As things get cooler in the fall, meaning in south texas 60s and 70s instead of 90s, I hope things will be heating up here at KSE on the poetry front.
MK Chavez and John Sweet‘s NEXT EXIT: NINE came out last week and has in just one week attracted a lot of attention. Two thirds of the copies are already in circulation, so you’d better act fast on this one. Really.
My collaboration with A. J. Kaufmann, BEYOND THE BLUE ROCKS: MEDITATIONS ON THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD, has been getting great response from both customers and fellow poets, Doug Draime calling it my best collaborative work ever. AJ is a great person to work with, and as different as we are, we’re very much on the same wavelength poetically. In his new apartment in Berlin, he’s listening over and over again to his MONO copy of The 13th Floor Elevators album “Easter Everywhere,” and anyone who’s ever heard the mind-blowing opening track “Slip Inside This House” knows that there is no better model for a poet than to wade in the water of that profound song over and over. And over. And over. He’s also listening to some CD’s I sent him of the hypnotic, underrated British bluesman Duffy Power for our next collaboration, BLUES FOR DUFFY POWER, which we’ll be working on in November and December. If you get a chance, score a copy of either Power’s 1965 album with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, SKY HIGH, or the recent collection of BBC broadcasts, SKY BLUES. Expect BLUES FOR DUFFY POWER in the first quarter of 2009.
Right now, I’m working on a collaboration with Zachary C. Bush—-the final volume in our 10-volume “Creel Pone Sound Study Series”—-called Shanti, inspired by the classic electronic music mind-fry SHANTI by Jean-Claude Eloy. http://www.mimaroglumusicsales.com/artists/jean-claude+eloy.html Expect Shanti sometime in December. I should be finishing up segments of that next weekend while I’m in North Texas visiting my son Eric. I’ve written works such as COMPANIONSHIP OF THE PLUM and IN PERSPECTIVE (the latter chosen as one of the best reads of 2007 in Arthur Magazine!) while in North Texas, so I’m hoping lightning will strike again with this one. Wish me luck…
In November we’ll be rolling out the multi-poet compilation KSE LAST POEMS, featuring an all-star line-up of 10 poets from three continents, and later that month, Misti Rainwater-Lites’s NEXT EXIT: TEN, the final volume in that series of poems rooted in location. As someone who has lived in Texas for nearly 20 years now, I can assure you that NO writer nails Texas the way Misti does. Although I live in America’s 7th largest city, San Antonio, whenever we’re in smalltown Texas, Mary Anne and I often turn to one another and say, “wow, this is exactly the way Misti’s poems depicted it!!!” Yes, there is a beauty and surface charm to small towns, and rural life offers a closeness to the soil which is spiritually intoxicating, but there’s also a cold chill and an undercurrent of violence that’s frightening. Barack Obama suggested that in his remark about people “clinging to guns and God” a number of months back, and you remember the firestorm that hit after those remarks. As always, Misti’s poems in NEXT EXIT: TEN are rich with details and particulars about Texas life, and by extension American life, and by extension life in general—-details that will have the reader right in the scene, smelling the smells and hearing the sounds. As the ad for some lowgrade professional wrestling movie back in the 1980s read, “it’s disgustingly real !!!” Look out for NEXT EXIT: TEN, released sometime around Thanksgiving.
December will feature a collection of brand-new work from Los Angeles’s LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL called STILL HUMAN, beautiful and insightful lyric poems written under the spell of such world-poetry greats as Hikmet, Vallejo, and Neruda.
And as we enter the new year, we’ll be starting off with a bang, not a whimper. Around January 1, A. J. Kaufmann‘s first chapbook of written-in-Berlin poems, SATORI IN BERLIN (X-Berg Songs), will appear, as will a collection of new and dynamic poetry from Jack Henry called EMPTY HOUSES. It’s quite different from what you may think Jack Henry’s poetry is like, but Jack is a multi-talented man full of surprises and he’s working in a more kaleidoscopic vein in his KSE debut chapbook. It will be a strong release for January 2009. Beyond his own powerful poetry, Jack’s been doing great work for poetry with his ROB & JACK AMERICA internet radio show and with his d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press. I know that Jack, like yours truly, is spread too thin and has too many responsibilities, but he realizes that IF WE DON’T DO IT NOW, IT WON’T GET DONE, so he gets it done…as I try to here at KSE. In the immortal words of Neil Young, it’s better to burn out than it is to rust.
2009 will also bring new solo chapbooks from Doug Draime, Michael Layne Heath, Zachary C. Bush, Brad Kohler, John Sweet, Ronald Baatz, and others. AND I’ve approached five or six poets new-to-KSE about doing solo and collaborative works in the first half of 2009, but I can’t mention those yet as they are still in-discussion. Rest assured, however, that we are moving into some new territory in 2009 and we look forward to continuing to bring you at low cost and in small serving size the best of contemporary poetry. Poetry is meant to be savored, and in an our 8-to-10 page chapbooks, we have distilled only the purest from only the best and the most real working poets from the US, Europe, and elsewhere.
Thanks to YOU for reading this and for your support of independent alternative publishing and poetry. Remember, KSE chapbooks are only 3-for $10 postpaid in the US and only $5 each postpaid outside the US. And with the dollar in the toilet internationally, I’m told that $5 just about buys a cup of coffee in Europe now, so make the coffee at home and send that $5 for a copy of NEXT EXIT: NINE or BEYOND THE BLUE ROCKS. Ordering information can be found to your upper right on the AVAILABLE KSE POETRY CHAPBOOKS page.
Have a great rest of the weekend. Best wishes and positive vibrations from South Texas!