Tag Archives: Philip Whalen

Handwritten Typewriter

8 Apr

HANDWRITTEN TYPEWRITER

The title of this volume of Pat Nolan’s selected poems, So Much, references the seminal (and most divisive) poem of modern American poetry by William Carlos Williams about a red wheelbarrow, chickens, and rain. The poems in this selection were actualized and finalized beyond their handwritten originals on a typewriter hence the designation of this twenty year span from 1969 to 1989 as Handwritten Typewriter.  In memory of Ted Berrigan, adherent to Whitman’s maverick impulse and O’Hara’s Personism, under the guidance of Schuyler and Whalen, with a nod to early 20th Century French poets and the sages of the East, and esteem for Anselm Hollo and Alice Notley, Pat Nolan’s poems hit all the right post-Beat, California School of New York Poets, Pacific Rim demotic notational ephemerist notes.

“If I have any purpose as a poet it is to remove myself from the musty authority of an entrenched academic conservatism and approach the word in its current state of utter mutability.  The poems selected here are representative of an acquired esthetic sourced outside of the doctrinaire Anglo-American literary tradition.  They do not aim at rhetoric nor do they seek to persuade.  Their primary intent is to present the fine distinctions of a perceptual identity in a uniquely spontaneous improvisational manner to the ear as well as to the page.  Sound and sense, discordant or melodious, over meaning equals poetry. The poems are also particularly anti-social in the implication that the forward progress of culture increasingly encapsulates individuals in their private auras. As such there is a specificity to each of the poems unique to my sensibility and experience as a poet that is not necessarily universal and insists that an effort be made to cross over into an extraordinarily unexceptional reality. Their reliance on chance operation corresponds to their reliance on chance appreciation.” —from So Much More 1969-1989


 Praise for Pat Nolan’s poetry:

“Pat Nolan is one of the poets, Ted Berrigan once said, that you have to always keep an eye on because he can do unexpected startling things that leave you eating his dust.”
— Andrei Codrescu, author of  So Recently Rent A World: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2012.

“Descriptions of nature so translucent we can only marvel how he weaves us into them, onward, around that eternal share of misfortune, bitter realization, and expectations gone wrong. This is Nolan’s secret power.  He engages us in magical transformation and will not let us look away.”
— Maureen Owen, author of Erosion’s Pull and Edges of Water

“. . .reminded me of James Joyce in that brief moments can become long & engrossing & turn the page for you despite any wishes thoughts & warnings you may have about more . . . .” —Keith Kumasen Abbott, author of Downstream From Tour Fishing In America, A Memoir.

“Reading a book of Pat Nolan poems, I tell myself to breathe, to be mindful, because everything is here, from the Zen moment that never ends to the surreal architecture we live within.”  —Bart Schneider, author of Nameless Dame


Pat Nolan’s poems, prose, and translations have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in the US and Canada as well as in Europe and Asia.  He is the author of over a dozen books of poetry and two novels.  He also maintains Parole, the blog for the New Black Bart Poetry Society, and is co-founder of Nualláin House, Publishers. 


 

Selected Poems Volume I
SO MUCH
Handwritten Typewriter
1969-1989

by Pat Nolan

April, 2018~176 pages~$16~paper~ISBN 9780984031061

order now and receive free shipping

(offer good through April, 2018)

See How To Order for details

 

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April Is The Worst!

8 Apr

Watchf Associated Press International News   United Kingdom England APHS52450 T.S. ELIOTSome poets celebrate April as National Poetry Month, claiming that it brings much needed attention to a marginalized art, while others deride the designation, arguing that it is patronizing and trivializing of an ancient (some might say arcane) way of sentience.  Be that as it may, designating a day, week or month for the celebration of poetry has the intent of focusing attention on a timeless art that many see as underappreciated in the greater world of commercial consumerist media.  Any search of ‘poetry’ online will turn up over 300 million hits, many duplicated of course, but all the same a number that is quite close to astronomical.  Some literary elitists might argue that such a large number amounts to a lot of bad poetry.  They may have a point. However, the intent of poetry is always pure; it is often for a lack of skillful execution that it fails.  That doesn’t mean that poetry should be the sole purview of academic busybodies whose only function is to taxonomically classify poetry according to a moldy moth-eaten esthetic.  Poetry lives because language is alive, mutable, and like a stream, treacherous or calm, torrential or stagnant, is a source of consciousness available to all. Perhaps the idea behind designating a Poetry Month serves the purpose of reminding everyone that poetry belongs to them, that poetry is free for the speaking, good, bad or indifferent.


