book reviews with michael basinski





As a Boy - by Luc Fierens.
- Published by anabasis.xtant - 1-930259-35-2.
Oyesterville WA usa 98641-0216 // Charlottesville, VA usa 22903-9707.
About $10.00 or $11.95.

     This is a book of thirteen (13) word collages by Fluxus entrepreneur from Belgium and mail-artist Luc Fierens, who has also now edited close to or more than 50 Post-Fluxus books. The works herein are, so to speak, composed of shards of dictionary pages (must be Flemish, which I can only read as English – now, this makes it even more fun! Instant sound poem!), images torn form other sources, a few drawn and other appropriated images, some cut out words and written words in English and the four or five slabs of material then joined create a seemingly spontaneous, populace juxtaposed paper page sculpture that is the poem. A Fluxus poem, or Fluxes derivative poem, let’s say. The poems and they are poems, poems meant to be engaged as poems, are intermedial, unformal and unpurest. They are just fantastic. These works place Fierens among a handful of poetic pioneers engaging Fluxus notions that are usually entirely unused in poetic composition. How to read these works remains an open question. They are therefore of indeterminate direction. The chance fashion in which one reads these works allows the reader full participation in the poetry. These works are then a type of map without direction – in fact there is a shard of map in the title poem collage. Left with only a palate of language and images to read (the images must be read as are the words) each mouth is then an instrument of poetry (not the arrogance of the frozen poem locked in form and overly buffed with the ego of poet). One must eat these works with eye and mouth and ear to totally swallow their playful, delightful potential and sheer sheet simple beauty. For Fierens art does not involve ego, because it is about the creative and how the creative can service all imaginations. Jim Leftwich adds an afterworld that further places the works in context and Fierens vita closes the text and this vita offers ample proof to his commitment to the progressive in poetry.

TOP

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HAT – a one-page magazine - edited by Ross Priddle.
Imp press, 21 Valleyview Drive SW, Medicine Hat, Alberta, E1A 7K5. Canada. $15.00 is the subscription price.

     Master of the single page magazine Ross Priddle’s latest manifestation is HAT! Or maybe just Hat. Already he is past 21 issues. Glorious it is that he publishes visual poetry. He has captured a community and forms a network of poets who see and make the work of their community. It is such anchors as Priddle who make poetry live and allows it to develop. Obviously, Priddle doesn’t wine (but maybe he drinks it) about gigantic presses like Vi(stin)king, Heathcourt, Brassed and JohnovicOvic, etc. publishing poetry or the distributtion of it or not of it. Or remaindered books. Or sales or number of copies and the like and dislike and distaste and horrible business of poetry taste on the lips and mouth! Like ammonia or elephant crag or crap. Nope. Simple and clear he has measured the network of the poetry for which he has deep affection and is thereby infected with its poetics and then because the spirit of it is in him he makes this magazine, this thing of pearl beauty for those guests at his table. Take your hat off or put your hat on and don’t forget your hat or lose it. Hat’s off to R. Priddle.

TOP

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Root Doctor - by Jack Saunders.
Jack Saunders, Garage Band Books, Box 10501, Panama City, FL. 32404. $5.00 available by mail only. Jacksaunders@bellsouth.net or visit www.dailybulletin.com to see a book a month, serialized online, daily, as it is being written.

     Jack Saunders, AKA, Word Mechanic, Do-it-yourself Historian of Americana Music Band Dread Clampitt. That’s what is written beneath the title of this book. Jack S.’s card reads: WARNING: Their shit don’t stink. Jack Saunders Vernacular Writer. Certainly, I have encountered books by Jack Saunders about, but I usually don’t read prose much these days, why with television and wine and escaping mental abilities flying like birds or butterflies out the widow. But this one called to me so I sitted me self down and said, self, read on and find out something about Saunders. So Jack S. is America’s relentless and endless writer of prose. He writes in a free floating, yet coherent and playful, stream of conscience style, if I might be so bold to say that. And, as all prolific writers, all that comes into his field as a human finds itself transmogrified via art into his art – prose and prosy poetry and prose prose. One might write, considering Jack Saunders, a prose is a prose is a prose. What is most marvelous to this humble reader is really the command that prose has on JS. So clear and wide is the avenue between the real and the imagination that it is one porous avenue. I am in awe. Now, as me said, Saunders must have a stack of writing ten feet high or long. Contact him. Be in touch with the writer. Pay him the five and not let that $5 go to some hotdog reading the New York Times and sipping hot milk.

