Poetry/Literature, including an interview with Linh Dinh. ISBN 9781946104045. 234 pages.
Getting back to the theme of writing from the outside, I published this in the American Poetry Review in 2004, “I’ve come to realize that I much prefer to live on the periphery of the English language, so that I can steer clear of the tyranny of its suffocating center. In this sense, I am a quintessential American. A Unapoet, I like to homestead just beyond the long reach of Washington […] Hearing the rapid syllables of a foreign language, a bigot is infuriated because he’s reduced to the status of an infant. Poets, on the other hand, should welcome all opportunities to become disoriented. To not know what’s happening forces one to become more attentive and to fill in the blanks. Hence, poetry.” (Linh Dinh, from the Interview with Tahseen Alkhateeb)
Linh Dinh is the author of five previous books of poems, plus two collections of short stories, a novel and a non-fiction account of the economic, social an political unraveling of the USA, Postcards from the End of America (Seven Stories Press 2017). His political essays are regularly published at Unz Review and other webzines.
“The ever-precise and brilliant James Schuyler characterized Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poetry as brimming with the ‘intimate yell.’ Frank O’Hara got that energy pulsing in his work, but was tenderer, while Linh Dinh is more preposterous and full of outrage than either. Imagine a concoction that mixes Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Celine’s Bardum, frank, rollicking humor and hair-raising disgust. After adding fish sauce, a smelly cheese and sexual sweat, shake vigorously. Out of the bottle rises Linh Dinh. God talks to him and he talks about everything, including the body parts that Renaissance painters left out. No one does it better.”–John Yau
Linh Dinh was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1963, came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two collections of stories and four books of poems. His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, Best American Poetry 2004, Best American Poetry 2007 and Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, among other places. Linh Dinh is also the editor of the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (Seven Stories Press, 1996) and Three Vietnamese Poets (Tinfish, 2001), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (Tupelo, 2006). Blood and Soap (Seven Stories Press, 2004) was chosen by the Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His poems and stories have been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese and Arabic, and he has been invited to read his works all over the US, London, Cambridge and Berlin. He has also published widely in Vietnamese. He lives in Philadelphia. His works from Chax Press are AMERICAN TATTS (2005), JAM ALERTS (2007), and SOME KIND OF CHEESE ORGY (2009).
Chapbook / Letterpress Covers with original cover painting by Cynthia Miller
Poetry / ISBN 9781946104076 / 32 pages / $20
Andrew Levy remains convinced that poets have to think dangerously and let themselves be kidnapped by contemporary hyper-complexities: they must embrace and forsake our present humanist and nationalist world for a wider horizon at once ecological, local, and global. Levy’s philosophical style strikes a balance between the innovative academicism of a scholarly poet and a certain sense of anti-academicism (witness his ongoing interest in the ideas of Bill Reading and George Lewis). Disturbing, musical, poetic, anarchic, and punctuated by improvisational bursts of syncopated incompleteness, Artifice in the Calm Damages is tempered by a Bohmian aesthetic powerfully evocative of the lost and desperate side streets and tweets of American life. Imagine Dorn’s Slinger, dead and missing, walking the highways and low-ways in search of Mar-a-Lago only to find no one on the premises but Ramon Hernandez. The humor is dry, dark, and, landing on the wrong note, conveys a heartfelt rage. Levy’s book is a remarkable study in verse and prose of the depravity and diseased charisma infecting “America First.” It’s a keeper.
Artifice in the Calm Damages has been produced as a hybrid book arts edition. The text of the book is printed via digital technology, while the cover, on yellow Samuel French paper with French flaps extending the width of the book, has been printed letterpress on a Vandercook 215T Press and hand painted by the visual artist Cynthia Miller, so that each copy of the book is a unique copy.
Poems by Kit Robinson
The title of Kit Robinson’s latest is a nod to the Great Includer, and its pages share something of that earlier writer’s peripatetic energy, his constant welcoming. Think also of Monk’s sidewinding testaments, Saul Leiter’s carefully sudden Manhattan kodachromes, Top 40 radio when it (sometimes) used to be challenging. But the call of thought is the tone most often heard—the summons to consider, to praise, to inveigh. Time now to roll up those “vernacular shirt sleeves” and get down to “tuning the work of days.” These are irresistible poems.
— George Albon
Like Whitman, Kit Robinson celebrates himself, the world, and the amplitude of time. In Leaves of Class, we are treated to poetic clarity and a sense of rectitude. Whimsical forays into the boundaries of meaning and language, “You could say poetry publicity puberty probity,” he characterizes planetary currents, of which he knows he is an intrinsic part, as “vertiginous, lofty, cerebral, lazy, and light.” In this collection, Robinson leaves the ecology of self to discover new wilderness. Powerful stuff.
