Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Monday, May 29, 2023

Sunday, May 28, 2023



Keystone/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

R E A D    M E

Monday, May 22, 2023




During the Plum Blossom Monsoon

in the mountains

of southern China,

you just start throwing

more and more stuff

away, more and more,

and pretty soon

you're at Walden Pond.


It seems colder than it is outside. I

should go look at the moon ripening

in a thicket of stars, but I wanted

to talk a little of creek water,

how the stones in the shallow bed

up Canyon Creek are as round and vivid

as the eyes of deer . . .

No, I meant rather to speak of the stillness

under moss-laden old growth:

bark on one fir so thick

seeds take root in it and soar,

"thinking" as a young tree thinks,

it's the earth.

No, that's not it exactly. I believe

it was simpler, not even the surprise of so many waterfalls

nor the chattering companionship of squirrels

and the stellar jay,

as I stumbled through brush,

worked through devil's club,

jumped skipped from rock to rock.

I think it was when I was

standing under those ancient trees,

wringing out the bottoms of my jeans,

beginning to think some thought

that had come with me from town,

growing a little melancholy in the shade,

that I looked down from the green bank

and could see    yes    the creek,

the creek in the sunlight,

and it was just the creek in the sunlight,

and it made me happy that it made me happy.


Mike O'Connor

Old Growth

New & Selected Poems

foreword by Red Pine

Empty Bowl, 2023

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Thursday, May 18, 2023




marine to noon on AméricasAirplane

First the dark meer

begins to breathe gently into green
into light & light green
until there are like blue

ribs upon the water. dreaming
and the ribs of water’s colour are the gills
of the first fish breathing
the first land the first eye

until there is what shd not be here
on the water

footsteps of sand from the bottom of the ocean
become the thin road to Eleuthera
long & thin upon the water walking
until there is suddenly a black stone

a dark
veil kabala surrounding by whorls
of worship green water scallops
folding into themselves like soft

jewels the first huge fish
out of creation
w/ribs veins glimpse
of a tail & deep channels in between

where they will be mountains & ridges
& villages & ozure indigo sunsets
of lapis lazuli & white salt marking its finely corrugated edges
& stretching out into thousands of tongues. miles

of soft drifting labials. like pellucid love
on the water. this fish
from the air of so many so many untangles
& 10 thousand years later there are trees

glistening sunlight & listening rain & white streets
& houses & people walkin bout & talkn to each other on the water & across
its blue echo
& thinking of horses & houses & now soon after midday there are great ob

-long blotches like a stain
of milk & a great spider spreading itself along the pale glazing bottom of
the water. and this great planet passing upwards towards us
out this silence & drifting & blessing of the water


*100m sharks are assassinated each year for their fins - their carcasses thrown back into the sex of the sea - to make
fine Chinese fin soup for you to sit down & dine
w/yr sip spoon & napkin all over the wide open restaurant eye of the world
CNN NewsReport seen in Ja on the friday of arrival there

Kamau Brathwaite, “Bermudas” from Born to Slow Horses. Copyright © 2005 by Kamau Brathwaite and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Born to Slow Horses (Wesleyan University Press, 2005)

photo: Beverly Brathwaite

Monday, May 15, 2023



Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Bob Arnold, Faraway Like The Deer’s Eye, Longhouse, 2022

Red Pine, Bob and Susan Arnold

Faraway Like A Deer’s Eye is a memoir catalog of texts and a photo album of a life lived as a poet carved out of a northeastern wilderness as a grounded simplicity, an “if you build it they will come” Thoreauvian  lifestyle in the original neck of the woods as the achievement of a scholar poet in nature. Bob and Susan Arnold’s Longhouse Publishers & Booksellers has long been known for the breadth of their all-inclusive author’s list published as books, broadsides, and various literary ephemera numbering over 500 to date. Deer’s Eye is an epic saga of homeboy Bob Arnold and his family and the local community in the unpaved rural reaches of southeastern Vermont engaged in the art of building and the practice of poetry outside the mainstream of literary commerce as well as engagement with the greater and much larger cosmopolitan community of poets worldwide. The book itself is a brick, weighing in at almost 500 pages, and dense with photos, texts, and poetry, meticulous in its documentation of the creation of a unique and friendly poetry zone, a personal poetry universe, and a labor of love.

“When I was constructing the huts and cottages I was reading when I wasn’t reading I was building stone walls when I wasn’t at wall work I was traveling with Susan on trains or Susan & Carson on trains and when I wasn’t traveling on trains with loved ones I was back home working in the woods and when I was out in the woods I was publishing others, many others, and they call came  when I was thinking of them when I was building or always reading, and one of the best ways to improve your own reading is to seek out and publish the work you can’t find anywhere else, and make what you publish small if you can so people will carry these gifts in their pocket, or made-light so you can afford the mail and send what you publish around the world, and give as much of it away for free because nothing is more expensive  than free and know there will be those that will leave you and those that will find you and be happy you’ve been found, because being found is one step away from being lost.” Arnold states in this breathless raison d’etre about his labor of love of over fifty years. “The labor is handiwork. . .It doesn’t matter if the books sell, no matter how hard you work at it, be content the book is out and available. It lives. You live. The reader lives.”


