Friday, April 30, 2010






If you would like to purchase the new booklet, please link here

For the complete Longhouse titles we offer, please link here

Norman's another one of those Pacific coast wild birds, west of Seattle. I edited these poems from almost 100 that were a complete joy to read and sift. It took only one night, easy stuff when poems are this good. The hard part was getting the collection down to its size, which meant leaving great poems on the floor. The poems on the floor are hardy, they all picked up and went back into the woods on strong legs. This collection of two-dozen come off the Sierra trails. Slick rock and moonlight. Welcoming anyone who wishes to come along.

Mountains are a cold and icy place

for someone seeking

fame and fortune,

yet a haven

for an empty-handed wanderer.

Thursday, April 29, 2010




Born and raised in southern California of school teachers ~ with trips to Mexico as a child that rubbed onto his eyes and ears.

We're going to let the singer rest his distinctive song and storytellin' voice and go an instrumental.




photo © bob arnold

Wednesday, April 28, 2010



Do you know the work of Grayson Perry?

Greek pottery meets folk art. Works in the bold coiled method, not thrown.

Came upon pottery as almost a caper. After Punk. Gave it a try. Controversial ceramic vases ensued.

He also has a female alter-ego by the name of "Claire" who shows up in the darnedest places.

Once a wild kid, of course wild because of his sensual orientations, fantasy, past family abuse and struggle... once he started dressing the part/ expressing the part, the art and lifestyle flowed. Seems unstoppable, and likewise appears most alive and most vulnerable. He dresses as "Claire" some of the time, has a wife, a family, the pottery has only increased and become more defined. He's gone through the outcast role. His commentary in a large retrospective of his work is candid and sweet stuff. He seems incapable of ever wanting to fib or play up to stature. What would be the point? His commentary (words action) goes onto a glazed pot for all the world to see.

Many flee to the land of enchantment: India, Japan. Learn lessons. Bring them home, or stay. It doesn't matter after the lesson is learned, throw it away. Throw this away.

I rather think one makes the land of enchantment from one's own outpost, dead center NYC included. An isle is there as long as you are there.

Perry is childlike, authoritative, and fearless. He will make bold comments on his pots and vases against the very museums that showcase his work. He'll ponder in public his and our mistakes. He'll make sure he is all part of the mess he is in, we are in.

I like anyone who comes to the campfire, uses the stash of dry wood, leaves behind more dry wood. Or a pot to piss in, and not to be crude — as others before me have lived and stated — the highest condition of art is artlessness.

see more:

Saint Claire 37
2003, Earthenware
84 x 55 x 55 cm

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


In Susan's arms is Pal Goose. He was a pet of the family for 25 years. A good old friend. Fierce when he had to be, comical and enduring otherwise. We always liked it how he turned his head sideways to give us, or anyone, the real hairy eye. I wrote a poem to him just after he died. It's the least I could do after so many fine years. He greened our lawn. He had his wives and girlfriends. When he was old and alone he even took on the role of a chicken with a new herd of feisty and young chickens who pretty much said to him in the pecking order: "We know you are a goose, but with all of us you'd better act like a chicken." So he did. I could see that he did. Twice as large and twice as bright as the chickens he humbly took his course. When selecting poems to read in public I try not to read "Pal Goose". It makes someone I love cry.


