Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

March 29, 2008

KSE #49 discussed at Kenyon Review online “Small Press Notes”

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Nice surprise to see last summer’s KSE #49, ROCKET ATTACK USA!!!, reviewed this week in the “Small Press Notes” section of the Kenyon Review blog by noted small-press publisher Sean Casey (note: see Sean’s personal blog and Chuckwagon Press listings here: http://valleyarts.blogspot.com ). Here’s the review:

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Small Press Notes

                          March 27th, 2008 by Sean Casey                        

Rocket Attack U.S.A. !!! | Bill Shute |

San Antonio, TX: Kendra Steiner Editions, 2007

Bill Shute’s chapbook length serial poem, inspired by the Barry Mahon film of same name, is less sci-fi than current event. Bad news is indeed afoot and imminent, but also under wraps. “Monochrome men” abound in “monochrome suits,” and they’re “armed with maps but no compasses.” Unfortunately, I’m unable to approximate here the poetry’s visual arrangement, which is vital to its meaning. No two words closely abut. Instead, the poems space themselves across the page to create a ruptured, syncopated read. If you’re in Glasgow, buy your copy here.

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Gee, with this mention at Kenyon and the review in Arthur Magazine, we’ll have to make this out-of-print chapbook a candidate for the reprint series! A few copies are still available at Volcanic Tongue, though (hence the Glasgow reference).

recent KSE chapbooks available through Volcanic Tongue

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Our friends at Volcanic Tongue in Glasgow, Scotland have four recent KSE chaps now available:

#87, DOUG DRAIME, last may (1968);

#83, GLENN W. COOPER, rimbaud in the city: 10 snapshots;

#88, BILL SHUTE, luna americana (creel pone sound study #8);

#84, BILL SHUTE, pulses of time (creel pone sound study #7).

and in about two weeks, the following two recent chaps will be available:

#90, MK CHAVEZ, visitation;

#86, BILL SHUTE, slash & burn (sound library series, volume 28).

You can check VT’s massive new release list by visiting

http://www.volcanictongue.co.uk/recent.php

March 24, 2008

De-mystify the process

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If Kendra Steiner Editions and my own work as poet and publisher leave any legacy, I hope that it is a can-do spirit and a demystification of poetry and the arts in general. With academic poets attempting to cloud the process with references to French literary theorists and then attaching an entire literary-criticism superstructure to their works, functioning like thorns on a rose, and with so many poets both academic and non-academic being on such an ego trip or wanting to form daisy-chain cliques to exclude you and me so they can feel special about themselves, today’s poetry scene is often its own worst enemy.

However, if you read and closely study post-WWII poetry and the arts, if you detach yourself from the media and from automatic ways of doing and thinking, if you dialogue with other writers and musicians and artists and people who live their lives as their artwork, you can do this too.

Remember the old saying that everyone who bought a Velvet Underground album in the 60s and 70s wound up forming a band? Well, in my case, in my teenage years, I bought old 60s poetry books by Paul Blackburn, Ted Berrigan, Diane Wakoski, Frank Samperi, and Robert Creeley, and I started to write. While my present job requires me to design web pages and to use Publisher, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, and various publishing software, I make a point of NOT using any of those with KSE product. I keep it simple and primitive with Microsoft Word, taking it to its limits. Paul Corman-Roberts hit the nail on the head in his recent piece about KSE where he said we were attempting to follow in the tradition of the 50s/60s/70s mimeo’ed homemade chapbook tradition associated with various pioneering beat and new york school writers/publishers. To make a more contemporary reference, much of my music budget goes to homemade small edition (often less than 50 copies) CDRs and cassettes from various noise/drone/electronic/psychedelic artists. They can issue whatever they want in exactly the form they want–they have total control over their art, including distribution. They can totally make real their aesthetic vision. KSE is, to my way of thinking, a literary equivalent to that movement in music. Any of you can do the same. KSE uses a $129 Dell printer and materials from standard office supply stores. The plastic sleeves in which we place the sale copies of the books are just a smaller size of the plastic sleeves available at any comic shop. Like a good neighborhood pizzaria or a mom’n’pop hardware store or meat market, KSE tries to deliver quality handmade goods without any fancy packaging or any pretentious clique-ish imprimatur. You don’t eat the brown paper bag, you eat the delicious chilaquiles tacos inside. F**k the self-serving writers’ groups and the “quality” indie presses. Let them publish each other’s works, praise each other’s works, and invite each other to their own readings—–it’s the literary equivalent of licking each other’s a-holes and then rhapsodizing about the taste.

