12 January 2011

And just to try

Ah, the sea . . .

from summer 2010 trip with Nora, by car, to Big Sur, then up the Pacific coast to Portland, Oregon, then back through San Franciso and Los Angeles, to Tucson.

What Happened?

Here's what happened. This is now the blog, with a different address, as you know if you've found it here. And for reasons I don't quite know, in old posts (and all posts are old, except for this one and the last one, because I didn't blog for about a year), all photos are now missing. I'm deciding not to worry about that, and just to worry about photos in new posts, whenever I have photos or other images. Thanks for finding me here. There will be more in the coming days and weeks.

31 December 2010


Two terrific new books arrived.

Give Some Word, by Cralan Kelder, and 60 Texts, by Sarah Riggs. Such different authors, different works, yet with a casual precision in common, and a wondrous sense of spinning from the everyday to the wondrous.

Give Some Word is from Shearsman Books. Here's a sample:

mornings are non-refundable

a stone's throw into a wave's throat

bees inspect flowers
as the sun wheels through blue fields

as the democracy of time means
that every day
everybody gerts some

Gets some words, some time, some stone throws, some sun wheeling, some surprise, some marvel.

60 Texts is from Ugly Duckling Presse. Sarah Riggs has already published work that establishes her as a writer of floating precision - precision because of its spare lyricism that is exact and exacting; floating because it indeed seems to hover as sound and essence. Here she writes with what I have to all wisdom, which is the willingness to speak truth (and true questions), sometimes in its most direct and simple forms. Here's an excerpt (or two):

Can we go out of the
world together, even if
we did not come in

and earlier in the book,

So it was decided here,
in front of this sofa.
I will always remember
your face at that moment.
What we don't have
in common, we create

I am so pleased to have and to read these two marvelous books.

30 January 2010


I wish I could see LINH DINH in Toronto, on Thursday, Feb 2, at This Ain't the Rosedale Library, 86 Nassau St in Kensington (a lovely neighborhood), in the store at 7pm. If you're in the area, don't miss it! Also featuring a. rawlings and Angela Sczczepaniak. And check out Linh Dinh's new book there, SOME KIND OF CHEESE ORGY!

22 January 2010


It was always good to see Maurice Grossman. He was everywhere in the arts: at lots of POG readings over the years, and once, giving one himself while throwing a pot on his portable wheel. If you frequented art openings, musical events, etc., you also frequently ran into Maurice. He always had a smile and a hug, a piece of wit, and always was genuinely glad to see you. He was also one of the great artists of this community, a renowned ceramist who taught and influenced many, in his years as a teacher, at the university, and beyond. He was also a brave activist on behalf of LGBT issues. He was a terrific guy. He is already terribly missed.

Maurice Grossman died this morning.


Here is a message sent widely:

The world is full of cheerful, unsung heroes. One of them passed away this morning and Tucson is a bit less cheerful for his passing.

Maurice Grossman, a former University of Arizona art professor, died this morning following heart valve replacement surgery. He was 82.

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1927, he became an educator and ceramic artist in Arizona. He studied at Wayne State University and earned an MFA at Ohio State University. From 1955 to 1988, he was Professor of Ceramics at the University of Arizona in Tucson after founding their ceramics program. I came to know him during the campaign to try to defeat Arizona’s Prop 102. He was just one of those guys who seemed to know just about everyone, and no one he knew could ever be an enemy.

Last October, he was selected to be the Grand Marshal for Tucson’s Pride parade. (Tucson holds its parade in October as a concession to the typically scorching 105+ degree summer temperatures.) The UofA’s Arizona Daily Wildcat featured Maurice’s honor with a good description of his journey:

Grossman was a UA professor from 1955 to 1989 and started the three-dimensional arts program in the Art Department during that time. “I’m very proud of what I accomplished and am still acknowledged when I’m on campus,” Grossman said. “I loved my students; I love teaching. In a way I’m still teaching.”

Grossman said he lived the first part of his life trying to determine who he was. He got married in his 20s, and had two children with his wife, who died in 1978.

“Like most gay men, I was trying to understand more about myself,” Grossman said. “At that time, in my 20s, I met a very beautiful and lovely woman and we fell in love.”

Though he was married and in love with his wife until she died, Grossman said he knew he was gay before then. In 1978 Grossman became more politically active in the gay community. He volunteered with Wingspan and Stonewall Democrats in Tucson. He waited a few years before he told anyone he was gay.

“When I told (my children), they knew; they said, ‘we’ve known for years,’” Grossman said.

Grossman said there was no real fallout or loss of friendships because of his revelation.

If you had the pleasure of knowing Maurice, you’d understand why.

The thing that impressed me about him is that he didn’t think to bother about slowing down. Age was an occasional nuisance but never a hindrance. And nothing was going to get in the way of his good cheer. He remained very active in the LGBT community and in the local arts scene. The Dinnerware Gallery in 2007 threw a fifty-year retrospective for him to coincide with Maurice’s 80th birthday.

There are a lot of sad people here in Tucson today.

