Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
(Chapbook 40 pp)
$9.95 €6.95 Erbacce Press
reviewed by David McLean
This is not the first time I have read this little book but the first time I review it. Nothing is more boring in general than women celebrating the birth of children in poems, unless it's Sylvia Plath being disingenuous. But Misti, of course, shows no tendency to say “I never wash my goddess twat so it smells of my faith in wimmin.” As I say in the blurb on the book, which I have no memory of writing, the bitch bites. These poems are acerbic and cynical in that they give modern society, and particularly modern American society I suppose, unrelenting hell. But they never forget to do it with humor, grace, and style.
The poems use language in a fresh and entertaining way, but they are not an illiterate underground alternative to “real” poetry, as one might believe if one were to read wrong between the lines of what others and I myself have written about her. not just her, a lot of people who write punk poetry. This is the poetry that matters now. Seriously, people who study poetry in small American universities have to realize that the goddess of poetry (who was Anne Sexton once before the grave got to her) probably doesn't take their academic pretensions too seriously. What she does take seriously (she speaks to me sometimes when i drink, lots of dead people do) is bitches who bite, but bite with elegance and style.
Some of the highlights here are a series of five psalms that are much more sensible than the ones in the Christian Handbook -
“Humble yourself before the janitor. He isn't the
idiot you think he is”
Few of the poems in this collection actually directly treat of Jackson, but that is as it should be. The problem for pregnant trailer trash with a dead truck driver as husband is actually getting the thing out of you, alive and healthy-ish, and poems that address a being that is not yet strictly speaking in being are at best in faintly bad faith. It seems healthy to me. Really, the parents who fuck children up are the parents who make plans for them and try to live vicariously through them. Instead the poems are about the life situation that qualifies or disqualifies for being a big-bellied breeder. And I'm pretty sure that Jackson will grow up quite healthy.
Because these poems don't take any shit
“God is not offering any refills.
God is a bad waiter.
He won't get a tip, not from
this dissatisfied customer.
I would ask to speak to
the manager but I think
These are poems about living and loving “like you fucking mean it.” They are exceptional, and the chapbook is exceptionally well put together, the poems well ordered. I was as happy to get this is the post ass the cats are when I come in with shrimps after midnight. Best post we got this month, even though the Nightmare on Elm Street box set came with it.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The magazine seems excellent, and Misti Rainwater-Lites always does a good job with things like this.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Edit: That was quick, it's up here now.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I forgot to mention Bukowski among the influential poets.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
There will be details here, where there are also links to various books by Misti Rainwater Lites.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
That site also has "down in the dirt" magazine - I have a few poems online there - one called "dog eye variations" that I like quite a lot. Navigate to writings and it's there under my name.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Like I say, they are here.
Also thanks to static Movement for the advert.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Review by David McLean
Misericordes by Marie Lecrivain
Can be ordered for $7 & p+p at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by Off World Publications
As with her Nihilistic Foibles this new offering from noted LA poet Marie Lecrivain combines prose poetry and standard poetry in a heady mix where wicca rubs shoulders with formica bar tops and depth runs into superficiality and vice versa.
Comfort this night
is nothing more than a yen
for body heat.
You’ll get more honesty
and a sense of absolution
from the fisherman’s hook
than you will from me.
It's an intense world where tenderness and compassion in one poem over the death of an unknown dog is on the same level as a bored S&M erotic sensuality in the next.
I am bored. Even the sight of striped and recently disciplined flesh fails to arouse my senses. I find more enjoyment in the bottom of my cocktail glass and in the growing fuzziness of my vision. The room tilts and swirls as I swallow the last of my drink.
In one of my favorites a cypress tree, twisted and dark but defiantly unforgiven and alive, is called upon to symbolize the beauty of our dark twisted struggle to the light, the obstinacy of life. Absurd but persistent as trees always are.
Another favorite concerns bisexual experimentation, but could deal with any passing encounter
quietly introduces itself
river of neon stimuli
and I'm compelled
by a need
to give into
the honest impulse
I leave quickly,
in my solitude.
Marie can paint very ornate and beautiful poems, with a rich and complex vocabulary, but she can also express a desperation and vertigo in the face of the void, the void is clear in these poems behind the often very beautiful tapestry of words. Especially in hieros 4
I thought I'd almost escaped... but the dream came anyway; a long, recurring nightmare of moving forward through time into a dark, starless void, where no one and nothing existed; no people, no countries, no secrets. I found myself on the edge of a precipice that dropped into a massive black vortex of annihilation, and I, with little success, expended much of myself trying to wish my way back. In a panic, I briefly awakened but I found my head sinking into the pillow, and then my soul accelerated like Major Tom on a dying trajectory back to the origin of all who had died and then were burned to ash.
A very beautiful one, which I remember she wrote when we wrote some things in response to each other once – is called “… to the urban seraph under an off-ramp of the 10 freeway”
It's a lovely tribute to a young man whose story I don't know.
I think that this collection will not disappoint anyone. Something for all of us – perverts, dreamers, believers, unbelievers, lovers of nature and lovers of the void behind it. Buy it is all.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I edit this a while later to say that the five new ones are already up here.
Winamop is generally speaking one of the very best sites for poetry.
Authors: Iris Berry, Debbie Kirk, Cynthia Ruth Lewis, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Jude Lynn
ed. Victor Thorn
This anthology is very worth reading, especially for the contributions by Misti Rainwater-Lites and Iris Berry, but all of the poems are great. Some irritate me, but they are all well-written. The collection seems in a sense to be unified by one thing, that it is motivated by feelings of desperation and loss, that loss of the illusion of rootedness which is perceived as a malaise in most western societies, and motivated by a refusal to swallow the social lies that Kant, benevolently, and Freud, perhaps slightly cynically, wanted us to swallow.
