Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Historic Diary by Tony Trigilio, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Historic Diary
Tony Trigilio

Buffalo, NY
110 pgs
IBSN: 978-16-0-964-0-125

I’ve been too many 1963 pictures of the Book Depository with the Hertz billboard and clock squinting form the rooftop: “Hertz Rent-a-Car. 12:30. Chevrolets.”

It’s probably unsafe not to drive in Dallas, especially in August. I feel self conscious walking everyone I go in this city.

Humidity squeezes into my pockets, the air between buildings sags like wet cardboard. I gurgled on the walk back to my hotel my Dealey Plaza today.

I brought my feeble snapshot camera to Dallas instead of the 35mm, since the picture were just for reference. I switched into close up mode by mistake for a roll of film—about 10 exterior shots of the Book Depository that really are close ups of an inconsequential 3rd floor window.

Tony Trigilio is a genius. I know that is a bold statement for any reviewer to make, but nevertheless, that is how I feel about his new collection of poetry Historic Diary. Over the past four years since my start as a professional book reviewer, I have encountered dozens of poets and mountains of poetry collections. Some were really enchanting reads, some were intelligently executed on a literary scale that it is simply knocked my socks off. Now comes Historic Diary (named after Lee Harvey Oswald’s account of his time in the Soviet Union). This book excavates the nightmarish record of the Kennedy assassination and his assassin.

I absolutely love this collection. It is engaging to the reader as a piece of history in its exploration of the life and myths of Oswald, ranging from his childhood experiences to his defection to the USSR. The events unfold withhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif cunning passion, the path that Oswald took towards the planned process of the Kennedy assassination and the unsettling public reaction to that dark event.

Every now and then, a poet authors a book of sheer brilliance. A book that works on multiple levels, that invites readers to superimpose their own critical thoughts in an autobiographical sense in order to explore the various voices and experiences in relationship to alternatives. I cannot explain in mere words the effect that Tony Trigilio’s book Historic Diary had on me. Often upon reading it, I would think of my former teacher Ed Sanders and his incredible essay on investigative poetry. This is that genre. Period.

So can I recommend Historic Diary? Well, that would be a huge YES. If you have the chance, do yourself a favor and invest nine dollars in the purchase of this hands down remarkable and well thought out collection of poetry by a very talented poet.

Order from BlazeVOX.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Ebook Short Description:

A Sleeping Madonna statue that turns out to be a very dead old lady, the perplexing likeness between film actress Roxane Fontaine and Ana Rosa de Fontes Foncequa, the old lady’s niece who mysteriously disappeared twenty-one years ago… Let The Sleeping Madonna take you to Portugal’s magnificent Douro Region,to watch the rebirth of an extremely sensual concordat of love, a Triangle of Love.

About the author:

Deborah Rey, born in Amsterdam in 1938, has from the time she was a little girl worked in radio, (later) television, publicity and the theatre, as an actress, broadcaster, entertainer, scriptwriter, translator and editor in the Netherlands, Canada, and the USA. Today, retired, she finally has the time to be a full-time writer and editor. She lives at the French Atlantic coast with her husband, one dog, and five cats. Rey is recognized by the Dutch Foundation 1940-1945 as a participant in the Resistance during the German occupation.

Sample or purchase e-edition of The Sleeping Madonna at:



Monday, May 23, 2011

Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures by Genelle Chaconas, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures
Genelle Chaconas

Geoff Neill c/o Little m Press
1017 L Street, Suite # 394,
Sacramento, CA. 95814
32 pgs,$4.50

Jim and the Wound in the Side

Though he went into godhood in Paris in 1971
The shadow of a myth
Echo of an Indian he never was
A ghost dance without a funeral dirge

I still believe
Somewhere in the forgotten corner
A bird of prey drove itself headlong into the heart
Of the cold desert at dawn
Thinking it was the sky.

I still believe
On that quiet dawn dressed in nothing new
A silence was heard
Not unlike the footstep of a people long dead.

I have been active in the world of poetry as a writer, reviewer, performer, host of numerous poetry series, and book reviewer as 1974. Over those 37 years, I’ve seen many poets come and go. Some were very talented writers, some became equally talented professors of literature, and some just threw their hands up in the sky and walked away from anything. So you can imagine my delight when I find a young writer like Genelle Chaconas, who not only has the talent but a unique and educated voice.

