Category Archives: Books

Amanda Gorman’s Gown and the Smithsonian

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Linda and I had a zoom dinner with Alexis and Jim Fancher yesterday evening; politics, the pandemic, and culture took up most of the conversation. At one point, we began talking about Amanda Gorman’s national television debut as Youth Poet Laureate. Alexis said that she has heard reports of a serious uptick of interest in poetry. At the very least, people were at least disabused of the immediate association of poetry and poverty.

In fact, after a few minutes of conversation about Ms. Gorman’s stunning outfit, I suddenly remembered hearing that there will be a break in tradition this year: Jill Biden, the First Lady, would normally donate her Inaugural Ball gown to the Smithsonian, but there was not an Inaugural Ball this year. However, I suggested to my dinner companions, what if the Youth Poet Laureate were to donate her outfit to the Smithsonian. It’s without doubt the best sartorial presentation of any poet who has served the role at that quadrennial ceremony.

Alexis and Linda thought it was a great idea, and urged me to post it in my blog, in the unlikely event that someone might notice and follow up on it. I do hope that someone who knows how to organize a petition drive gets one going.

For the record, I thought Gorman’s poem was a superb example of performance poem attuned to a didactic theme. I myself would preferred that Biden had asked either Tracy K. Smith, Yusef Komunyakaa, Natasha Trethewey, Will Alexander, Rita Dove, or Terrance Hayes. He decided that he needed to acknowledge the youth who have made such an impact on this past year’s protests and instead chose Amanda Gorman. My two favorite lines were:

Being American is more than a pride we inherit;
It is the past we step into, and how we repair it.

I would note how the emotion of pride is not passive in her formulation; it is only earned as an active agent in the mending of a flawed legacy.

We have more repair work to do than we want to admit, not just in terms of the chaos distilled by Trump, but all the accumulated damage done by the failure to provide reparations for slavery and manifest destiny.

I would note by the way that there is an echo of an earlier poem read at an inauguration in Gorman’s poem: “And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.” This proleptic image reminded me of the first line of Robert Frost’s “The Gift Outright,” which he read (but did not compose specifically for Kennedy’s inauguration): “The land was ours before we were the land’s.” This was one of the superior moments in Gorman’s poem, for if any element behooves this particular literary ritual in America’s public poetry, it is the ability to detect the intrinsic presence of the prefatory in the redemptive utterance. I only wish that Gorman’s subsequent line had been stronger. Regardless, redemption is needed, especially when one considers that the only poem that should ever be written about Trump deserves the title, “The Grift Outright.”

John Doe (Live) — “See How We Are” and Other Songs (At “HOLE IN THE WALL,” 2021)

January 21, 2021 (Thursday)

It’s been a rough first week of the Spring semester, and it’s not going to get any easier. I got a jury summons in the mail, but needless to say, no one in a position of authority is willing to make any promises about when I will get a vaccine shot. It’s too late for my sister to get a shot to head off the encroachment of the virus, although so far she is avoiding the worst effects since being diagnosed positive.

This evening, though, I celebrated the inauguration of Joe Biden by watching a solo concert by John Doe, streamed online by Mandolin. Making use of three guitars, He played a variety of songs by himself and others for an hour and a half, non-stop. It was an impressive display of musicianship and singing. His voice was even sweeter than I remember it back in the early days of X, and his fingerpicking was superb.

Halfway through the set, I realized that I was not writing down the names of the songs, and at this point it is a bit of joyful blur, but they included a song by Exene (“I Live in Arizona”); “In This House that We Call Home”; “Big Rock Candy Mountain”; and “See How We Are.” Other covers included Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” which he dedicated to Peter Case, who had shown Jon had to play in open tuning, and one of the Replacements’ great songs, “Here Comes a Regular.” As John said, “If you don’t know the song, you should look it up.” He performed it with a passion worthy of the original. Also included in the set was a plaintive, touching ballad by Wynn Stewart, which first became well known because of Merle Haggard’s recording. Finally, I would note that John dedicated a song to his late friend, Michael Blake.

Though relieved at yesterday’s shift in governance, I still feel very agitated and aggrieved. John’s concert helped soothe some of that tension. I remain grateful his commitment to songwriting and poetry and all of his collaborations with poet-songwriter Exene Cervenka.

Zoom Link to Recording of the Sunday, January 17th W-E Bicoastal Poets Reading

January 19, 2021

ZOOM LINK TO RECORDING OF THE W – E BICOASTAL POETS OF THE PANDEMIC AND BEYOND
ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 17th, 2021

The reading on Sunday, the 17th, offered another glimpse of the extraordinary diversity of work produced by poets right now. I wish to thank Lynn McGee and Susana H. Case, the founders of this reading series, and Carolyne Wright for their hard work in getting all of the behind-the-scenes work done to make this event happen and to make it available to those who could not attend.

FEATURING:

Claudia Castro Luna (Washington state), John Guzlowski (Chicago), Dayna Patterson (Washington state) and Paul Vangelisti (Pasadena, California).