On that sunny day

I opened your pen door

And let you out —

You loved the sun

Sun on snow

Making tracks to the pond —

Because it got too busy

But I have no excuse how

I forgot to close your

Pen door and left home

Sometime in the evening

Faraway, thoughts to you and

The open door but I would get back

The moon was out, and you

Loved the moon —

The raccoon was out, and he

Hunts by the moon —

The next morning you were

Found dead with eyes open

Suddenly flat and huge on the snow

Too big for raccoon to even bother with

Whose blood-tracks tricky designed away

And then as if he noticed how obvious

Seemed to wash his murderous paws

Off in the snow and vanished

You were our third gander

In twenty years, flocks of

Geese once upon a time mixed

With ducks and chickens and when

Our rooster died you were the new

Rooster for the chickens —

It looked funny, it looked

Practical, you fit

I miss you now when I split

Wood and wait to hear your call

Loud and sudden and part of me

photo © bob arnold

Monday, April 26, 2010



We were in Newfoundland in 1975. Just went. Used bug and the two of us. Drove until the highway ended in North Sydney and someone said a ferry was heading out through the night to Newfoundland. We looked at one another, "let's go?" Let's go. I almost missed getting on by going over to talk to a truck driver who was standing outside his rig smoking a cigarette and watching everything load on. I was watching, too. We talked. Rain and splashed lighting all over the earth at that moment. Slam crash sounds. Big boat loading up. We took a shower on that crossing, six hours of little sleep in what felt like a swishing bowl. We swishing. When the boat landed, and all for little money, we drove off and drove for some days heading northward until the road just sort of ruined out.

photo ©
susan arnold

Sunday, April 25, 2010



Native Algerian who immigrated to France with his family when he was 10 ~ between a drumming earth voice and the mandolute, he owns the air waves where he goes.


Saturday, April 24, 2010




I won't come back as a human.


For the afterlife,

an animal will do.

Not a big one;

small will do.


so small it can hardly be seen.

An amoeba will do.

I didn't want that a few years ago.

I could have been reborn

not a man but

an ignorant woman who had lost a few

of her eleven children.

She would do.

But I won't be born as a human being ever again.

translated by Clare You & Richard Silberg

With 135 books published of poetry, prose, drama, essays, travel, translations from classical Chinese and much more, Ko Un was born in 1933. During the Korean War he was both emotionally and physically ruined when he lost family and friends. It was during this time the poet became a Buddhist monk and upheld a monastic life for the next decade. A life of struggle, suicide attempts, an activist in the democracy movement for South Korea, Ko Un had been imprisoned countless times between 1974-1989; at one point there was a terrible plan to lock him away twenty years for treason. A general pardon spared him. His greatest writing achievement may be Maninbo (Ten Thousand Leaves) which holds over 4000 poems in 30 volumes addressing every person the poet has ever met personally or in his studies. His shadow
holds to earth.

photo :,8972,0...

Friday, April 23, 2010



It was a hot day thrown suddenly cool

By that hard rain, poured off the slate roof barn

When the boy was hit by lightning.

Standing safe, he thought, in the large doorway,

Eaves above him tapping,

Farm trucks shining up.

Big for his age, father’s overalls, watching things,

Whole complexion tan like pure maple syrup

The stuff he gathered with his grandfather and horses.

His old man and older brothers stoke and boil the wood fire,

Spend those long nights in the sugar-house.

The way the light spills out of the small steamy windows

All over snow, dreamy in the valley.

Well a mean bolt came down from the sky to end that,

A splitting axe flying.

Water dripping smooth from the roof edge

Splashes onto his boots and cuffs,

Hayseed still itching his back,

Cows poking behind him in their stalls.

Need a light already it’s getting so dark, he thought —

Struck him from the forehead straight down

Cracked him open like nothing should be.

The family dog lay nearby on a broken bale

Like he has for 15 Julys,

Large head on his paws tilted and watching

Rain burning the ground.

photo © bob arnold
"Real Life" from Where Rivers Meet by Bob Arnold (Mad River Press, 1990)

Thursday, April 22, 2010



Bob & Carson get out of the strong sea breeze in a hut Carson built from debris,

driftwood and dribbles found along a once Cape Cod beach.

photo © susan arnold


The Sacred Shakers

Twelve Gates to the City



A Language Without Words

If you would like to purchase the new booklet, please link here

For the complete Cid Corman and Longhouse titles we offer, please link here


Alone is



One sun for

each one of

us today.

copyright 1972, 2010
first published by Byways 6, 1972
Gerry Loose, Essex, UK.
Our ever thanks to Gerry, and Bob Arnold
literary executor for Cid Corman, to reprint
& bring this one back into the fold.

