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January 10th, 2010 / 8:34 pm
Author Spotlight

Happy New York (Part II)



Whether you are in NY or not, tomorrow is the last chance to see Herbert Pfostl‘s ALL SORTS OF REMEDIES. (Sad NY update: I was too late–for too long–with this post. More on Pfostl in the future. One week left to see Jerk.)

Justin’s book-buying success story made me happy for so many reasons that only some will surface in this roundabout (not to say failure) fable. Here’s to making Book-Buying: A _____ Story, a regular column. Until that category’s been added, I’ll continue with two of the many poets from my last post (on the Poetry Project New Year’s Reading, featuring a cast so deep I could draw on it all year and not touch bottom): namely, John Coletti and Arlo Quint.

I’ve only read one of Coletti’s three(?) chapbooks and haven’t read a word by Quint, but I’m as excited about the former’s new book as CAConrad is (“Few things make me as happy as a new John Coletti book!” via Rust Buckle’s facebook page) and about the latter’s new chapbook(s?) as I am by just having discovered that CAConrad was born on January 1. It’s final: Poet of the Year. I say this, aware of all the reasons not to say such a thing, let alone in caps, partly in homage to New Directions’ Poet of the Month (1941-1943; the envelope pictured came with the 1942 boxed set I found at Grey Matter Books), but also having read more new books of poetry in 2009 than in every other year of my life combined. I plan to post a list of the fruits of this pursuit later this month, as I’m still waiting to get my hands on a number of books published in the year’s final days, which returns me (or will, eventually) to my new (year’s) enthusiasm for the yet unread poems of Coletti and Quist, neither of whom I would know about if it weren’t for a poet named Jess Mynes, whose first book book (as opposed to chapbook) became available on the last day of the year.

Haply, it was from a post in the same spirit as Justin’s, Andy Grace’s “Buy Two Chapbooks This Month,” that I discovered Mynes, via his chapbook press, fewer & further (based just north of me in Wendell, MA) which Grace praises. Grace’s post is worth revisiting at large (Heather Christle provides a great analogy in the comments section, and had I not been distracted at the time by the proximity of Mynes’ press–and subsequently, All Small Caps, his reading series–I might already have Quint’s Photogenic Memory, which was then the most recent book from Lame House Press, just a little further down the list) but for now I’ll just observe that his championing of Joseph Massey as “a great example of a poet who has been able to gain a readership without the help of a full-length book” applies well to Mynes (whose first full-length book, like Massey’s and Nancy Kuhl’s, both on Shearsman, is brought to us by a British outfit: Sam Ward’s ascendant Skysill Press), Coletti, whose first two chapbooks found engaged reviewers (Tom Devaney on The New Normalcy in Tool, Matthew Henriksen on Physical Kind in Typo) and are high on the list of out-of-print chapbooks I wish I could find. His third, Same Enemy Rainbow, from fewer and further, is thirty pages, thirty poems, many of which go further with fewer than thirty words than any poem in many longer books. Here’s the poem that might have the most words:

Fair Ankles

Just saw a bulldog slug a martini

Len Elmore smoking reds sipping scotch

& that revolutionary worldliness

you loved so much

forever lost to heart relaxers

wake let birds eat pull up mugwort

coated with lipstick resistant paint

daytime snow chunk

papier-mâché buck horns

riding me, riding out

And so, before I get more and farther afield, let me just say that I can’t wait to see what Coletti does with full-size pages in Mum Halo, the first full-length from Rust Buckle Books, which has previously published a chapbook by Mike Hauser (Crets Crets Crets, still available and highly recommended, as is his Psychic Headset from Mitzvah Chaps) and, it seems, Arlo Quint. I can’t tell if the latter, called Hospitality in the Forest, is forthcoming or out-of-print. [Update: out-of-print]

In the meantime, you can look forward to another Quint chapbook, coming soon from none other than fewer and further, where it has never been easier to Buy Two NEW Chapbooks in one month. You see, alongside my imagining Quint’s Drawn In to be the January to Aaron Tieger’s out-of-print February, there is a year’s worth of certainty: Geraldine Monk’s Skyscrapers, a long poem about clouds, the imminent fewer and further reprint of which is already the frontrunner for Chapbook Reprint of the Year, if not the Decade. If the original Galloping Dog issue was not the best chapbook of the 80s, what was?

OK, so that last question is probably proverbial (tho I’d love to hear answers) and this post is less a success story than a failed fable. This, then, is a preamble. For a future post, I’d like to know what other 2010 chapbooks people are excited about.