Whatever it is that life has got you doing to survive can be the training ground for your art and can also provide you with the raw material for your art. Let me use an example chosen at random from my sordid past. Back in the mid-to-late 80s, after my first child Eric was born, up through when Kendra was born, I lived in southwestern Virginia. I usually juggled a few lousy part-time jobs and tried to take a few classes in the evening when I could. I spent a year working as a checker/bagger (and later in the produce department, although I preferred the checker position) at a Food Lion store. Remember the 20/20 expose about Food Lion selling the tainted food items, cutting the rotten parts out of meats and vegetables and then reselling them, re-coloring spoiled and discolored food items? Yes, that Food Lion. Although I was paid the minimum wage and was even forced to work periods “off the clock,” there was nothing I could do about that, so I didn’t let it get me down. Instead, I gave my focus to the many interesting people I’d meet each day. Every customer had a different array of items to purchase, and each item seemed to say so much about that person. And when I’d try to engage customers in smalltalk, each customer had something unique to say. Even if it was a cliche or a parroting back of what someone else had said, it was delivered with a unique spin and speech pattern that made it individual. Looking at and dealing with each customer, and noticing what each customer bought, was a lesson in particulars , and particulars are the tools of the poet.

Also during that period, I saw a job listing for a position as youth minister at a relatively middle-of-the-road, open-minded Protestant church. I had no background in that denomination, and although I am a spiritual person, I have never been a churchgoer or a joiner, and I reject hierarchies of authority in the spiritual realm (I feel as though I’m a member of the “priesthood of all believers”). However, the position had been open for a while, I had worked with children and teens before, and I seemed sincere, so I was offered the 20-hour-a-week position. Hey, it was better than janitorial work (in some ways, in some ways not), so I took it and stayed for a year-and-a-half. One of my jobs was to deliver the children’s sermon every other week (the alternate weeks were done by the pastor, Wayne). I would sit at the top of the stairs leading up to the altar, and the children would come and sit around me, and I would deliver an “object lesson,” where I took an object and used it as a symbol for whatever spiritual quality I was emphasizing that particular day. Each Saturday night, the night before the Sunday service,  I would walk around my home looking at the items there, and thinking about how I could use a particular item as a symbol of God’s love or Jesus’s sacrifice, etc. I remember using a clock, a battery, popcorn, a belt, an apple, and an issue of TV Guide. I got to the point where I could choose ANYTHING and find parallels in it to the Gospel lessons I was hired to deliver. In fact, I challenged my wife to grab something from around the house that she thought WOULD NOT WORK for an object lesson, and I would manage to come up with the metaphors, the parallels. And I did! That was a great lesson in poetic technique, and I still use it today in everything I write and in my design of the covers and creation of cover images.

I could just as easily have chosen a thousand other life-experiences and jobs to make my example, whether it be 20 years ago or yesterday or tomorrow.

Remember the words of George Maciunas: “purge the world of bourgeois sickness—-intellectual, professional and commercialized culture….promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art, promote living-art, anti-art, promote non-art reality to be grasped by all people, not just critics, dilettantes, and professionals…anything can be art and anyone can do it.”

You do not need ANYONE’S validation!

Look at how artworks are constructed—-music, film, visual arts, poetry, sculpture, pottery, anything—-and find a way to capture that structure, that juxtaposition of elements, the grouping of contrasts, that use of color and tone, of sound and silence….find a way to apply what you see to whatever artistic discipline in which you choose to work. Practice, practice, practice. Test your product in the marketplace of ideas. Make your presence felt and become someone who can be relied upon to produce interesting work at regular intervals. Don’t kiss anyone’s rear or suck up to anyone, and you won’t “owe” anyone anything. And if you do owe anyone, payback is always a bitch!

