Kendra Steiner Editions

August 21, 2010

AUTUMN, my present poetry project…and Autumn 2010 at KSE

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:56 am

I’m back at work full-time until Christmas (had five (unpaid) weeks off in late July/early August), but everything’s in place for an exciting August through December here at the grand KSE offices.

New poetry books by Doug Draime and yours truly are now available for purchase (Doug’s FOR A DREAM ENDED and my own DOWN BRIDGE STREET), and we’ll have write-ups on both of those soon.

Two new CDR’s will be ready for September: mini-cd’s from ANDREAS BRANDAL and RAMBUTAN, two of my own favorite artists in the electronic composition/drone area (yes, I hate labels, but somehow I have to communicate that these artists are NOT dance-electronica or Americana or jazz or punk, y’know?), and two artists who have dozens and dozens of great releases on many different labels the world over. It’s an honor to have them releasing material through KSE. Also, we’ve got 7-8 artists signed up for future releases that I don’t want to mention yet as the material is not actually ready and in-hand, but one great artist who will be appearing on the KSE label soon is the Copenhagen-based JANNICK SCHOU. More on that later, but I must have 10 of his albums and he is a major player in the drone soundscape world as well as being quite an eclectic composer/performer who is far more diverse than that reductive tag suggests. Want to hear some of Jannick’s work? You can get a free download of his album Against A Backdrop Of Blue Hills, They Were As Beautiful As A Lullaby here: http://jannickschou.bandcamp.com/  . Again, I’m honored that world-class musicians-composers such as Jannick, Alfred 23 Harth, Steve “Plastic Crimewave” Krakow, Ophibre (Benjamin Rossignol), Derek Rogers, Rambutan (Eric Hardiman), Andreas Brandal, Nick Hennies, and the others have agreed to release music through our little outfit, housed in a corner of my living room and a P.O. box. When they see the quality of the work we’ve done in poetry for almost five years, and the 175 releases we’ve put out, and the clear aesthetic we represent, both in poetry and in music and in art, they realize that small though we may be, and though we can offer them little in terms of payment or distribution (a few dollars or a handful of promo copies to sell), we have a unique operation here, their work will get out to a serious and open-minded and informed audience, and their work will reach a somewhat different audience than they’ve been reaching with their previous releases. I’m excited to be offering new creations from the artists on whose work I’ve already been spending my own “record money” out of each paycheck (and I’ve probably got a dozen releases each from ANYONE who releases a CDR with us, except for those I know primarily through live performances and who have not issued much otherwise…we’ll have a few of those artists coming in the Fall/Winter). It seems like a win-win situation. Our poetry releases are set through Summer of 2011, and for music we’ll be issuing the full-sized CDR’s four times a year (the next one being Alfred 23 Harth in December 2010, and then Nick Hennies’ “Objects” in March 2011), and two mini-cdr’s every six to eight weeks. So there is a lot happening at KSE…stay tuned to the blog for further updates.

In terms of my own work, I wrote a number of pieces in the first half of 2010, and those have been and will be coming out. I moved SEAWALL up in the release order because I felt it was timely, being about the Gulf Oil Spill, and I’m happy to say that response on that has been excellent, a number of readers/fellow poets whose opinions I respect and who have always been totally honest with me telling me that it’s one of my best and one of the best and deepest chapbooks they’ve read in some time. I was even offered magazine publication of parts of it and a short piece about it in a Galveston-based magazine, which I declined (of course).

The bricolage-style ONENESS & THE SUN, written in Lubbock in February, come out a few months ago and threw a number of people a curve, one that they’ve told me was a satisfying curve, and pieces that came out earlier such as the Chet Baker-related LAMENT FOR THE LIVING (now going into a second printing) and THE MOSQUITOES OF LA MARQUE continue to generate kind and supportive comments from readers and fellow poets/musicians/artists.

