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…