Do what you need to do, and don’t look back.

March 23, 2008

KSE #91, AFTERGLOW, now available

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My latest offering, the five-poem suite AFTERGLOW, is now available for order. Taking a setting that could have come out of a Harold Pinter play—an anonymous young man renting a room from an older lady in return for minor chores and conversation—-I present a somewhat expressionistic series of extreme close-ups of the house and the situation. It’s not unlike a poetic version of cinematographer  C. Davis Smith’s work in Doris Wishman’s mind-blowing mid-60s films such as ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER MAN. A world of garlic yawns and silverfish, of elderly who can’t afford their medications, of lavender soaps and torn windowscreens. As the heat rises, smell the insecticide, feel the afterglow.

This is Volume 30 in the Sound Library Series, inspired by the grey sounds and dry silences of Austrian composer-trombonist Radu Malfatti’s recent CDR release Claude Lorrain 1 on his own B-Boim label ( http://www.bagatellen.com/archives/reviews/001911.html ). Malfatti’s work speaks volumes without ever raising its voice.

An edition of only 29 copies, AFTERGLOW has been available for a week or two already, and I’ll be sending a stack of them to Volcanic Tongue, so order yours now. As always, $4 postpaid in North America, $5 elsewhere.

March 22, 2008

NEXT EXIT: EIGHT (Hosho McCreesh/Caleb Puckett)

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KSE #89, NEXT EXIT: EIGHT, featuring New Mexico’s Hosho McCreesh and Oklahoma’s Caleb Puckett has been out for a few weeks and we’ve already moved 1/3 of the printing, so act now if you’d like a copy.

Hosho McCreesh writes beautifully about his home state of New Mexico—-if there is any poet out there who is at one with the place he or she calls home, it is McCreesh. I’m reminded of the best work of Gary Snyder in the combination of particulars and the spiritual quality of the land, and I’m also reminded of the great but underrated New Mexico poet Judson Crews, but ultimately Hosho McCreesh has his own instantly recognizable style.

From Tulsa, Oklahoma, Caleb Puckett is a new addition to the KSE stable of poets, and I felt that any NEXT EXIT chapbook dealing with the American Southwest needed Puckett’s unique perspective and voice. He is a master of language tone and texture, and he possesses that unique Oklahoma sense of humor (I lived there for six years) seen in Oklahomans as diverse as Gary Busey, the late great Will Rogers, and The Flaming Lips. His seven new poems in this collection show an incredibly diverse stylistic palette—one moment gushing with a Ginsberg-like flow, the next one channelling a surrealist Spoon River worthy of James Tate. Often, writers capable of the kind of verbal gymnastics Puckett seems to spin so effortlessly wind up being all style and no substance, but Puckett’s work has blood flowing through its veins, it grows out of the absurdity of the human condition and of the societies we’ve constructed, but the author is part of that same world…he is our neighbor.

Although NEXT EXIT: EIGHT contains only 11 poems, you will close the book feeling completely satisfied. The American Southwest—-two state united by Route 66—-is viewed through two VERY different lenses.

Both of these gentlemen are in-demand writers, and I thank them for taking the time to compose all-new material for Kendra Steiner Editions. Hosho McCreesh has a chapbook from Bottle of Smoke Press coming out any day now, entitled MARCHING UNABASHED INTO THE WEEPING, SEARING SUN… (not yet available, but check out the BOS website at http://www.bospress.net/order.html ). Caleb Puckett’s most recent offering is the poetry chapbook DESERTIONS, published by Plan B. Press, available from Plan B’s website: http://planbpress.com/puckettdesertions.html . It’s hard to pull of being both quirky and real, but Puckett is an accomplished tightrope walker, and I’ve spent many a thoughtful and enjoyable hour with my copy of DESERTIONS.