Brief commentary:
Claudia Castro Luna’s poem “Ask the Bees” is one of the best poems I’ve heard in a long time. Dayna Patterson’s VIDEO POEM “braided the waterfall” of image and phrase with poignant clarity. John Guzlowski’s poems of testimony about the Holocaust join with Gail Newman’s recent collection of poems (BLOOD MEMORY) as essential documents encumbering civilization’s capacity to succumb to evil. Paul Vangelisti read flawlessly from his most recent book: MOTIVE AND OPPORTUNITY.

Here is my introduction to Paul Vangelisti:

I have been reading Paul Vangelisti’s poems for almost a half-century now, and almost from the start I realized that he was the poet on the West Coast who best put into practice the international poetics I found in Michael Hamburger’s book, The Truth of Poetry. If Hamburger was the first post-WW II critic to implicitly remonstrate mainstream American poetry for its provincial insularity, then Paul Vangelisti is the poet-editor-publisher-translator In the past half-century whose status as a member of the avant-garde is always willing to undergo a rigorous self-interrogation. If exile from the city of his birth has found its improvised way-station in Los Angeles, he has put that contingency to good use. Today, he will read from a book that takes its cue from that quintessential Los Angeles genre, the noir. Motive and Opportunity summons the disenchanted, but bemused buoyancy of the detective novel and turns it into a meditation on the search for the methods we might use to establish the means, if not the meaning, by which we sustain ourselves. I present Paul Vangelisti.

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Here is more on the poets, and where to buy their books:
CLAUDIA CASTRO LUNA is the Washington State Poet Laureate and served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015 to 2017. She is the author of Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press, 2017), a Finalist for the Washington State Book Award 2018; This City (Floating Bridge Press); and One River, a Thousand Voices (Chin Music Press, 2019). The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, she is a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and a Jack Straw Fellowship. Born in El Salvador, Castro Luna came to the United States with her family in 1981, during the Salvadoran civil war. Her non-fiction has appeared in the anthologies This is the Place (Seal Press) and Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative (Kalina Eds).
Learn more at castroluna.com
Link to purchase Killing Marias:
http://twosylviaspress.com/…/Killing_Mar%C3%ADas…
Link to purchase One River, a Thousand Voices:
https://store.chinmusicpress.com/…/one-river-a-thousand…
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JOHN GUZLOWSKI’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, North American Review, Rattle, Ontario Review, Salon.Com and many other journals. His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his award-winning memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). He is also a columnist for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy (the oldest Polish language daily in America) and the author of Suitcase Charlie and Little Altar Boy, noir mystery novels set in Chicago.
Link to John Guzlowski’s blog, Echoes of Tattered Tongues:
http://lightning-and-ashes.blogspot.com/
Link for buying True Confessions and John Guzlowkski’s other books:
amazon.com/author/johnguzlowski
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DAYNA PATTERSON is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work and poembroideries have appeared recently in AGNI, Irreantum, The Maynard, and Tahoma Literary Review. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She was a co-winner of the 2019 #DignityNotDetention Poetry Prize judged by Ilya Kaminsky.
To learn more about Dayna Patterson, visit:
daynapatterson.com
To purchase signed copies of books by Dayna Patterson, visit:
Order signed books!
To purchase unsigned copies of her books, visit:
https://www.villagebooks.com/…/if%20mother%20braids%20a…
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PAUL VANGELISTI is the author of more than 30 books of poetry, as well as being a noted translator from Italian. His book of poems, Motive and Opportunity, was published this fall by Shearsman Books in the U.K. In 2015 he edited Amiri Baraka’s S.O.S.: Poems, 1961-2014, for Grove Press. In 2006, Lucia Re’s and his translation of Amelia Rosselli’s War Variations won both the Premio Flaiano in Italy and the PEN-USA Award. In 2010, his translation of Adriano Spatola’s The Position of Things: Collected Poems, 1961-1992 was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. From 1971-1982 he was co-editor, with John McBride, of the literary magazine Invisible City and from 1993-2002, he edited Ribot, the annual report of the College of Neglected Science (CONS). The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Vangelisti one of its first Translation Fellowships in 1981, and a Poetry Fellowship in 1988. Vangelisti was Founding Chair of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and currently lives in Pasadena.
To order Paul Vangelisti’s most recent book, visit here:
https://www.spdbooks.org/…/motive-and-opportunity.aspx

Gerald Locklin (1941-2021)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Gerald Locklin (1941-2021)

The W-E Bicoastal Poetry Reading Series took place this afternoon and it went very well, though my heart was incredibly heavy. Shortly after 1 p.m., I learned that Gerald Locklin had died shortly before 8 a.m. Eileen Klink, the chair of the English Department at CSU Long Beach, sent out an email mid-day announcing his death, which was due to covid-19.