As to the question of whether this book will actually make you shoot yourself or someone else. Reading it does express a Sisyphean lesson. (It's published by Sisyphus Press.) But a genuine Sisyphean lesson. Sisyphus was no hero, but a self-serving criminal and a murderous bastard. His handcuffing of death, his last crime that so angered Thanatos, was absolutely not a good thing. Hideously injured men couldn't die on the field of battle, the old lived on as shells, robbed of their right to die. Pretty much as the old do nowadays. The reconciliation of Sisyphus, as Camus depicts it, is that he can't help smiling in the face of his meaningless punishment. Life is worth living just out of sheer obstinacy, though a thinker knows that there is no God, one can't live for that fatuous delusional crap, and trying to help others, adopting the political solution, is just being a self-centered twat and generally making a nuisance of yourself.
If you belong to that category of people who strive to see the positive side of life, the positive as it is conventionally presented, then many of the poems in this collection may disturb you. Goog job too. If, like me, you actually think life is an imposition, in the Sisyphean sense, an unpleasant contingency worth little beyond some token hedonism, then you may miss the point of the poems that strive to disabuse you, in that they actually are rather humane in their intent. Cynthia Ruth Lewis, in “passing through,” would probably say that the hole in the ozone layer, which many people (who don't follow South Park) actually believe in, and believe to be growing, is a bad thing. Sometimes I think it's rather a good thing.
Most people are probably like me in not giving much of a shit about the general division, that people constantly nag about, between “the canon” and “the outlaws.” There are just poems, and writers of poems, and it is surely coincidence that I only ever happen to read nowadays in magazines those on the underground side of the divide. But I don't see why I should have to choose between Bukowski and Auden. Bukowski liked Auden, so do I.
Generally, there is much more positivity here than might be expected. It's probably an American thing. Maybe Americans have to affect their affected ennui, my affected ennui, like that of many Europeans - well, several - is genuine affected ennui. But some of the problem that burdens these poems seems to be the general American attitude to sex, which, judging as I do from literature, gender studies, and TV, is hideously and extravagantly distorted. I'm very far from pretending that Sweden, where I live, the land that god apparently hates, is some sort of feminist paradise. It's not, but it's probably better to be a woman here. Though the problems are related, both lands are in the control of the regime of the brother that Juliet Flower MacCannell has analyzed so well. The general accessibility of bitches as commodities, combined with the remnants of the ancient condemnation of uninhibited promiscuity. That's what I focus on in this short and vague review, the sex and gender issue. Perhaps interestingly, the father is usually a quite significant figure here.
Considerations of space and so forth preclude a general consideration of everything, but I shall focus first on Misti Rainwater-Lites, since she is generally regarded as “underground” though she obviously carries the heritage of older poetry in her, and since she is the only one here I had ever read before. Most of the poems here are familiar, and the language drags one in as usual, the lines fall well into each other and reflect a world very familiar. A heavenly King James' hell where
.. everything crumbles
even cookies left out for Santa
and some of us
do not mind
Misti's poetry is really exceptional, she portrays herself in a way that actually interests the reader in her fate, her history, and she is evidently going to succeed, if she doesn't then I have one more reason to despise popular taste. She is also very good at finales, ends poems excellently, something most poets can't do.
Debbie Kirk, who starts the anthology, writes painfully. But though she writes of her sufferings at the hands of mental illness, she is not without humor and a rage that is, one hopes, an empowering rage.
There are really wonderful lines like
Put me in a room full of
Crazies and drug addicts
And I feel the spotlight in my eyes
And it's like I'm a debutante
Claiming my white trash heritage
And somehow I feel like
I've finally fucking arrived
Iris Berry is excellent, her poetry swarms with punk subcultural references that work on both sides of the Atlantic, except, you know, we think that Hanoi Rocks really sucked. She depicts the junk life with perfect clarity
I think most of all
It was that last OD...
first i saved you
and then you saved me.
Waking up in a bathtub
of cold water
you standing above me
just wasn't fun anymore
Cynthia Ruth Lewis has in particular one poem here that really struck me as great “cut & dried.” A fearless poem about cancer is fairly unusual. I'd quite like cancer too.
death doesn't frighten me --
let it come, softly,
at its own pace
like night ends the day,
taking it under its wing when it's spent,
slipping gently into oblivion;
a quiet ending to a day undone--
a tender, new moon rising
to replace a burnt out sun
Again, some of her poems reveal the shortcomings of gender relations in the USA. Maybe Judith Butler should be allowed to write a list of men who deserve to die and Kirk and Lewis should be given free reins and a chainsaw?
Jude Lynn's poetry, which is less bound to traditional forms, or at least to the use of the enter key, again reveals the shortcomings of gender relations in modern society though without taking sides against men.
The problem is not the individual men that often feature as dick-heads in the poems in this anthology, it's the regime of the brother and heterosexism that prevail in the west, and probably everywhere else. I'm very far from being against bonking, but heterosexuality and a taste for pussy is not the same as a belief that god and nature have told me to do it without really asking first.
Anyway, the book is in general superb. There are rather lovely pictures too, for most if not all of these ladies seem to be artists. I think it may become a significant landmark collection that you will curse yourself for not buying. So go do it now, fucker.
I see that the new Watching the Wheels - a Blackbird will be up on 1st June with five poems by me, all with cool names. I'm looking forward to it. They are here.
Received my May issue of Poetry Monthly today. Excellent issue as always, like I said earlier. For ordering or downloading see below.
Also recieved my copy of some papers from erbacce. A reminder that they have a lot of books on sale now, all worth buying. Their page with recent publications is here and my chapbook, pic above, can be ordered here.