18 November 2007

cAtChInG uP

Someday I'll snap a new photo of self, since I now have a new Mac, which bodes well for future books from Chax Press. Not so well, the cost, its effect on press budget, etc. But the big thing that got in the way ALL this past year was the eviction notice from the Steinfeld Warehouse, the fighting and lobbying (bureaucrats & politicians), to create a 7-month delay of that eviction, and then, finally, the move, which took from August 1 until November 10 (just a week ago) to accomplish, recover from, sort out, and have a studio in true working shape again. Even saying that, it's a smaller studio, less room for book storage (WHAT do we do when we have four or six more books published? that's still unknown), less room for press tools, less room for everything. If it doesn't work, we may move again, but this time with more of a plan. We'll see. Stay tuned.

Other updates:

a September reading in Norman, Oklahoma, planned by Linda Russo, read with the amazing Mike Kelleher, and met Jonathan Stallings, who I hope and think will become a good friend.

Mike then came here to Tucson to kick off the POG series for the 2007-2008 year, along with Tyrone Williams. That was a terrific reading. But POG struggles with space, having had two readings in the adequate but not compelling Stone Ave. Gallery space away from downtown. The other reading there featured Tucson's own Frank Parker with a visiting David Gitin. This was a musical reading in a very intimate, somewhat miniminalist way. The Kelleher/Williams reading was adventurous, somewhat more abstract, also music but more like Ornette's free blowing crossed with Cecil Taylor's unit structures. Gitin/Parker was a bit more early Miles cool jazz, with a bit of bop as well. With the third POG reading of the season, last night, the venue changed to the Poetry Center at the Univ. of Arizona. Tenney Nathanson was literally flying, i.e. I get the sense of surfing into different tumble zones down the rabbit hole up the windpipe through a cloud and beyond, complete with birds calling and dogs howling (even a chihuahua with a BIG bark), all in a kind of monkey-mind meditation that embraces the given world as completely as I might imagine. I've always liked Tenney's work a lot, but right now I LOVE his work and hope Chax has the opportunity to publish it some time again. Tenney followed by the divine Miss M, that's M for Maureen Owen, whose grace is also of the pinball variety, i.e. hitting all the pins, bouncing here and there, entering a hole position where it spins a phrase around and around, then shooting out again to the horizon, and maybe beyond. OK, I'm exalting her here, but she deserves it. READ HER WORK -- she read primarily from her most recent book from Coffee House, EROSION'S PULL. It's very very good. Both these poets also remember (and later talked about) Kenneth Koch's admonition that, as serious as you want to be, as singing/lyrical as you want to be, as (anything) as you want to be as a poet, remember it's also crucial, at least every so often, to be funny. Yet in both of them, while humor abounds (or leaps and bounds), the humor itself is also serious matter.

Chax hasn't published a book in several months due to our eviction & move. But keep eyes open for books very soon by John Tritica and Jeanne Heuving, and, not too long following, by Michael Cross, Karen Mac Cormack, Steve McCaffery, Hilton Obenzinger, Standard Schaefer, Elizabeth Treadwell, Jane Sprague, Nico Vassilakis, Robert Mittenthal, and several more. Authors, please be patient. We're slow but reliable, or at least that seems to be our history, even though once in a while we're fast and reliable. Right now, still post-move, we're even slower but still plan on being reliable.

Finally, the Chax Press begun, lately POG co-sponsored Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant reading series. We had some really good readings this late summer and fall, featuring Wendy Burk, Maryrose Larkin, Eric Magrane, Simmons Buntin, Jeremy Frey, Mark Salerno, Roberto Bedoya, Laynie Browne, and Stephen Vincent. But I'm finally saying that running Chax Press as a press, co-directing with numerous others the POG Poetry in Action reading series, developing independent presentation projects in poetry for the community (a mini-Charles Olson festival coming this spring), writing and reading my poems here and around the country and beyond, and, at present, teaching 5 classes, is more than I can do, and I'm stopping my involvement in the Cushing Street series. And I don't see anyone waiting in the wings to start directing this series (and if you're there, please come out, because I'm not going seeking), so it looks like it will end. It's been a good three years, primarily featuring local poets of all stripes and persuasions, but also having some key visitors. Some day I'll list everyone who read in it. I also want to thank Dawn Pendergast and Paul Klinger, who did take it on for three months last spring, which was a welcome relief for me.

If you haven't got the Chax Press change of address, we're at 650 E. 9th St., Tucson, Arizona 85705. Phone number and email remain the same.

And finally, to end with some really good news, EOAGH issue four is now up . Tim Peterson is doing an amazing job as editor of this journal Chax Press is happy to host on our web site. Check it out.

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