Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

August 13, 2009

KSE #142, PLINK, PLONK & SCRATCH, now available!

             KSE #142,     BILL  SHUTE,     PLINK ,  PLONK  &  SCRATCH         

      (Sound Library Series, Volume 46)


One of two paired chapbooks for August 2009, both dedicated to the late SKY SUNLIGHT SAXON. This six-page, six-section poem began as a Sound Library volume inspired by the pointillistic free-improv of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and was going to be my poetic attempt to echo that technique in words. It still is to some extent, at least sections 2-5.  However, as Sky Sunlight Saxon became a presence in Austin, Texas, in the spring of 2009, he somehow entered my consciousness and found his way into my thoughts for this piece. Then when Sky passed away suddenly in June 2009, I felt that I needed to dedicate this work to his memory AND to make him a physical presence in it, which I did in the sixth section. So what you have is a work framed with the specifics of Texas life circa 2009—-the gaybashing incident at Chico’s in El Paso, Dylan’s Never Ending Tour’s recent stops in Lubbock and Corpus Christi, Governor Rick Perry’s strange comments about Texas seceding from the United States, the ignorant comments of so many Texans on the subject of health care reform, the hunger among Texans for college football to start again in the Fall—-and building up to Sky Sunlight Saxon’s appearance in Austin in the Spring of 2009 and how that affected those of us who noticed it (and those who did not notice it) and how it fit into the overall picture. In between is a series of closely observed, pointillistic studies, animated by Sky’s spirit, that grow out of the hundred-degree-plus summer heat. The epigraph this time is from Keith Waldrop:

I begin now to write down all the places I have not been—-

 starting with the most distant.                              

I build houses that I will not inhabit.

                                                           (from “Poet”, 1997)

Another word about the unique free-improv aesthetic of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, the aesthetic that animates this work. SME founder-mainman John Stevens always emphasized a LISTENING-based improvisational model. At the time of FACE TO FACE, the SME had been pared down to a duo, John Stevens on percussion (and occasional cornet, used in a coloristic manner), and Trevor Watts on soprano saxophone, an incredibly terse and elliptical soprano saxophone. In his liner notes to the album, John Stevens  wrote:  Face to Face means exactly that. When Trevor and I perform it, we are seated to enable the drums and the saxophone to be approximately on the same level. We face each other and play at each other, allowing the music to take place somewhere in the middle. This is very much an outward process. We are trying to be a total ear to the other player, allowing our own playing to be of secondary importance, apart from something that enables the other player to follow the same process—-the main priority being to hear the other player totally. I feel that as a poet, particularly in THIS piece, I am engaged in a similar process, although my partners are both my immediate environment and the blank open-field poetic page, the three of us comprising a SPONTANEOUS POETRY TRIO.  Or not…

I owned a copy of the original Emanem Records vinyl LP back in the 70s, when I was in highschool, and played the grooves off it. Emanem has reissued the album now on CD, with extra material from the same period. You can purchase one at  .

In the US, you can get any three KSE chaps for $10 postpaid. Might I suggest this one, accompanied by its partner chapbook, A. J. Kaufmann’s SYMBOLISME PSYCHEDELIQUE, and Zachary C. Bush’s new and awesome SPIN. Send a check (or well-concealed cash) made payable to Bill Shute, 14080 Nacogdoches Rd. #350, San Antonio, Texas, 78247.  Outside the US, you can get any book for $5 postpaid, payable via paypal. Just write to django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com and request a paypal invoice.

We have a number of other chaps still available, although about half of these are down to the last few copies so I’ll be deleting a number of them in a few weeks…act now!

#139, A. J. KAUFMANN, antiquewhite rain (sound library series, volume 45) ;

#140, BILL SHUTE, subtraction ;

#137, ALEATHIA DREHMER, circles ;

#134, RONALD BAATZ, headlights from the otherside of the world ;

#138, BILL SHUTE, the stumble (sound library series, volume 44) ;

#132, DOUG DRAIME, knox county (photographs by Lena Ozuna) ;

#135,  BILL SHUTE, stereo action (sound library series, volume 42) ;

#130,  MISTI RAINWATER-LITES, odd years ;

#126,  MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH, grey rage (dyed) ;

#127,  BRAD KOHLER, dog nights, dog days ;

#129,  MIRA HORVICH / BILL  SHUTE, suspension ;

#119,  A. J. KAUFMANN, satori in berlin (x-berg songs) ;

#133,  BILL SHUTE, this day without (sound library series, volume 41) ;

#131,  BILL SHUTE, acres (sound library series, volume 40) ;


#116,  MISTI RAINWATER-LITES, next exit: ten .

