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Archive for September 2017

The Camel’s Pedestal, Poems 2009–2017 by Anne Tardos Now Available!

There is a splendid lucidity to Tardos’s writing, a jesting, inquisitive spirit nimbly examining the relationship between language and reality in inventive articulations that jingle with wit and perceptivity. Lines like “I am lost in a desert of my own making” and “Do words work as wood works” juggle phenomenology, advancing what Tardos observes as “the true state of things expressed in phenomena but inexpressible in language.” Contradiction, paradox, incongruity; it’s all here, the entire caravan of linguistic apparatus crossing the dunes of this enigma, this desolation of self-awareness, this epistemology of dromedaries on the very edge of things. This collection is well-crafted, precise, imaginative, clear. I feel a great intelligence moving among these words. It’s exhilarating. This is the kind of work that inspires me.

—John Olson

Free-ranging, intelligent, a poetry of wit and survival—to be “crazy not to go crazy” and not going crazy and making art in the face of that: “finally taking a stand” . . . “there is no shortage of things to do on the path to a better life” and “letting things be,” “tip-toeing around the good and the terrible”—it's so good to be taken to the source so lightly, so often, without eliding the brutal, the complex, the incomprehensible or the gorgeous. This is the book that does that. Reader, read on . . .

—Maurice Scully

Anne Tardos, French-born American poet, is the author of ten books of poetry, and editor of three collections of poetry by Jackson Mac Low. Her work has been translated and published in dozens of anthologies and journals around the world. Tardos pioneered a unique multilingual writing style, often complementing her texts with video stills, photographs, and collages. Her writing is renowned for its fluid use of multiple languages and its innovative forms. She has worked in numerous media, creating performance pieces, radio plays, videos, and musical compositions. Her multilingual and multimedia works have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the West German Radio, WDR; the XLIV Venice Biennale; and in many international sound poetry festivals, including Festival La Bâtie, Geneva; text-ljud Festival, Stockholm; Scene Wien, Vienna; and Zwischentoene, Cologne. Since moving to New York in 1966, she maintained lifelong friendships with artists Richard Lindner, Saul Steinberg, Sam Francis, Larry Rivers, Vito Acconci, Ay-O, John Cage, Judith Malina, Simone Forti, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, George Maciunas; art dealer Felix Landau, architects Vally and Serge Sabarsky; poets Jackson Mac Low (longtime partner and collaborator), Jerome Rothenberg, Lyn Hejinian, Anne Waldman, Robert Creeley, and other figures of the New York avant-garde.
A Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Tardos lives in New York City with her husband, the composer Michael Byron.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 104 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-295-2

$16

 
 
 

The Camel’s Pedestal, Poems 2009–2017 by Anne Tardos Book Preview

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My Grunge of 1991 by Dennis Etzel Jr. Now Available!

Dennis Etzel Jr.'s precise prose poetry examines injustice, Star Trek, George Bush's oft-ridiculous internal monologue, and a vague, nebulous past. Didacticism is just another device in My Grunge of 1991, one that makes technical yet poetic points about feminism and the nature of utopia. Etzel also challenges the idea of pure art, instead using his meanders to promote a utopia to be striven for. But "Does the Reader know the Watcher is watching him read as he reads about the Watcher?" Tune in to accompany Etzel as he interrogates our surveillance state.

—Amy King, The Missing Museum


Like the smart My Secret Wars of 1984, Dennis Etzel Jr.'s My Grunge of 1991 sings with intensity. Collaging pop culture, feminist scholarship, and politics from that year, these prose poems question. Etzel asks, “You doubt my honor as a warrior?” and “Who made my home a McHome?” If in Fast-Food Sonnets, Etzel explores the meaning of customer service work, here Etzel turns the focus to the ways culture works on the self. Reading this new collection is a lovely disorientating echo of dictions that transport. Like a Kansas tornado with its resonating swirl, readers of My Grunge of 1991 land among Happy Meals, Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, and Desert Storm coverage. In the muzak, grunge stars Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Nirvana voice and scream. With lines arranged alphabetically across 75 poems, My Grunge of 1991 offers a sound answer to Dana Gioia’s 1991 question, Can Poetry Matter? With a poet’s ear like Etzel, it can.

—Laura Madeline Wiseman, Through a Certain Forest


Within the poem, “a list of alphabetized semblances for keeping track of occurrences out of post-trauma,” the speaker negotiates a way between quotations. Even pre-9/11, “we [were] no longer safe,” so he cloaks himself in “Grunge music, comic books, and Star Trek.” Amidst the dystopia of the First Gulf War, Dennis Etzel, Jr. brilliantly imagines a utopia where “there are no boy or girl Happy Meal toys – only Hot Wheels or Barbie.” In other words, this absorbing prose-poem sequence is an inoculation against – and hope for – the present.

—Joseph Harrington, Of Some Sky


In My Grunge of 1991, the mix is all: the combo of high and low, public and private, your life & her life & theirs, all at once, an intersectionality of those bold prosperous times (for some) and the madness below and in between—of a Bush war, a Happy Meal land filled with “boy” and “girl” toys: Hotwheels, Barbies. Both clever and tender-hearted (and “woke”), this collection allows a steady gaze at what the early ‘90s and Dennis have wrought.