Her first collection of poetry Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures from little m press in Sacramento is simply put a pleasant and entertaining read. Filtered with poems and artwork, this 32 pg chapbook is absolutely something you are going to want in your small press library. And here I wish to put a special note to those rare book collectors: keep an eye out for this poet, because, like d.a. levy and Kenneth Patchen, she is gonna rise and reach out beyond all your expectations.

This book, from its stunning front and back covers of the artist’s own hand is just filled with lyrical observations, violent transcendental movement from mind to soul to heart. The last time I encountered a small chapbook of poetry with this much punch was Ed Sanders’s Chapbook Poem from Jail. This is absolutely a remarkable collection.

Criticisms? Oh yeah, I have a few. But they’re not necessarily with the poet as much as they are with the publisher. For example, I felt it would have been easier on the eye had the poems been centered and balanced within the space of the page. I also felt that a stronger typeface could have been used, because sometimes the eyes weaken upon reading. But that’s it. Chaconas’s artwork, which punctuates sections of the book, is outstanding and original and very reminiscent of some of Kenneth Patchen’s black and white experimental poems. And hey, at three dollars, this book is a steal. An additional note to your rare book collectors: remember that last chapbook that you passed up Near Klamoth by that unknown writer that you didn’t take seriously by the name of Raymond Carver? Well, in hindsight all’s I can say is don’t let history repeat itself a second time by ignoring a very talented young writer that has a lot to say.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friendship by Tom Kryss, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Tom Kryss
Kamini Press
Ringvagen 8, 4th floor
SE-117 26 Stockholm

I open the blinds in the evening, turn the key in the apartment door and leave with every confidence that my friend will return to relieve me of these duties I would hardly assume for just anyone.

This is not so much a book as it is a poem; one poem. A New Year’s Greeting from Kamini Press, the press which has some classic material that I have highly reviewed in the past. Kamini Press produces only things of beauty.

The Poem “Friendship” is by the legendary Tom Kryss. Kryss, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio is also the author of a selected collection of his poems and art titled The Search for the Reason Why which was produced by Bottom Dog press in 2006. He was also an active member of the Mimeograph Revolution with the late d.a. levy, and who, along with poets rjs, Kent Taylor, D.R. Wagner, and Geoff Cook, produced some of the finest poetry to come out of the mid to late sixties. But it was Tom Kryss who always had his finger on the pulse of what poetry was. This little poem “Friendship” is simply a wonderful example of the poet, his voice, his vision. If you can manage to secure a copy from Kamini press, I would do so as soon as possible. Nuff Said. Get off your ass now and find it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Journal of Experimental Fiction, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Journal of Experimental Fiction
Hugh Moore by Eckhard Gerdes

197 pgs
ISBN: 978-0-9846-0-3763

A carny barker on the dais attracts a few people with his cries. “Here! Come here, sir. Step right up and try this amazing formula, this fantastic elixir! It’s guaranteed to cure what ails you. You can brush your teeth with it, shine your shoes with it, wax your car with it. It’ll remove the tarnish from your silverware. It’ll lead the old to the fountain of youth, it’ll give wisdom to the young. It’ll cure quarrels between lovers and introduce new lovers to each other.

“You, sir! You, madam! Look at each other. Get to know one another. See? This elixir has already made you friends. And you haven’t even tasted it yet.”

Use it only in well ventilated areas and avoid prolonged usage. Administer carefully. If no change in condition after ten days, consult your physician.

Hugh Moore is a very cool and tightly written 197 page novel that makes me wonder “What the hell is going on with this publishing house? What the hell is going on over there at the Journal of Experimental Fiction?” Not only are they cutting edge, but they are turning out some of the best collections of literature I have been exposed to in the past year. I have nothing but high praise for this publisher and its authors.

Hugh Moore by Eckhard Gerdes is, if anything, a fantastic example of this publisher’s output. It’s kind of strange to talk about an author’s work as if you know the author when you’ve never met them, and you really only know them through the work they’ve produced. It’s like being in a long conversation on Morse Code at the Core of somebody else’s heart which is telepathically in communication with your soul. The author Eckhard Gerdes reminds me so much of anti novels of the legendary Kenneth Patchen. This is frightening because this critic a hardcore believer that Kenneth Patchen is hands down one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century. No, I take that back: I am sure of it, and I’m still sure of it. But this is just too close a call. To have Eckhard Gerdes book just mysteriously appear in the mail with the other publications from the Journal of Experimental Fiction is just too damn uncanny. Can I recommend this? Hey, if you can locate the man’s work. Just buy it.