Most of the Los Angeles poetry community has heard the news by now. Out of respect for Gerry and his family and friends, I am not going to saything other than he was one of the founders of Stand Up poetry, a movement whose earliest practitioners were based in Long Beach. It became well enough known that Edward Field make a special point in his anthology A GEOGRAPHY OF POETS of mentioning the unlikelihood of anything poetic coming out of Long Beach. Poetry in California was supposed to have its pedigree in North Beach, not Long Beach, but Locklin had a gift for the comic poem that influenced an entire generation of poets in Southern California.

If Locklin went unrecognized by East Coast canon shapers, he didn’t let on that it bothered him that much. He was too busy working on the next poem. I’ll grant anyone that it’s impossible to publish 3,000 poems and have all of them be of equal quality, but it’s not necessarily the poet’s job to be the adjudicator. Some of his finest poems are his ekphrastic commentaries that he started producing in the last portion of his writing life, and I don’t believe he would been so deft at that form if he devoted himself to a poetics of casual improvisation.

If you are not familiar with his work, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one of his books or a few representative poems in an anthology such as Charles Harper Webb’s STAND UP POETRY or my anthology POETRY LOVES POETRY. or Suzanne Lummis’s GRADN PASSION and WIDE AWAKE: Poets of Losn Angeles and Beyond.

Gerald Locklin was born in 1941 in Rochester, New York and went to Catholic schools, an experience memorably recorded in his classic Stand Up poem, “The Criminal Mentality.” He earned a M.A. and Ph.D. from Arizona State University, which is where I believe he came to know one of his early compatriots in the Stand Up movement, Ron Koertge. Locklin started teaching college in Southern California in the mid-1960s and earned a formidable reputation as a professor whose knowledge of literature matched his willingness to spend time in local bars: one of his best-known early. poems was entitled “Beer.” His literary alter ego, Toad, never seemed to lack for anecdotal levity.

In an interview, Charles Bukowski was asked about his opinion of contemporary poets in Los Angeles. Bukowski dismissed them all as mediocrities, except for one: Gerald Locklin. It should be emphasized that Locklin did not earn that praise because he was Bukowski’s drinking buddy. Locklin more than once commented that the secret of his relationship with Bukowski was that he kept his social distance from him.

Fortunately for the rest of us in Los Angeles, Gerry embraced us with a Fastaffian generosity. I could say he will be missed, but that had already begun before he died. I am lucky enough to have those memories to console me. R.I.P,, Gerry.

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REPRINT FROM OVER FOUR YEARS AGO:

Dead Solid Perfect: Gerald Locklin’s memoir poem about John Thomas and Charles Bukowski (or, From Beef Tongue to Tip of the Tongue: An Homage to Bukowski’s Friend, John Thomas, by Another of Bukowski’s Friends, Gerald Locklin)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On the verge of turning 24 years old, in the early autumn of 1971, I was asked to become the first poetry editor of a magazine its founder and publisher, Ted Reidel, intended to call Bachy. The name was meant to be a diminutive of his bookstore, Papa Bach Paperbacks. He put an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times announcing his new magazine and submissions started arriving. He gave me a desk in the upstairs loft and I worked there in the evenings after finishing my shift as a blueprint machine operator. I myself was an unpublished poet, and cannot account for Ted’s decision to entrust me with this role other than he must have had a great deal of faith in his one of his employee’s opinions. I had gone into the store to buy some poetry books in the late summer and had struck up a conversation with William (“Koki”) Iwamoto, who was working behind the counter. He invited me to read at an upcoming open reading at Papa Bach, and it was in the week after this reading that Koki said that Ted wanted to talk with me. He said he couldn’t pay me to work as the poetry editor, but that he would be happy to offer me a job at the store. I was making twice as much money as a blueprint machine operator, however, and overtime was helping me accumulate some savings, and so I remained strictly a volunteer presence at the store. Koki left within six months to start his own store, Chatterton’s, on Vermont Avenue. He, too, offered me a job, but that would have meant moving to the other side of Los Angeles and made visiting the Beyond Baroque workshop a long trek.

One day, the pile of submissions included a fairly large number of poems from Charles Bukowski, whose poems I was not particularly enamored with. I did not own any books by Bukowski, but there were plenty of copies of Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame for sale at Papa Bach, and since I had heard other older poets at Beyond Baroque talk about his poetry, I spent some time with the book in the Papa Bach loft. His use of enjambment seemed far too arbitrary to suit my preferences for Hart Crane and John Berryman. On the other hand, I had seen some of his poems in the early issues of INVISIBLE CITY, and liked those poems much more. I was both excited and nervous as I read Bukowski’s submission. I knew that if I did not like the poems, I would face my first big challenge in writing a rejection note.

Fortunately, I liked several of Bukowski’s poems much more than I anticipated and ended up including his poetry in the first issue of Bachy along with the work of several young poets I knew from San Diego State College as well as some young poets (David St. John and Roberta Spear) to whom Phil Levine had mentioned my magazine after I had visited him in his office at Fresno State. It was Bukowski’s close friend, John Thomas, however, who ended up having a more profound influence on my development as a poet and editor. His first eponymous collection of poems was a spiral-bound publication that I reviewed in the second issue of Bachy. It was the general consensus in the community that Thomas was one of the best poets living in Los Angeles. He had stopped writing, however. Whenever a poem showed up in a magazine back then, it was simply a reprint of an earlier poem. No one seemed to mind. His poems were always worth rereading, and the respectful enthusiasm that Lee Hickman and Paul Vangelisti accorded Thomas gave his maverick aura a palpable voltage.