— Anne Tardos
Edited and translated from the Vietnamese by Linh Dinh. “Carefully selected for their literary significance as well as their antagonism towards state power, cultural orthodoxy and conventional wisdom, the hundred and sixty Vietnamese-language poems annotated, contextualized and expertly translated into English in THE DELUGE provide a stunningly original (counter) history-in-fragments of Vietnamese society from the 1960’s up till today. While Linh Dinh is typically known for his extraordinary poetry, fiction and journalism, THE DELUGE showcases his remarkable talents as a translator, anthologist and cultural historian. I love everything about this book: the sneaky-smart selections, the illuminating yet ruthlessly efficient author-bios, the fascinating addendum and, of course, the absurdly brilliant translations.”—Peter Zinoman
Poetry. ISBN 978-1-946104-05-2. 146 pages. $17 US.
A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Norman Fischer is a poet and essayist. He has been practicing as a Zen Buddhist priest for thirty five years, and is one of the senior Zen teachers in America. The latest of his more than twenty-five poetry and prose titles are Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language and Religion (prose, Poetics Series, University of Alabama Press), Conflict (poetry, Chax Press), The Strugglers (poetry, Singing Horse Press), and Magnolias All At Once (poetry, Singing Horse). In 2000 he retired as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the West, and founded The Everyday Zen Foundation (www.everydayzen.org), an international network of Buddhist groups and social projects.His latest Buddhist title is Training in Compassion (Shambhala). Norman Fischer lives on a cliff near Muir Beach California with his wife Kathie, also a Zen priest. Their two sons live in Brooklyn.
“without love no quirks,” writes Norman Fischer in the midst of any would be if. One might add: without quirks, no life, as in this book Fischer proceeds “by ellipsis,” and suggests that living, noticing, even drinking tea, manifests in similar fashion. Indeed, “the teacup told us how to hold it,” provides one of many delightful and slightly puzzling, or perhaps uncanny, moments in a book full of moments. Moments of thought, moments of action, moments of light, moments of language, moments through which “we pull ourselves into now.” If one wants a book to show the world, not in its grandeur (or, maybe that, too) but in its process, in the betweenness we all inhabit, then this is the book one wants. I know I am glad to have it, and to return to it, often, “to be.”
Poetry/Literature. ISBN 9781946104069. 74 pages.
What is the meaning of light? Can humans even comprehend such a thing? In Visible Instruments, Michael Kelleher invites the reader
to be mindful of these questions, and to ask what she can know, what he can do, how they might live in the present, the future. Everything “is visible” in these meditations, “like an x-ray,” though that might only begin to help us understand what it all means, what we mean.
Michael Kelleher is the director of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. He formerly served as Artistic and Associate Director of Just Buffalo Literary Center in Buffalo, New York, where he founded Babel, an international lecture series in which he interviewed authors such as V. S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith.
His published collections of poetry include Museum Hours (BlazeVOX, 2016), Human Scale (BlazeVOX, 2007), and To Be Sung (BlazeVOX, 2004). His poems and essays have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, The Poetry Foundation Website, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, ecopoetics, The Poetry Project Newsletter, EOAGH, and others.
From 2008-13 he produced a blog project entitled “Aimless Reading,” in which he documented the more than 1,200 books in his personal library.
The Letters of Carla, the letter b. A Mystery in Poetry
with a Foreword by The Future Guardian of the Letters
and an Afterword by Benjamin Hollander
Literary Nonfiction / Literary Criticism / Essay. ISBN 9781946104014. $19
A polemic, a dispute, an essai, a history of real persons in poetry, of agon and salient entanglement. An investigation, an epistle. A romp a ride, but open as conclusion. Across boundaries of time and place these ideas sing and let us serve an elusive poetic dream — Clara Bow perhaps. Like a Le Carre spymaster, this Carla, the letter b., is one of the ghosts whose imaginative skillful (means & motives one cannot grasp, and yet she leads us on.” Wallace Stevens and Charles Olson would be delighted. Kudos to the “forsworn author.” — Anne Waldman
Benjamin Hollander (1952-2016) lived for the past three decades in San Francisco, after moving there with his wife, Rosemary Manzo, in 1978. He taught English, Writing, and Critical Thinking, primarily at Chabot College, in Haward. He passed away on November 21, 2016. His many books include The Book of Who Are Was (Sun and Moon), Levinas and the Police Part 1 (Chax), Vigilance (Beyond Baroque), Rituals of Truce and the Other Israeli (Parrhesia), and In the House Un-American (Clockroot).