NE8 is an edition of 76 copies. As always, it’s $4 postpaid in the US—-or any 3 different KSE chapbooks for $10 postpaid. Check (or well-concealed cash) to Bill Shute, 8141-B Pat Booker Rd. #399, San Antonio, Texas, 78233. Overseas, chapbooks are $5 each postpaid—-write and request a paypal invoice.

Our next edition of NEXT EXIT will appear in July 2008. Stay tuned.

March 18, 2008

mid-March 2008 notes; April-July upcoming releases

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We’ll be taking off for a mini-vacation to the Texas Hill Country—-any orders rec’d in the next five days will be shipped on Monday 24 March.

Don’t forget the March releases: NEXT EXIT: EIGHT from Hosho McCreesh and Caleb Puckett; VISITATION from MK Chavez; and two new ones from yours truly, LUNA AMERICANA and now KSE #91, AFTERGLOW. I’ll provide write-ups about NE8, VISITATION, and AFTERGLOW in the next 10 days if I can.

Reading-wise, I’ve been finishing the editing/sequencing of Doug Draime’s Oregon poems, which will come out in April; Jim D. Deuchars just sent me an amazing sequence of eight poems, based on various conceptions of “eight”, which will be the May release; Adrian Manning has now finished a stunning suite of poems inspired by Sonic Youth’s “Daydream Nation” album, that chapbook coming out in June; and Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal has given me a number of poems set in both California and Mexico for NEXT EXIT: SEVEN, which will come out in July.

I’m also working my way through the Complete Poems of Frank O’Hara, containing a number of lesser-known pieces I’d not read before, and I’ve read  AT HERRING COVE by Ronald Baatz about ten times so far. In concept, it’s not unlike my 44 HARMONIES or Hosho McCreesh’s 37 PSALMS FROM THE BADLANDS, but the result is completely different. In this work, Baatz combines the poetry-in-the-everyday-detail brilliance of a Mark Weber with the transcendent Zen humor of Brautigan at his best, but it’s always completely Baatz. I think I’d recognize him after 3 lines. When I spoke with the late composer and theorist John Cage in 1989 in Virginia, he told me that if he were really doing his job as a composer—-helping people to hear the music in the supposedly non-musical and getting people to “listen” to their world—-he might eventually put himself out of business (I published a piece in BLACK TO COMM magazine back in the early 90’s about my conversation with Cage—good luck finding a copy!). The same is true for Ronald Baatz. He does not fetishize or enshrine the artifact of the poem, although his literary work is elegantly sculpted yet spontaneous, like the best jazz. His work leads us to see our immediate world with a poetic eye as he does. If we read enough Ronald Baatz (or Mark Weber), perhaps we all would perceive the world as poetry—but since that hasn’t happened yet, we can still savor Mr. Baatz’s work now for its freshness and insight and wit.

See you all in five days. I’ll have a drink for you here while I’m gone…

http://www.realalebrewing.com/brewery_tours.php

Two New Flash-Fiction Pieces from Caleb Puckett

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Congrats to Caleb Puckett, co-author of one of March’s featured KSE releases, NEXT EXIT: EIGHT, on these two fine pieces of flash fiction published at The Paris Bitter Hearts Pit:

http://parisbitterheartspit.blogspot.com/2008/03/flash-fiction-by-caleb-puckett.html

After reading those two place-oriented pieces, you’ll want to read Mr. Puckett’s poetic meditations on the state of Oklahoma found in NEXT EXIT: EIGHT. Just four dollars postpaid in North America (to Bill Shute, 8141-B Pat Booker Rd. #399, San Antonio, TX, 78233).

Poesy on NEXT EXIT: FIVE (Christopher Cunningham)

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Thanks to Brian Morrisey/Poesy for this write-up on Christopher Cunningham’s NEXT EXIT: FIVE (KSE #69)

http://poesy.org/reviews.html

Well-deserved attention, I’d say. Congrats to CC—-great to have him on Team Steiner!

