The current issue of Prairie Schooner is a collaboration with Cordite Poetry Review, and the theme of the issue is "work".
Cordite has reprinted some work of mine. A great honour, as I'm sharing a page with Marilyn Hacker. The early issues of Gobshite featured many of Marilyn Hacker's translations.
I must away and go to work. The day, the dollar, and the med-insurance are calling.
When I was a kid, in the mornings, it used to be doves that called me into the great wide light. Early spring in Portland is alive with birdsong in the early mornings - the hopeful, reassuring sounds of life in common with complex and changing beauty.
Golems Waiting Redux was published on Sept. 23, 2011, printed and bound by Publication Studio, in Portland.
From the Introduction:
During the last week of September 2002, the first of the public art projects commissioned by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art was installed on a vacant lot in the city, at the corner of SW Taylor & 3rd. On the lot itself Daniel Duford kiln-fired 3 huge crouching figures, golems; on one of the adjacent buildings, on the wall facing 3rd Ave., he painted 2 more figures, large male nudes with the same physique. They stood looking outward, with open hands.
The installation was intended to last a month.
Vandals immediately began smashing the sculptures. By the fourth night they had all been smashed. RV (Branham, founder & editor of Gobshite Quarterly) and I went to photograph them at our first opportunity — caught the MAX into town, scuttled along shopfronts, hurrying because of the very light rain, step, step, shopfront, shopfront –
An empty lot – grass, mud, a liver-red wall – with something flesh-coloured in the corner. In that first split second I felt a great misery; it prickled and numbed at the same time. I heard the sound of a huge and silent lamentation. It seemed like the sound of the Holocaust.
I looked towards the corner because of the colour.
This is GobQ's 3rd hardcopy title. Like El Gato Eficaz / Deathcats, it is also available as a e-book.
This is the original design for the cover for Seattle, published last Monday morning. The novella has expressionist touches, so when I saw a wine-bottle-top stressed by pliers lying around the kitchen for a while, I kidnapped it and declared it the sun. I was fascinated by the possibilities of silver-paper; I had been amazed at how it scanned in a collage I'd made for a joke, and so I knew I wanted it for the sea. The wriggly waves / rainbow-serpents are clip art & so is the rest. The font is Mona Lisa, the signature GobQ font.
The novella is slightly different from its avatar chapter; without the old context the main character is more ethically ambiguous. Which I think makes her world more of a matter of human nature than it had been in earlier versions, both glorious and the result of our multifoliate imperfections.
The reading at St. Johns Booksellers on July 30 went very well. Everyone was delighted that Ambrose was not drowned by the Abbot, but got his gig in the library instead.
My next reading will be on Barbara La Morticella's Talking Earth, on KBOO (Portland), 10:00-11:00 pm, Monday, September 19th, 2011. There'll be 3 of us: Barbara La Morticella, Christine Homitsu White, and me.
I will be reading part of Seattle, which I'm about to publish on Amazon. It's a novella set at the end of the '90s in Seattle.
When M. Miller, slide librarian at a large Seattle stock photo agency, falls asleep in a rep cinema one rainy autumn evening, she finds the dead invading her dreams, a mysterious stranger talking about her past, and her job taking on sudden, strange, suspicious dimensions.
With the help of Kurt Cobain, François Villon, and the agency's own Leather Boys, she slips past the Space Needle to confront love, death, resurrection, and globalization.
I'll read a few very short poems, as well. Hope you will join us, then, or by podcast.
I was in Australia when I began writing these stories to amuse the children a friend of mine was tutoring. Her cats were Signy and Ambrose. A journalist friend had Jemima and JCP. Isshe Tisshe was my cat. Lucinda lived in a block of flats I lived in once. I never knew her name. Fleur (de Mal) belonged to another friend, a playwright.
Quinnia, or the little silver Himalayan-Siamese, belonged to yet another friend who was unemployed. As I heard it later, he had needed the money and began to breed her; she died of an infection he couldn't afford to treat. She was very small, delicate, and sweet. So I gave her a name and a life, and a spectacular rise from poverty.
The cats come with their suburban backgrounds, pretty much, except for Quinnia, whose story was the obverse of her life, and Ambrose, whose deep grey fur suggested a mediaeval thunderstorm. The stories were a joy to write, and, I hope, will be a joy to read.