Recently, Gerald Locklin sent me a poem that reminisces about spending some time with Thomas. As anyone knows who has studied Bukowski’s career at all, Locklin is one of the few poets Bukowski retained any respectful affection for over any significant stretch of reading. Locklin has often admitted that the secret of their friendship was to limit the amount of time they spent together, and especially the amount of time that they spent drinking together. Thomas was not anywhere near as interested in alcohol as Bukowski, nor was he inclined (or so he once said) to indulge in marijuana. He liked to read, and he claimed to abstain from anything that would impede that pleasure. As testified to by Locklin’s poem, Thomas obviously retained much of what he read.

Once Again Bukowski Was Right On

In a poem called “Beef Tongue,”
About his old drinking buddy and fellow poet,
John Thomas, Buk speaks of his enormous
Intelligence: how he knew just about everything,
Had read just about everything,
And could discuss just about everything.
I’d met Big John (a pseudonym) a few times
And had taken a liking to him,
But I’d never gotten to know him well enough
To tell whether he was really as smart as
Buk claimed he was, or that maybe he had once been,
But had washed some of it away with the beer,
A substance that we had all consumed in quantity,

Then I was in a room with John once
When a bunch of other pretty bright people
Were displaying their erudition,
So I sprang on them, “What language is Welsh
Closest to? (because I had spent a semester there
On a teaching exchange), and, after a brief silence,
John answered, correctly, “Breton,”
And a few minutes later, John said something about
Byron having had a terrible voice, and someone asked him,
How he could possibly know that, and John said,
“Only from Trelawny, and the Countess Guiccioli,”
And he also cited the title of Trelawny’s masterpiece,
Which, frankly, I don’t remember myself anymore,
Now that I’m retired from teaching Brit Lit Survey Courses,
And thus have even less reason to carry relatively
Arcane knowledge on the tip of that tongue that has
Floated to the back of my brain. But when I looked
It up the next morning, John Thomas had gotten it
Dead Solid Perfect. So Charles Bukowski may not
Have had an encyclopedic memory himself, but he
Could sure spot the rare autodidactic friend
Who did.

For those who are curious about one of the poems by Bukowski that I selected for the first issue of Bachy magazine, here’s a link:
http://bukowskiforum.com/threads/purple-and-black-1972.1210/

OIKOS: POETI PER IL FUTURO — 140 Poets — Edited, with a preface, by Stefano Strazzabosco

OIKOS
POETI PER IL FUTURO

A CURA DI STEFANO STRAZZABOSCO
PREMESSA DI FILIPPOMARIA PONTANI E ALBERTO CAMEROTTO

MIMESIS EDIZIONI (Milano – Udine) — Published: 2020
www.mimesisedizioni.it mimesis@mimesisedizioni.it
Collana: Classici contro, n. 18 Isbn: 9788857575636
MIM EDIZIONI SRL Via Monfalcone, 17/19 – 20099 Sesto San Giovanni (MI)

Stefano Strazzabosco has edited a transnational anthology of poetry about the future that concentrates on the ecological transmogrification of the planet. In choosing poets from over a dozen countries, he has kept in mind the epigraph that Anne Waldman, one of the handful of contributors from the United States, used as an epigraph for her poem: “In the Dark Times will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing about the Dark Times.” Bertolt Brecht’s gruff rejoinder to our justifiable pessimism about climate change reminds me a bit of Gramsci’s comment about “optimism of the will.”

Here are some of the poets who appear in this multi-lingual anthology. It is one of the few volumes I can think of for which there may be only a handful of individuals who could review every poem for the accuracy of the translation. After all, how many people are equally fluent in Vietnamese, Finnish, Hebrew, Swedish, Italian, French, and Spanish?

Here is a short list that provides a representative sampling of the poets and their countries of origin or present association (with Italian spellings, as in the table of contents):

Valerio Magrelli
Ennio Cavalli
Franca Mancinelli
Vivian Lamarque
Adi Wolfson (Israele)
Maya Weinberg (Israele)
John Taylor (USA / France)
Robin Myers (USA / .
Bill Mohr (USA)
Anne Waldman (USA)
Paul B. Roth (USA)
Clint Margrave (USA)
Jerry Garcia (USA)
Homero Aridjis (México).
Yenny León (Colombia)
Carlos José Pérez Sámano (México)
Giorgio Lavezzaro (Mexico)
Blanca Luz Pulido (México)
Hernán Bravo Varela (Mexico)
Giorgio Lavezzaro (Mexico)
Alfredo Lozano (Mexico)
Juan Carlos Abril (España)_
David Huerta (Mexico)
Jami Proctor Xu (China)
Lars Gustaf Andersson (Sverige)
Lydia Padellec (France)
Gabriel Mwènè Okoundji (Kongo / France)
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (Việt Nam)
Judith Taylor (Scotland, UK)
Mandy Haggith (Scotland, UK).
Kathleen Jamie (Scotland, UK).
Brian Johnstone (Scotland, UK)