March 13, 2008

new interview with Doug Draime at Orange Alert

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Legendary west-coast poet DOUG DRAIME is featured author and interview subject this week at What To Wear During An Orange Alert. It’s a wide-ranging, fascinating interview in which he discusses his background, his earlier years, and his current activities—-his forthcoming book from Tainted Coffee Press, his recent KSE chapbook LAST MAY (1968), and his work on the KSE NEXT EXIT series. Thanks to the folks at Orange Alert, who always ask superb questions and have great taste in literature/music/art/culture. I’m always learning about musicians and visual artists who are new to meat OA, and OA also features a wide variety of writers, not just those conforming to one style or belonging to one clique, which is what happens at 80% of the literary websites out there. Here is the link:

http://wearduringorangealert.blogspot.com/2008/03/reader-meet-author.html

 Doug’s fifth chapbook for Kendra Steiner Editions, a selection of poems about Oregon, will be released on April 20. His previous chapbooks for KSE are

EYESTONE (out of print);

NEXT EXIT: ONE (out of print);

NEXT EXIT: THREE (w/ Misti Rainwater-Lites), which is still available!! ;

and LAST MAY (1968), which was just released last month and is still available.

Doug’s excellent SPIDERS AND MADMEN is still available from Scintillating Publications, which has other highly recommended works by Misti Rainwater-Lites, Miles J. Bell, and Zachary C. Bush. Check out Scintillating at

http://www.freewebs.com/scintillatingpublications/titlesnowavailable.htm

March 9, 2008

VISITATION (KSE #90) by MK CHAVEZ now available

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After some last-minute tweaking of the text and a change to the covers, MK Chavez and I have got VISITATION ready to go now, and the first copies are coming off my printer as I write this. I’ll do a separate post later about this chapbook and MK Chavez’s work, but you can order VISITATION and the other two March releases—-NEXT EXIT: EIGHT and LUNA AMERICANA—-now, all three for $10 postpaid in North America.

This eight-part suite of poems is spare and haunting—-the 14-point Lucida typeface and the cover images help create a disquieting feeling, and in addition MK has the poem flowing from the right-hand margin of the page, forcing the reader to adapt his/her way of reading. We feel the same discomfort as the poem’s speaker. Limited to 77 copies, VISITATION is one of KSE’s best-ever releases. Thanks to Ms. Chavez for entrusting this work—-which would have been welcomed at much larger and more established poetry publishers—-to San Antonio’s Kendra Steiner Editions! Act now…

March 8, 2008

March 2008 notes—-two new chapbooks ready!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:27 pm

I’m looking at a stack of freshly printed pages and covers for two of the three March releases and re-stocks of the February chaps. I’ll need to cut them and assemble them, and then we will have 100 or so new copies for YOU.

NEXT EXIT: EIGHT (KSE # 89) featuring Hosho McCreesh and Caleb Puckett is now available for order (I’ll post a blog entry specifically about it soon). NE8 is a wonderful combination of styles and a memorable trip through the landscapes and settlements of New Mexico and Oklahoma from two of the Southwest’s most distinctive poets. 11 new poems composed especially for this project and available nowhere else.

Also ready now is my newest offering, KSE #88, LUNA AMERICANA (creel pone sound study #8). The latest in the series of poetic suites inspired by albums of electronic music on the Creel Pone label, this one is based on Costin Miereanu’s 1975 album LUNA CINESE, originally released on the legendary Italian “Cramps” label. Instead of a Chinese moon, however, I transposed this into an American moon, and I took the moon through five phases (the five sections of the poem), and wove together lunar imagery and mythology with various characters living their lives in today’s San Antonio along with the things of their experience, punctuating these passages with interruptions from the general state of America 2008. Ultimately, we’re all under the same American Moon. Cerberus drools onto a brown lawn down the street from the Pizza Hut while “Taps” wafts over from the Air Force Base. The surge continues, but the train’s done gone.

MK Chavez is putting the finishing touches on the final March release, her awesome and disquieting VISITATION (KSE #90). Expect that soon.