 

FREE POETRY FREE POETRY FREE POETRY FREE 

BCFFrom its inception the Nualláin House, Publishers site has offered free access to the full texts of select out-of-print limited edition poetry titles as downloadable pdf files.  Most of these poetry books were handmade using Japanese papers and bindings in editions of twenty-six to thirty-six signed by the author or authors.  The free titles include Gail ah bolinasKing’s Boxes & Chairs, Pat Nolan’s travel journal, Ah Bolinas!, and Random Rocks, a haikai collaboration with Keith Kumasen Abbott, Pat Nolan, Maureen Owen, and Michael randrksfcSowl.  By scrolling down the sidebar, poetry enthusiasts can find any number of limited edition posts featuring  full text access to that particular out-of-print title.
Iota Brdside DT

Also available for free is a signed limited edition broadside of Advice To A Young Poet by Pat Nolan accompanied by a linoleum block print from his Smoking Poets series. Send $3 for shipping and handling with return address to Nualláin House, Publishers  PO Box 798  Monte Rio, CA 95462

 

HELLOLIFEj

 

YNHcvrjAnd for all orders placed in the month of April, Nualláin House retail titles, in particular Gail King’s Hello Life and Pat Nolan’s Your Name Here, shipping is free.  See How To Order.

 

 

 


 

paroletxthdr
More interested in reading about poetry?
  Try Parole, blog of The New Black Bart Poetry SocietyParole features essays on poetry, poets, and the poetry scene with articles on William Carlos Williams, Andrei Codrescu, Alice Notley, Philip Whalen, Frank O’Hara, and Bob Dylan to name just a few.  Access is free.

Click here to read Steven Lavoie’s essay on Darrell Grey and the Actualists on the West Coast.

 


OTS banner1

Essays not your thing?  How about a fictional poetry soap opera?

Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius is a serial fiction about a poet who is not quite Charles Baudelaire, not quite Charles Bukowski, who looks like a well worn Alex Trebeck but with the demeanor of a Mickey Rourke.  It mostly takes place in a city not always quite Frisco.  It is satirical, playful, and inevitably deadly serious.

Ode To Sunset has posted installments for six months to word-of-mouth acclaim.  The first section, DAY, is available as individual episodes or as The Complete DAY, a pdf file.  WEEK is now in progress.  For free access go to Ode To Sunset. 

 


 Coming in 2015

Nualláin House, Publishers is pleased to announce it’s 2015 title,

P4Sale12jPoetry For Sale,
Haikai no Renga (linked verse)
Introduction by Pat Nolan
Haikai no Renga with Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl & John Veglia 

Haikai no Renga is collaborative verse of Japanese provenance written by two or more poets trading stanza of 17 and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas, and with stanzas numbering as many as one hundred.  A haikai collaboration is as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written, the forward progress of its improvisation akin to that of a really tight jazz combo.

Pre-orders are now being accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise for YOUR NAME HERE

1 Nov

 

Praise for Your Name Here, New Poems
by Pat Nolan

“The book itself takes no prisoners.”
—Lucille Friesen, poet, printer

“Pat Nolan is one of the poets, Ted Berrigan once said, that you have to always keep an eye on because he can do unexpected startling things that leave you eating his dust. What was once “irony,” which is that generous distance of youth regarding itself in the odd act of “seeing” and “scratching” words became an essential tool to survive as poet. Pat Nolan’s poetry has indeed survived, with the help of not just the luxury of irony, but also the blending of his secretly bilingual (French-Canadian and American) language, his intensely questioned, but never renounced, faith in poetry. Add to this work, the joyous and extensive reading of a profound autodidact with an active and sometimes polemical involvement in the “literary scenes” of the West and East coasts for better than half a century, and you have, standing suddenly in front of you, a poetry giant.”
— Andrei Codrescu, author of Bibliodeath: My Archives (with Life in Footnotes), and So Recently Rent a World: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2012.

