Wednesday, May 28, 2008

For Tom Beckett, in response to his comment below

Today the
postman brought
me the gold
chains I’d
thru eBay &
some pigeons.
Dinner was
a dressed-
up but noisy
affair—lots of
squab, bling.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today the
postman brought
me some
pigeons. Sad-
ly, I no longer
have a cat
to set a-
mongst them.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I have been casting about

for a way to produce a news page for Otoliths Books. I’d thought about using Blogger, but wasn’t too keen simply because the temporal nature of a blog would mean ending up with bits & pieces about a single book — reviews & such — scattered throughout, rather than concentrated as I would prefer them to be.

An email from John Tranter, the editor of Jacket, has solved my problem. Google now has a new offering called Google sites. John has just started up the Jacket Notes homepageNews, book parties, readings, new books, new magazines, and what’s on: the world of contemporary poetry as seen by Jacket magazine — & was graciously inviting me, along with other editors, publishers, etc., to post news of new releases there. I’ll definitely be taking up John’s invitation.

But viewing & looking around the Jacket site was definitely an Aha moment. So now I’ve created the Otoliths Google Site, have started to populate it, will continue filling in the back catalog. It’s an easy site to navigate & work with, especially if you’ve previously used a corporate website. Lots of formatting available, the ability to include attachments — jpegs, pdfs, docs — but it also has a hierarchal structure beneath the home page & an alphabetical listing of lower pages so that they’re all visible from the top page, & can easily be accessed & edited from there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Books from Otoliths—Allegrezza, Cunningham, Grumman

To complete this quarter’s round of books from Otoliths......

The direct URLs are given below. The full list of what is becoming a significant catalog can be found at The Otoliths Storefront.

Collective Instant
William Allegrezza
108 pages
Cover design by Sheila E. Murphy
ISBN: 978-0-9805096-0-1
Otoliths 2008
$12.50 + p&h
William Allegrezza’s Collective Instant brings together two chapbooks and a series of new works, including "Tracings from the Front," an extended piece exploring the language of conflict stripped and fragmented from its context. The poems in Collective Instant aim towards meanings, hope for meaning, while showing the inevitable absences between understanding and world, between the wild and ordered.

80 Beetles
Mark Cunningham
88 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-8-5
Otoliths 2008
$10.00 + p&h
“We waved at each other because we were driving the same model and color car. Mark Cunningham said, hey, could you write something on my Beetles. There are 80 of them. So I tried to write something on one but it kept opening its little pincers, its tiny wings. This led to a certain amount of self-examination, from which I emerged stronger, more self-assured. I was then able to more closely examine the varying structure, the very specific ideational atmospherics, & dare I say the aroma philosophique, of each of these beetles. What I discovered is that these beetles are in fact poems. Unusually good ones; & now I dream of an alternate life.” —Rod Smith

April to the Power of the Quantity Pythagoras Times Now
Bob Grumman
72 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-6-1
Otoliths 2008
$24.95 + p&h
"Collected in Bob Grumman's book April to the Power of the Quantity Pythagoras Times Now are almost two decades' worth of mathemaku, a personal genre of his that combines elements of visual poetry, mathematics, and haiku. Always the poet of the topical constraint, Grumman writes mathemaku that restrict themselves to a narrow range of subjects (spring, poetry, language, light) so he can divert all his effort into creating remarkable engines of poetic imagination where language, color, images, and mathematics conjoin to form stunning ineluctable gestalts. Drawing from his early pre-long-division mathemaku and his more recent forays into color and ever-increasing formal complexity, this book brings together a hearty sampling of the best of Grumman's mathemaku, including such masterworks as "Mathemaku for Ezra Pound" and "Seaside Mathemaku." A lifetime in the making, this book is not to be missed." —Geof Huth

In addition, the print editions of Otoliths eight and nine are now also available.

Issue eight, part one contains work from Geof Huth, Felino Soriano, Richard Kostelanetz, Louie Crew, Vernon Frazer, Audacia Dangereyes, David-Baptiste Chirot, Jeff Harrison, James Sanders, Thomas Fink & Maya Fink, Paul Siegell, Cecelia Chapman, Caleb Puckett, Sandy McIntosh, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Gustave Morin, Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Bill Drennan, Jill Chan, Paul Hardacre, Bobbi Lurie, J. D. Nelson, Joshua A Ware, Kristine Ong Muslim, John M. Bennett, Martin Edmond, Philip Byron Oakes, Thomas Fink, harry k stammer, Nicholas Manning & Michele Leggott.

Issue eight, part two contains work from Reed Altemus, Pradip Datta, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & Spencer Selby, Laurie Price, Guy Beining, Andrew Topel, Sheila E. Murphy & John M. Bennett, Luigino Solamito & John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett, Eric Burke, Alexander Jorgensen, Spencer Selby, Patrick Gulke, Christopher Major, Cecelia Chapman, Andrew Riley Clark, Márton Koppány, & John Lowther.

Issue nine, part one contains work by Rochelle Ratner, Mark Cunningham, Suzanne Grazyna, Daniel Morris, Andrew Lundwall, Joel Chace, Bill Drennan, Christopher Major, Derek Owens, Steve Timm, Scott MacLeod, Simon Perchik, Philip Byron Oakes, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Jeff Harrison, Geof Huth, Stu Hatton, Duane Locke, Eileen R. Tabios, Douglas Barbour & Sheila E. Murphy, Michael Farrell, Bobbi Lurie, William Doreski, Esa Mäkijärvi, Paul Siegell, Glenn R. Frantz, Adam Strauss, John M. Bennett, Thomas Lowe Taylor, Marcia Arrieta, Julian Jason Haladyn, Adam Fieled, William Allegrezza, Ernesto Priego, Raymond Farr, Mary Kasimor, Louise Landes Levi, Thomas Fink & Kirsten Kaschock.

Issue nine, part two contains work by David-Baptiste Chirot, Angela Genusa, Ed Schenk, Reed Altemus, Robert Gauldie, Joe Balaz, Scott MacLeod & John M. Bennett, Diana Magallón & Jeff Crouch, Irving Weiss, John M. Bennett, Randy Thurman, John M. Bennett & Luigino Solamito, John M. Bennett & Sheila E. Murphy, John M. Bennett & Sheila E. Murphy & Luigino Solamito, Daniel f Bradley, Andrew Topel & Jim Leftwich & John M. Bennett, Mary Ellen Derwis, harry k stammer, Martin Edmond, Jeff Crouch & Matina L. Stamatakis, & Toni Simon.

Saturday, May 24, 2008



span both

time & water.

Not much

at this year’s bookfest, the annual offering of secondhand books held at the Showgrounds & organized by one of the local charities. I picked up a few things — an autobiography of Stephen Spender, the complete plays of Joe Orton, In Search of Genghis Khan by Tim Severin & a mystery novel by Michael Dibdin (tho not one of his Inspector Zen series).

Only a few tables, groaning in the main with National Geographics, Readers Digest condensed books, children’s books, a plethora of text books (reflecting (a) that this is a University town & (b) that text books represent planned obsolescence in a captive market) & Mills & Boon romances. Not much else. Except, surprisingly, a rather extensive collection of reasonably recent German literature — Brecht, Dürrenmatt, Böll, et al — which, unfortunately for me, were all in German which ich spreche kein.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

          o           l
                              a            e

The Literal Meaning II

salon hair
gods false
trap death
bell door
rail guard
balance trial
idea bright
time prime
spectrum broad
room drawing
avant post
black token
drama high
fire forest

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Edited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young
Release Date: 2008
ISBN 951-9198-73-3
ISBN 978-951-9198-73-6
Page Count: 148 pages
Price: $16.95

Meritage Press (St. Helena & San Francisco) and xPress(ed) (Puhos, Finland) are delighted to announce the release of THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, VOL. II, edited by Mark Young and Jean Vengua.

More information about the hay(na)ku poetic form is available at and The former link identifies the poet-participants, while the latter shares some poets' thoughts on the hay(na)ku's attractiveness. The hay(na)ku has been one of the most popular new poetic forms in recent times; 39 poets participated in the soon-to-be-out-of-print first anthology. In Vol. II, 51 poets from around the world (and representing a multiplicity of poetics) participate.

Since The First Hay(na)ku Anthology's release in 2005, the hay(na)ku has appeared in many literary journals, anthologies and single-author poetry collections worldwide. Artists have created visual hay(na)ku. The form has been written in Spanish, English, French, Finnish, Dutch, Tagalog, and Norwegian. It has been taught in classrooms, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico/Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) features an hay(na)ku webpage in their online journal, Periódico de Poesía. Members of UNAM'S Faculty of Literature and Philosophy/Facultad de Filosofia y Letras are also preparing a full Spanish translation of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology for future release. Reflecting the hay(na)ku's continued popularity, THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, VOL. II is released just three years after the first hay(na)ku anthology. A third anthology is also in the works:The Chained Hay(na)ku which would present hay(na)ku collaborations among three or more writers. We hope readers enjoy this volume, and are encouraged to try writing their own hay(na)ku! For this poetic form also was created as an Invitation to Poetry.

To celebrate its release, Meritage Press is pleased to announce a RELEASE SPECIAL OFFER of $12.00 per book, a 29% discount off of the retail price and incorporating free shipping within the United States (for overseas orders, please email first to This offer expires on July 31, 2008. You can send checks made out to "Meritage Press" to

Eileen Tabios
Publisher, Meritage Press
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Rd.
St. Helena, CA 94574

For more information, contact

Monday, May 19, 2008

rock                          scissors

euphonium                     paper


Today the
postman brought
me a mid-
life crisis
& a Ferrari
in a color that
matched my
blood’s hot eyes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Genji Monogatari XIX: The Ivy

A code trans-
gressed—mutual in-
fidelities compel her
to leave the family
vaudeville act. No
clear boundaries have
been drawn. Convent-
ional narration is both
cure & punishment,
transparency a weapon
of disorientation. The
evolutionary purpose
of more complex visual
narrative is to create
traffic jams & jostling
crowds, anger within
easy walking distance
of the beach. He offers
a cautious verse. She ex-
hales all unused breath
& waits for someone
to remove the debris.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Today the
postman brought
me a canteloupe
for my vege-
tarian zoo.

Friday, May 16, 2008

perhaps                mean

not                     idolatry

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today the
postman brought
me Tom
Beckett. Too
tall to fit
through the
door so I’ve
left his physical
self outside
as a kind of
toTom pole
& let his
spirit run
free to keep
me company.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

the truth behind the news

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President George W. Bush said in an interview out Tuesday that he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of US soldiers killed in the conflict in Iraq, now in its sixth year.
Actually, his advisors told him to quit playing in the Gulf, because of the growing unpopularity of the war, but once again he fucked up.
become fix-
ated on people,

things. I
stare incessantly. Sign

senility? Or
just failing eyesight?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Today the
postman brought
me a flamenco
dancer. Some-
thing clicked
between us—
her castanets.

running round in my brain

unbidden this morning is Charlie Mingus' Fables of Faubus.
Name me someone who’s ridiculous, Dannie.
Governor Faubus!
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won’t permit integrated schools.
Then he’s a fool!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Flowers of the Abyss II

A curious eclipse—
traffic regulations now
require night to have
a bell that absorbs
light without refraction
fitted to it. Times past,
an event happened, we
rushed out & ran to it
in rampant schaden-
freude. But this is no
accident, is mechanistic;
so we stay within the
ice-blue interior of a bare
carcass of concrete &
play chase the dog or
describe Nigeria or clean
graffiti off the wreaths &
potpourri. Shorn of its
exits the sun is quiet.
Time stands still, bells
hang heavy in the air.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

is Ron branching out?

"What Silliman has done is to go into the backyard of his critics and examine, mechanistically, why their salt marshes are diminishing....."

The Flowers of the Abyss I

Hélas! tout est abîme
wrote Baudelaire—all is
, a completely
automated world of self-
assembling machine-flowers
made possible by an
emergent form of video
expression. Each change
brings out new curves in
the shoreline; in the same
ambient space there is a
region where the perception
of the image is still affected
by the dead blue screen. A
message appears to say
there is a problem with
the file. All windows
bare the infinite to me

Monday, May 05, 2008

New Books from Otoliths—Stempleman, Gabbert & Rooney, Koppány, Beckett

This quarter’s round of books from Otoliths is being released in two instalments. The first lot is listed below. The second instalment, which will follow in around two weeks’ time, will include books by William Allegrezza, Mark Cunningham & Bob Grumman, plus the print editions of issues eight & nine of the Otoliths e-zine.

