“THE WALL BOARD KNIFE” (KSE #193)
poetry chapbook, $5.00 ppd. anywhere
MICHAEL CASEY burst open the American poetry world in 1972 with his book OBSCENITIES, a powerful collection of Vietnam War poetry that resonated with readers so much that it sold widely (an estimated 50,000+ copies!), was widely discussed, and is still used in classrooms today. Although Mr. Casey is fluent in modern and post-modern poetics, his work is also rooted in a classic American tradition going back to Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology and the works of William Saroyan, literature that is rooted in the voices of average people, capturing the rhythm of their thoughts and the sequence of their logic, and their self-justifications, and their self-deception. Even readers who don’t usually “like” poetry, once they start hearing the voices on the page, realize that Casey has a deep understanding of and a deep sympathy/empathy for humanity at our most unheroic and and our most petty. In an age when it seems easy to engage in us/them thinking and to want to feel superior to some group out there, Casey’s work always brings us back to an understanding of what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes, even when they are shoes we might not want to walk in. His work also has a strong humorous element as we laugh at our own flaws and hang-ups.
A number of Casey’s books deal with workplace issues and are set in the workplace: the mill, the office, the military base, etc. Casey was also included in the prestigious WORKING WORDS anthology published by Coffee House Press.
Since we spend at least 1/3 of our lives on the job, I’ve often wondered why more writers do not set their works in the supermarkets, insurance offices, telemarketing boiler-rooms, and car dealerships of America. Maybe more writers are familiar with the MFA program than with the work world; maybe those who have such experience want to get away from it when off the job? Whatever the reason, Casey’s own decades of work experience is transmuted into literary gold in the pages of works such as MILLRAT and his new chapbook from Kendra Steiner Editions, THE WALL BOARD KNIFE (KSE #193). Continuing in the vein of Casey’s earlier chapbook for KSE THE BOPPER (KSE #54, from 2007, out of print), The Wall Board Knife puts the reader directly into the tedium, the office politics, the day-after-day continuing adventures of the people we work beside every day but would never want to have a beer with after work, which is of course exactly what they are saying about us behind our backs.
I had the privilege of reading with Michael Casey at Flying Object Books in western Massachusetts in May 2011, and I saw how wonderfully Casey’s work communicates with an audience. He read the entire Wall Board Knife chapbook “in character,” and the audience hung on every word and laughed multiple times per poem. I’m sure not everyone was familiar with Casey’s work prior to the reading (although Flying Object is a quite hip and literate place, so many probably were aware of him!), but they could feel that here is a writer who understands people, a writer who can capture characters’ voices and self-rationalizations, a writer whose works are constructed from pieces of real-world experience. That’s truly a rare commodity. Michael Casey has it, and it’s on display at its best in his new KSE chapbook, The Wall Board Knife. $5.00 postpaid anywhere! Get yours today…limited, hand-numbered edition of 88 copies. Send $5 payment via paypal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com and include a brief note w/ the paypal order telling me which item you are ordering.
And while you are ordering THE WALL BOARD KNIFE, why not grab some of our other poetry and music releases?
poetry chapbooks ($5 each, ppd.):
KSE #212 ADRIAN MANNING, “These Hands of Mine”
KSE #197, A.J. KAUFMANN, “Love Lions of Paris”
KSE #195, REPRINT OF KSE #35, BRAD KOHLER/BILL SHUTE, “Exacta Box.”
KSE #215, Bill Shute, “Outfake,” Sound Library Series, Volume 66.
KSE #174, Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, “Digging a Grave.”
KSE #185, Michael Layne Heath, “Jazzbo Wind.”
KSE #181, John Sweet, “Continuum.”
full-sized CDR’s ($7.00 each, ppd.)
KSE # 214 (CDR), SABRINA SIEGEL, “Bottlecaps”
KSE #207 (CDR), ALFRED HARTH & CARL STONE, “Gift Fig”
KSE #208 (CDR), ANTHONY GUERRA & BILL SHUTE, “subtraction” (limited USA re-press of CD originally issued on Black Petal Records, Australia)
KSE #206 (CDR), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “Emilio”
KSE #199 (CDR), Brent Fariss, “Four Environments….Collapsing.”
KSE #189 (CDR), Nick Hennies, “Objects.”
KSE #175 (CDR), Alfred 23 Harth, “Micro-Saxo-Phone, Edition III.”
KSE #201 (CDR), Andreas Brandal, “Disturbing The Dust.”
3″ mini-cdr’s ($5.00 each, ppd.)
note: we have released the final cdr in the 3″ format (ST 37) and will allow these to sell out and go out of print as we enter 2012; they will not be re-pressed ever, so get the ones you want NOW…
KSE #205 , ST 37, “K B D P”
KSE #203, R. LEE DOCKERY, “Live at the Salvage Vanguard Theater”
KSE #196 , SMOKEY EMERY, “Incident at Town Lake”
KSE #202, BOOK OF SHADOWS, “Poppets and Strings”
KSE #204, XANTHOCEPHALUS, “3 W B.”
KSE #198 ( 3-inch CDR), MATAMOROS (R. Lee Dockery and Derek Rogers), “Five-Toned Rows”
KSE #191 (3-inch CDR), Massimo Magee & Tim Green, “Direct To Tape.”
KSE #200 (3-inch CDR), Alfred 23 Harth/Soojung Kae/Chang U Choi, “Red Canopy.”
KSE #194 (3-inch CDR), Venison Whirled, “Xibalba.”
As always, KSE thanks you for your support of independent artists, writers, and musicians, those who bypass the established and hypocritical “alternative” publishing and distribution channels. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!