Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

February 21, 2010

The Mosquitoes of La Marque (KSE #156), available NOW!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 11:02 am



Volume 50 in the Sound Library Series

La Marque, Texas, is located between Galveston and Houston, in Galveston County, about five miles inland from the Gulf Coast.  My first and strongest impression about it was the number and the fury of the mosquitoes, particularly around sunset. I’d never before been attacked by SO MANY mosquitoes. The phrase “the mosquitoes of La Marque” entered my head, and I swore that someday I’d write an extended piece that captured La Marque in poetry. This is it.

As a Sound Library volume, this chapbook was inspired by music, in this case, the album IRON SAND by Anthony Guerra and Mark Sadgrove on the Japanese “Black Petal” label, which you can order here: . With my memories and photographs and notes from La Marque, and with the musical textures of Guerra/Sadgrove, I was ready to begin. However, there was something I did differently with this chapbook. I commissioned two original artworks for the cover BEFORE  I started the chapbook. Austin-based artist Justin Jackley, who had previously done great covers for Michael Layne Heath’s LOONS OF A DOGMAN and for A.J. Kaufmann’s Virgogray book “Broke Nuptial Minds,” seemed a logical choice, and after I discussed the concept of the piece with him and how I viewed the mosquitoes as similar to the furies of classical Greek literature (an idea I lifted from Sartre’s THE FLIES), he created haunting front and back artwork, which I also used to help give me a focus (check out Justin’s work at ). So truly, this is a work where the music and the art are integral to the poetry.

As with LAMENT FOR THE LIVING: CHET BAKER’S FINAL SESSION, which will be coming out next month, this seven-page piece is built around a series of alternating refrains, one on pages 1, 3, and 5, and another on pages 2, 4, and 6, with a final “zinger” of a refrain on page 7. Then it was simply a matter of fleshing out the picture, filling the canvas, balancing, offering a wide variety of textures, leaving a lot of space for the work to breathe.

I’ve always believed that poetry and art are to be found everywhere, and if you cannot find the poetry and the music and the art of where YOU are , then you are not truly an artist. Experiencing the mosquitoes, the chemical fires, the convenience stores, the holiness churches, the Gulf Coast seafood shacks, the hard-scrabble part-time job worklives, and the warm, welcoming folks whose eyes silently communicate a sense of welcome and brotherhood-of-the-downtrodden, I just knew that I had to write THE MOSQUITOES OF LA MARQUE. If you want a “core sample” of Texas-America circa 2010, sculpted from the materials which make up the La Marque Experience, here it is, in spades. Want a taste? Here’s the first section:




 the grit at the heart

        of the Texas gulf oyster

        leads the cells of the pearl-sac

 to secrete layers of nacre

 that will, in time, and after

         enough layers of secretion

         become a pearl long

 after we are gone

                                                the metal screws and wires

                                                    in his reconstructed knee

                                                    begin to ache and remind

                                                him that the seasons have changed

           mosquito eggs  lie dormant

              while the mothers’ body temperatures

                 dip lower, without their fluids solidifying

                                   protecting properties    we cannot enter

                                   assembling products     we cannot afford

       the latest American military surge

          in Afghanistan   begins today


                                La Marque–

                                          where Civil War soldiers would stop

                                               to drink fresh-churned buttermilk

                                                      as they marched between

                                                            Galveston & Houston           


With the recent thaw, THE MOSQUITOES OF LA MARQUE have arrived, emerging from the standing water in the swamps and the parking lots of abandoned strip malls and the roadside ditches, swarming, ready for those blood meals. As the sign on my neighbor’s garage reads,  think twice before entering: there’s nothing here worth dying for!

KSE #156 is now available for ordering. It’s a hand-assembled, hand-numbered edition of 72 copies.

Cost is $4.00 each or 3 for $10.00 (only one copy of any book per customer) postpaid in the USA. Send a check (or well-concealed cash) made payable to Bill Shute, 14080 Nacogdoches Rd. #350, San Antonio, Texas, 78247. OR chapbooks are available to non-US readers DIRECT FROM KSE postpaid  for only $5 each. Overseas orders should write to django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com and request a paypal invoice for whatever you’d like. You’ll save money that way!


#158, ZACHARY C. BUSH, “Is This Deformed” ;

#159, A.J. KAUFMANN & BILL SHUTE, “78 Horizons” (sound library series, volume 52) ;

#154, A.J. KAUFMANN, “vagabond vacancy” ;

#153, BILL SHUTE, “the twenty-fifth life of alcyone” (sound library series, volume 49) ;

#152,  K.M. DERSLEY, “many septembers” ;

#151, A. J. KAUFMANN & BILL SHUTE, “twombly’s siracusa” (inspired by the work of Cy Twombly) ;

#150, MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH, “loons of a dogman” (sound library series, volume 48) ;

#149, A. J. KAUFMANN, “via alighieri” (cinema poetry series, volume 3) ;

#148, MISTI RAINWATER-LITES, “vegas the hard way” ;

#147, BILL SHUTE, “nobody knows, nobody sees” (cinema poetry series, volume 2) ;

#146, MK CHAVEZ & MIRA HORVICH, “pinnacle” ;

#145, A. J. KAUFMANN & BILL SHUTE, “blues for duffy power” ;

#144, ZACHARY C. BUSH, “spin” .

Questions? Write to  django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com . Thanks for your support!

Don’t miss the write-up on Kendra Steiner Editions/Bill Shute in the January 2010 issue of THE WIRE (UK).


     wherever we are

          whatever we’re doing              or not doing

                (“boredom is always counter-revolutionary”)

          there’s always The Flame

     and we’re always conscious of where we are

                  in relation to it

         towering above the adjacent

                chemical plants & refineries

         a 30-foot flame atop

                a 300-foot tower

         a cathedral honoring our largest

                employer and taxpayer, Dow Chemical,

                        of napalm and silicon

                            breast implant fame

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