The direct URLs are given below. The full range of books can be found at The Otoliths Storefront.

The Travels
Jordan Stempleman
60 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-5-4
Otoliths 2008
$10.00 + p&h

A rewriting of The Voyages & Travels of Sir John Mandeville, Knight

A book taken and returned and taken again
from Sir John Mandeville; of darkened artifacts
and incipient wonders; and of the sadness left
from passing through actual and imaginative sights

That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness
Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney
104 pages
Cover design by Catherine Bourassa-Hébert
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-4-7
Otoliths 2008
$12.50 + p&h

This collaboration between Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney is “Just more entertaining than poems are supposed to be. And I'm not using the word "entertaining" as some kind of sly putdown either. These poems have more human interaction going on in a couple of lines than many writers manage in a couple of books. The linguistic energy and, really, virtuosity, can be stunning. These are poems that know what people are like when they're around people.” —Mark Wallace

Márton Koppány
76 pages, full color
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-3-0
Otoliths 2008
$24.95 + p&h

"The extraordinary thing about Koppány’s work is the way he takes gaps in thought and elaborates on them. How he expands the unsaid. How he crafts a visual grammar by framing it in verbal settings. The way he’s able to create more surface area than is originally given. This is a book of billboard puzzles that reveal in the subtlest way. These are posters that disturb meaning. Koppány’s destination seems to want to disrupt logic by executing it perfectly askew. Perfectly."
Nico Vassilakis

"A completely infectious sense of humor which ridicules no one and degrades nothing makes sense of the inescapable circuits in which his work moves." – Karl Young

This Poem/What Speaks?/A Day
Tom Beckett
44 pages
Cover painting by Thomas Fink
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-7-8
Otoliths 2008
$10.00 + p&h

"This is not a quest for epiphany: it is a rigorous modus vivendi. Tom Beckett’s is a poetry which, in accompanying us in our questionings — more than this, in feeling with us throughout our errancies — is as much phenomenological inquiry as it is intimate emotive play. It is at once the voice inside our heads and those voices outside, which we love, but cannot understand. From out this space of inquiry and intimacy, Beckett’s work emerges as that poetic praxis most necessary to us in our time. It is a consciousness seeking answers to itself." — Nicholas Manning

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I know I'm two days late in acknowledging May Day,

but I brought a note from my Mother.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Issue nine of Otoliths has just gone live

It is with both pleasure & sorrow that I announce the going live of issue nine of Otoliths. The pleasure is because this issue marks the beginning of Otoliths’ third year, & once again contains a great variety of text & visual work. The sorrow is because Rochelle Ratner, a frequent contributor to this journal, passed away on March 31st. I’d like to dedicate this issue, in which she has new poems, to her.

In this issue are Rochelle Ratner, harry k stammer, Adam Fieled, Bill Drennan, David-Baptiste Chirot, Joel Chace, Michael Farrell, Reed Altemus, Andrew Lundwall, Douglas Barbour & Sheila E. Murphy, William Doreski, Duane Locke, Stu Hatton, Joe Balaz, Jeff Harrison, Raymond Farr, Esa Mäkijärvi, Bobbi Lurie, Julian Jason Haladyn, Simon Perchik, Suzanne Grazyna, Eileen R. Tabios, Diana Magallón & Jeff Crouch, Jeff Crouch & Matina L. Stamatakis, Thomas Lowe Taylor, Glenn R. Frantz, Angela Genusa, Randy Thurman, Philip Byron Oakes, Mark Cunningham, Geof Huth, Andrew Topel & Jim Leftwich & John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett & Luigino Solamito & Sheila E. Murphy, John M. Bennett & Scott MacLeod, Scott MacLeod, Robert Gauldie, Adam Strauss, Marcia Arrieta, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, William Allegrezza, Ernesto Priego, Ed Schenk, Irving Weiss, Mary Kasimor, Christopher Major, Derek Owens, Paul Siegell, Daniel f Bradley, Daniel Morris, Steve Timm, Mary Ellen Derwis, Thomas Fink, Louise Landes Levi, Toni Simon, Martin Edmond & Kirsten Kaschock.

As always, there’s something there for everyone.