AND HERE IS THE COMPLETE LIST OF 140 POETS:

Azam Abidov (Uzbekistan)
Juan Carlos Abril (Spagna)
Sebastiano Aglieco (Italia)
Marta Agudo (Spagna)
Muniam Alfaker (Iraq / Danimarca)
Antonio Alleva (Italia)
Gabrielle Althen (Francia)
Lars Gustaf Andersson (Svezia)
Saragei Antonini (Italia)
Verónica Aranda (Spagna)

Homero Aridjis (Messico)
Tsuriel Assaf (Israele)
Daniela Attanasio (Italia)
Attila F. Balázs (Romania / Repubblica Slovacca)
Francesco Balsamo (Italia)
Francesco Bargellini (Italia)
John Barnie (Galles, Regno Unito)
Sauro Bartolozzi (Italia)
Horacio Benavides (Colombia)
Tahar Ben Jelloun (Marocco / Francia)
Grazia Bernasconi-Romano (Italia / Svizzera)
Ketty Blanco (Cuba / Spagna)
Loredana Bogliun (Croazia / Italia)
Maria Borio (Italia)
Hernán Bravo Varela (Messico)
Rómulo Bustos Aguirre (Colombia)
Maria Grazia Calandrone (Italia)
Murièle Camac (Francia)
Luciano Caniato (Italia)
Maria Clelia Cardona (Italia)

Maurizio Casagrande (Italia)
Anna Cascella (Italia)
Yirama Castaño Güiza (Colombia)
Ennio Cavalli (Italia)
Luciano Cecchinel (Italia)
Pierre Chappuis (Svizzera)
Erika Crosara (Italia)
Azzurra D’Agostino (Italia)
Rita Dahl (Finlandia)
Veroniki Dalakoura (Grecia)
Anna Elisa De Gregorio (Italia)
Samir Delgado (Isole Canarie, Spagna / Messico)
Giampaolo De Pietro (Italia)
Tommaso Di Dio (Italia)
Nelvia Di Monte (Italia)
Pasquale Di Palmo (Italia)
Lucía Estrada (Colombia)
Marjorie Evasco (Filippine)
Anna Maria Farabbi (Italia)
Renzo Favaron (Italia)

Umberto Fiori (Italia)
Alessandro Fo (Italia)
Ángela García (Colombia / Svezia)
Jerry Garcia (USA)
Manuel García Verdecia (Cuba)
Nicola Gardini (Italia)
Francesca Gargallo (Italia / Messico)
Yorgos Ghekas (Grecia)
Fabia Ghenzovich (Italia)
Florence Giust-Desprairies (Francia)
Henry Alexander Gómez (Colombia)
Mandy Haggith (Scozia, Regno Unito)
Rodolfo Hasler (Cuba / Spagna)
David Huerta (Messico)
Jouni Inkala (Finlandia)
Kathleen Jamie (Scozia, Regno Unito)
Agustín Jiménez (Messico)
Brian Johnstone (Scozia, Regno Unito)
Zoe Karathanasi (Grecia / Francia)
Dražen Katunarić (Croazia

Petr Král (Repubblica Ceca)
Mario Laghi Pasini (Italia)
Vivian Lamarque (Italia)
Paolo Lanaro (Italia)
Raquel Lanseros (Spagna)
Giorgio Lavezzaro (Messico)
Yenny León (Colombia)
Andrea Longega (Italia)
D. A. Lori (Germania / Macedonia del Nord)
Alfredo Lozano (Messico)
Paolo Maccari (Italia)
Valerio Magrelli (Italia)
Franca Mancinelli (Italia)
Annalisa Manstretta (Italia)
Clint Margrave (USA)
Beth McDonough (Scozia, Regno Unito)
David McKirdy (Scozia / Hong Kong, Cina)
Gordon Meade (Scozia, Regno Unito)
Sabina Messeg (Israele)
Ming Di (Cina / USA

Bill Mohr (USA)
Myriam Montoya (Colombia / Francia)
Marco Munaro (Italia)
Robin Myers (USA / Messico)
Gabriel Mwènè Okoundji (Congo / Francia)
Lydia Pa Erik Ondrejička (Repubblica Ceca)
dellec (Francia)
Claudio Pasi (Italia)
Matteo Pelliti (Italia)
Carlos José Pérez Sámano (Messico / USA)
Giancarla Pinaffo (Italia)
Rossella Pretto (Italia)
Davide Puccini (Italia)
Blanca Luz Pulido (Messico)
Fabio Pusterla (Svizzera / Italia)
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (Vietnam)
Felipe García Quintero (Colombia)
María Alejandra Rendón Infante (Venezuela)
Mario Andrea Rigoni (Italia)
Juan Manuel Roca (Colombia)

