Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The New Rock 'n' Roll

See all that Jonathan Franzen, Salman Rushdie stuff on your shelf, all those wanna-be Booker Prize contenders gathering dust, all that earnest shit:
BIN IT.Get real, buddy.You wanna know how the world works, get Andrew Vachss.Not intellectual enough?Get James Sallis, he'll fry your cells. Or for downright metaphysical, Paul Auster.Crime writing, bro, it's the new rock 'n' roll.--Ken Bruen, Calibre (2006)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Baffling combustions are everywhere!

At a house reading, listening to Stephen Rodefer read, I felt the back of the neck hairs
stand up straight, had to hold the bridge of my nose to keep the tears from coming. Absolutely stunning reading by a great poet—still, I was surprised by my reaction. I curate a series, hear lots of great readings, but am almost never moved to tears. The poetry wasn’t “sad”, although there were elements of sadness. Just, um, perfect.

My favorite short poem is by Ungaretti—various translations, the one I remember:


Illumines me

My next tattoo. Clay Blackburn, the protagonist of my novels, has it tattoo’d on his arm.

Occasionally some work of art brings on the “enormity” effect. Ilumines me. And then I have to excuse myself and leave the gallery/reading/concert. Experience a kind of exquisite devastation. I’m always baffled/embarrassed when it happens—I’m not the type to make scenes. But I’m grateful for it—release, epiphany, deep connection—whatever the hell it is.

Friday, April 24, 2009

allow me to introduce myself

I'm not a huge Robert Lowell fan, but that phrase, "a flaw in the motor" (a fragment of the whole quote, can't remember the rest) pops into my head pretty often. Doesn't just apply to his generation of poets--there's a nice, "we're all bozos on this bus" feel to it.

My publisher suggested a blog. My publisher is PM Press, a very cool press indeed. Morph'd out of AK Press. Politics, Vegan cooking, the BEST noir around, and these great hoodies (I've scored two already--who says writing doesn't pay!). My book is called "The Incredible Double".
Info at pmpress.org.

I started a blog years ago--didn't get very far. It was to be about book buying--I'm a buyer for a Berkely bookstore. Bad idea--the last thing I wanted to do after buying books all day.

This will be more open ended--I've got a bunch of new poems to post, and I'll be doing one of those Indy Press, cheap sleep, Jet Blue tours when the book comes out next month. So--poetry, travel journal, cranky opinions, book reviews...

Allow me to introduce myself:

I've knocked around the Bay Area poetry "scene" for 25 or so years. Did a mag called Blind Date in the eighties/early nineties. Published a bunch of chapbooks with such stellar presses as Words & Pictures, Gas Editions, Blue Press, Angry Dog Press. Read at all the places where poets read. Curate a reading series at Moe's Books, Berkeley. You could call it a career (if you could call it a career). In '02 I published a noir called The Chandler Apartments. It was doing ok when the publisher went belly-up. I believe he is currently on the lamb--or maybe they've caught up with him. I'm hoping PM Press will reprint it--I think it's pretty good.

Allow me to introduce myself:

I live in The Chandler Apartments, corner of Telegraph and Dwight, great old building in a charmingly (I think) down-at-the-heels neighborhood. Two cats--Hilda Doolittle and Zelda Fitzgerald. Work for Moe's Books...enough personal info for now.

So now I can go into "I am a Camera" or "I am a poet" or "I am a mystery writer" mode.

Onward! at least until the motor gives out.