Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

January 26, 2008

EXACTA BOX (KSE #35) reprint now available

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 9:23 pm

Released on Thanksgiving Day 2006, EXACTA BOX was a collaboration with Pittsburgh-area poet/writer/artist Brad Kohler. I’d read and enjoyed Brad’s earlier collection of horse-racing poetry, SUCKER BET DOWN IN CLASS, so I approached him with the idea of the two of us collaborating on a five-to-six page extended horse-racing poem.

I’ve done collaborative works with a number of poets, but the nature of the collaboration differs with each project. First of all, I don’t consider the NEXT EXIT books to be collaborations, because the poets work separately–I as editor choose the pieces and program them in a certain running order. Perhaps we could think of them as “joint exhibitions.” Or in the tradition of films such as NEW YORK STORIES or LUMIERE AND COMPANY or LOVE AND ANGER where filmmakers respond to the same challenge or prompt, and their independently created pieces sit alongside one another.

No, collaboration involves two poets working together, at minimum reacting to each other’s material. I compared my collaboration with Zachary C. Bush, INTERVALS, to a jam session, with two tenor players squaring off and alternating choruses on the same tune, but joining in together on the theme and the occasional bridge, and on occasion playing harmony against the other’s melodic lines. Some of my collaborations with Stuart Crutchfield involved us alternating lines or stanzas, and suggesting edits on each other’s contributions to make the whole thing more seamless.

With EXACTA BOX, Brad and I worked together (by mail, since Brad does not own or use a computer and types his poems on the back of racing tip sheets and advertising leaflets from the local market) developing each other’s ideas, often working together in the wording of a single line, capturing a cross-section of the people and the culture of the Sport of Kings. The original printing sold out quickly and was quite popular at my readings in support of POINT LOMA PURPLE. We tried to work all five senses into our descriptions of track action and lifestyle. The end result is 165 fully-packed lines that are simultaneously a homage to and an analysis of the racing and wagering life.

Only $4 postpaid in North America or 3 different chapbooks for $10 ($5 each overseas). See the “available KSE poetry chapbooks” page to the right for ordering instructions.

Only 18 copies of this reissue were printed (with some slight changes to the original cover), and some of those have already been sold as I’ve had this listed as “available” for a few weeks. Act now!

By the way, when I was visiting with Brad in Pittsburgh earlier this month, I asked him if he’d be interested in re-editing his classic collection SUCKER BET DOWN IN CLASS for Kendra Steiner Editions, and he was not averse to doing it, so I’ll have to keep pestering Brad about it, and maybe we can get it finished and released by the end of 2008. I doubt most have ever even seen a copy of this…and Brad himself has only one copy of it. There’s a certain elegance and poetry to the logic, the wisdom of the serious bettor–I’ve never seen it better captured and expressed than in Brad’s SUCKER BET…

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