26 December 2009

wild orchids, good friends, and wine

Wild Orchids is a terrific journal, received in the mail today, from Buffalo, edited by Sean Reynolds and Robert Dewhurst. It concerns itself with Herman Melville, and ranges from poetic responses to Melville's poem, "A Utilitarian View of the Monitor's Fight," to Geraldine Monk's marvelous likening of Ahab's obsession with the whale to her own quest to see the elusive raccoon, to considerations of Clarel, of the undervoiced crew of the Melville through C.L.R. James, to Benjamin Friedlander's consideration of Clarel and the ground of the Holy Land, and a lot more. It is a marvel.

I interrupted my reading of Marie de France's Lais, which had interrupted my reading of Badiou's Being and Event, which had interrupted my reading of Walter Benjamin essays (vol. 4 of the collected writings), to read Wild Orchids. Life is interruption if it is anything. I interrupted my reading of Wild Orchids to receive a phone call, while at a coffee shop, telling me that my best friend in Tucson is in the hospital awaiting heart surgery.

Now I am home having a glass of La Crema, a Pinot Noir well worth drinking. My friend would approve, as would Melville, as probably would Benjamin and Badiou and Marie de France.

This is my world today.

(note: can I blog again? I haven't in months and months, it seems. I'll try.)

Labels: ,

18 May 2009

chax press needs YOU!

Dear Friend: We hope you can help us at this time. Please read the attached note, and consider what we do, and what you can do! Thank you -- Charles

We at Chax Press believe that the present tumultuous time, like all times, requires a strength of vision, which is our strength. This is not a time to do less, but to continue to do all that we can.

In almost 25 years, Chax Press has become one of the important small presses of our time and place. It is now time to step up to a new level of performance, and we are preparing for the challenge. In the next five years, we intend to triple our budget and to become a press that, through its reach, artistic imagination, and professional strength, has lasting impact on the future of American literature as well as innovative world writing.

The first steps we must take this year are to secure the full-time attention and salary of the Executive Director and hire an assistant. As we begin our work toward our new goals, we are being assisted by an experienced, successful organizational development consultant. One of our important commitments to an enduring future is to fund such a consultant to help us grow in a sustainable manner. As our activities become more regular and the Executive Director’s time is devoted to artistic direction, fine art book production, and long-range vision, we will also add a marketing/book sales and fundraising coordinator. In addition, we plan to expand our current Youth Education Programs (school projects in our studio, residencies in schools) and hire a Youth Programs Coordinator.

At this important time in our history, we are seeking financial support, to sustain programs, from all who have given in the past, and from new donors. We ask that you, specifically, consider a gift in an amount ranging from $25 to $500. But the important thing is to give, in any amount you can. Your generosity will support the kind of press that will give our authors — such writers as Steve McCaffery, Leslie Scalapino, Karen Mac Cormack, Linh Dinh, Myung Mi Kim, Will Alexander, Bruce Andrews, Kass Fleisher, Joe Amato, Gil Ott, Hank Lazer, Nathaniel Mackey, Jerome Rothenberg, Nick Piombino, Elizabeth Treadwell, Sarah Riggs, Beverly Dahlen, and more — the support they deserve, and the boost that will help them reach more readers and new readers. A stronger Chax Press will allow us to profoundly impact the present and future of literature in America and around the world.

While Chax Press is preeminently a publisher of innovative writing and a creator of inventive book arts editions, we also provide literary and artistic education about our field of activities. Your gift will support stronger and more frequent youth and adult educational programs, including internships for college students, book making and creative workshops for youth and adults, literary arts/literacy learning programs, and literary residencies in schools.

In addition, public presentations are important to what we do. Your gift supports readings and lectures by writers and artists in Tucson, readings by groups of Chax Press writers in locations around the country, lectures and presentations about Chax Press works in locations including Seattle, Tuscaloosa, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York City, Buffalo, and London.

Exhibitions of book arts by Chax Press have been displayed in locations ranging from the Victoria & Albert Museum Library to the J. Paul Getty Center Library, from London and Paris to Toronto and Seattle, from museums to libraries to community art centers. Currently, our fine arts book, Witness, by Kathleen Fraser and Nancy Tokar Miller, is featured in a retrospective exhibit at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, with framed, handprinted pages as well as the complete book on display.

We are not only one of the most diverse and visionary presses in America; we are also one of the liveliest. Now you can help us to build for the future, too, and help our authors, books, and programs have an impact that will continue for decades and leave a permanent mark on the state of literature and the book arts. We are stepping up; we ask you to step up with us.

Thank you for your gift at this time. We will continue to reward your faith and generosity. We make a pact with you. The ascent beckons.

Thank you for supporting Chax Press.

Charles Alexander
Executive Director

ps Chax Press is a 501(c)(3) charitable arts organization, and your donation is fully tax deductible.

Ways to donate:
1. Send us a check in the mail, to Chax Press, 411 N 7th Ave Ste 103, Tucson, AZ 85705-8388
2. Go to the “donate” page on our web site: http://chax.org/donate.htm
3. Go to your own Paypal account, and have a payment sent to us; you may even be able to arrange for regular monthly payments, to make this easy for you. Just $8 per month adds up to a $96 annual gift that helps immensely.
4. If you practice online banking, arrange through your online payment service for a gift to be sent to us. You can also arrange in this way to make a regular monthly or quarterly contribution.

charles alexander
chax press
411 N 7th ave, suite 103
tucson arizona 85705
520 620 1626