Two dozen poems flying freely


So clear a


Breath opens


photo © courtesy Cid Corman estate

Wednesday, April 21, 2010



drawing © bob arnold






moss dark

hollow never

too wide so

we can leap

back &

forth I

like to see

your hair


through the



photo © bob arnold

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


David Shapiro is still a young fellow and has lived many life times. His first collection of poems January was published long before he was twenty years of age, by Holt, and with an endorsement from Jack Kerouac. For decades he has taught many poets and art lovers from around the world. His craftsmanship as a musician is yet another of his whole worlds. When young guys, David with his close friend Ron Padgett, compiled one of the finest anthologies of the legendary New York School of Poets. Just about everyone who should have been in there was, with a photograph. Cloud bursts of poems, too. One day in early spring David sent to me this gift poem, tucked in a letter because he knew I might like it, and he knew I might print it up into a tiny broadside to frame. He was correct. Anyone can write us for a copy, and a few are signed.

Designed, printed and published by Longhouse 2010 and available here


Here's one of my photographs from the polaroid series going back some dozen years. I'll include a few more as time goes along. I use a Canon digital camera now — plus make one to two minute films with it. We can't seem to find the film for my old polaroid, clunky and beautiful in its time at making finished photos roll out. My father used his for years. He kept his film in the refrigerator. All this human province of moves and even errors of taking pictures, storing film, having the miracle of the developed photograph in your hands, after a little bit of precious waiting (which is like listening which is like talking which is like thinking) is becoming lost.

photo © bob arnold

Monday, April 19, 2010



It was one of those early Saturday morning drives straight up the countryside of the open highway, barely any traffic, clear weather sailing, and I read all of Samuel Menashe's New and Selected Poems (The Library of America). Many to myself, some aloud to Sweetheart at the wheel. Sunshine in the fields and pastures. Just a hint of the dark Connecticut River coming into view between the hills. Music also on low. Menashe doesn't at all seem to mind. You can almost read any one of his poems aloud between the songs. That short. Often that memorable. I'll share all the ones I read to Sweetheart. It's easy enough to do.

Pity us

By the sea

On the sands

So briefly


When I was a boy

I lost things —

I am still

Forgetful —

Yet I daresay

All will be found

One day

The hill I see

Every day

Is holy


I stand on this stump

To knock on wood

For the good I once


Cut down, yes

But rooted still

What stumps compress

No axe can kill


gives wood its grain

Dreams knot the wood


Taut with longing

You must become

The god you sought —

The only one


I shoulder the slope

that holds me

up to the sun

with my heels

dug into dust

older than hills

I left my seed in a grove so deep

The sun does not reach through the trees

Now I am wed to the wood and lord of all leaves

And I can give the green blessing to whom I please

In the Fall 2010 Samuel Menashe will be 85 years old. A New Yorker by birth and by right, except for some occasions in Europe, including as an infantryman at The Battle of the Bulge in 1944, Menashe has been at home in New York City. At the 1944 Battle he could just as easily have been beside my father, also an infantryman in that battle and one year older. A mere 20 years old. Like other American poets Menashe received his first taste of recognition in England, and it stands that way to this day. In 1961 Kathleen Raine rose to his short and often spiritual poems, as did Donald Davie. He's been honored by The Poetry Foundation with their "Neglected Masters Award", and if he's lucky, he'll remain happily that way. It's always been just the nest to thread poems.

photo of Samuel Menashe on the beach by Martin Duffy

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Here is Once Upon a Time on the campus of Bowdoin College in Maine where James Koller invited poet friends like Ted Enslin, Gary Lawless, Bern Porter, myself and others to wear sandwich board signs with our poems nicely hand-printed and mix in the crowd at a Maine Arts Festival busy with boat builders, weavers and knitters, musicians, jugglers, farmers and their animals, and we poets wandering around with our sandwich poems, and in our hands we carried copies of the poems printed on postcards. If you liked the poem, we'd hand you a postcard of the same poem to keep.