Following this statement are fourteen full page spreads of many of the items Longhouse has published in the last fifty years as books, broadsides, folded “bus tickets”, and poetry ephemera by poets as diverse as Anselm Hollo and Cid Corman, Janine Pommy Vega and Rae Armantrout, Tom Clark and Lorine Niedecker, Santoka and Anne Waldman, and that is barely scratching the surface.
As with the photo spreads throughout, this tome presents ample evidence that when Bob Arnold isn’t writing and publishing he is building cottages, sheds, additions, fences and stone walls. Andre Schelling’s afterword provides a succinct overview introduction of how one becomes a part of Bob Arnold’s poetry world and its deep down authenticity rooted in the land of his birth and the love of literature shared by a few close and shaping seminal friendship with poets like Cid Corman, Hayden Carruth, James Koller, and Janine Pommy Vega.

Bob Arnold is the epitome of the self-taught working man, a rugged specimen who measures in feet as well as in meter. His powers of observation, like his settings in stone, are peerless.

An Old Timer

Selling his old tools on the lawn—
what pains him most

seeing them laid out that way
doing nothing

Barbara Henning & Maureen Owen, Poets On The Road, City Point Press, 2023

When Maureen Owen and Barbara Henning descended on Black Bart country in 2019, the Russian River had just crested 17 feet above flood level. The weather was unsettled, to say the least, and they had just driven the thousands of miles, all the way from Brooklyn, New York, to get to the last stop on their cross country reading tour. Along the way, the two septuagenarian poets stopped along their trek through the south and southwest to give readings and connect with fellow poets and former students. Poets On The Road is the transcription into book form of the blog posts documenting this rather heroic journey.

No stranger to remarkable adventures, Maureen Owen, as a young woman and pregnant with her first child, moved to Japan in 1965 where she studied the practices of haiku and renku as well as Zen Buddhism. She then returned to the States and New York City in 1968 where she was program coordinator for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. In 1969, she founded the literary magazine Telephone and the press Telephone Books, publishing many poets of the New York School. Owen is also the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Edges of Water (2013), Erosion’s Pull (2006), American Rush: Selected Poems (1998), American Book Award–winner AE (Amelia Earhart) (1984), and The No-Travels Journal (1975). Maureen is a pioneer in women’s publishing as well as a poet whose unique work represents a determined esthetic that rejects the dominant mode of institutionalized literature. Her presence resonates at the center of literate culture.

Poet and fiction writer Barbara Henning arrived in New York City with her two children in 1983 from Detroit, Michigan where she had attended Wayne State University. Her first book of poems, Smoking in the Twilight Bar, was published by Lewis Warsh’s prestigious press, United Artists, in 1988. Subsequent poetry collections include: Love Makes Thinking Dark (United Artists, 1995), Detective Sentences (Spuyten Duyvil, 2001), My Autobiography (United Artists, 2007), Cities and Memory (Chax Press, 2010), A Swift Passage (Quale Press, 2013), and A Day Like Today (Negative Capability Press, 2015). Henning is also the author of four novels: Just Like ThatThirty Miles to Rosebud, You Me and the Insects, and Black Lace. Barbara is also the editor of a book of interviews, Looking Up Harryette Mullen  (Belladonna, 2011), and The Selected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins (Blazevox, 2012). She was the editor of the poetry and art journal, Long News: In the Short Century, from 1990 to 1995. Henning taught at Naropa University, the University of Arizona, and Long Island University in Brooklyn, where she is professor emerita. As a prolific author, innovator, and participant in leading edge American poetry culture, Barbara’s engagement in the making and teaching of the art of writing is nothing short of inspiring.

Although a road trip across the North American calls to mind Jack Kerouac’s youthful meanderings of self-discovery, this reading tour was more in the manner of Basho’s late life journeys through the backcountry of Japan. Both poets have made poetry the focus of most of their adult lives. The road trip was in a sense a pilgrimage of reengagement with their calling as poets, and a chance to reacquaint themselves with like-minded friends, old and new, in a far flung landscape of American poetry. Poets On The Road is truly an amazing true story of love of poetry and commitment to the community it embraces.


R E A D    ALL    T H E     I S S U E      B E L O W

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Bob Kaufman, The Collected Poem of Bob Kaufman, City Lights Books, 2019

Upfromsumdirt, Deifying A Total Darkness, Harry Tankoos Books 2020

John Keene. Punks, Selected Poems, {National Book Award Winner} The Song Cave 2021

Will Alexander, Devine Blue Light (for John Coltrane) City Lights Pocket Poets Series #63 2022

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Max Jacob, The Dice Cup, (trans. By Ian Seed) Wakefield Press, 2022

Andrei Codrescu, Too Late For Nightmares, Black Widow Press, 2022

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Bob Arnold, Faraway Like The Deer’s Eye, Longhouse, 2022
Barbara Henning & Maureen Owen, Poets On The Road, City Point Press, 2023

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—New To The Society’s Shelves—

Elizabeth C. Herron, In The Cities Of Sleep, Fernwood Press, 2023

Gwynn O’Gara, We Who Dream, Finishing Line Press, 2023

Bart Schneider, Chester Arnold, The Daily Feast, Kelly’s Cove Press, 2022

Norman Fischer, Selected Poems, Chax Press, 2022

Clifford Burke, Rain Tree Jazz (Like Haiku), & Modulations,

Desert Rose Press Keepsake Series, Winter, 2023 & Spring, 2023

Barbara Henning, Take It Down, above/ground press 2023

Tinker Greene, Look What Happens, 2023

Joel Dailey’s Swoopcards 9 & 21

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—Special Collections Gallery—

Ivan Suvanieff’s The New Censorship  

A Monthly Magazine of The Next Savage State

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