As always, thanks for your support of contemporary poetry, small presses, and KSE, now in our FOURTH calendar year of operation, having issued 144 chapbooks in that time by nearly FORTY poets. Stay tuned for write-ups on the other two August releases, A. J. Kaufmann’s SYMBOLISME PSYCHEDELIQUE and Zachary C. Bush’s SPIN.

August 6, 2009

August 2009 reflections



Gustave Dore, “Daniel in the Lion’s Den”

Back now from my third and final trip of the last 4 months, this time to Denton and Galveston to help my son Eric move. I picked up some kind of bug at the tail end of the trip (perhaps from the polluted brown Gulf of Mexico water I swam in?), and after returning to San Antonio on Monday to a tedious eleven-hour day of jury duty, I’m now resting at home and nursing this cough/cold, which is giving me a much-needed break from my job, my writing and KSE editing/publishing, etc.

Just yesterday Zachary C. Bush sent me the final edit of his new SPIN chapbook, which is actually part one of a two-book sequence. ZCB read me these poems aloud when I visited him and Krista in Jersey City in May, and I was blown away by them. I don’t feel that articulate today, so I won’t attempt to describe them…wait for the blurb when the book is released in a week or two. All I can say is that these poems represent a new level in Zachary’s writing which is, paradoxically, both more complex and more accessible than some of his earlier work. It’s deeply rooted in his Southern background, which he seems to have adequate distance from (now that he’s in NY/NJ) to write about in a detached yet rich manner. I love these poems, and I will be proud to share them—-and the second volume, which will follow in a few months—-with the KSE readers.

Working with A. J. Kaufmann is always a joy, and I have three things to discuss about that. First, A. J. and I have just issued our two chapbooks dedicated to the late Sky Sunlight Saxon: A. J.’s SYMBOLISME PSYCHEDELIQUE (KSE #143), and my own PLINK, PLONK & SCRATCH (KSE #142). I’ll have a post about each one soon. Here they are:


Second, I’m in the middle of our collaboration BLUES FOR DUFFY POWER, which you can expect in September, I hope.

blues for duffy power

One of the images I’m using throughout is that of bluesman as prophet, as the shaman-Jeremiah in the wilderness truth-telling to a people who aren’t listening. With that in mind, I’ve been re-visiting a number of Old Testament prophets, starting with the 12 “minor” prophets (I got an excellent book on that subject while in Ruidoso, NM), and also Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel, which I’ve been working my way through recently (thus the Dore artwork above). Page five of DUFFY POWER, the mid-point or “pivot” in the piece,  will echo the dreams/visions found in Daniel. Like yours truly, A. J. Kaufmann is interested in the formalistic aspects of poetry, and I must say we have devised a unique structure for this chapbook, which will probably be a nine-page work. I won’t give the structure away at this point.

Thirdly, A. J. and I have another long-term collaborative project that we’ve begun work on, a chapbook inspired by the painting of CY TWOMBLY, and which attempts to mirror in poetic form the structural and thematic aspects of Twombly’s artwork. When I visited the Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston earlier this year, I just knew I had to attempt something like this, as Twombly’s work—-collected in a beautiful museum devoted ENTIRELY to this one artist and organized into thematic rooms each of which presents multiple related artworks—-took my breath away. A. J. was familiar with CT’s work and was excited to join me on this project. This is a long-term project and I doubt you’ll be seeing it until late 2009 or early 2010, but projects of this type require a lot of preparation and background study. I hope the end result will be worth it.

In other KSE news, I have the completed manuscript now for MK Chavez and Mira Horvich’s PINNACLE chap


which will be out in September, and also Misti Rainwater-Lites’ new VEGAS THE HARD WAY chap that will be out in October. Both of these are newly written multi-poem suites, composed especially for the KSE format. They are important new works from two of the nation’s finest working poets. And only $4 each in the US ($5 elsewhere). How can you go wrong with that?

Well, in honor of the late, great, one-time El Paso resident Raymond Carver (who was a friend of my first wife Kathleen when he lived in EP…read her excellent article about him in an old issue of the Hollins Critic), I think I’ll take a swig of Ny-Quil, and then get back to Daniel, who just survived that night in the lion’s den and is back having dreams and visions again. Maybe if I take a second swig of the Ny-Quil I’ll have some of my own…


ps, there’s a new review of my FACE TO FACE (KSE #101) chapbook over at Michael Aaron Casares’  “Over Your Radar”  blog. You can read it here:

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