Chapbooks are only four dollars each postpaid in North America, 3-for $10. Check payable to Bill Shute, 8141-B Pat Booker Rd. #399, San Antonio, Texas, 78233. Overseas orders are only $5 per chap postpaid, payable through Pay Pal. E-mail your order and request a invoice.

We have a strong release schedule planned for the rest of 2008. Stay tuned. Send off that order today. Most of the November/December/January releases are almost sold out. One of our UK customers just told me he was taking a stack of the recent KSE poetry chapbooks with him to re-read under the sun on the beach in Southern Spain while drinking the local beers. What an honor!

4200 visitors to KSE blog as of 3/8/08

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Thanks to all.

March 5, 2008

JANDEK in Austin, Texas: 15 March 2008

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JANDEK will be performing as part of the Signal To Noise Magazine Showcase at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas on Saturday 15 March 2008 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:45. For those without a SXSW badge or pass (I certainly would never buy one!), admission is $15. He is re-uniting the “Fort Worth Hoedown” band who played so well at the Rose Marine Theatre in FW last July (my review of this gig can be found on the Jandek discussion list): Jandek on vcl/harmonica, Susan Alcorn on steel gtr, Ralph White (ex-Bad Livers) on fiddle/banjo/various stringed instruments, Ryan Williams on bass, and Will Johnson on drums. The cost of admission gets you about six hours of music, also including the Nameless Sound Youth Ensemble, Christina Carter and Shawn McMillen, Space City Gamelan, and The Weird Weeds. Jandek is scheduled to perform 7:30-8:30 p.m. Last year’s Jandek performance at this same venue was standing room only. See you there!

Paul Corman-Roberts on Kendra Steiner Editions

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An insightful, supportive piece from San Francisco literary Renaissance Man  Paul Corman-Roberts  dealing with Kendra Steiner Editions and the future of small-press poetry:

http://www.cherrybleeds.com/bitches1/mar08.html

Spring-Summer 2008 KSE release schedule

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We have an exciting line-up scheduled for the next few months, with a new original work and a reprint each month. Chapbooks come out on the 20th of each month:

20 MARCH 2008

KSE #90, MK CHAVEZ, visitation;

KSE #89, HOSHO McCREESH / CALEB PUCKETT, next exit: eight;

KSE #88, BILL SHUTE, luna americana;

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reprint: ENVY (KSE #13)

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20 APRIL 2008

DOUG DRAIME, new chapbook of Oregon-based poems

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reprint: SHACK SIMPLE (KSE #34)

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20 MAY 2008

JIM D. DEUCHARS, new as-yet-untitled suite of poems

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reprint: SONNETS FOR BILL DOGGETT (KSE #12)

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20 JUNE 2008

ADRIAN MANNING, new as-yet-untitled suite of poems

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reprint: SO LONG: A JOURNAL (KSE #8)

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20 JULY 2008

NEXT EXIT: SEVEN

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reprint: SILHOUETTES (KSE #3)

March 2, 2008

new Doug Draime chapbook SPEED OF LIGHT available online

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 4:25 pm

Check out the new 13-poem collection SPEED OF LIGHT by Doug Draime, available FREE online from the fine folks at Right Hand Pointing:

http://www.righthandpointing.com/draime/

 In addition, Doug will have a new collection of Oregon-based poems from Kendra Steiner Editions in April 2008.

March 1, 2008

ENVY (KSE 13) and DREAM SCENE (KSE 23) reprints now available

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 9:50 pm

I haven’t put much work into promoting the reprint series: they are limited to 18 copies each, they are gradual but steady sellers among our regular readers, and from the e-mails I get it seems as though people are glad to have the opportunity to read and own chaps that appeared briefly in 2006 and are much different than the works being issued by KSE today…yet also quite similar in important ways.