“Nolan’s painterly sensitivity unfolds a delicate beauty that breathtakingly fuses nature with a Surrealistic philosophic questioning and meditative soul searching. Descriptions of nature so translucent we can only marvel how he weaves us into them, onward, around that eternal share of misfortune, bitter realization, and expectations gone wrong. This is Nolan’s secret power.  He engages us in magical transformation and will not let us look away.”
— Maureen Owen, author of Erosion’s Pull and Edges of Water

“. . .reminded me of James Joyce in that brief moments can become long & engrossing & turn the page for you despite any wishes thoughts & warnings you may have about more . . . .”
—Keith Abbott, poet, professor emeritus, and author of Downstream From Trout Fishing In America, A Memoir.

“The poems glow with insight and wit as they simply monitor the flow of a mind steeped in Chinese poetry, bebop, the Russian River, the beats, the birds, Heraclitus. . . .  [Nolan] in his own words, is an alphabet male.  And despite the breadth of his learning and thought, is always just talking from right here.  It’s a hell of a book.”
—Eric Johnson, poet and print master at Iota Press.

YNHcvrj

 

Never one to settle into a style, Pat Nolan has made of his poetry an exploration of other poetries and of the numerous ways a poem can be.  As an adherent of the Philip Whalen Buddhist-inspired “mind moving” school, he holds to the idea that the poem is framed sentience. Just as the observed world is an occasion of subjectivity, it also mirrors the self in a way that reflects objectively.  The poems in Your Name Here revolve around that quantum axis with seemingly random discontinuities that do not pin down meaning but are left to mean themselves.  Written to be heard by the mind’s ear, Nolan’s poetry enacts a sub-vocal monologue that is like the murmur of cosmic background radiation, noticeable only in its cessation or as pauses when the mind registers the sum of discrete moments in an instant.

November 2014 ~ 80 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN 978-0-9840310-0-9

Now available, click on How To Order on the menu bar to learn how.

Poet, translator, editor, publisher Pat Nolan is the author of over a dozen poetry selections and two novels.  He is the founder of Nualláin House, Publishers, and maintains The New Black Bart Poetry Society’s blog, Parole (thenewblackbartpoetrysociety.wordpress.com).  His work has been published in numerous national and international literary magazines and included in late 20th Century poetry anthologies and collections. He has recently begun posting his online serial novel, Ode To Sunset (odetosunset.com), about poets and poetry, death and dying. He lives along the lower Russian River in Northern California.


For readers in the North Bay latitudes of Northern California, join Pat Nolan for a publication party on November 9th.

 

Nualláin House, Publishers
&
Iota Press
invite you to

a publication party

Sunday Nov 9th
1:30 to 3:30 PM

for Pat Nolan’s
new book of poems

Your Name Here

at the Iota Press printery
925-D Gravenstein Hwy. South
Sebastopol CA
(behind  BeeKind)
Meet the author, book signing and sales,
refreshments in a convivial literary atmosphere
Caution: some poetry will be read

 

 

Your Name Here, Pre-Publication Offer

3 Oct

Order advance copies now and get free shipping!!

Your Name Here
New Poems

By Pat Nolan 

YNHcvrj

“The chief characteristic of the mind is to be consistently describing itself.”
− Henri Focillon (1881−1943)

 

Never one to settle into a style, Pat Nolan has made of his poetry an exploration of other poetries and of the numerous ways a poem can be.  As an adherent of the Philip Whalen Buddhist-inspired “mind moving” school, he holds to the idea that the poem is framed sentience. Just as the observed world is an occasion of subjectivity, it also mirrors the self in a way that reflects objectively.  The poems in Your Name Here revolve around that quantum axis with seemingly random discontinuities that do not pin down meaning but are left to mean themselves.  Written to be heard by the mind’s ear, Nolan’s poetry enacts a sub-vocal monologue that is like the murmur of cosmic background radiation, noticeable only in its cessation or as pauses when the mind registers the sum of discrete moments in an instant.