TOP

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Murderous Signs. - C/o The Grunge Papers.
   PO Box 20517, 390 Rideau St. Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1A3 Canada. Web: home.achilles.net/~grunge/msigns - Email: grungepapers@sympatico.ca

     Well, this is Issue No.8 of Murderous Signs in these bony fingers this AM. It has an ISSN number: 1499-6006. And the poems within are quite good. The editor is Grant Wilkens and I must give him a slap on the back for spending the time to gather up this work. And he pays 3 cents a word! He’s got an ear for the poem. A tough job he must have carving this issue and each issue out of the mountain of ice and shit that must get shoved into his mail slot. Ouch! So hold on Grant. We are with you in Rockland. Now good reader: Don’t send Grant crap because he wills send it back. Ouch. But read his mag. There are only two contributors to this issue T. Anders Carson and James P. McAuliffe. T. is good and deep and the works mirror his ability to ponder and his art is sharp and precise. I prefer the works of McAuliffe in this here issue No. 8. Maybe because he writes:

blood
fear
belonging
longing
lust


or maybe because he writes:

bomb the libraries with poetry
leave poems in books and files
stuff one in a video or a record
leave books among the books


     Reading poetry is, of course, a performance and taking it to the next level like hiding it where others can find it. Ah. He has got it. And when you are out and about leaving poetry here and there in libraries, you should leave a copy of Murderous Signs there also. So get some extra copies. Can you imagine the mind of a 13-year-old finding real poetry! Converts, we need converts.

TOP

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Remark (print edition) - guest edited by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal.
$5.00. See also www.remarkpoetry.net

     Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal is the guest editor and editor of Remark’s first print in paper appearance (before it was only E) and he writes in letter that he got good reviews and bad reviews and someone called him mad. Mad is good. I grew up reading Mad magazine. Now I read Remark. One of the best things about small press is that it is OK to be bad and mad in the eyes of the holy toad of taste. With badness in the brown eye of the cow of poetry comes true progress and poetic innovation and evolution. Luis – good work! Each editor and each poet must always have some badness. And some goodness. Mostly in this mag, MAD mag, is all goodness. Oh Hell – there is no bad here at all. Not bad like the Toad Cow rear of the precious poem sack crowd says bad meaning flat champagne. This bad is good. Good beer. Good paperclips! Good slivers and boils on the ass of god! Good that Bush will be unelected (not soon enough). ((If you keeps Bush in office you can kiss mags like this and this goodness good bye!)). But now Luis has brought together this grand cast of poets: You know Alan Catlin and A. D. Winans cause they are regulars at the bar. But check here Bradley Mason Hamlin’s CAVEMAN HAIKU:

skeleton bones breathe
nightmare dreams and from blood bone
she hates cave paintings


     Yes, that is the vibration of poems here contained in this can of beer poetry and others be: Jacob Evens’s: 3 Ugly Pigeons and the works of Peter Magliocco. The magazine is focused on the poetics of small press: depiction of the strange which is beautiful and heavy urban pathology of USA; unabashedly resentful of the maniplativeness of MFA programs and the arrogance and conservatism of poets cloistered like worms in the intestines of the academic college (most university administrators could care less about poetry – no surprise – so why be arrogant? Well – is it because you don’t have to drive a delivery truck for UPS!) and a fearless use of the common, melodramatic and ethical. So there.

TOP

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monster Poems - by Mark Hartenbach
16 pp., $3. order author direct - 240 Thompson Avenue, East Liverpool, OH 43920 - fingerprintpress, PO Box 5473, Deptford, NJ 09096.