The new chapbook I just issued, DOWN BRIDGE STREET, which was written before SEAWALL, was a departure for me: something that contained elements of my childhood (which I NEVER do…my work is NOT based in autobiographical notation), although the details are presented in a fictitious manner and much of the detail IS made-up (though likely and consistent with history and local culture). As some of you know, I was born on the Boston South Shore and lived there until 6th grade, when my family moved to Golden, Colorado, and I lived in Colorado until I finished college (a proud grad of Metropolitan State College of Denver). It took me decades to get the distance I needed to have some objectivity on my Massachusetts period. Even as a child, I knew that I did not like something about the area, and when my family picked up and moved West, I was ecstatic, and despite the huge cultural adaptation I had to go through, I was glad we made the move. Only with the distance provided by time was I able to eventually see what deep roots I had in the Boston area, how it put its mark on me forever, and what a positive influence it was on me…and how much I do love Boston and the South Shore. DOWN BRIDGE STREET has nothing to do with my personal transformation or anything like that…it is, simply, a multi-part poem set in the Boston South Shore of the 1960’s dealing with a character’s learning about the adult world, paralleling the decline of the Boston music scene in the late 60’s. This is a culturally rich and culturally distinct area, and I used that cultural detail as the fabric from which this poem was woven. It’s certainly a change of pace for me, and I hope you enjoy it.

I have another completed work that will be appearing later in the fall, BUTTERFLY MIND, a Sound Library volume that was inspired by the incredible Arcesia album from 1971, and right now I’m 5/7th finished with a new multi-part poem called AUTUMN, inspired by one of jazz trumpeter Bunny Berigan’s little-known recordings for the obscure “Elite” label in the last months of his life. It’s Autumn in many ways right now, no matter what “month” it might be. It’s Autumn of the American Empire; it’s Autumn in terms of the received wisdom of previous generations; it’s Autumn in terms of what has been considered “normalcy” in terms of lifestyle and economic status here in the US and elsewhere; it’s Autumn in terms of previous modes of socialization and information-transfer. And finally, I’m not getting any younger, and part of my duty as an artist is to be honest with myself, what I am and what I’ve become, even if I do it through other characters and through the mask of a persona. Some actors can best find the truth in themselves by playing Hamlet or Willy Loman. However, I am not using the “Autumn” imagery in some depressing, fatalistic way; after Autumn’s fading and falling, and then the lean, purifying emptiness of Winter, comes Spring and new growth and rebirth. The cycle is ever-continuing and will bring with it the new and the fresh. I try to step back and take the long view of things whenever possible, and I do try to use a cyclical lens as I look at life and creation, so I try to remain positive about the future. Yes, it may be both the best of times and the worst of times right now, but it’s not boring, and in terms of the arts, we are now living through a “golden age” that I think will eventually make the 1960’s look small and primitive, a provider of seeds and sketches for what is being grown and fleshed out NOW and in future years. It is exciting to be part of the cultural renaissance, and it’s being done (the signifcant work, that is…, f*ck the cliques and arts organizations that, as usual, don’t have a clue) by independent, self-sufficient artists/poets/musicians/multi-discipline cultural workers (have labels ever meant LESS than they do now???) who have joined into collaborative small-level groupings who are issuing small-run editions of unique works that are truly under-the-radar. As a poet/writer and a champion of contemporary and experimental music since the 1970’s, this is what I’ve always wanted…and now it’s here! How can I NOT be excited, and how can I NOT rise to this challenge and CREATE and PRODUCE while I’m still able to???

I’ve been a deep student of Andy Warhol’s work since the 1970’s, and I’ve been spending a lot of time with Warhol’s massive body of work recently, as well as with the films of cult filmmaker JERRY WARREN, for a book on Warren I’m doing with Rob Craig. In the 1963-1964 period when Warhol was working on his disaster and violence paintings, Jerry Warren was working on his furthest-out patchwork films, such as ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY and FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (which, by the way, do share some footage)—right now, I’m living in the space between those two sets of works.

As always, thank you for your support of KSE and its poets and musicians. Love us or hate us or ignore us, we are doing something unique—and have been through almost 175 releases for almost five years. Come join us on this journey. Our chapbooks and mini-cdr’s are only five dollars each, postpaid anywhere, so the trip is cheap. In the immortal words of George Jones, “walk through this world with me”…meaning “us,” Kendra Steiner Editions.

Best wishes to all and positive vibrations from beautiful San Antonio, Texas…

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