November 2014 ~ 80 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN 978-0-9840310-0-9

 

 Advance praise for Your Name Here 

“Pat Nolan is one of the poets, Ted Berrigan once said, that you have to always keep an eye on. . .because he can do unexpected startling things that leave you eating his dust.”
— Andrei Codrescu, author of Bibliodeath: My Archives (with Life in Footnotes), and So Recently Rent a World: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2012

“. . .Nolan’s secret power. . .engages us in magical transformation and will not let us look away.”
— Maureen Owen, author of Erosion’s Pull and Edges of Water     

Poet, translator, editor, publisher Pat Nolan is the author of over a dozen poetry selections and two novels.  He is the founder of Nualláin House, Publishers, and maintains The New Black Bart Poetry Society’s blog, Parole (thenewblackbartpoetrysociety.wordpress.com).  His work has been published in numerous national and international literary magazines and included in late 20th Century poetry anthologies and collections.  He lives along the lower Russian River in Northern California.

YOUR NAME HERE Preview

3 Sep

Your Name Here
New Poems

By Pat Nolan

 

“The chief characteristic of the mind is to be consistently describing itself.”
− Henri Focillon (1881−1943)

 
YNHcvrjNever one to settle into a style, Pat Nolan has made of his poetry an exploration of other poetries and of the numerous ways a poem can be. As an adherent of the Philip Whalen Buddhist-inspired “mind moving” school, he holds to the idea that the poem is framed sentience. Just as the observed world is an occasion of subjectivity, it also mirrors the self in a way that reflects objectively. The poems in Your Name Here revolve around that quantum axis with seemingly random discontinuities that do not pin down meaning but are left to mean themselves. Written to be heard by the mind’s ear, Nolan’s poetry enacts a sub-vocal monologue that is like the murmur of cosmic background radiation, noticeable only in its cessation or as pauses when the mind registers the sum of discrete moments in an instant.

November 2014 ~ 80 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN 978-0-9840310-0-9

 Preorder now and get free shipping
Click here for YOUR NAME HERE Preview

 

Advance praise for Your Name Here

Pat Nolan is one of the poets, Ted Berrigan once said, that you have to always keep an eye on. That’s not because he might suddenly win all the prizes the world owes you, but because he can do unexpected startling things that leave you eating his dust. Some poets are like that: they start slow and lazy as if life was enough, and then rev it up to some speed you thought only angels can get up to. Pat Nolan didn’t start slow, he started accurately, determined to be in the world without missing anything, not the wind in the trees, not the work of his contemporaries, not the changes of seasons or times. Like the Chinese poets Kenneth Rexroth translated, Nolan was always spare and articulate, attentive to beauty and impatient with sloppiness. Through the decades, his attention to nature, people, and his own observance of them, never wavered, but the onset of time, layer after imperceptible layer, kept adding meaning and sobriety to the clarity of his born-wise voice. What was once “irony,” which is that generous distance of youth regarding itself in the odd act of “seeing” and “scratching” words became an essential tool to survive as poet. Pat Nolan’s poetry has indeed survived, with the help of not just the luxury of irony, but also the blending of his secretly bilingual (French-Canadian and American) language, his intensely questioned, but never renounced, faith in poetry. His sense of wonder, sometimes wary and wise, often surprised, is always in and of the world around him, even when it flees playfully with the early heroes of French comic superheroes like Fantomas. Add to this work, the joyous and extensive reading of a profound autodidact with an active and sometimes polemical involvement in the “literary scenes” of the West and East coasts for better than half a century, and you have, standing suddenly in front of you, a poetry giant. I hope you’ve kept an eye on him, like I did, because with Your Name Here, he is indeed compelling all poets to put their name there. And when they do, amazing things happen. Go on, try it.

— Andrei Codrescu, author of Bibliodeath: My Archives (with Life in Footnotes), and So Recently Rent a World: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2012.

 

We hear in these works a kinship to that most glorious free spirit of the Tang Dynasty, Tu Fu. One can almost imagine Pat Nolan building himself a thatched hut and living the life of a farmer. Matching the light brush of that Master, Nolan’s painterly sensitivity unfolds a delicate beauty that breathtakingly fuses nature with a Surrealistic philosophic questioning and the meditative soul searching of a Sumi wash. Descriptions of nature so translucent we can only marvel how he weaves us into them, onward, around that eternal share of misfortune, bitter realization, and expectations gone wrong. This is Nolan’s secret power. He engages us in magical transformation and will not let us look away.