If you know Mark Hartenbach's poems you know that they are as intense as, well, it is like that moment before your car hits the wall when you are being chased by the cops; or it is that last drink before you step outside to face the world on fire; or are you gunna get sent to Iraq; or it is that last smoke you have on New Year's Eve and you know the rest of your existence is going to be a painful, poisonous battle; or coming home and your soulmate has spilled your bookcase all around the apartment and she is gone; or working an ant out of your eye. His poetry expresses this tremendous inner life struggle between good. and evil in religious terms and still remains true to the vitality and energy of small press poetry. He is alone in the wilderness of the soul exposing, the horror of real meat evil with his words. Ah yes, evil is everywhere and in all shapes and sizes and forms. The poems in this book, which seem like one raging and roaring big poem, are perhaps the pinnacle of his Moses up on the hill pronouncement. Damn, his poetry has been up there on the mount and he sees! No evil can hide from Hartenbach! And as poems, well just: Wow! This is a slide down the razor blade and into a boiling pool of acid of spiritual life! I have always thought the small press produces the only real ethical poetry in America. Hartenbach extends this notion from the sociological and moral deep into the dark spiritual battle that all of us monkeys engage each and every day - and twice on Sunday.

TOP

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

you know how it goes - by ron androla - art by filipski
16 pp., $5. order author direct: 2407 raspberry st, erie, PA 43920 - fingerprintpress/ co-editor Rank Stranger Press

     There is by far too much poetry that fits an agenda. This agenda and that language and the Fifth or Sixth generatic of this or that New York School agenda and so forth and forth. No one is speaking. So how is it done, a poet to be, that is? Work third shift in a plastic factory, live in Erie Pennsylvania, and support yourself - that's a way - but not because it is a pose and the cameras are clicking and you're licking the gum out of the crevices of some rich kid's Eastern coast college sneakers. That's the first thing that comes to mind when someone says Ron Androla, poet - and when you read one of his books, like You Know How It Goes, it is an original home-made pie or pile of pancakes solo, only, high-flying voice, that can't be concerned with anything but a pound of butter on the pancakes and words forming poems forming books forming decades of writing original, brain tickling, soul slicing, truth barfing, intellectual popsicle prodding poems. It is a cold wind America you feel pierces your sleepy eyes with one of his works like "An Amerikan Poem." I was talking with a friend and he said, "Out of that whole group Androla is the best." And I said, "I know." An if there are outlaw poets, and there are, then there's gotta be outlaw artists: Jeff Filipski did the graphic art for this book.

TOP

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

michael basinski
Michael Basinski
The Associate Curator of The Poetry/Rare Books Collection SUNY at Buffalo

     He performs his work as a solo poet and in ensemble with the EBMA and BuffFluxus. Among his many books of poetry are Heka (Factory School); Strange Things Begin to Happen When a Meteor Crashes in the Arizona Desert (Burning Press); Cnyttan and Heebie-Jeebies (Meow Press); Un-Nome, Red Rain Two and Flight to the Moon (Run Away Spoon Press); Poemeserss (Structum Press) and many more. His publications are available through Small Press Distribution: http://www.rchrd.com/Oliver/spd.html
     His poems and other works have appeared in Dandelion, BoxKite, Antennae, Unbearables Magazine, Open Letter, Torgue, Leopold Bloom, Wooden Head Review, Basta, Kiosk, Explosive Magazine, Deluxe Rubber Chicken, First Offense, Terrible Work, Juxta, Kenning, Witz, Lungfull, Lvng, Generator, Tinfish, Curicule Patterns, Score, Unarmed, Rampike, First Intensity, House Organ, Ferrum Wheel, End Note, Ur Vox and many others,  

• XEROLAGE 31 •
text within text splattered & exhumed by the venerable hand
of this master of graphism...

Send books and magazines for review to:
Michael Basinski
Poetry/Rare Books Collection
420 Capen Hall
SUNY at Buffalo
Bflo. New York 14260

include all info you want posted with your review:
name, address, press, email,
website (if available) and price

MORE BASINSKI -

• basinski essays on visual poetry
• PROGRAM 15: BUFFFLUX
• PROGRAM 9: MICHAEL BASINSKI
• basinski @ mp3.com
• Basinski at Harvard
• Muse Apprentice Guild (M.A.G.)
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURED WRITER
- huge basinski section/selection
• online exhibition


| basinski book reviews library archives |

grafitti messageboard

interview | website | website | email | to forum | BACK
© 1998-2004 - book reviews by michael baskinski / the-hold.com - all rights reserved
[ TOP ]