Ain't life grand?

bob arnold, photo © susan arnold

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I don't believe any human is any more a phenomenon than another

Norbu included

Dylan included

Gandhi and Max Factor

It's a journey

You would land right into Patti Smith's hands

and vice-versa

I always believed she was caring

mostso after the epiphany of a sorts she

went through after her husband's death

having children

restocking her mind and life after

Mapplethorpe and others bowed out

She's one who lives by her ghosts, lives by her lover

Personally, my favorite kind

I believe she does work from an honesty

This is what raises her stakes much

higher than the mere hippie or beat

Ginsberg might be surprised an heir is not a guy nor a Cody

or a Dharma but a Chicago born gal, raised in Jersey

She may not be, but she appears quite

at-home with her looks, frame and being

She's hanging out laughing and serious

I also believe her relationship with

her parents is strong and vital to her

Not a runaway

even if she looks like the poster child for one

She carries her good contradictions

Louise Landes Levi, an afternoon in Rome

photo Patti Smith:
photo Louise Landes Levi:

Friday, April 16, 2010


Here's a link to his fine blog

And below is Steven's review of Longhouse publication Mock Orange by Joseph Massey

the glade of theoric ornithic hermetica

Quick (really!) and really (really!) good

Joseph Massey
Mock Orange

(Longhouse Publishing, 2010)

Late last month as spring began Joseph Massey sat down in Humboldt County, California, where he lives and works, and wrote a sequence of nine poems.

Around March 27th, Massey e-mailed his poems to Bob and Susan Arnold in Green River, Vermont, asking if they’d be interested in publishing them. As you probably know, the Arnolds are the long-time proprietors of Longhouse, a small scale / big vision publishing and bookshop operation.

The Arnolds said, “Let’s do it” and then did, justlikethat. Over the next few days, they designed, printed, neatly glued, and otherwise did what was needed to get Massey’s poems out to the world. On April 7th, the resulting three color fold-out booklet (4.5" x 3") with wrap-around band was listed for sale on the Longhouse web-site. That same day, I ordered up two copies, using Paypal to transfer the cash.

Longhouse must have filled and sent my order quickly (no surprise there!) because yesterday (Monday, April 12th) the mail carrier delivered their business-sized envelope to me at work in Berkeley. Massey’s Mock Orange – that’s the title of the work – was in hand.

How’s that for blending a bit of the timeless (the diligence of poet and publisher), the new (the internet), and the old (snail mail) to bring about something quick (really!) and really (really!) good? I mean, it’s less than three weeks since Massey sat down and wrote Mock Orange. And yet here are his poems, in a beautiful little booklet, having traveled from California’s North Coast to Southeastern Vermont then back across the country to the Bay Area. Wow! Belatedness be damned!


I’m nuts for Massey’s writing. Last April I wrote about his Areas of Fog (click here, if you please), and later included it on my list of the year’s top five poetry books (click here). I also called his The Lack Of, published in December, the chapbook of the year (click here and scroll down a touch).

So when Mock Orange arrived, I read it right away. It didn’t take long: its nine untitled poems range from four to ten lines. I read it again on the train coming home, and a few times more last night. Getting up this morning, I decided to do this post tonight, fast as I could, to honor the spirit of this (really!) quick and really (really!) good book (well, at least I’m quick).


satellite view -- Arcata (in fog), the bay, the ocean

Massey’s poems, and those in Mock Orange are no exception, mostly come from the particular place he’s at, the actual geographic/physical location. He lives in what might rightly be called an adequate enough shack (I visited Massey there last fall, for a couple hours), situated on a rise or hillock just a mile or two from Humboldt/Arcata Bay, and a bit further from the Pacific. He can walk to the center of Arcata, and via bus or other ride get to Eureka, the county seat a few miles south. Many perceived particulars, from right at or near home or the more general area, get into and maybe sometimes give rise to his poems.

But Massey’s poems also come from the particular place he’s at with regard to – among other things – modes of perception, ways of thinking, maybe how he feels, and approaches to making poems. This mix of what’s within (the head, the emotions, the words) and without (things perceived) is of course what it’s all about. As Rae Armantrout has said, “The best poetry is looking outward and inward at the same time. A poet, like any artist, just doesn’t feel satisfied with the world; a poet has to answer the world, not just be a passive receiver.”


The results of this outward/inward mix, in Massey’s work, are usually intense. Because the poems are short, there’s no wandering or fluff. They are hot. The poems are also intense because – follow me here – Massey has a particular attraction for particulars that convey some particular moment. His poems, including those here in Mock Orange, seem mostly to convey a moment, one of (to list some that I sense in these poems) definition, recognition, loss, doubt, and wonder.