Armando Romero (Colombia)
Giovanna Rosadini (Italia)
Paul B. Roth (USA)
Jerker Sagfors (Svezia)
Liana Sakelliou (Grecia)
Mohamad Saleeh Rahamad (Malesia)
Muhammad Samad (Bangladesh)
María Cecilia Sánchez (Colombia)
Vito Santin (Italia)
Fabio Scotto (Italia)
Lorna Shaughnessy (Irlanda)
Lasse Söderberg (Svezia)
Božidar Stanišić (Bosnia ed Erzegovina)
Snežana Stojčevska (Macedonia del Nord)
Ángela Suárez Tovar (Colombia)
Goro Takano (Giappone)
Ivana Tanzi (Italia)
José-Flore Tappy (Svizzera)
John Taylor (USA / Francia)
Judith Taylor (Scozia, Regno Unito)

Italo Testa (Italia)
Tomaso Tiddia (Italia)
Gabriele Tinti (Italia)
Giovanni Turra (Italia)
José Inácio Vieira de Melo (Brasile)
Gian Mario Villalta (Italia)
Jean-Pierre Villebramar (Francia)
Pier Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto (Italia)
re Voélin (Svizzera)
Anne Waldman (USA)
Maya Weinberg (Israele)
Christie Williamson (Scozia, Regno Unit
Adi Wolfson (Israele)
Cyril Wong (Singapore)
Xiao Xiao (Cina)
Jami Xu (Cina)
Sofyan RH. Zaid (Indonesia)
Zelda Zanobini (Italia)
Elad Zeret (Israele)
Edoardo Zuccato (Italia)

W-E Reading Series Event – Sunday, Jan. 17th

To get the Zoom link to this event, please write me at William.BillMohr@gmail.com.

W-E, Bicoastal Poets of the Pandemic – and Beyond
Online Event
Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 4 PM PST
Price: Free

SUNDAY, JANUARY 17, 2021 AT 4 PM PST
Castro Luna, Guzlowski, Patterson & Vangelisti

This event is a collaborative effort of four co-hosts: William (Bill) Mohr and Carolyne Lee Wright on the west coast, and Lynn McGee and Susana H. Case on the east coast. We will be taking turns with the introductions and so on. It would be wonderful if you aren’t already our friends on Facebook, to friend us so we can cross promote.

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CLAUDIA CASTRO LUNA is the Washington State Poet Laureate and served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015 to 2017. She is the author of Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press, 2017), a Finalist for the Washington State Book Award 2018; This City (Floating Bridge Press); and One River, a Thousand Voices (Chin Music Press, 2019). The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, she is a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and a Jack Straw Fellowship. Born in El Salvador, Castro Luna came to the United States with her family in 1981, during the Salvadoran civil war. Her non-fiction has appeared in the anthologies This is the Place (Seal Press) and Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative (Kalina Eds).
Learn more at castroluna.com
Link to purchase Killing Marias:
http://twosylviaspress.com/…/Killing_Mar%C3%ADas…
Link to purchase One River, a Thousand Voices:
https://store.chinmusicpress.com/…/one-river-a-thousand…
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JOHN GUZLOWSKI’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, North American Review, Rattle, Ontario Review, Salon.Comand many other journals. His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his award-winning memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). He is also a columnist for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy (the oldest Polish language daily in America) and the author of Suitcase Charlie and Little Altar Boy, noir mystery novels set in Chicago.
Link to John Guzlowski’s blog, Echoes of Tattered Tongues:
http://lightning-and-ashes.blogspot.com/
Link for buying True Confessions and John Guzlowkski’s other books:
amazon.com/author/johnguzlowski
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DAYNA PATTERSON is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work and poembroideries have appeared recently in AGNI, Irreantum, The Maynard, and Tahoma Literary Review. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She was a co-winner of the 2019 #DignityNotDetention Poetry Prize judged by Ilya Kaminsky.
To learn more about Dayna Patterson, visit:
daynapatterson.com
To purchase signed copies of books by Dayna Patterson, visit:
Order signed books!
To purchase unsigned copies of her books, visit:
https://www.villagebooks.com/…/if%20mother%20braids%20a…
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PAUL VANGELISTI is the author of more than 30 books of poetry, as well as being a noted translator from Italian. His book of poems, Motive and Opportunity, was published this fall by Shearsman Books in the U.K. In 2015 he edited Amiri Baraka’s S.O.S.: Poems, 1961-2014, for Grove Press. In 2006, Lucia Re’s and his translation of Amelia Rosselli’s War Variations won both the Premio Flaiano in Italy and the PEN-USA Award. In 2010, his translation of Adriano Spatola’s The Position of Things: Collected Poems, 1961-1992 was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. From 1971-1982 he was co-editor, with John McBride, of the literary magazine Invisible City and from 1993-2002, he edited Ribot, the annual report of the College of Neglected Science (CONS). The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Vangelisti one of its first Translation Fellowships in 1981, and a Poetry Fellowship in 1988. Vangelisti was Founding Chair of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and currently lives in Pasadena.
To order Paul Vangelisti’s most recent book, visit here:
https://www.spdbooks.org/…/motive-and-opportunity.aspx

“Herd Impunity”: White Privilege Flaunts Its Birthright Fantasies

Friday, January 8, 2021

“Herd Impunity”: White Privilege Flaunts Its Birthright Fantasies

On January 5th, my poet-translator friend Robin Myers tweeted, “We’re currently approaching herd impunity.” Never has a pun proved so prophetic!!!

