A coupla quick notes here, rushing off to the studio to cut my first stand-up album.
First, again a big thanks to Reb Livingston & Elieen Tabios. Reb, one of the hardest working poets on behalf of poets (and non-poet readers of poetry, all 40 of them), finished up curating a month of Recommended Summer Readings. This is a cool list of recommendations from contributors to the No Tell journal; as I mentioned briefly, but it was buried in an email-like post, the service provides me--and so I suspect you--with various lists of books that might otherwise go unnoticed but that are nonetheless exciting. Not that Occultations fits that description necessarily, but I appreciate the shout-out from mega-reader and editor, also one of the hardest working poets on behalf of others thru Galatea Resurrects, Eileen Tabios, for choosing Occultations as one of the titles she recommended. Since I live in a place of perpetual winter (yes, the U.S., but I mean Olympia WA), it's nice to be reminded of the seasons too. Thanks much to both.
Mark Lamoureux's Spectre is about to be released thru Black Radish Books and I can't wait to read it. His Astrometry Organon (BlazeVox 2008) I love, and pretty much every wild poem I've read of his I love. Do check out his work--some is available online thru poetry journals. Any case, look out for this book, which editors have told me is really, really good. More on Spectre soon.
Second, just found out, as our new issue, No. 9 (which includes a re-issue of the PRESS Anthology), is finally about to be published, that Wheelhouse Magazine contributor Summer Block won the Million Writers Award, First Prize, 2010 for her prose piece "Hospitality." Many thanks to Jason Sanford, the judges, and Story South, for nominating the story as one of their top ten of the web of 2009, and then to readers for voting for the piece as their favorite. I am quite partial to it, of course. Congrats to Summer Block, whose poetry is quite good too, I might add.
Last, check this out. Rachel Zolf has new video readings over at PennSound. Just listened while on break. Highly recommended. Speaking of past and future (next issue) Wheelhouse contributors. Of course, well beyond that, Rachel's one of the finest poets writing today, and her new Neighbour Procedure is I think her best book to date, which is saying quite a bit given the depth & innovation of her earlier work. This and Rachel Levitsky's Neighbor would certainly be my top two recommended readings this summer, especially given the borders both cross and blur in strangely complimentary ways. And CA Conrad & Frank Sherlock's The City Real & Imagined. And pretty much the whole Heretical Texts series this year--Simone White, Allison Cobb, Jules Boykoff, Frank Sherlock's Here (which I'm reading right now), each of the books by these authors I've come back to and have carried with me. And then of course there's the incredible Remember to Wave by Kaia Sand. And Brenda Iijima's Revv. you'll--ution. And Dottie Lasky's Black Life. And Eleni Stecopolous' Armies of Compassion. And Marthe Reed's Gaze. Well, fuck it, I need to stop writing. Too much to read, so too much to write. Is the problem. Right now I'm reading, in addition to Frank's new book, a wonderful book by Emily Carr from Furniture Press, Directions for Flying. More on that in another post.
What I mean to express is that, since getting the SPD newsletter today, when scrolling thru the titles and wanting to get nearly everything, realizing I am also pretty broke, I both lamented and celebrated the fact that poetry books, and readings for that matter, are not like visual artworks, which can at least be studied via facsimile (ok, there's Eclipse, etc., but not much out there, right?). I thanked the gift economy that is poetry, then cursed it (I get amazing books for free from extraordinary and kind people, and give out, well, my books for free, but poetry is, after all, someone's labor, so I do want to buy the books I receive). But mainly I complained about free-marketeers and their big houses and shitty books today without doing much of anything about it. And connected, I also resent the giveaway bins at local libraries (bless them), or rather, those who donate the books: the books are usually terrible. Thankfully I don't read very much because I have always read--and written--slowly... Does this feeling ever, per chance, wash over you?