—Kevin Rabas, Songs for My Father, Kansas Poet Laureate, 2017-19


Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has an MFA from The University of Kansas, and an MA and Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies from Kansas State University. He has two chapbooks, The Sum of Two Mothers (ELJ Publications 2013) and My Graphic Novel (Kattywompus Press 2015). His first poetic memoir My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX 2015) was selected by The Kansas City Star as a Best Poetry Book of 2015. Fast-Food Sonnets (Coal City Review Press 2016) is a 2017 Kansas Notables Book selected by the State of Kansas Library. In addition to My Grunge of 1991, This Removed Utopia (Spartan Press 2017) was published in 2017 as part of the Kaw Valley Poetry Series. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others. He is a TALK Scholar for the Kansas Humanities Council and leads poetry workshops in various Kansas spaces. Please feel free to connect with him at dennisetzeljr.com.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-297-6

$16

 
 

My Grunge of 1991 by Dennis Etzel, Jr. Book Preview 

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CHARLES BORKHUIS ON DEAD RINGER @ Dichtung Yammer

 September 2, 2017

EXCHANGE WITH CHARLES BORKHUIS ON DEAD RINGER

Thomas Fink and Angela Bisceglia

 

Thomas Fink: Dead Ringer (BlazeVox, 2017), one of your two new books of poetry, is not the title of one of the poems or even one of the six sections in the book. It possesses a fertile ambiguity (i.e. resemblance or telephone feature) that brings out the life in an old cliché. What motivated the selection of this title?

Charles Borkhuis: Well, like most jumps of the literary imagination there is the flash of an off-center fit or happy dislocation, in this case from title to book. I like your association of Dead Ringer to the interruptive ringing of a telephone, perhaps while someone is reading Dead Ringer. Who is on the other end? A loved one? A wrong number? Do I answer or not? What was the last word I was reading? This can be a provocative and enchanting spark of irritation and illumination like the scream of steam, or the bubbling over of reality into the throes of uncertainty. The insistence of the moment repeats itself, incessantly ringing time by the neck, at once an invitation and a meditation. I once wrote a play called Sunspots in which a man receives a phone call from his dead wife. But that’s another story, or the same story that keeps ringing.

I’ve heard that in the 19th century sometimes the dead were buried with bells in their coffins, so that if they had been mistakenly interred alive, they might wake up and ring the bell. Poe might have been delighted by such an ending. These days one could imagine a cell phone placed on the chest of the deceased because as Robert Desnos says in the last lines of The Great Days of the Poet “… one never knows.”

On another level, Dead Ringer refers to someone who is the “spitting image” of someone else. And that’s a delightful linguistic wordplay in itself. Why “spitting image” and not the more obvious “splitting image”? Does that refer to someone who is close enough to get hit by my spit or someone spit out of my mouth? Origins are always somewhat uncertain because they keep spitting and splitting. I don’t know and don’t want to know past a certain point. I’d rather let the linguistic associations have a good time crossing paths in the subways of my effluvium. Another detour perhaps, another double, or phone ringing in a dream. Pick up sticks. The theme of “the double” appears throughout Dead Ringer, especially in the first section of the book, The Dopplegänger’s Double, which brings up the question of identity, mistaken or otherwise. The Dopplegänger’s Double might be the bounce back of oneself in the mirror, which is to say the flesh and blood you, whoever that may be.

Some people have said that at times the voices in this book appear to be written from the pov of a dead man, or someone in the bardo state, or a ghost haunting the everyday world. This is not altogether untrue and brings to mind some film noir voiceovers in which a character tells a flashback story of the incidents leading up to his death. And here I am reminded of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau quote: “I can truly say that I did not begin to live until I saw myself as a deadman.” I would just add that gallows humor does not go idle in this book, but perhaps taken to another level, it offers a certain amusing upliftment. Mortality, after all, can go in many directions. Alfred Jarry on his deathbed reportedly asked for a toothpick. Just for the record, Dead Ringer was a 1964 film with Bette Davis and Dead Ringers was made in 1988 with Jeremy Irons.

Read The Whole Interview Here

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'Descent of the Dolls,’ at Guild Hall - mentioned on Newsmax

 Poets Jeffery Conway, Gillian McCain and David Trinidad

Poets Jeffery Conway, Gillian McCain and David Trinidad will do a dramatic reading of their book "Descent of the Dolls" featuring clips from the movie "Valley of the Dolls" at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Sept. 12. Photo Credit: BlazeVox Books

Guild Hall is about to take some poetic license with “Valley of the Dolls.”

“Descent of the Dolls,” a book of poetry inspired by the 1967 camp movie classic starring Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins and Sharon Tate as three women seduced by men, drugs and Hollywood, will be presented as a staged reading at the East Hampton theater on Sept. 12. Jeffery Conway, Gillian McCain and David Trinidad, who penned the poems, will read as clips from the movie play throughout the program.

Think of the event as Dante meets Jacqueline Susann, author of “Valley of the Dolls,” which has sold more than 31 million copies since it came out in 1966. “Descent of the Dolls” is written entirely in cantos, and features odes to the characters as well as the real-life actors from the film — a whole section is devoted to “Valley” girl Duke’s pop music efforts. There are also references to Joan Crawford, Allen Ginsberg and “The Andy Griffith Show.” Valley Stream even pops up.

The event is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a spot, go to give.guildhall.org/JDTLab or call 631-324-0806.

Read the whole article here

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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr