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Showing posts from May, 2006

Haditha

Click here for news about American attitudes towards the Haditha massacre in Iraq:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5032018.stm

WHERE HAVE ALL THE WOMEN GONE?

You may have noticed an absence of female poets in ANGEL HEAD. So far we have featured only two: Ana Christy and Sharon Auberle. As opposed to a long list of males.
It's a matter of who submits. Ana's poems were solicited by me for the inaugural issue and Sharon submitted. But no other women have sent anything so far.
I wonder why? In an email to Sharon I proposed two explanations: one) the perception that the Beat/ post-Beat world is for boys, and two) my reputation, earned largely on these pages, as an obnoxious, unreasonable son******** who may possibly hate women.
Well, I am obnoxious and unreasonable, and I may have a take on poetry that you won't find anywhere else. But I don't hate women. Not as a rule--though there are some who piss me off pretty comprehensively. I did once put a post on SUFFOLK PUNCH called "Every Day Is Women's Day", but hell, I take potshots at everybody when I'm in a bad mood. As I recall I've also sniped at Blair, Bush, …

WHO (OR WHAT) IS MOLOCH?

THE ALLEN GINSBERG ESTATE
doesn't seem to know! In this half-century anniversary year of the composition of the best-ever Underground poem, those fine folks at the Ginsberg website have answered a question from a reader about who (or what) Moloch actually is by saying it's the military-industrial complex , and that substituting "Moloch" for "Bush" when you read the poem aloud proves it.
My God, what a narrow, unimaginative definition to be handing down to new readers--and these are the people who want to sell you his books! Ginsberg says it in the poem itself: "Moloch, whose name is the Mind." He explained it the same way on tv in Britain in 1995 or '96, interviewed by Jeremy Isaacs: Moloch "The destroyer god" who's not "out there, he's in here" (Ginzy pointing to his own chest). The destroyer god in the individual chest and head who stomps out into the world driven by fear and confusion, "entangled in (his) own…

Jan Kerouac

Click the link below for a fascinating page about the one person who they'd rather write out of the Kerouac story, Jack's daughter Jan, with a biography, photos, a recording of Jan talking about her father, and a link, among other features, to a 1997 article about her by Gerald Nicosia, who knew Jan well and made his own name mud with the powers-that-be in the Beat world by buying in to the obviously ludicrous notion that Kerouac's daughter ought to get a cut of his fortune.
www.whoownsjackkerouac.com/jan2.html

TONY HARRISON

'Poetry is all I write, whether for books, or readings, or for the National Theatre, or for the opera house and concert hall, or even for TV. All these activities are part of the same quest for a public poetry, through in that word 'public' I would never want to exclude inwardness. I think how Milton's sonnets range from the directly outward to the tenderly inward, and how the public address of the one makes a clearing for the shared privacy of the other. In the same way I sometimes think that my dramatic poetry has made a clearing for my other poems. I sometimes work with ancient originals written at times when poetry had the range and ambition to net everything, but if I go to them for courage to take on the breadth and complexity of the world, my upbringing among so-called 'inarticulate' people has given me a passion for language that communicates directly and immediately. I prefer the idea of men speaking to men to a man speaking to God, or even worse to Ox…

The Crime of Rhyme in Modern Times and Other Useless Paradigms

I've seen another poetry magazine's submission criteria this morning that fulminates against the supposed legions of delicate tea-sipping readers who demand rhyme and break out in a nervous rash every time they see a printed f*** or c***. The "Establishment" against whom we are labouring. So writers must be RELEVANT! Strike a blow against the legions of the effete!
Oh b****. The Establishment in poetry--that is, people who drive opinion, not those with the biggest wallets--are the post-Beat free-versifiers...that is, US, and we are bloody everywhere. If you threw a stone at a poetry convention--and what fun that would be!--eight times out of ten you'd hit a middle-aged guy who liked Kerouac (but pretended to prefer Bob Kaufman), wrote occasional haiku, and had read nothing prior to the shorter poems of Ezra Pound. I can't count the number of decent editors and poetry friends who have told me they wouldn't publish my rhymers: stuff I'd written in a folk…

When No One Else Understands, Jack Kerouac Gets It

I curse and rant nowadays because I don’t want to have to work to make a living and do childish work for other men (any lout can move a board from hither to yonder) but I’d rather sleep all day and stay up all night scrubbling these visions of the world which is only an ethereal flower of the world, the coal, the chute, the fire and ashes all, imaginary blossoms ~ Kerouac.

Nobody, On His Travels, Assesses Modern Individualism

"Each time I arrived in another city, somehow the white men had transferred all of their people there ahead of me.Each new city contained the same white people as the last. And I could not understand how a whole city of people could be moved so quickly."

~ DEAD MAN a film by Jim Jarmusch

Thoughts Listening to William Blake

All levels of existence are equally real, since they only really take place in the human brain anyway. How can we know that we have interacted with a friend (or an enemy) without the processing of that experience through the brain? (How can the body act, the mouth move, without orders from the brain in the first place?) When we read a book the same processing occurs. Friend or book, it's all just the brain scanning data received.This is probably why Blake called the mind "the real man"; and I echo it.
Most of what goes on in the world called Real by those who have shut their eye to any other in no wise deepens your understanding, satisfies the spirit, alleviates the suffering of a heavenly consciousness yolked to the decaying bag of meat and bone that the body is. In the Real world we serve only the bag of meat. Dreaming and imagination, though, are portions of Eternity.

Yesterday

Yesterday gurgled down the drain in a vortex of everything except poetry. At work for eight o'clock and there until nine o'clock at night, working, fortifying myself for more work by eating a meal and drinking coffee--but in such numerous company I couldn't read the "Children of Albion" volume I'd taken along--then back to more work labouring on clock-watching until my inevitable escape, with the skies beginning to darken as day fell into night. I stopped the cab home on the outskirts of Wilby so I could stand for a while and look out across the open fields, breathe in all that freedom--the common sense of untrammeled nature.Ah! But once home I was too tired to do anything except switch on the tv and fall asleep on the sofa with some dull mainstream movie playing quietly behind me. A lived day. An entirely wasted day. How attractive that cabin in the woods is looking.

Poem: Power Cut

saturday night (27/5/06)

journal entries
in the fading light--
birds lay on the music.


workers out of whitman
scrape concrete
round a three-foot hole.
they spin the job out
with slow talk and laughter,
while three pies melt
in my cooling oven.


the neighbour in the street
gone out to complain
now giggling in relief
that her backbone failed her.


and they're not working
while her ardour cools
in facile small-talk
over set-down tools!


shut up! shut up!
we want our power back!


without the internet
without tv
i write much more
than i would normally.


i think about the movie
that i saw today--
"walk the line",
the life of johnny cash.
june's face glows
in my mind's lit eye--
her hurricane love
for poor damned john.
i want someone
to look at me with love
someday, before i die.
but if they did, would
i not soon despise them?


gone down so deep
into the culvert
of my own thoughts
all outside sound
turns off.


it's getting dark.
writing in this
fading light
is giving me a headache.


go fetch the candles.
listen for a si…

POLARITY

Readers may want to have a look at POLARITY, an e-magazine devoted to "New American Bohemian Literature", so it says, but with strong backward-looking Beat credentials too. Considerable figures from the Beat/ post-Beat world like Levi Asher and S.A.Griffin are part of the operation, and Carolyn Cassady, no less, is listed as an adviser (along with Neeli Cherkovski). For all that this "New Bohemian" (albeit a British one with Angry Young/ Old Man overtones), finds POLARITY a curiously lifeless affair. Perhaps I was influenced negatively by the rubbish links section they have, which directs you to all the stifling, ugly, over-commercial Beat Establishment websites. For real counter-cultural vim and vigour, you're better off reading ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE, the ULA's main website, or--best--Norb Blei'sDOOR COUNTY TIMES. But don't let me influence you. Go to http://www.poembeat.com and make your own mind up.

what i'd like to do

retire to an old boat
on a big brown river.
wash my beard on deck
in the lashing rain.
shout poems to the gulls.
move on every time
a boat moors nearby.
not see another town
ever. when i die
fall off the boat
and swim with fish

A Rock Formation Is Named For The Author

splake--or "splakesheare", as Dave Church dubbed him--has created a map of the trail to his beloved cliffs, with all the notable points along the way renamed according to his personal iconography. A great idea, especially since t.kilgore icons include great poets like Brautigan and Huffstickler, and novelists of the calibre of Norbert Blei and Edward Abbey. Well, into that rather awesome gallery of writing heroes comes none other than...me. "Hmm,hmm," as the man himself would say. I genuinely doubt my right to be in such company, at the present time at least, but I'm flattered fit to burst. So now a part of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, near Calumet, shall be known henceforth to poets (for splake will surely be the poet through whose eyes the U.P. is seen for generations), as "hodder basalt ridge". I love it. Now I have to go away and do something to earn it.

How You Do It

"I bathed in life and dried myself on the typewriter" ~ Philip O'Connor, British Surrealist poet (1916-1998).

NORB ON WRITING

YOU SHOULD AND COULD AND CAN WRITE LIKE NOBODY ELSE BUT YOURSELF
AND THAT'S DIFFICULT ENOUGH.
THE URGE (AND LET'S HOPE IT'S THAT) IS SIMPLE: DO BETTER. DO MORE.
AND THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM:
a. A MORE INTERESTING LIFE (MAKE IF IT WHAT YOU WILL, AND THE MORE YOU MAKE OF IT, HOPEFULLY, THE BETTER AND MORE INTERESTING THE WRITING)
b. READING AND MORE READING
c. REWRITING (YOUR WORK AND YOUR LIFE) CONSTANTLY.


~Norbert Blei, from an email to the editor 25/5/06

An Explanation

A few visitors to SP have commented, with friendly concern and puzzlement, on the times that many of these posts are made. Am I really seated at the computer at 5am or midnight writing poetry or berating somebody for some perceived stupidity somewhere? Well, yes. I used to have a problem with the clock on Blogger, but I fixed that.
So don't I get any sleep? Have I no life beyond this computer?
I am a partial insomniac, if such a thing exists. Things get to me and start rolling around in my head and when that happens sleep comes late and finishes early; and there's never been a thing I could do about it. Plus I start work at 8 am and have no car to travel the 12 miles to my workplace, so I have to use public transport. Which means fitting in with someone else's timetable. Most of the time I have to be out of my front door by 6.45am to make it on time for 8.
And then there is the matter of the spirit. Work sucks it out. Work erodes the spirit until what's left is, as the ol…

Poem (Thick Coffee Steaming)

thick coffee steaming
on the desk beside me--
5am email to ronald baatz

Save the Internet

American readers (and everybody else for that matter), should visit the main ULA website for a Monday Report on new legislation that threatens to limit severely freedom of expression on the internet, and put even more control in the hands of the giant conglomerates who own the space we work in. Any attempt to police this last free space or limit universal accessibility to it should be obstructed with a passion: there may not be anywhere else left in contemporary society where the free individual gets to plant his marker.
http://www.literaryrevolution.com

District Council Dealing Bravely With The Fruit Menace

The news reports this morning that a guy in Essex is being prosecuted by Braintree District Council for littering, after he used his windscreen wipers to remove a banana skin thrown onto his car by schoolkids at the side of the road.
How did they find out about this egregiously anti-social act? A council official was driving in the car behind him, and when he saw the offending banana skin fly from the windscreen and come to rest in the road he phoned the council's litter line and reported the offence.
Forgive me for asking, but even if, as people with no wit or imagination will tell you, "rules are rules", what kind of man (I am using the term generously) when he's not in the office, even if he is still technically within working hours, would be so petty and small-minded and vengeful (like a Dostoyevsky character is vengeful, for the "small insults"), he would take the trouble to phone a special line and give a detailed description of a banana skin tosser so …

honest poem

waking at 5 o'clock this morning
one lone bird trilling in a tree outside.
coffee after coffee clears the fog of sleep
but i feel like somebody
has buried an axe in my forehead.
oh where are all the worlds
i used to live in? i take my body
for a scalding bath. no one
can write an honest poem
that doesn't make him
look a bleating fool.

Weekend Scorecard

rather in the manner of Tom Montag & Ralph Murre

miles travelled: one
people seen: one
incoming calls: too many
lawns mown: none
clothes washed: none
dishes washed: none
chins shaven: none
coffee drank: gallons
doughnuts eaten: lost count
beer consumed: just enough
naps had: two per day
books read: plenty
poems written: loads
rain watched: torrents

And now back to the respectable lie.

The Poet Working

written on receiving the latest issue of the Cliffs

he's on the sofa slouching
almost on the floor, in fact
reading a poetry magazine
while the tv chatters low
behind him and cars splash
through pools of rain outside.
he's an image of complete repose,
idly laughing when he reads
a funny line, eyes turning
skyward on occasion, fixing
some point on the ceiling
for interminable moments.
if he had company his guest
might think his brain were missing
watching how his eyes lose light,
then focus too before they
go back to the page for more.
if he had company he might
put a sign upon his forehead,
actually, to stop unwelcome
hectoring: "this poet is at work
don't interrupt"--except the only
guest he'd want would be
somebody who'd know that
anyway, or wouldn't care,
too busy were they padding
round the other rooms for
newspapers, his doobie stash,
and beer

The Cliffs "Soundings"

The Vertin Press--editors t.kilgore splake and Jikiwe
The Historic Vertin Building
220 Sixth Street
PO Box 7
Caulmet
Michigan
49913
USA

The Cliffs enters spring/ summer '06 with an eclectic mix of urban and wilderness poetry, and an edge of political dissent/ social critique that has been largely absent from previous issues: in America in 2006, even those who have moved beyond politics into a deeper, more philosophical critique of life seem to have an opinion. And on the day the Iraqi parliament announces it may well be another four years before British and American troops come home, you can well understand the political hang-up.
Poets include Ralph Murre, Gerald Nicosia, A.D.Winans, Antler and Alan Catlin. (Contributors I haven't mentioned aren't necessarily inferior poets, by the way; I am listing on the basis of probable familiarity.) The presentation is as superior as you would expect from splake and Jikiwe, with fine colour photographs by tks and a pastel by Alec Hall so rich…

flash lad

you have some strange thoughts when you've been on your own in a 400-year-old cottage for days and you're dead drunk, missing the woman you love. still, don't we all have flashes of other eras where we feel we might have been more at home?



a sudden heavy downpour
from the clouds darkening the evening
pounds on the overgrown ivy,
the garden bench, the pavement.
i'm writing, listening to flash lad
an old folk tune for accordion
in the lookout, under old oak beams.
i glance up, wondering what's the noise,
and for one moment it's 1676
when flash lad and this house were new.
then i come back: wars, diseases
and god's death falling into place.
i'm somewhat disappointed. i'm
not sure which century was mine.
i still hear a coach and horses bumping
over the wheel ruts in the road.
imagine a space inside my jacket
where a pistol ought to be.

Dead Drunk Dublin

Another good one, covering poets those of us who are of a more mature vintage (ie old, or in my case, just knackered) may not have read before:

http://www.deaddrunkdublin.com

I'm just a "leathery old Beat" (to use Chris Torrance's excellent phrase), but I don't want to close myself off from new developments/ new directions in the art I love. Reading a poet you don't know for the first time is a miraculous thing, or it can be--as invigorating to the imagination as reading a ubiquitous old poet can be deadening.
(My thanks to Frank Walsh for letting me know the site is there.)

GREAT BEAT WEBSITE

There IS, Virginia, one great site on the internet dedicated to the Beats--I mean, all of them, though Jack Kerouac is the point of departure. It's called "The Beat" and it features considerable extracts of the poetry, among other things: yesterday saw a welcome republishing of Gary Snyder's "I Went Into The Maverick Bar"--one of my favourites from the Snyder cannon (or is that canon?).
By the way, you can only be registered as an author with them once you have "proven awesomeness". Now that I have, I think it's a very good system.

http://beat.wordpress.com

The Libertine

Image
Feeling sick and depressed about nothing in particular this afternoon, except perhaps the persistant rain and cold and the can of Stella I'd consumed over lunch (they don't call it "wifebeater" because it induces a sunny disposition) I went out and bought the new dvd release of "The Libertine", Johnny Depp's portrayal of John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester (see my quick pencil sketch on the left). I can't really afford to spend the better part of fifteen quid on a movie I'll probably only watch twice, but sometimes letting go of money can give you a temporary lift; I believe people who are more humourous than me call that "retail therapy".The movie is sold as a bawdy comedy, like "Tom Jones", but that misrepresents it completely. It's very funny in places, if you have a dirty sense of humour (and if you don't you won't be watching a film about Rochester), but its undertone, which in many places turns into an o…

Review: Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band on the BBC

Last night the BBC screened Bruce Springsteen's first UK appearance with the Seeger Sessions Band,in front of a small crowd (I think they said 300 people), of extremely lively and somewhat intoxicated men and women in what looked like a church. I appreciate this isn't very precise and factual, but if you want facts, my friends...well, I've never been long on those.
He ran through several of the songs from the album and a new version of the Blind Alfred Reed song "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times", updated by Springsteen to address the drowning of New Orleans and the subsequent abandonment of its people by "President Bystander" George Bush, to whom the song was dedicated.
I wondered how Springsteen would put over the Seeger album live, given the traditional power and bombast of his band shows, but the answer shouldn't have surprised me. He did it with power and bombast!--growling each song into the microphone as if communicating the lyrical message …

Jack Saturday Revisited

I don't normally shout too loudly about my publication successes--I prefer to moan like a howling wind banging the shutters of an old window about my rejections--but since it's in an extremely worthy cause, I wanted to mention that a little snippet of thoroughly reasonable opinionation by yours truly has appeared on Jack Saturday's "anti-job/ pro-freedom" site today. Click the link in the reading room to find it.
One or two people I've told about Jack have said, "It's a fine theory, but how's it going to work in practice?"--that is, emancipation from wage slavery. Classic symptom of resistance to an idea: raising an objection to try, subconsciously or otherwise, to cripple the idea so that you don't have to deal with it. We can't go to your mother's this weekend; there's a terrorist bomb threat in Brighton and Hove--(meaning, God, I hate your mother and I'm getting to hate you.) Emancipation from wage slavery is a mind f**…

HONEST DUCK TELLS IT LIKE IT IS

The little-known anti-pastoral strand in English poetry is worthy of investigation by modern readers and thinkers. It contains some incisive social commentary rendered in elegant verse, and much of what it has to say remains relevant today, as this extract from Stephen Duck's "The Thresher's Labour" illustrates:


No intermission in our Work we know;
The noisy Threshal must for ever go.
Their Master absent, others safely play;
The sleeping Threshal does itself betray.
Nor yet, the tedious Labour to beguile,
And make the passing Minutes sweetly smile,
Can we, like Shepherds, tell a merry Tale;
The Voice is lost, drown'd by the louder Flail.
But we may think--Alas! what pleasant Thing,
Here, to the Mind, can the dull Fancy bring?
Our Eye beholds no pleasing Object here,
No chearful Sound diverts our list'ning Ear.
The Shepherd well may tune his Voice to sing,
Inspir'd with all the Beauties of the Spring.
No fountains murmur here, no Lambkins play,
No Linnets warble, and no …

ANGEL HEAD #4 ONLINE

Check it out (as they say), at:

http://bkerouac.tripod.com

Idea for a Movie: Repackaging the Angels.

The last star of the Underground Angels is dead. They were poets. They were heroes. Their brilliant writing and charismatic public performances changed the course of two generations.
Now the executors of the estates of the three central Angels meet to discuss future publication projects. In the public consciousness these Angels are forever connected, so it makes sense.
There's a problem. The America that they created, the Angels that is, has gone; now it's the America they were born into--more or less. Puritanical narrow-minded paranoid America that mistrusts its neighbour and condemns all cultural variations. A job, a mortagage, a good wife, two kids and a car--it's the only way. Any assertion of alternative lifestyles or psychologies is viciously condemned.
There's a problem with the Angels too. Ray Monette, the first to die, was a drunk, an anti-Semite, burned crosses on his front lawn, had Oedipal problems, denied parenting a daughter who was his precise double. Axel …

coming back to the lookout

i always wake up from my night bus sleeps
whenever i get a sniff of my home.
the used car lot with the long fields behind
and their bottomless space in the dark,
the white sign flashing Wilby in the headlights
rolling into the village,
i never miss them. i always drift out of my sleep
a few minutes before they appear. and even
the tightness that has been in my back
and my leg muscles vanishes knowing i'm here.
ed abbey road lit up in the night by the dazzling
streetlamp on the side of my cottage--
rounding that corner my separation dissolves.
i flow out into everything: the owl shriek,
the black cat, the cool air, the mysterious
church spire hidden in cloud.
not a stranger here: home. i enter my house
with new spring in my steel-toe-capped boots
however tired i've been,
put my bag and my keys down, make tea, then
sit up for hours letting the night fade around me

ANGEL HEAD #4

ANGEL HEAD #4 is closed for submissions now, and ready to go into production at the weekend (when I have a few days off work). Angel Heads this time around will be t. kilgore splake, Albert DeGenova, Gerald Nicosia, Ronald Baatz, Todd Moore, Chris Torrance, Norbert Blei and King Wenclas. Watch Suffolk Punch for notification of when the magazine is ready for viewing.
Spaces are filling up rapidly in ANGEL HEAD #5 so if anyone is considering submitting, do it soon, eh? Three poems, nothing of spectacular length but any style or subject considered, sent in the body of an email to bruce.hodder@tesco.net or blue.fred@tesco.net . There's no payment for poetry published, unfortunately, because the magazine doesn't generate any income!

Jack Saturday

Here's one everybody should take a look at (http://jacksatu.blogspot.com ). This guy is some kind of philosopher/ commentator like yours truly, with a very special remit: he's "anti-job/ pro-freedom" (at least on this site) and once a week, sometimes more, he presents you with quotes that support his thesis. Which is, to over-simplify, or to expand too much borrowing from my own well-known stock of anti-work sentiments, that most jobs are unnecessary, and society itself would be better served by having citizens free to cultivate their own minds and souls rather than urinate their time up a wall doing work that has no interest for them just to keep a roof over their heads.
But I'm speaking for him. Go over and see for yourself, if the idea interests you. Personally I've been trying to find a way out of the working world ever since I finally succumbed and got a job, aged about 28. Jack Saturday may help me achieve my goal at last.

UPDATE
Further investigation reve…

city people

city people, in the country,
say hello to everyone they pass
and look at cottage gardens the
way famished secretaries
look at chocolate eclairs.

COUNTRY HIKE

it's sunday morning, and i'm walking
in happy solitude, along a country road
among overgrown verges, fields high with
oilseed rape, air damp with an impending
early summer storm. i've forgotten it is
waendel weekend, when everybody walks
for charity. suddenly there's a group behind
me power-walking, their footfalls all in
unison sound like one ragged, clopping
horse--which is what i think it is
until they pass and an old man says hello.
i look behind and here come more, singles,
couples, two guys in army uniform, then
eight soldiers singing "blow and suck, suck
and blow, taught her everything she know"
and scoutmasters, and Chinese, and young
women with sinless clean faces strolling
alongside their grandfathers and greeting
everybody as if we still do that nowadays.
and entering the next village i see a tent
approaching with a van of scouts parked
near and ladies in the austere black get-up
of the St John's Ambulance Brigade waiting
with eager faces to discuss your blisters
with…

Everything That Lives Is Holy (But Some Things Are Less Holy Than Others)

We hear today that Tony Blair has signed a petition in favour of animal experimentation. He is doing so, apparently, because The Time Has Come To Make A Stand Against The Extremists.
Well. Mmm. Extremism is a funny thing. A relative thing. But we'll leave aside a discussion about the subjective nature of Truth for the moment. What bothers me, in his statements and the media reporting of them, is that no distinction seems to be made between the (to me) reasonable view that human beings don't have the right to kill other animals for their own sustenance or protection, and the bogeyman of "extremism"--that is, the rabid pursuit of a cause admitting of no appeal to caution or compromise, the end justifying any means at all.
There is a conservative bias in the adoption of this view. And a stupidity characteristic of all mainstream discussion in our modern society. If You Ain't With Us You're Agin Us is as deep as the newspapers and television, and politicians too, i…

Post-Beat Links

The Edward Abbey link on the right of the page has become inactive. I don't know why, as yet: the site was a long-standing multi-page resource for Abbey readers and you wouldn't have expected it to disappear. Let's hope its creator can get it back online soon, if he hasn't just got bored of the whole project and hit the road, as a student of the mercurial Abbey might. It surprises me how few really good sites there are for the great writers on the post-Beat/independent/counter-cultural/bohemian/progressive side.
Who's got one? Ginsberg. Burroughs. Brautigan.
Who hasn't (or not any that I know of)? Corso (a woeful omission). Bukowski (a surprise).KEROUAC, for God's sake (the official site is dreadful). Gary Snyder. And now Edward Abbey.
Kesey's site, run by his son Zane, is psychedelic in design with high resolution photos, and it's a lively read, but it doesn't tell you anything about Kesey biographically, and ducks his writing altogether, other th…

The Driver's Dilemma

speeders
are bleeders
but crawlers
appal us

Do We Need A ULA In Britain? (part 2)

Do we need a ULA in Britain?
Exhibit one: the author of this blog was asked to write a biography of a poet for a literary encyclopedia; the poet had asked me, as that was the hook in this particular project--the encyclopedia approach the poet, then the poet engages a publisher/ editor/ critic to do the work. At the request of the Dr. of Lit. in charge of the project--and against my better judgement ( what possible reason could they have for requesting it other than snobby editorial selection?)-- I sent him a copy of my literary cv. And since then, NOTHING.
So what's going on? I don't know. But I can guess. My literary cv has nothing but underground credentials on it. Magazines like OUTLAW, GLOBAL TAPESTRY JOURNAL, ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE, WAH!,THE CLIFFS, NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND.The names really speak for themselves, creating in list form a kind of poem of dissent. I have written poetry and I have written essays and criticism, but not in any of the right places, whatever the qua…

"Food For Thought (But Not For Eating)"

CONSIDER
these two quotes discovered at the excellent blog "One Pissed-Off Veteran" (http://opovet.blogspot.com ):

"Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both."
-- Benjamin Franklin

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."
-- Winston Churchill

So now we know better than Ben Franklin and Winston Churchill?

Training

Like most writers and poets, I have to do a money job to put beer and sandwiches on the table. And like most people who do a money job, I have to attend training. Every three weeks, actually, with my present company. Every third Friday we troop off down to a rugby club house in Northampton and learn something that makes us better, more efficient, more obedient workers--in theory.
It's not a bad thing. You're getting paid and you're not actually at work. You see people from other parts of the company, catch up, hang out, drink coffee. But then there is the training itself.
Corporate training represents, in microcosm, the way society is, how it sees itself, how the people working the levers think we ought to function; it is, like science fiction, where we'll end up if we don't take a stand. Individuals, in theory, you sit and hear about a succession of parliamentary acts telling you what to do. Like the code of conduct care workers are governed by which says you repres…

Lana Turner Got Up

The most reported news in the blogosphere is probably the release from hospital of Keith Richards on Wednesday. By all accounts he's recovering nicely and the Stones intend to resume their tour very soon. Good: the world can't afford to lose its last great public symbol of decadent individualism just yet.
But how many more lives has the old rascal got, I wonder? Why do I have this gloomy feeling that soon he will be off for his reunion with Gram?

YAMAHAIKU

the air breaking wonderfully around
the sedentary rider
on the hurtling bike

Chris Murray

In my perpetual search for interesting things you and I can read about poetry, I found another great site "on the web" today. It seems to be organised and edited by a fellow called Chris Murray and it's a really lively, live combination of poetry journal, internet magazine and correspondence corner. There's also an excellent links section located underneath a list of famous poetry hats! Go to http://texfiles.blogspot.com for an experience you won't have anywhere (other than, naturally at Suffolk Punch).

Does Britain Need a ULA?

Do we need a ULA in the UK? It's a question I ask myself on my daily reading visits to the ULA websites. They are an interesting gang: underground heroes creating vital and dynamic new works and exposing the complacency and hypocrisy of the literary Establishment in America. Poetry will be the better for it, as culture in general was the better for the Merry Pranksters and San Fran was better for the Diggers.
But what's the scene in the UK? A lot of the new works coming out of the major publishing houses--in poetry that is--are certainly dreary. You get these promotional pushes of The Next Generation of poets sometimes and where do they come from, all of a sudden? Young poets seeming to have sprung out of nowhere, but when you look at the author information you see--a few publications in places like the Times Literary Supplement and that's it. While the best living UK poet Chris Torrance seems no longer to be available in the bookshops (not that he necessarily cares, or req…

vivid as an eel, banana moon gleaming

i daydream d.a.levy
is in the room next door
looking out over a city balcony
in summer smoking quietly
musing on the fine curve
of a woman's legs
sliding among taxicabs
and hot dog sellers
trees shimmering in air

Keith Watch--What The Band Say

Reliable news on the condition of Suffolk Punch hero Keith Richards is difficult to find, but working on the safe assumption that one should never believe the English gutter press, let's suspend the disbelief that comes from anxiety and the natural paranoia that arises whenever money is involved and accept, with caution, the statement made by the Rolling Stones themselves, which says Keith is talking again, he never had a second operation following his fall, and the rumours of brain damage were inaccurate. Wags in the blogosphere and elsewhere are asking how anybody could tell--though people who know Keith, like Johnny Depp, report that his "Sixties casualty" reputation is a myth and he's actually sharp as a nail-- but the idea of the mind that dreamed the riff for "Satisfaction" being permanently mashed is almost painful for me to contemplate. You might say I should get out more; I say you should stay in more, with better music.

Suffolk Punch Reviewed On The Vertin Blog

Suffolk Punch has been written up nicely on the Vertin Press site (see http://www.vertinpress.com). Okay, one of the twin peaks of Vertin is lit friend and comrade t.kilgore splake, but as I've said before, splake won't b.s. for the sake of friendship, so we at S.P. take the compliment as it is intended: as genuine critical commentary on the worth of the site in writing terms. Thanks, t. Now was that cash or a cheque you wanted?

Oh Lana Turner We Love You Get Up

Image

Opinions of Ezra

I did a blog google on Ezra Pound a while ago to see what people were saying about him and the results were interesting. It seems no longer to be questioned by the majority of people that Pound was a Fascist--one blogger says, "He must have been to be tried by the US as a traitor" (or some such). Also that he was an anti-Semite and a lunatic. Some, while holding these views quite rigidly do acknowledge that he was a fabulous poet, but in general these presumptions seem to have cast him out of the Am Lit fold completely. I've also noted one or two people linking the presumption of his lunacy to the immense difficulty of some of his poems and feeling, consequently, that the poems do not have to be tackled by anyone with a serious interest in Modernist poetry (and developments beyond it).
Hmm. I am studying Pound's works closely and I am not convinced that he was either a Fascist OR a lunatic. He certainly had Fascist sympathies because they seemed to accommodate opinio…

Daily War News

Suffolk Punch is first and foremost a poetry site. But poetry doesn't happen in a vaccuum. Ask Pablo Neruda. Ask Basil Bunting. We British and American poets are writing our little books and pomes at a time when our respective governments have mired our troops in a civil war in a country they have no right to be in; and by the very nature of the institutions they represent, the men and women of our governments can't tell the truth about what's going on over there. But free writers on the internet can. There may be "lies, damn lies and statistics", as the old cliche goes, but in a sense statistics tell the truth in a way that interpretation and rationalisation from parties with a vested interest cannot. You can put any spin on it you like (though I'd watch out for your karma), but the dead are still dead.
For the only reliable statistical information about the disaster unfolding under the gunsights of British and American troops in Iraq, go to http://dailywarne…

Jimmy Carter Dog Love Poem

In this dream I was having
I was looking after President
Jimmy Carter's dog
at a superpower summit
with him and Gorbachev
from the old Russia; and
I was trying to pick up
this gorgeous, mature
woman who was there.
In historical correctness
and chronology of world
leaders the dream was all
screwed up. But Jimmy
had a fabulous moustache,
neat and trimmed carefully
to the line of that famous
fish lip of his. He looked
like Clark Gable's dry cleaning
guy in the 1930s,
stepping out of limos
and calling for me
to watch his damn dog
that just jumped into the
wild river near the camp.

Short Story

by Mark Sonnenfeld and August Ciufo

Marymark Press, 2006
ISBN: 1-887379-85-1

Well, I haven't got a clue what's going on here, but it's fun! Actually I'd guess the Gysin-Burroughs cut-up method was being employed to combine separate works by the two authors. It certainly reads like that, in places, though what do I know? The story is indescribable, at least by me, but it includes such diverse elements as Tech 3, where "tests were being conducted," a "flat broke" Professor, a director called Hans Severe, a man who "goes bersek with a nail gun," and Norman, who "went home angry." The page design experiments with different fonts and font sizes and there's associated imagery too, including a map of Los Angeles and a picture of the Beatles at Shea Stadium. Visually it reminds me of those old mimeographed experiments by people like d.a.levy, only cleaner.
I've had people tell me, in the past, that it was pretentious to like somethin…

The ULA and HOWL

So, what's all this ULA Howl Protest business and how come we never get to hear about it, either in the mainstream media or in the writings/ websites etc. of people who make a living out of the Beats?
Well, I said all along that the idea of civic celebrations of the author of "Howl" were ridiculous. As are sedate literary events. You can't sit on a panel somewhere and discuss a poem about people "burning for that ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night" or whatever it is; the best way to celebrate "Howl" is to get mad raging drunk, walk home through the cold night under brilliant stars and write whatever bold, brave lines come from the top and bottom of your mind without fear or premeditation.
Which is really, essentially, what the ULA have been saying. "Free the Beats" (their slogan) from the starched shirts who are claiming ownership of them (though they still don't like Jack so much), and understan…