The next day, a mob of white supremacists stormed the capitol building. Meeting only accommodating resistance to their intrusion, they proceeded to trash the offices of our government’s representatives in a display of contempt for democratic norms that exponentially exceeds anything I witnessed on the part of demonstrators in the 1960s. This was a massive hit job on representative government.

One of the key lessons to take away from this rampage is the extent to which white privilege truly does permeate the behavior of the police forces in this country. According to Katie Benner, in the article cited below, “Capitol Police (have) not explained why they arrested only 14 people and let hundreds more peacefully walk out of the building.”

You read that correctly: “hundreds” of people who had just participated in trashing our democracy were allowed to “peacefully walk out of the building” and return without any impediment whatsoever to the next order of business in their lives. At the very least, they should have been required to present personal identification to be recorded by police records for judicial action.

What the hell is going on here? I think of all the demonstrations that I’ve attended where there are obviously people taking photographs meant to identify those of us who are engaged in legitimate, peaceful protest, and yet the FBI and the local police end up depending on social media to attempt to identify the perpetrators of this outrage?

Any white person who would dare to suggest that white privilege is just a fantasy of African-American radicals really needs to do some soul-searching here. The contrast between how BLM protestors were met last summer in D.C. and how these protestors were granted a police escort — yes, a police escort — back to their daily lives is the most public proof I have ever encountered of the extent to which political power in this country is marinated in the temerity of white privilege and white supremacy.

The person who set this demonstration in motion needs to be held immediately accountable. His “very fine people” have crossed a line that requires an appropriate rebuke of his actions as the president. I call upon our representatives to take immediate action to remove the Commander-in-Chief from his position. I realize that the U.S. Senate will not vote to confirm impeachment, but people in Congress who are on the side of those who besmirched our democracy need to go on record for approving of this travesty. Their cowardice should not be allowed to slip into the shadows of mumbled apologies and half-hearted, self-serving recriminations.

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Justice Dept. Open to Pursuing Charges Against Trump in Inciting Riot
The top federal prosecutor in Washington said investigators were examining anyone involved, “not only the people who went into” the Capitol.

By Katie Benner
• Jan. 7, 2021Updated 8:25 p.m. ET

KEY PARAGRAPH

He said the Capitol Police had not explained why they arrested only 14 people and let hundreds more peacefully walk out of the building. The chief of the Capitol Police, Steven Sund, resigned on Thursday, amid questions about his force’s failure to protect the building.

Check out a featured interview by Camilo Jaramillo with Colombian author Gloria Susana Esquivel at
@worldlittoday
! Her most recent work ANIMALS AT THE END OF THE WORLD is in #translation by
@robin_ep_myers
, who has been previously published at LALT! http://ow.ly/AWLZ50CYWQH

A Literal “Hostile Takeover” — Trump’s Brown Shirts Go to Work

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The notion that a wealthy real-estate businessman has employed the corporate tactics of a “hostile takeover” on the U.S. government is hardly a new insight. One has only to type “Donald Trump hostile takeover” into one’s browser and the links to articles on that theme over the past five years pop up like students waving their arms for a professor’s attention. “I know the answer. I know the answer. Call on me.”

What our nation witnessed yesterday, however, gave new meaning to “hostile takeover.” The invasion of the Capitol building by the brown shirts of the White Privilege Party (aka GOP/Republican) underlined the dangers that the ideals of democratic governance now confront. As even the coach of a professional sports team has pointed out, white privilege was on full display on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. I am sure that the athletes who are on his team are perfectly aware that if a group of BLM protestors had engaged in the same behavior, guns would have been immediately drawn and at least a dozen, if not two dozen African-Americans would have been killed.

Two days ago, I predicted what I thought might happen on January 20th and said that I was confident enough to bet a hundred dollars on that scenario. At this point, all bets are off. I am in favor of impeaching Trump and bestowing upon him the distinction of being the only president in U.S. history to be put on trial twice. And this time I would hope that Mitt Romney’s colleagues would join him in voting guilty.

I doubt that anyone who is a Republican reads my column, but one never knows, so I do want to say this. There are Republican politicians I respect as individuals devoted to the political experiment that is still functioning as of this morning in the United States. While I voted for Al Gore, I would have been infinitely happier had John McCain become president in 2000. If Mitt Romney had defeated President Obama in 2012, I would have been intensely disheartened, but I would have been able to say the words “President Romney” with courteous deference. One of the saddest counter-factual is that Romney did not realize how difficult it is to dislodge an incumbent president; if only he had waited until 2016 to run, I believe he would have been able to stop Trump. Romney, and Romney alone, was capable of gaining the nomination over Trump. We will live with the consequences of this miscalculation for at least one decade, if not two or three.