Ultimately, all the possibilities of the mind and the world might make a poem for Massey, if there’s something that gives rise to it. He gives special attention, I think it fair to say, to moments of thought, of perception. It’s like each poem, no matter how small, is a double-shot of some intense instant, realized in words. It’s very invigorating, a rush of specificity and alertness. This is all the more special here because it all comes from just about right now -- this spring -- just a few weeks ago.


I’m going to share and discuss a bit just one poem from Mock Orange. I don’t want to give away Massey’s (or his publisher’s) goods, and I want to keep this post quick, in the spirit of the poem-writing and booklet-making. Here’s the fifth poem in the sequence, one of the shortest of the nine. The poem has two primary images, with a kind of pause in between, and so it works in a way that is similar to haiku:

docks swallowed
--------------------in fog—

a transient talks
--------------------into a pine cone—

Now that has one heck of a (call it killer) final image: who can’t picture the street person there? This poem works mostly in the frisson and maybe friction between that image and the one that precedes it. I’m not going to parse it out fully (and probably couldn’t even I wanted to) but somehow the two images seem to go together. Part of it is Massey doing a bit of sleight of hand (and eye), putting the same extended hyphen at the end of each line, resulting in an unusual visual rhyme -- the punctuation -- that links the two couplets (those hyphens also permit the respective images to remain open, forever). There’s also a connection given the rhyme of “docks” and “talks,” and perhaps also in the anatomically close pharyngeal / laryngeal locus of “swallowed” and “talks.” There’s also in both images, and maybe this is the most significant link, disappearance: the docks into a mist, the words into the cone. What sub-surface elegance there, in that uncommon juxtaposition!

And maybe that’s what this poem is about, a moment of connection between the two seemingly disparate observations. But there also seems to be a tension between the two images. The second image is unexpected after the more traditional poetic image that comes first. The disjunction’s fairly severe, actually. Reading it several times the last two days, I sometimes laugh at the weirdness of it, of the idea of somebody talking to a pine cone popping into the poem there. Yet talking to a pine cone might not be so funny, in that it may be a snapshot of (let’s say) schizophrenia. As such, it disturbs too. Does Massey suggest, or at least ask us to consider the possibility, that “docks swallowed / in fog—” is as much a delusion as talking to a cone? Is this a poem about doubt, with the second image undercutting the poeticizing of landscape embodied in its first image? Hmm. So it goes in these poems, seemingly simple but with possibilities coming through once the reading gets close and the ideas start spinning.


There are eight other poems in Mock Orange, and each is a – forgive me, I’ve used the following term before about Massey’s poems, but it works here too – a gem. There’s one – # viii – that can be read as one short (eight line) poem or almost as three separate smaller poems, given how it’s arranged and spaced; the shape neatly matches the perception presented. Another (# iv) convincingly turns the afternoon haze into a kind of ocean surf. Two others (# vi and the final poem, # ix) show how an observation, something seen, can animate the most unassuming of places, at least (especially) if the poet’s words can get it down right. And these are just a part of this really (really!) good and (really!) quick booklet.



The description regarding the writing and publication of Mock Orange is based on information found in Joseph Massey’s April 7, 2010 blog post (click here and scroll down), and Bob Arnold’s April 11, 2010 blog post (click then scroll here, if you please).

Mock Orange is available at the Longhouse website (click here, it’s the sixth book down from the top). The price is $8.95 plus $2.00 for shipping/handling in the US. It’s also available via ABE (click here), although with a higher shipping charge.


April 13, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vassilis Zambaras


If you would like to purchase the new booklet, please link here

For the complete Longhouse titles we offer, please link here

With a close friend, I sort of worked behind Vassilis's back — which isn't hard, since he is tucked away in Greece — and chose some favorite poems we liked by this fine poet. We wheeled through his blog Vazambam, a daily bread of poetry and goodness and found plenty. . .then I asked Vassilis to just empty out the cupboards and send what other poems he had. Nothing like a poet who jumps with the joy of making, so we made.


On top of poems are written

Other poems, thus

The destruction of the world's


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The spring wood is greening

the mud roads are gone

the river an emerald

bird calls pinpoint the yard's axis

leaves all raked and composted

lettuce and spinach coming up

you put on a royal blue baseball cap as a lark

I say keep it on

you look terrific

photo © susan arnold