— Maureen Owen, author of Erosion’s Pull and Edges of Water

 

Poet, translator, editor, publisher Pat Nolan is the author of over a dozen poetry selections and two novels. He is the founder of Nualláin House, Publishers, and maintains The New Black Bart Poetry Society’s blog, Parole (thenewblackbartpoetrysociety.wordpress.com). His work has been published in numerous national and international literary magazines and included in late 20th Century poetry anthologies and collections. He lives along the lower Russian River in Northern California.

 

 

DICK LIT: Q&A with Pat Nolan

3 Mar

warning uspoet
Q: You’re known primarily for your poetry, why are you now writing fiction?

A:  Actually when I first thought to write, I wanted to write fiction.  Novels, short stories.

Q:  What turned you to poetry?

A:  A wider experience of reading, other than the best sellers on the paperback racks at the corner drug store and the science fiction shelf at the local library.  I came to reading late but once I did I was a voracious reader. By the time I graduated from high school I knew there was more to reading than just pop fiction.

Q:  Wasn’t your reading guided by what you were taught in the classroom?

A:  I was an indifferent student.  Most of my reading centered around what I discovered for myself.  While in the Navy I was lucky to have shipmates who were quite literate.  Everyone in my rating read. A couple of guys even had some college under their belts.  Paperbacks were a regular item of exchange, mostly westerns, crime fiction, smut.  Lady Chatterley’s Lover made the rounds.  For obvious reasons. And Miller’s Tropics.  I was into Kerouac then, and always on the lookout for more by him.  Someone suggested that I check out a bookstore in San Diego where my ship was stationed.  I’d never been to a bookstore before, a real bookstore that wasn’t a news stand or the book section in a department store.

Q:  I find that shocking.  How old were you then?

A:  Oh, eighteen, nineteen.  And I think I was a little intimidated by the place.  It was a small store front on a side street crammed to the rafters with books.  I’d never seen so many books outside of a library.  Anyway, I asked after any new Kerouac titles but they only had ones I’d already read.  The clerk showed me a book by someone he said was a friend of Kerouac’s.  It was A Coney Island Of The Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  Poetry.  I think I bought it just so I could get out of there and not feel like a complete idiot.

Q:  Did you start writing poetry then?

A:  Not really.  I mean, I’d already tried my hand at writing poems so I had a notion of what a poem was, a conventional Romantic notion, and it had to do with expressing emotions toward a loved one, usually an indifferent unresponsive young woman.  They were all very ardent.  No one ever saw them.  I wasn’t very serious about it, anyway.

Q:  You must have become serious eventually.

A:  Yes, eventually.  One thing leads to another.  I started including poetry in my reading .  I can’t say I got all that was going on.  It wasn’t like reading popular fiction.  But it was interesting, challenging.  I came across Don Allen’s New American Poetry.  That was a revelation.  And I started noting references to names of other poets and writers.  Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Pound, Williams.  So I began looking into those guys, and they led me to other writers and poets.  At one point all my reading was taken up with tracking down a wider variety of writers and finding out more about them, their writing.

Q:  Were you also writing poetry at this time?

A:  That kind of went hand in hand with my reading.  In order to understand what the poets were doing I had to try to replicate what they were doing in a kind of reverse engineering.  It’s not as easy as it sounds.  I was concentrating on contemporary American poets for the most part, and it was pretty much anything goes, or that’s what it seemed like.  Looking back, I can see that I was really just pissing in the wind.

Q:  Yet you were published in some pretty impressive magazines.  Rolling Stone, The Paris Review, Exquisite Corpse.  And in a number of anthologies.  Don’t you think you were doing something right?

A:  Well, thanks to the kindness of strangers and the indulgence of friends. Not without some trepidation on my part, I have to say.  Success tends to complicate things.

Q:  So after many years you’ve turned back to fiction.  Why?

A:  I never turned away from fiction.  It’s just that the learning curve with poetry is steeper and requires greater diligence.  Around the same time that I had my first book published and was invited to read at the Poetry Project in New York City, I had also written two novels, one of which remained in draft form, and the other as a final manuscript. That was the first version of the western.  Even though I was experiencing relative success as a poet, writing novels was never out as an option.  And novels are a different kind of challenge.  Physically, logistically, especially back when everything was written on a typewriter.  Large chunks of specific time are required.  I feel like I could probably write poetry on the run, but the writing of a novel, for me at least, requires consistency, more sit down time.  And back then, a lot of white out, scissors, glue.  The construction of a final draft was an engineering feat.   Sorting through the renumbered pages with whole blocks of writing crossed out and painstakingly stitching it all back together.  Just the thought of it makes me shudder.