Available on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Sculpture of Gypsy Dave Mills and his autobiography, KNIGHTS OF THE ROAD, the Advenures of Gypsy Dave and Donovan

Gypsy Dave came to sculpture through the very talented and famous English Sculptor David Wynne OBE , who gave him personal tuition and a hand in casting his very early sculptures (1968-1971).

Gypsy Dave was involved in the music business with his dear friend Donovan , from 1963 - 1971. He had songs recorded by various artists and his song "Tangier" was used extensively in the famous film "Castaway," starring Oliver Reed and Amanda Donohoe.

It was through his interest in music that he discovered the importance and power of creativity on the world, a knowledge which he transferred and transubstantiated into his sculptures.

His form are light and ethereal, but deep with meaning, just like the musical notes. With his art he has captured the fluidity of the Aegean sea and atmosphere and has embedded it into his works.

He had works in the early 70's in Gordons Gallery, Wimbledon; The Fulham Gallery, Fulham Rd.; Doves Gallery, Norwich; The Welsh House Gallery, N. Wales.

Gypsy Dave also has works in private collection in England, America, Germany, Wales and now in Paros.

He came to Paros in 1979 to sculpt, but instead he wrote a children's book, entitled "Sandy Lea", for which Rita Schmeiser painted the illustrations.

They found an old fallen down farm house together and spent twelve beautiful years in Paros restoring it.

Finally, in 1997 Gyp got down to his sculpture again, when he threw himself into carving marble: "A totally different kettle of fish from modelling in clay; I think I am just beginning to get the hang of it", he says.

Gypsy Dave, in his private works, is taking the hard and painful route through marble to create bronze pieces: "You arrive at places that wet clay modelling would never take you", he says.

He has sculptures in private collections on Paros, the most revered of which is titled: "Cycladic Sphere", made from Naxos marble and owned by the well known and esteemed Surgeon, John Polyzoides. This work is nearly 90 cm across and carved from one block.

Gypsy Dave also takes on public commissions.

"It is very satisfying to get sculptures back on the streets where it was originally intended to be; this is the beauty of bronze, it can be shared with the world through a limited edition", is his comment.

Gypsy Dave takes on commissions in Marble or Bronze for, as he says: "The joy of the learning process that other people's dreams have on my work."

If you wish to learn about Gypsy Dave's earlier adventures as a 'wild young man' you can read about his exploits in his friend Donovan's autobiography, "The Hurdy Gurdy Man," published in paperback in May 2006, by Arrow Books.

Gypsy Dave now spends most of his time in Thailand with his beautiful wife Punnee, whom he married in March 2006, where he developed his School of Sculpture, which is now open.


The Affinity Bridge: A Newbury and Hobbes Investigation by George Mann, reviewed by BL Kennedy

The Affinity Bridge: A Newbury &Hobbes Investigation

George Mann

Tor Books

New York, NY


334 pgs

ISBN: 978-0-7653-2322-4

The room was full of ghosts.

Or so Felicity Johnson would have had him believe. Sir Maurice Newbury, weary from a day spent scouring the dusty stacks of the British Library, drummed his fingers on the table with a quiet impatience. The dinner party was not working out at all as he’d anticipated.

I have a friend, a short story writer and poet named Charlene Ungstead, who is all hung up on this thing called Steampunk. Well, she’s explained it to me over a hundred times. She’s explained it to me with clarity and a voice of excitement. I couldn’t get it. Hey, first off, what? I’m an old fart punk from the Lower East side of New York by way of the Bronx. Yeah, I’ve had my share of innovative music, experimental films, porn and Sherlock Holmes. And to add to all of that, I learnt how to read because of comic books.

My friend, the poet who was explaining Steampunk to me left me constantly thinking of the work of Alan Moore and his classic graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. So now, what happens? By way of tripping over my own shoelaces at Barnes& Noble, I bend over and come face to face with the author George Mann in a book called The Affinity Bridge: A Newbury and Hobbes Investigation. I see the pleasant soft green of the cover with what appears to be an odd landscape of the city of London and a huge dirigible sailing over that city.

And I get HOOKED. All of a sudden, it makes SENSE. My friend Charlene Ungstead, her definition of Steampunk was RIGHT. It become a charged illumination that rattles my mind, an engagement of melodrama because of a loose shoelace. I love The Affinity Bridge. George Mann is a writer that (how do I wanna say it?) welcome you to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, but does it with the foresight and journalistic style programmed into my mind by A Clockwork Orange.

