Sunday, May 20, 2007

a nice mention and some news...

in the most recent Fight These Bastards, there is a fine editorial from Michael Kriesel on the state of american haiku where a few GPP poets (and, with the exception of yours truly, damn good writers, period) are mentioned.

here's an excerpt:

Now the bad news. Few academic journals publish haiku...Maybe haiku doesn't lend itself as readily to the MFA mindset of explication/competition. Most of the writers of haiku are at least in middle age. There's also generally a larger spiritual component to haiku, than to some of the other forms of verse I've encountered in academic journals, where the emphasis is often on language and/or experimentation.

There's hope for haiku, though, in certain areas of the small press. Over the last 5-10 years, some of the minimalist-style poets have been trying their hands at short nature poems, and the occasional haiku. Most of these writers are in their early thirties. I think as they get a little older, you'll start to see haiku appear more often in the small press. I look forward to seeing haiku someday by poets Glenn Cooper, Don Winter, Mike James, Shane Jones, Christopher Cunningham and justin.barrett...

I thank Mike for including me in that list, and I agree; the short poem has a tremendous amount of power when done right, as shown by Kriesel's sunnyoutside book Feeding My Heart To The Wind. I'm a fan of the poem that says a great deal in a small space, using exactly the right words in just the right place. Bill Taylor can do it well also.

well, since Mike asked, and because it ties in nicely, here is a bit of a teaser from my new sunnyoutside book Flowers In The Shadow Of The Storm, which I just received and am painting right now. enjoy:

defiance

the skin of an old maple tree
black muscles
tightening
beneath a sheet of cold rain.


the book is gorgeous, a marvel of printing. from the colophon:

The text is set in Minion Pro, which was designed by Robert Slimbach and inspired by the classical typefaces of the Renaissance.

The cover was letterpress-printed on acid-free Fox River Gainsborough Charcoal 80 lb. cover and hand-painted by the author.

The paper is Mohawk Via Smooth Natural 70 lb text, which was made using wind-generated electricity.

Both papers use 30% postconsumer fibers.

Design by David McNamara.

seriously, the thing is a perfect-bound wonder. only 100 copies, each with a different handpainted cover, 62 pp including contents and section headers with 30 poems, this book is an example, along with the work of Bill Roberts, of what dedicated artists in the small press can produce when they really care about quality, production values and the totality of a real goddamn book in a world where such things are all but ignored.

this is no fucking fold and staple chap with wacky colored cardstock from a press named Vomiting Pussy Rock and Roll Publishing or some such bullshit, fake-outlaw, tough-guy pose which is the current trend in the small press (really, the same trend as the journaling, anecdotal poetry school which is a sorry misread of what Buk had to teach in his "regular guy" writing; there is genuine metaphor in the best of what Buk wrote. he also wrote a lot of crap. these poets worship the crap to the exclusion of the metaphor. just because you say "shit" and "fuck" in your poetry doesn't mean you're an "outlaw," kids. also, we know jobs are hard, relationships suck, the man is coming down on us and strippers dance on poles). also, really, who cares? tough or not, outlaw or not, is the poem a fucking POEM? does it touch on the depth and tragedy of the human condition in a way that hasn't been said a hundred times already? does it use language in a clean simple way to reveal larger, more difficult-to-explain truths? is it honest, free of ego? or should it stay on your myspace page diary/blog? or better yet, unwritten? thank the gods for young writers like Kaveh Akbar...

oops. just meant to post a short poem for Mike from the new book.

I hope everyone takes a chance on this book, there is nothing like it in the small press, I promise, and worth every penny. it will be officially released on Thursday, May 24th (and though they won't all be painted by then, most will be).

1 Comments:

Blogger kav said...

Hey, thanks much for the mention - and you're right, Kriesel's article was killer.

You're right about people emulating Buk's crap as well... there ARE better poets to be influenced by!

Oh, and I have a new chap coming out on Vomiting Pussy Rock and Roll Publishing. It's called "Consent Is For Pussies".

Don't hate.

10:45 PM  

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