting out to achieve through their rebellion. He’s been praised as the original beatnik, the original hippie, the original punk, the original slacker, etc. When I was a teenager, artists such as Patti Smith and Richard Hell championed his work and used him as a model for their own work and image. A well-worn copy of the New Directions edition of Season In Hell/Drunken Boat would be seen alongside Henry Miller, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jack Kerouac, and Mezz Mezzrow on the bookshelf of every aspiring hipster then and now.

However, as always, the real man and the real literary work are far more complex and far less easy-to-label than the romanticized re-invention of later generations. RIMBAUD IN THE CITY is not some romanticized or chronological story of Rimbaud (has anyone seen the 1997 film where Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rimbaud???!!!!!????!!!!)—-it’s a complex series of snapshots of a man as lost in today’s world as he probably was in his own uncomprehending time period.

I consider this 10-poem sequence to be a major work by one of our major poets, and Kendra and I are proud to issue it. Only 70 numbered copies are available, so act now. An Australian poet whose last book was published in Sweden issues a work about a French poet who lived in Africa that is published by a small press in South Texas. Small world, isn’t it?

Congratulations to Glenn on this fine sequence of poems. What a perfect book with which to start the New Year!!!

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