You’re probably trying to guess what I’m saying here. Well, the word is AWESOME. The affinity bridge shines. It shines with it own primitive life support system. It is unflappable and glowing. Think of a zombie plague ravaging its way through the capitol of California. George Mann is at that forefront of a new generation, and that generation is that plague. The Affinity Bridge is a massively entertaining manifestation of the Steampunk movement, a perfectly crafted example of science fiction, adventure, and mystery. So, if you want something new where there is never a boring passage, forget your budget and buy this book.

Available on Amazon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Relax with Two Donovan Songs Recorded Over 40 Years Apart!

The legendary folk-rockpop troubadour Donovan began his career as an itinerant folk musician, creating acoustic hits in 1965 with the gentle Catch The Wind and Colours and his version of Buffy Sainte Marie’s protest anthem Universal Soldier before transforming the pop music landscape with a series of enigmatic and wondrous pop masterpieces that continue to be played on radio and television. And throughout his long career of 45 years, Donovan has always been supported by his music publisher, peermusic.

From 1966 through 1969, Donovan scored a string of eleven Top 40 hits in a row, including Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman, Epistle To Dippy, There Is A Mountain, Wear Your Love Like Heaven, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jennifer Juniper, Lalena, Atlantis, and Riki Tiki Tavi.

Donovan was one of the few artists to collaborate on songs with the Beatles, contributing lyrics and vocals to the song Yellow Submarine. Donovan was also invited by The Beatles to join them at Abbey Road Studios for the final orchestral overdub session for the Lennon-McCartney collaboration A Day in the Life, the grand finale of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Donovan influenced Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison in their guitar styles, and during his career played with folk music greats Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, as well as rock musicians Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

In the past five years, Dr. Donovan Leitch has completed the successful album Beat Café; a new box set, Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan; and a book, The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man (Arrow Books). Dr. Donovan Leitch also fulfilled his 40-year interest in Transcendental Meditation by heading up the musical wing of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.

In 2010 Donovan was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The House of Mystical K.: https://www.youtube.com/user/MysticalHouse

I am a seeker. I hope you are a seeker too. As I enter what is likely to be the final quarter of my life I have many spiritual questions. In that quest, I have finally reached the obvious conclusion, there are far more questions than there will ever be answers. As my teacher, Joseph Campbell says it: Life is without meaning. "You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning."

Whatever answers I do find have a transitory quality to them. Each conclusion only addresses part of the inquiry. So, I find, we are each one of the blind men trying to describe the elephant. We bring to the discussion our own perspective and experiences. This site is a place where you can share your own answers and join in the quest.

The name Mystical K is a pet name given to me by the lovely, Belinda Subraman, my beautiful Magical B. She is an experienced hand at creating these portals into the organic World Wide Internet. She has created this site for us to place a face on our physical and spiritual wanderings. The hope is that you will join us in the discussion. Bring us your answers, add to the discussion. There is no ultimate truth, just hope for a wider perspective. So, please add your comments, ask your questions and hopefully together we will find some solace.

As we add videos, blogs, poems, podcasts and the like to the House of Mystical K. we hope you will return to see our newest offerings. Do not be fooled by the apparent certainty often expressed in the discussion. I am an attorney and have been taught to "Speak with Authority" as if, the words are pearls of wisdom handed to me by the Gods themselves. For I, like you, know I can only add part to the story, the greater glory, the quest for peace, happiness and fulfillment.

Challenge us, we want your input, your truth, your insight, your contribution to the quest.

In closing, I add only another quotation, from the insightful Joseph Campbell: "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nude Poetry Garage Sale by Peter Magliocco, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Nude Poetry Garage Sale
Peter Magliocco
Virgogray Press
Austin, TX
30 pgs

The death of words

Words left lies of lint
In pockets of petty thieves
Purloining the parade lyrics.
Effigies of rhyme parted before it
With a flotilla of winter pentameters.
Riflemen shot odes from poetry trees
While generals saluted
Dying figures of speech.

Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he is an editor of the lit-zine Art..Mag, and has been for some twenty five or so years. His poetry and fiction have appeared in such places, both online and in print, as Thunder Sandwich, Unlikely Stories, Gold Dust, and Literary House Review, and elsewhere.