Trump is a total disgrace. Impeach and convict.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/10/28/audio-reveals-kushner-touted-trumps-hostile-takeover-of-gop-said-party-platform-meant-to-piss-people-off/?sh=26f565e143e5

Audio Reveals Kushner Touted Trump’s ‘Hostile Takeover’ Of GOP, Said Party Platform ‘Meant To Piss People Off’
I write about politics and the Biden transition.
Updated Oct 28, 2020, 02:49pm EDT

https://newrepublic.com/article/155000/trump-organizations-hostile-takeover-us-government

The Trump Organization’s Hostile Takeover of the U.S. Government
It’s the president’s biggest business acquisition yet.

LISTEN: Hillary Clinton Says Trump Engaged in Hostile Takeover of USPS to Suppress Vote

Hillary Clinton Says Trump Engaged in Hostile Takeover of USPS to Suppress Vote – American Urban Radio Networks
Sep 1, 2020 at 3:53pm PDT

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/donald-trumps-hostile-takeover-of-the-g-o-p

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-02-19/trumps-victory-hostile-takeover-bias

https://www.cjr.org/politics/trump_brand_america_media.php

https://www.ft.com/content/0b4195fe-d855-11e5-98fd-06d75973fe09

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/01/20/daily-202-donald-trump-completes-hostile-takeover-of-washington-puts-both-parties-on-notice/588254a6e9b69b432bc7e050/

The Daily 202: Donald Trump completes hostile takeover of Washington, puts both parties on notice

Trump in the Oval Office, Noon, Jan. 20th

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Today there is an election in Georgia for two seats in the Senate, and one can examine last-minute polls for possible outcomes. There is no poll being taken that I know of about what will happen two weeks from tomorrow. Perhaps bookmakers in Las Vegas are taking bets on various scenarios. If so, here’s one I’m willing to be a hundred dollars on:

At noon, on January 20th, 2021, as Joseph Biden is being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, Donald Trump will conduct a live-stream internet twitter-storm of himself at the desk in the Oval Office. In fact, this will have been going on since 6 a.m. on January 20th.

“I am still the president, and there is much work to be done. I am here in the Oval Office, which is where the President should be, working on behalf of Americans, and I will remain here, since I won the election.” and blah blah blah.

I predict that Trump will still be “working” in the Oval Office until Secret Service personnel in charge of guarding President Joseph Biden show up and request that he vacate the premises. Trump will be wearing a body-camera to record the entire process of his exit.

All of this video will be used by Mr. Trump to stir up his followers and to continue soliciting funds for his re-election in 2024.

Final prediction: When Trump is asked in a subsequent interview why he did not attend Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, he will claim that Biden’s assistants told him that wearing a mask was mandatory, and he said that he was still president and would not wear a mask.

R.I.P. John Outterbridge (1933-2020); and SOUTH OF PICO

Monday, January 4, 2020

The announcement of John Outterbridge’s recent death has generated a significant number of obituaries and tributes to his work on both the east coast as well as the West Coast. I would like to take this sad occasion as a chance to mention a book that deserves your attention, if you are at all interested in the production of visual art in Los Angeles. Kellie Jones’s South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s, was published by Duke University Press in 2017, and was named a Best Art Book of 2017 by the New York Times and Artforum. Even if you are familiar with Outterbridge’s work, I would highly recommend this book to you. I wish I could quote more extensively from the book, but my copy is at my office at school, and given the pandemic surge in Los Angeles right now, I am doing my best to impose a strict confinement on my daily life.

For those unfamiliar with the street layout of Los Angeles, the title will have little meaning, but those who live here will understand how the titular cartography is meant to demarcate the distribution of cultural capital in alignment with economic resources. Los Angeles is famous for the way it spreads out, but Jones’s book allows us to see the specifically local impetus in Outterbridge’s poetics.

“[Noah Purifoy and John Outterbridge] want to bring art to people, to black people, because they think it will change their lives. It’s going to be part of the change we need in this world.” — Kellie Jones

Culture Talk: Kellie Jones Discusses ‘South of Pico,’ Her Recently Published Book About African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and ’70s

John Outterbridge, Sculptor Who Broke Down Barriers Between Life and Art, Has Died at 87

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/john-outterbridge-key-figure-in-las-black-assemblage-arts-movement-dies-at-87/2020/12/26/a7b04dee-46b5-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html

https://unframed.lacma.org/2020/12/23/john-outterbridge-1933–2020

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As a post-script, I would note that a poem (” “American Sonnet 18”) by Wanda Coleman was reprinted in yesterday’s New York Times magazine. I was pleased to see that Godine’s publication of WICKED ENCHANTMENT is still enabling Coleman’s poetry to get more posthumous attention. It’s hard to believe that Wanda has been gone for seven years. Somehow her absent presence seems even more vivid to me now than at any point since 2013.