Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

September 19, 2015

new poetry chapbook from BILL SHUTE, “MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY” (KSE #306)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 2:09 pm



poetry chapbook, KSE #306

composed in February 2015, issued in September 2015

edition of 41 copies


($6 US ppd   /   $7 elsewhere ppd)

payment via paypal to    django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com

Please include a note with your paypal order including the items ordered AND your mailing address (which Paypal often fails to provide me)….thanks!


MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY is the third and final chapbook in a series composed in Jan-Feb 2015 during and immediately after my weeks spent in Southwest Louisiana. LINES AND FINES and SATORI IN LAKE CHARLES (the first and second works in that series) have been getting an enthusiastic response from readers (thanks!), so this seemed like a good time to complete the sequence.

As I continue to produce new works year after year, I sometimes think back to my teens and twenties, when I read voraciously the avant-garde works of the then-past, and I sometimes wonder how those works inform and find their way into the pieces I write today. As I was proofing this MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY text for publication, I was reminded of the novelist John Hawkes, especially his second novel, THE BEETLE LEG, which I read a number of times. Hawkes’s writing in that book consisted of rich poetic passages written in a post-Melville flow, passages that contained extreme close-ups which seemed on the surface to be divorced from an understandable context or continuity, but which had a kind of continuity of tone and which worked on the level of a montage sequence in a film. Hawkes later evolved into novels with a strong erotic element and which tended to be more accessible, but the early works such as THE BEETLE LEG and THE CANNIBAL still are lodged just out of reach in my long-term memory, but planted deep enough to provide me with some kind of faded set of directions which I half-remember and which I use as the base for my own literary gumbo. I’ve never been the world’s biggest Harold Bloom fan, but he was onto something with THE ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE, and the above explanation is how the process works with me. Of course, we’re talking about in many cases there being 30+ years between the reading and the influence. When I was in my 20’s and closer to the source, I tended to write LIKE the writers I admired, whether it be Kerouac or Hawkes or Stein or Richard Wright or Paul Blackburn or whatever. In a sense, the distance has made all the difference. I’ve always felt that the poetic quality in any form of writing comes out of life experience, not out of books, although literary study  can help one to interpret and spin the life experience in a more artful and precise manner. Of course, I should point out that MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY will probably not remind ANYONE of John Hawkes’s work….it’s just that something in my memory of Hawkes’s work has been mixed with my own poetic strategy, and that mixture alchemically mutates into MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY. And my poetry, like the BEETLE LEG, is concerned with the question of the title….MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY. As a poet, that’s what I do for a living. That’s the wheel which I constantly re-invent.

beetle leg

So….after that long digression, what do you get in this new poetry chapbook MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY?

Peanut butter flakes from the invisible empire fall from a fluffy sky, while we wear ridiculous uniforms to degrading jobs which we are happy to get, the Austin police quickly (and without calling attention to themselves) quell any potential cracks in the uniformity, the lady next door is saving up for a portion of Renewed Hope In A Jar, British clergymen are solving fictional murders in romanticized small towns, and we’re enjoying truckstop coffee and buttermilk pie on the highway to Debtor’s Prison…but hey, SLOW DOWN and DROP IT TO A LOWER KEY…

Edition of 41 copies, so get your copy now. Only $6 in the US and $7 elsewhere, postpaid. Remember, while these poems may appear in some future collection, this limited KSE hand-made chapbook is the ONLY place you are going to get the works in their original context, with the intended art and formatting and epigraph and font, etc. These works are, literally, from me to you, whoever you are, wherever you may be. Each chapbook is an artifact, something NOT available online and not formatted for your e-reader or tablet or Kindle. When technology crumbles and the powergrid goes down, you can still find a comfortable rock to lean against and read my three-dimensional poetry chapbooks on a lazy afternoon…and discover how some people lived and thought and experienced BACK THEN….  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

While you are picking up a copy of MANIIPULATING AMBIGUITY, while not pick up a few others of our recent KSE poetry releases. My last few chapbooks are almost sold out, so grab them while you can. They are…

satori in lake charles

KSE #302 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Satori In Lake Charles”

KSE #297 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Lines and Fines,” Sound Library Series, Volume 77 

KSE #311 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Liars in a Strange Rainy World: Cassette Poems One”

KSE #313 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Flags No Longer at Half-Mast: Cassette Poems Two,”

Also, don’t hesitate to score a copy of the final installment of Pittsburgh poet Jim D. Deuchars Three Rivers trilogy, truly a major and gravity-defying work!

KSE #301 (poetry chapbook), JIM D. DEUCHARS, “Ohio Connecting Railroad Bridge”

As always, thank you for your support of KSE (both the music and poetry sides of this operation) and of all independent low-fi/DIY artists and arts organizations, proud to be part of the so-called “no-audience underground.”

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