And I have to admit, his new collection Nude Poetry Garage Sale is a surprisingly tight and well written 30 page chapbook that I absolutely could not put down. The poems here range from such titles as “Mantra for the Pornstar Operator” to “The Light Falling Across a Synagogue Window in Munich”, to the classic “Making Love to Jane Fonda in your Mind”. I simply love Mr. Magliocco’s narrative approach to poetry. This book is such a treat that I could not put it down, and I am going to highly recommend that you search it out and procure a copy for your own personal relationships. Peter Magliocco is a talented and insightful writer of poetry, and his work will absolutely seduce you. So if you have the opportunity to locate a copy of Nude Poetry Garage Sale, I would suggest you do it immediately. Just one last thing to say, and that is a deep heartfelt thank you to the poet.

Order from the Publisher.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain,edited by Harriet Elinor Smith,reviewed by BL Kennedy

Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume I
Samuel Clemens
Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith
University of California Press
Berkley, CA
736 pgs, $35.00

Well, I guess you all know the story about the Autobiography of Mark Twain, which the University of California has planned as a three volume set. Ya’ll that Twain gave explicit instructions just prior to his death that this particular autobiography should be published one hundred years after that said death. And ya’ll know that the bright folks at the Bancroft at the University of California at Berkley published Volume I of said autobiography, but some wise person in that organization speculated that today, in the year 2011, NOBODY was going to read Mark Twain. And much to their surprise, this said Autobiography Volume 1 is currently celebrating its seventeenth week on the New York Times Bestseller List. So I have to ask; WHO was the brain behind the decision to assume that NOBODY in 2011 would be interested in reading the autobiography of the single American author who single-handedly conceived what we consider true literature in this country? I simply do not know, but it is a funny story. I hope the people in Berkley have a sense of humor.

Anyways, in Mark Twain’s words “I’ve struck it! I will give it away to you! You’ll never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography.” I have to admit, and I am somewhat prejudice here that if there has been any book that I have been waiting to see published since its announcement in October of 2009 it has been Volume of the Autobiography of Mark Twain. Now mind you, I just made a big mistake, because there is THE in the Autobiography of Mark Twain.

This handsome volume is edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and other editors of the Mark Twain project. Now, the Mark Twain project started work on these final three volumes back in 1967. That’s forty plus years to try and get something right. How many people have taken their doctorates from the University of California at Berkley over the last forty years, only to assume that in 2011 NOBODY would be interest in goddamn reading Mark Twain!

Anyways, this is a very handsome volume, and it goes without saying you NEED to buy it. Considering that the book is seven hundred some odd pages long, only available in hardcover, I think it’s a steal at $34.95. For those of you who love Mark Twain or love American Literature at its finest, this is a must have for the library of any so called intelligent person. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading this wonderful text which is basically Mark Twain imitating Samuel Clemens, who travels through space to become Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and ends up as Lenny Bruce. This is a fine collection and I only have one secret wish, and that is that the folks at the Bancroft Library who are currently in charge of the Mark Twain Project at the University of California at Berkeley have the sense not to screw up Volumes 2 and 3. Buy this book. I promise you, not only will it be a wise investment for the soul, but it’ll be something that you will simply enjoy having in your library and returning to year after year. Hands down, kids. I shit you not. This is American Literature at its BEST. Buy it now!

Homage to Derroll Adams

Adams was born Derroll Lewis Thompson in Portland, Oregon. At 16, he served in the Army and later in the Coast Guard. He was a tall, lanky banjo player with a deep voice. He was busking around the West Coast music scene in the 1950s when he met Ramblin' Jack Elliott in the Topanga Canyon area of Los Angeles, California. The two traveled around and recorded albums, among them Cowboys and The Rambling Boys.

According to legend, Adams and Elliott would go in the studio with whatever they had, which may have included whiskey and marijuana, and they recorded whatever they felt like recording on the spur of the moment. This style of recording was probably more prevalent in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s—the result is that the recording is loose around the edges but preserves some of the spontaneity and vigor of a live performance. It is a performative, rather than a compositional, style (see Paul Williams's Bob Dylan: Performing Artist series, particularly vol. 1, for a more in-depth discussion of the tension between the performative and the compositional).

His recording career was somewhat uneven, and like Elliott he was better known for whom he influenced—Donovan, among others—than for his own art. With Elliott, he had gone to England to play live and record. Elliott went back, and Adams stayed. He took Donovan, who had been playing around the UK with Gypsy Dave, under his wing as a sort of protege; as a result, the influence of American traditional music can be distinctly heard in Donovan's earlier work (see D. A. Pennebaker's Dont Look Back).

Adams died in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2000. His collaboration with Elliott left behind a body of influence that prevails today. Topic Records has made most of his and Elliott's recordings available on CD.

