Category Archives: Los Angeles bookstores

“Suddenly // we are within the sound that we have made…”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ann Stanford, one of the Los Angeles poets whose work I quoted in Holdouts, has not appeared in any of the past half-dozen anthologies of Los Angeles poetry, even though her work has inspired many Los Angeles poets, including Harry Northup and Michael C. Ford. The title of today’s post comes from a poem by Stanford that Ford used as an epigraph in his 1977 chapbook, West Point, which recorded one of his many cross-country jaunts over the past half-century. I have dipped into this obscure publication for today’s title because I love her description of how consciousness itself both creates that liminal ripening of poetic sound and records the instant of enveloping transition. Embedded in attuned self-awareness, Ford is one of the very few poets who has an uncanny ability to sketch with accuracy on the palimpsest of nostalgia’s delicate aura. At the same time, his poetry has maintained its droll critique of American’s cultural proclivities, while not allowing us to indulge in the sentimentality of fantasy role reversal. “Would we really do much better if we were in charge?” The answer is yes, but Ford gently instructs us as to what it would require to attain that power. Perhaps the best place to study his suggestions is his 2014 recording from Hen House Studios, Look Each Other in the Ears. I believe that his volume of “Selected Poems 1970-1995, ” which was published by Amaranth Editions in 1998 under the title “Emergency Exits,” is also still available. That book did not include, however, any poems from West Point.

For a chance to hear Michael C. Ford read from his new book, set aside this coming Sunday afternoon and head to DTLA.

Sunday, July 23

4 PM

Michael C Ford’s Women Under The Influence
Book Launch & Signing.

Featuring readings by: S.A. Griffin, Mike Sonksen, Gail Wronsky, Jerry Garcia, Hannah Thompson-Garner, Paul Cummins & Surprise Guests!

$10 Admission includes Drinks.
No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Produced by Susan Hayden & Alexis Rhone Fancher @the gorgeous Fine Art Bookstore of Michael Delgado.

A.G. Geiger Fine Art Books
502 Chung King Court (at Hill Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

“His poems are alive and full of fresh phrases and words and insights… often dazzling bolts of images.” – Ann Stanford

“All the things I like in poems: original, serious, humous… a thrilling language-depth that only a true poet can achieve.” – Holly Prado

“Not only is he one of our premiere language artists, Ford is a writer who can bring to his readers a kaleidoscope of voices, all of which touch both the spirit and the heart.” – David St. John

“He’s one of the voices with an American sound of pure jazz.” — William Matthews

“Welcome to the work of a man who has devoted his life to poetry, who evidently, always knew the emergency exits. His is performance that is not sell-out entertainment. In his contagious, genuine enthusiasm, metaphorical intelligence, heartbreak and rebellion, he opens the sealed door to this poor world, a “Suburb of Los Angeles.” – Sharon Doubiago

Five Editors Reading their Poetry at Papa Bach (1974)

Shortly after the publication of Bachy’s second issue in the summer of 1973, I suggested to Ted Reidel that the late John Harris would be a superb poetry editor. John not only took on that position, but began coordinating the readings at Papa Bach Bookstore. One of the events he arranged in the early spring of 1974 was an evening that featured five editors of Los Angeles based literary magazines. The half-sheet of yellow paper that served as the press release and publicity flyer simply read:

(Five) 5 Editors Lay It on the Line at Papa Bach

Sunday, April 7 (1974)
11317 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles

Michael C. Ford (Sunset Palms Hotel)
John Harris (Bachy)
James Krusoe (Beyond Baroque)
William Mohr (Momentum)
Paul Vangelisti (Invisible City)

In the original announcement, the names of their magazines were not listed after their names, which is the reason the titles are in italics in the above list. At age 26, I was the youngest of these editors, though I confess that I didn’t let that fact diminish my self-confidence. The first issue had just come out, featuring a copy of the blueprint order form from my job at Larwin, an architectural firm I had worked out for two years along with an aspiring landscape architect named Steve Davis. The recession of 1974 had cost me my job, though I was hardly disconsolate at being able to stay home and work on my writing and editing instead of standing in front of a machine and feeding it sheet after sheet of light-sensitive paper.

I don’t believe that Michael, John, Jim, Paul, and myself thought of this evening as being particularly special, and yet in retrospect it amounted to an unusual gathering for any major city in the United States. How often did five editors of five memorable magazines ever read together at the same venue?

One of the DIY organizations that we launched at that time was Literary Publishers of Southern California (LPSC), which was an early attempt for form a book-distribution cooperative. We signed up for some tables at a book fair in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. Rod Bradley took several photographs of editors at the fair.

Papa Bach - LPSC Book Fair
John Harris (leaning over table); Michael C. Ford (standing behind table), and unknown attendees at book fair.

Papa Bach - MCFord - John Harris - LPSC
John Harris; Michael C. Ford, and unknown attendee at book fair.

Grapes - Mohr
Jack Grapes (lifting cup); Bill Mohr (with motorcycle helmet crooked under arm with box of books); in the background, Luis Campos?

All photographs (c) copyright Rod Bradley, 2017. Permission to reproduce must be obtained from the photographer.