Q: What became of those early novels?

A:  The western made the rounds of agents and publishers but no one was interested.  Thankfully.  And the first draft novel was recycled into a general idea for a story.  I kept the title and the locale.

Q:  One of your recently published novels, On The Road To Las Cruces, is a western.  Is this the same novel?

A:  It’s the same subject, but the narrative has changed considerably.  Even though I had put it aside, the story and the need to tell it stayed with me, and I would go back and rewrite parts or scribble in the margins my additions or redirections.  That went on for several years and finally computers caught up with me and I spent many hours transcribing my typewritten poetry manuscripts as computer documents.  I also transcribed my western which allowed me to incorporate some of the revisions I had arrived at.  And in the process of transcribing, I also rewrote.

Q:  Technology benefitted your processes, in other words.

A:  Technology always changes the way you do business.  Writing a novel is no different.  And as an added advantage, word processors allow, among other things, cut and paste techniques at one time available only to film editors.

Q:  Are you utilizing those tools the way they are in the cinema?

A:  In a way, yes, because cinema is a popular story telling art that uses narrative in interesting, innovative ways.  In doing so, certain idioms are coined, clichés generated.  Telling the story on the page can utilize these idioms, techniques, in similar ways since the reading audience and movie goers overlap and recognize the tropes.  I was particularly conscious of using cinematic techniques in the western, mainly because of the complexity of trying to tell the story on three different levels.  There’s the narrative that takes place in real time, the one that takes place in the recent past, and the narrative that’s as a result of introspection and  dialogue with a ghost.

Q:  Did you also use cinematic techniques in the novel you published last year, The Last Resort?

A:  The narrative in The Last Resort has a fairly straight forward first person camera eye chronology with an extended back story flash back that serves as the booster rocket into the wrap up.  There’s also the  cinematic technique of the cliffhanger, the Saturday matinee movie serial.  The chapters, which for the most part are all roughly the same length, end abruptly or as jump cuts.

Q:  You’ve subtitled the novel A Lee Malone Adventure

A:  Lee Malone is based on a character I created for a serial I wrote for a local weekly newspaper years ago about a supermodel sleuth.  I had started some preliminary chapters for another serial when the editorship changed hands and the newspaper was no longer interested in the material. These odds and ends of fiction were among the last to be transcribed as computer documents, and I didn’t pay that much attention to them until some years after that when I read a couple chapters to a few writers I know.  Their reaction told me that I might be on to something.  So I pursued it.

Q:  Your first person narrator is a woman.  Why a woman, and who is she?

A:  Lee Malone is a stereotypical beautiful woman, former international model circa 1985.  What makes her interesting is how she tries to circumvent that cliché and become an authentic person .  In the very limited realm of a not overly realistic genre storyline, of course.  The  protagonist for these kinds of escapades is usually a tough guy with a broken nose, a five o’clock shadow, and breath that can pickle squid.  I was after something different.

Q:  The Last Resort was published in 2012.  Why is the setting in 1985?  Why not a more contemporaneous time?

A:  I had started the early chapters in 1985.  And rather than go back and retool the time frame to something more current, I decided to stick with it and avoid as many anachronisms as possible.  No cell phones or internet back then so that allowed a slower unfolding of the plot and a more leisurely development of the back story on Lee Malone.

Q:  You portray Lee Malone as rather willful.

A:  She has a cocksureness instilled by her life of privilege as a beauty.  And she knows how to use her looks to get what she wants.  But there’s a down side, and that is that all men lust after her and most women hate her.  Her aloofness is also a tragic flaw.  Men are cowed by her imperiousness and women suspect her of treachery.  Consequently she is alone.

Q:  You’ve published two genre novels, one a western and the other a pot boiler.  Are you seeking a conventional audience as opposed to one that was primarily interested in your poetry?

A:  The interest in my poetry in a very qualified sense has always been limited.  I don’t expect that my novels will be read by many more people, conventional or otherwise.  Given that the novels are written by a poet, conventionality was never a consideration.  Other than to label them genre works. Also this imagined audience will undoubtedly encompass many who have read my poems. Anyway, the idea of an audience for my work is always problematic.  I don’t think that my subject matter and how I approach it has universal appeal.  What I write about and how I write might find more support among men than woman.   The western is about gun violence, and the pot boiler, as you characterize it, is about titillation.  These are two things that fascinate men, sex and death.