"Bonging Along" with Musician/Songwriter, Joe Kingston

Joe sings and plays bass on the Pride of America (Norwegian Cruiselines) and also other Norwegian Cruise ships such as the Pride of Hawaii, Norwegian Star, and before that he performed on the American Hawaii Cruiselines on the SS Constitution, SS Independence, MS Patriot. Joe also works as a soloist or in various combos in Waikiki, playing guitar, ukulele, bass. Joe's last three albums, On the Swing Shift, World that Swings, Songs for Trixie are available at CDBaby.com

USA's First Glimpse of South African Musicians's Lloyd and Bruno

Lloyd and Bruno started by chance, a simple coming together that has transformed into an amazing two man acoustic show combining the vocals and guitar playing of two front men, Lloyd (Changing Face) & Bruno (Spritz Boulevard).

Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Parys, Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging are just some of the places which they frequent… With a tour already planned for Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Port Elizabeth and East London to name but a few, it’s easy to see why these two might just have found the sound SA is looking for…

“Loaded Gun” their first single together has received overwhelming response and has already been play listed by a number of radio stations nation-wide..

These guys not only offer music but their interaction with their audience has been one factor that has kept the most popular hang outs in Gauteng asking for them to become regular performers at all the venues they have already performed at.

Poem for Nurse Appreciation Week, May 6- May 12

A nurse is a healthcare professional who, in collaboration with other members of a health care team, is responsible for: treatment, safety, and recovery of acutely or chronically ill individuals; health promotion and maintenance within families, communities and populations; and, treatment of life-threatening emergencies in a wide range of health care settings. Nurses perform a wide range of clinical and non-clinical functions necessary to the delivery of health care, and may also be involved in medical and nursing research. Nurses have been working in the professional field since ancient times. Both nursing roles and education were first defined by Florence Nightingale, following her experiences caring for the wounded in the Crimean War. Prior to this, nursing was thought to be a trade with few common practices or documented standards. Nightingale's concepts were used as a guide for establishing nursing schools at the beginning of the twentieth century, which were mostly hospital-based training programs emphasizing the development of a set of clinical skills.

In a Nurse's Life

Age makes destruction of minds--
stubborn machines.
Word salad is served with weather,
hooks to passing signals in the stratosphere.

L., in her 90s, leopard skin top,
no bottoms, one over the knee valentine's sock,
speaks sunshine and storm in the same breath.
She is looking for Ohio in Texas
not knowing what state she's in
or room.

T., is stalked by the devil,
paces the hall in fear,
wants to explain but can't.
A fist forms as his eyes cry out,
"Get me out of here!"

S., shouts obscenities,
demands his dead wife help him,
rises and falls from his wheelchair,
is caught before he is floored by reality
and physical pain.

Nurses hold hands with despair,
serve gentleness with sedation,
talk to the lights within.
Storms blow over, devils disappear.
Mother is waiting in the next room
to tuck them in.
A smile emerges through the clouds.
Compassion is the language
always understood.

Belinda Subraman

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ratboy, Etc. by Michael Hathaway, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Ratboy, Etc.

Michael Hathaway
Chiron Review
St John, Kansas
ISBN: 0-943795-80-X

Karen Carpenter

Innocent and groovy,
she sang better than
God’s angels,
better than Pat Benatar
even better than Madonna.

Her sweet smile healed scars,
her voice filled a void,
gently shooed away
every loss and sadness.
She coaxed lost children
back from darkness.

She smiled hope into the future,
sang love into bitter hearts,
new life into bewildered teenage souls.

Each poem in this book seems to exist for the sole purpose of reflecting the totality of the human experience. In my opinion, this is Michael Hathaway’s classic. This is his “take no prisoners and never trim the corners of life” book. I think that is Hathaway’s power, his part imagination, part sentiment, his contemplation, his technique of presenting bitter truth with painful honesty. Ratboy, Etc. is a handsome 62 page collection of poetry that just crawls under the skin and examines life with a scientific eye. Hathaway is a no-shit-talkin poet, a painter, if you will, of individuals. He celebrates life and loves with a largeness of painful honesty. What can I say about a poet whose work I have just been introduced to, a poet to skinny dip in tar pits of the mind? These are poems that remind you of those long evenings when you just sat down with a group of friends, shooting the shit over some wine, beers, maybe a little bit of reefer, kicking around such questions as “Is Blake more important than Shelley?” or “What was Jim Morrison trying to say, other than open that eye a little?” Anyways, lets make this review a little bit shorter here. I love the poetry of Michael Hathaway. If you have any class or any love for poetry whatsoever, you WILL buy this book and everything he has written. I mean, to quote the poet “What would gramma think” if you didn’t purchase this work?

