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.
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
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).
Poems by Leonard Schwartz / Images by Simon Carr
64 pages; 24 poems with 24 images plus title/cover image
What do you get when you put ten frogs in a coffee pot? Answer: Salamander, the latest in a long, imaginative line of animal inventories that began in classical Greece, if not on Noah’s Ark, became popular during the medieval period, and includes such modern innovators as Leonardo da Vinci and Lewis Carroll, Jorge Luis Borges and J.K. Rowling. A collaboration among a father, his daughter, and a woodcutter, this poetic menagerie celebrates the intelligence and ingenuity of two dozen creatures, from elk to eel, orca to owl. A labor of filial laughter, this carved, quirky rolodex is also a mirror in which we see ourselves, as “Wildness withheld,” for the endangered species we are.
— Andrew Zawacki
Woodcuts — are they black on white or white on black?—cut through the woods of words. The wood shows what the words mean. And the other way round. You can’t be sure with animals.
Animals are there just enough for us to glimpse (a woodcut is more shadow than flesh) and have some working poet explain them to themselves.
This book is all explanation. Read “Blonde Raven” to learn what it means to live in a visible world
The poems are sparse — light shows through them — and tell us things about animals, and tell animals about themselves — so much so that I’m not sure, after reading through the 24 panels, whether I’m being explained or being enlightened. That’s a perplexity that comes when reading Rilke and Dickinson too, poets who can’t always tell themselves from what they see.
— Robert Kelly
photo by Carlos David
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
“Linh Dinh is one of the most consistently surprising writers around. One can find sources & roots for his writing, explain the traces of surrealism through the presence, say, of the French in Vietnam (tho they were driven out a decade before he was born), note that he is hardly the only good or successful Vietnamese American poet, let alone the only poet to come from a working class background, yet he is not writing ‘about’ or even ‘toward’ nor ‘from’ any one of these contexts so much as he is through them—they are lenses, filters, that condition his perspective on everyday life. Imagine what any other poet with this strong a sense of form would have had to become in order to write such poetry. Ted Berrigan, for example. Berrigan shares Linh’s class background, which enables him to be as ruthless in a different way as Linh is in his. But the comparison stops there. Linh is writing straightforward poetry, but from a perspective shared by almost no one else. This kind of exile is far deeper than mere geography…you can feel Linh’s deep loneliness on every page & realize that there are aspects of his poetry that you can’t find anywhere else. We probably haven’t had a writer this singular since the death of William Burroughs.”—Ron Silliman
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).
One of the new offerings from Chax, A Bundle of Books at Significant Savings to our Great Readers
Looking to jump into Chax? Now we offer you a great way to do it. Please keep coming to our site for a new bundle or two every month.
13 books at a special discount. The average price of these books is more than $17, but here you can have all 13 for just $100 (less than $8 per book) plus shipping. This is a limited time offer that will expire at the end of February 2018. Links below lead to the regular product pages for the books, with more information about the book. But you must return here to purchase this bundle at the discounted price.
Ted Pearson, An Intermittent Music
Kit Robinson, Leaves of Class
James Sherry, Entangled Bank
Ben Hollander, The Letters of Carla
Sarah Riggs, Waterwork
Will Alexander, Inside the Earthquake Palace
Michael Gottlieb, What We Do
Gil Ott, arrive on wave
Linh Dinh, ed.and trans., The Deluge
Gaspar Orozco, Autocinema
Leonard Schwartz & Simon Carr, Salamander
Alice Notley, Reason & Other Women
Susan Thackrey, Andalusia
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.”