ENVY and DREAM SCENE are, respectively, volumes 9 and 10 in the Sound Library Series (to give you an idea of how extensive this series has become, the latest one issued was Volume 29—-and poets such as Brad Kohler, Stuart Crutchfield, and David Keenan have also contributed to the series) .This series began with two volumes that grew out of repeated listening to English and French “sound library” recordings. When I sent the first two volumes to Volcanic Tongue, our main distributor at that time, David Keenan understood exactly what I was up to, even though I made a point of saying nothing about the technique or philosophy of the series. He wrote that Volume Two (PROTOTYPE) was “based around hallucinated phantom narratives scored to accompany relatively blank-slate library music recordings…with all of the illuminating personal details that define Shute’s work put to the service of ghosted female biography.” As the series evolved, I varied from this “pure” original conception and cast the net a bit wider, using various forms of instrumental music (such as Willie Mitchell R&B 45’s), and eventually vocal music as my prompt, and I “used” the music in many different ways, not just as soundtracks to scenes in my mind.

Each poem in ENVY, for instance, uses as its title a song title from the great rockabilly-country singer BOB LUMAN. This is a varied collection, with subjects ranging from domestic violence, unabridged dictionaries, my brother-in-law’s wasting away from cancer and coming to terms with his death, and Stacy Keach’s performance as Mike Hammer (in the second series, the syndicated, shot-on-video one). This chapbook was never distributed by Volcanic Tongue or by anyone outside of the San Antonio area—-the 40 or 50 copies we printed were mostly distributed at local readings and bookfairs, and the few remaining were traded away with other poets. This reprint is probably the only way to get a copy…unless you want to pay $11.00 to a rare book dealer who traded for a few copies way back when. Why not get the new B&W reprint for $4.00 postpaid direct from KSE?

DREAM SCENE, inspired by my mono copy of George Harrison’s WONDERWALL MUSIC, is in the manner of the great minimalist spiritual poet Frank Samperi (1933-1991). Very much a literary loner who disliked cliques and “movements” (much as I do!), Samperi developed his own aesthetic and technique, attracting the attention of Louis Zukofsky and Cid Corman and Bob Arnold, publishing sparse works that often isolate individual words, but are high in poetic specific gravity. Imagine taking, say, the poetry of Michael McClure, having it re-written by the mid-late 1960’s Robert Creeley at his most minimal, subjecting it to an edit by a man of quiet wisdom such as Charles Reznikoff who always stressed particulars in his writing,  and then distilling THAT to a concentrate, an essence. That’s not an exact comparison, but at least it may help you imagine Samperi’s work if you’ve never read it. DREAM SCENE along with my chapbook SPIRIT were tributes to Samperi as well as an attempt to extend the innovations he introduced and use them to my own ends. I sent these two chaps to Mr. Samperi’s daughter, who sent me a kind letter back telling me that her father would have been touched that poets were not only finding inspiration in his work, but using that work as a theoretical foundation for their own work and extending his vision. When I used to hang out at the Denver Public Library on lazy summer days as a teenager, I would read Samperi’s QUADRIFARIAM (Mushinsha/Grossman, 1973) out on the lawn, creating my own sacred space between the sea of RTD busses and the steady flow of pedestrians rushing to and fro on their too-short lunch hours, realizing the value of using as few words as possible, and of punctuating sound with silence. DREAM SCENE uses a number of San Antonio settings—-a trailer park, a pest-ridden garden, an old out-of-tune piano used as furniture, a cup of tea, an afternoon sun—-as seeds for spiritual meditations. About DREAM SCENE, Volcanic Tongue wrote, “A very beautiful slow-moving survey of local topography that scans from the spiders in the desert and rundown shacks all the way up to quietly blinding visions of solar magic. Excellent.” This sold well at VT, and perhaps because of its attractive cover featuring George H., it also moved quickly when I sold it in-person at readings in support of TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY and at bookfairs. This B&W reprint is an edition of 18 copies…and it even corrects a typo from the original!

The reprint series will continue as long as readers are interested. Next month (April) we’ll be reissuing Stuart Crutchfield’s beautiful Scottish re-imagining of the poetics of Lew Welch, SHACK SIMPLE.

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