Q:  Are there more macho centric gender specific novels in your future?

A:  I’m currently working on two crime fiction novels and a series of short stories in the same genre.  They’re detective stories, dick lit, if you will. Dick signifying slang for detective, of course, not the male sexual organ. One is titled simply, A Detective Story, and the other is in between titles right now.

Q:  Why crime fiction, dick lit, rather than something more universal that appeals to everyone?

A:  Crime fiction actually has a universal appeal, at least since Poe, who is said to have pioneered the detective story.  It is essentially comedy, sometimes quite dark, and situational, often improbable.  I feel comfortable with the conventions of genre fiction.  One novel, a period piece set in the 40’s before the war, is an attempt to represent the kind of writing that was being published in the pulp magazines with a little twist of  French surrealism.  The other might be characterized, in an 8 second Mamet pitch, as young Philip Marlowe in the  21st century.

Q:  Let me see if I have that right, you’re writing genre novels in order to write about genre novels.  Would you call that meta-fiction?

A:  I might, but I don’t exactly know what that is.  My characters are fictional, there’s no pretense that they are anyone beyond the page, even if they represent figures in regional history or in the history of fiction.  Every time I sit down to write a poem I am writing the history of poetry. Not in any grand ultimate critique, but in the relationship between myself and poetry.   In the same way, when I sit down to write a novel I am writing the history of fiction.  I have a hyper awareness of what has been written and I naturally factor that into the process

Q:  You’re mimicking a style appropriate to the story you’re telling.  Is that how you approach writing all your novels?

A:  I don’t know.  I’ve only written two so far. But yes, there is an awareness of the genre that determines how, stylistically, it is written.  Writing novel scale fiction requires a degree of engineering, of being more than just a voice but a writer director producer set designer camera lights action.  I assume that anytime a story is told some kind of mimicry is going on.

Q:  For example.

A:  Um, for example, ok.  Well, after the first version of my western was rejected, I was still enjoying my readings in the history of the old Southwest.  This is a subject that had also fascinated me as a young reader.  The more I read, the more of a historical sense I got of the people, the actors upon whom western legends are based.  I read authors from that period, Owen Wister for instance, author of The Virginian, contemporary accounts by Charlie Siringo, and modern regional authors like J. Frank Dobie to get a sense of how the stories of that time were told.  In rewriting the western, I had those voices to accompany me in the telling of my story. Or stories, as there are four stories, told by different storytellers or story telling devices.  What I was after was an underlying tone, a lingering in the language from that time.  In doing so, I didn’t write a conventional western.  It is more matter of fact, laconic, about a subject that has been mined repeatedly.  I gave it a different spin.

Q:  You refer to your reading quite a bit.  How much of a role does reading play in your writing?

A:  Reading is the other side of the coin.  I spend as much time reading as I do writing, maybe more.  I don’t read much fiction though.  I read primarily to satisfy my curiosity about particular subjects.  Neuroscience or cosmology, the micro and the macro of it all.  Sociology, anthropology, history.  These are areas of scholarship that continue to interest me.  To speculate on any of these subjects is what engages the imagination for me.  Coming at it from another way, writing genre novels is a reaching back to the reading that I enjoyed so much when I was younger and inspired me to think I could be a writer, a time of innocence that existed before I stepped into the world of serious literature.

Q:  Now that you are heavily committed to novel pursuits, have you put aside writing poetry for the time being?  Or for good?

A:  Yes, for the good of poetry, I should actually stop, but no, that obsession continues unabated.  And it’s not like I put on a different hat when I sit down to do one or the other.   To paraphrase Philip Whalen, it is something I do all day, every day.  I give the novels the same attention and concentration I give to my poetry.  And the fact that I am primarily a poet simply means that I bring a peculiar sense of language to the table.  These novels might easily be considered very long prose poems, poems on an epic scale.

Based on an interview conducted by Suzanne Lang for A Novel Idea aired on KRCB FM (Rohnert Park, CA) February 13th, 2013; edited, condensed, with material added for continuity and coherence.

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