Todd Moore in London

U.S. poet Todd Moore, featured in the last BEATLICK NEWS, will be doing a couple of readings in the UK soon. First appearance will be at the Florence in Islington on May 26th, second appearance the Cellar in Covent Garden the following night. Contact the venues for more details. Todd's a very good poet, so it's going to be a nice way to spend a summer evening in the capital if you can get there.
Be warned, though: Todd's no gentle flowers and furry bears poet; he's not a Jack-struck Angel Head like yours truly either. The nearest publically-celebrated poet to Todd in style is Bukowski, but my old moan about legions of Buk-struck poets doesn't apply here because Todd writes with more discipline, more sharp focus and I think his mind is more daring than Buk's, he's gone further into those wild areas that most poets won't even talk about. So don't troop out to the readings expecting something cosey and reassuring. Okay? Because if the poems are anything…

What I Love

Like splake with his dvd "the cliffs" I want to show you what I love. It is, after all, a very suitable activity for a poet to engage in now that we have finished with the false business of the Bomb. "The hour's getting late," as poet Dylan says.Except it's not.
Though I spend so much of my time depressed or strung out, the things I love are many: the steady beat of a reggae track throbbing out of a radio or car window; the slinky walk of a cat slipping along against a wall, especially when it's trying not to look worried about the human footsteps behind it; finding a new old book of fantastic poetry on the shelf of a charity shop or in a box on the market; the design of old jazz lps from the 1950s with close-ups of the serious bespectacled or sweating faces of the trumpet players; the Eden-like acoustics of dawn birdsong especially when it wakes you from a long and restful sleep and you lay in bed warm and listening to it; a handwritten letter from a fa…

Labour and the New Dark Ages

As SP predicated, the government took a drubbing in the local council elections last night thanks to the fortnight of scandals and atrocious headlines it has suffered through. Labour holds less seats now, in local government, than it did when my Labour hero Michael Foot was leader; and the world hated him. Blair's response has been surprisingly emphatic: he has sacked Charles Clarke--actually Clarke returned to the backbenches rather than accept another cabinet post--and stripped John Prescott of many of his responsibilities. But I'm mad at them all. Mad because of what they are courting--that is, the destruction, perhaps for another generation, of the Labour Party: Blair too, with his initial Thatcher-esque arrogance in the face of massive public condemnation when the Charles Clarke story first broke. Because of their work, actually, these people--Blair included--England finally, in 1997, came out of the darkest period in living memory, with mass unemployment, destuction of t…

the english thinker

he's on the garden chair
hands clasped, brooding
with pear-drop breasts
dandelions buttering
the unmown grass

Review: t.kilgore splake "the cliffs" (dvd)

Splake's new dvd "the cliffs" is now available from the Vertin Press in Calumet, MI. It's a little different from the previous one. This time Margaret and Emery's favourite son reads not only his own work but also a collection of poems by some of his "friends and inspirations", to borrow a quote from myself: Norb Blei's unappreciated magnum opus "Second Novel", Richard Brautigan, Albert Huffstickler, Jim Chandler, Carter Monroe. And tks himself features less; he sits near to the camera and lets the wind create the visual drama turning a Tibetan Prayer flag at Point Betsy or fluttering the leaves somewhere else along the trail. Another poem is read while the camera, in close-up, watches rain falling on the surface of a stream. It's unorthodox but splake's desire is to create artful works full of energy and surprise, not have a late career in Hollywood; and he succeeds. He's also writing a love letter to the wilderness around Cal…

Suffolk Punch Versus The Spam Robots

Suffolk Punch has been liberated after a second tussle with Blogger's Spam Robots in two weeks. Once again a human being has reviewed the writing here and decided it was produced by human hand rather than automation; I have convinced Blogger, again, that my main purpose is not to sell you something. Except, of course, a particular vision of the world.
Wonder how long it will take for the robots to shut me down again.

Small

It wanted poets.
Instead the moon
found the new May leaf.

R.H.Blyth

I found this extract of a letter from R.H.Blyth on a website yesterday:


Dear Mr. Hackett,

...The other day I went to see Dr. Suzuki, who is now, as you know, 93 years old. I asked him a question, holding a cat in my arms, "Which is more important, to be fond of cats (that is, to write haiku) or to understand Zen?" He answered, "They are one and the same thing", and I said to him, "You have passed your examination." But I did not really think so. To be fond of cats and to understand Zen are equally important because they are the same thing. Yes, this is so, but at the same time, what is more important is to be fond of cats. Now, you see, I have contradicted what I wrote on the previous page, but
who cares?
who shares?
RHB



from www.hacketthaiku.com


I thought I knew a great deal about haiku until I began reading about R.H.Blyth in Norbert Blei's "Poetry Dispatch". Somehow Blyth managed to slip under my radar completely.

VOLUME III

Well, here we are beginning the third volume of the Suffolk Punch blog. Why? Because I accidentally deleted all of the entries in volume ii tonight. Computer genius. I was messing around with the code trying to paste in a blogorama banner and when I came back to the page everything had gone. All the writing anyway. As the comedienne Katherine Tate would say, "Am I bothered?"
Six months of work destroyed by one finger. I feel like a king!