Available from the publisher and from Amazon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WATCHING THE WINDOWS SLEEP by Tantra Bensko, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Watching the Windows Sleep
Tantra Bensko
51 pgs

The Wind Leaves

Out of a hundred impossible
Movements, a mosaic of shadows
Forms, vibrating
Out of illusion and into
An answer, a garden
Design to ornament benches
We sit on
To repress time.
The mosaic expands,
Nothing stands out
As a separate illusion:
The bench we sit on
Is in every flower
With the whole.

Scene inside.

I was so surprised when I got a copy of Watching the Windows Sleep in the mail by Tantra Bensko; surprised not simply because of the quality of the writing, but because of the fluid innovative sense of language that Tantra Bensko displays. This small chapbook of 51 pages is hands down one of the best collections of short prose that I have had the opportunity to encounter in the past year. Bensko is an award winning poet and writer whose work has appeared in the Iowa Journal of Literary Studies, Fiction International, the Journal of Experimental Fiction, and numerous other journals. She has been nominated for the Pushcart and she teaches experimental fiction writing through colleges online. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa writers program.

Watching the Windows Sleep is sure to seduce the reader in its lyrical, whimsical surrealism. Here is a book by a young writer that I think can stand as an example for many other writers. So if you have the chance to hunt down a copy of Watching the Windows Sleep by Tantra Bensko, I would do so as soon as possible. This little book is just an absolute treat, and will leave many a reader asking for more of this author’s fabulous voice.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae presented by Patrick Connors

"In Flanders Fields" is probably the most important poem ever written by a Canadian. John McCrae really captured the focus of the war with his vivid imagery and powerful narrative. Also, that war, while it could be a time of great bravery and national pride, could also be seen as something less glorious.

The poppy has become a symbol of embracing peace while respecting those who gave their lives for us to keep that peace. On November 11, we celebrate Remembrance Day here in Canada. This past Monday, April 25, they had a similar celebration called Anzac Day in New Zealand, where the poppy is also commemorated. I learned this from making great friends in New Zealand who have been promoting my own poetry.

The line starter, "If ye break faith" means so much to me as a Christian man who has had his faith tested greatly in recent years; although this has made me a better person.

The phrase, "To you from failing hands we throw/The torch" is posted in the home dressing room of the Montreal Canadians, the most successful team in NHL history. A torch-lighting ceremony marks the beginning of many Canadians home games, especially during the playoffs.

Furthermore, a few of my lifelong friends attended John McCrae's namesake senior public school in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, and we played baseball, burbie - suburban baseball designed for teams of two or three - and ball hockey there into our twenties. Sadly, the school is marked for demolition.

So, John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" has many layers of meaning for me!

Patrick Connors

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below...

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields...

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields...

Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae (November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918) was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres. He is best known for writing the famous war memorial poem "In Flanders Fields".

Patrick Connors is the arts and mental health writer for newz4u.net, an online news service out of Toronto. He has had his poetry published in The Toronto Quarterly, Word Salad Poetry Magazine, and, most recently, in Poet Plant Press. He was shortlisted for the 2010 Scarborough Writers Month award, and has had several of his poems featured on Phantom Billstickers, a New Zealand site.

Dog: Music Played, Spoken Word Hydropods, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Dog: Music Played, Spoken Word
Hydropods (Gary Glover and John Dooley)
CD, DVD& Booklet
Junction City, Oregon
ISBN: 978-0-982-1214-5-0

About two weeks ago, at Joe Montoya’s Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café in Sacramento California, history was made, for that night, the Fourth Thursday of February, the Hydropods released their new CD, DVD and Booklet, a package entitled Dog. Now, I was too ill to attend this show, but have it on fine authority from such luminaries as Robert Grossklaus, Genelle Chaconas, and Crawdad Nelson (who preformed with the Hydropods at the close of the night), that the performance was nothing short of legendary.

Simply put, the Hydropods are hands down one of the best examples of performance poetry on the Northwest coast. Now, yeah, I know what you’re saying, I know what you’re thinking. “Who the fuck or what the fuck is a goddamn Hydropod?” I don’t know and I don’t care, but I will tell you this: go online, look under spoken word or whatever the hell you do in your neck of the woods and secure a copy of Dog. At just $15.00, this CD, DVD, and booklet including a graphic novel is a complete steal. Trust me, you will not go wrong, and you will support a well loved poetry combo that is unique on the scene. On top of it all, you’ll just have a goddamn tapping into it. So if you want something new, something different, something that will dance rings around your liver, check it out.

"Men at Forty" by Donald Justice presented by Tad Richards

Donald Justice was one of two great teachers I was fortunate to have. I read this poem when I was twenty, when I was 40, and now, much, much later, and it has never failed to move me. It's because of Donald Justice and Donald Finkel that I've devoted so much of my life to the writing and teaching of poetry.

Men at Forty

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
The rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

Interview with Tad Richards

PETER by Peter Daniels presented by Edward Mycue

I first came across Peter Daniels poetry in 1985 when visiting London at a reading for the OSCARS press anthology at a gay bar in Islington. He was the Quaker Librarian at the University of London then. Later became director of Friends' publications worldwide. He is probably 50 years old by now. I got to know him and he sent me this recent chapbook MR LUCZINSKI MAKES A MOVE. Peter Daniels is just emerging to recognition winning the TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT competition 2010.

The poem "Peter" deliciously insouciantly has Jesus address Peter in a bantering manner.
I have had other favorite poems, but this is my current one. Edward Mycue


Oh Peter, you're so in denial, says Jesus,
and you with the keys to the kingdom
clipped to your belt. Why are you up
at cockcrow wandering the streets like a dog
when you are the street, the stones,
the slabs of graveyard, the actual rock
here in orbit? What are you waiting for,
what would you hope to gain if it all went away?

Peter Daniels

In the Face of Indigo by Chrissy Davis, reviewed by BL Kennedy

In the Face of Indigo
Chrissy Davis
ISBN: 0-97774126-9-5
155 pgs

In the Nude

“Why do you write about such things?” He asked
“Because I want you to know what I look like without
make-up.” I replied.

Chrissy Davis is a bold and challenging writer, whose work I happened to encounter strictly by accident. Her second book In the Face of Indigo, chronicles the poets spiritual journey through often dangerous and complex landscapes, but nevertheless, a journey that the reader of her poems will not soon forget.

Davis is a lyrical and bittersweet writer of melancholia who often voices her feelings under a smiling if not sophomoric politeness. She touches her readers in that way that makes one feel that a sunset had bled into an open wound. I have had the opportunity to spend many hours in conversation with this young writer. Although I have some reservations about her undying need to include everything that she has written in one manuscript instead of carefully selecting, editing and incorporating the more finished poems into a smaller volume, I must admit that In the Face of Indigo stands all by itself.

Davis, who is an author of a previous volume of poetry, titled Raven’s Brew, is, to my understanding, hard at work on a third collection. I feel that Chrissy Davis is a talent that is just starting to mature, and is not afraid to take chances. So if you have a chance to purchase In the Face of Indigo, I would suggest you do so, because here is a young voice that is demanding to be heard.

Available on Amazon.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Music" by Frank O'Hara, presented by Joe Somoza

"Music" by New York poet Frank O'Hara has been a favorite for years. It
combines actual scenes from mid-town New York with O'Hara's melancholic
feelings in the fall when things in the city begin to shut down. And he
presents this in a mixed tone both magical and ironic, lavish and
irreverant, using phrasing that is both commonplace and theatrical,
including all kinds of details that surprise the reader, sometimes making
him laugh, and add to the overall richly emotional yet self-mocking sense
of the speaker.

O'Hara, together with John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Barbare Guest, James
Schuyler, and others made up the "New York School" of poetry, one of the
"movements" following the 2nd World War that helped to open up American
poetry to all kinds of new possibilities.

--Joe Somoza


If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf's
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35¢, it's so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
I must tighten my belt.
It's like a locomotive on the march, the season
of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter's
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they're putting, up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
But no more fountains and no more rain,
and the stores stay open terribly late.

Vagabond Anthology,edited by John Bennett, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Vagabond Anthology
Edited by John Bennett
Ellensburg, WA
ISBN: 0-912824-20-4
267 pgs

End of Summer: Sierra Foothills
Art Beck

It’s just another indication
of how numb you’ve become.
To ask yourself that question.
To seriously
sip your wine and wonder: what do
the animals think is their work?

There are poetry anthologies, and there POETRY anthologies. Some are good, some are great. Most of them fail. And very rarely does one slide into my hands that I would call ‘classic’.

This is the case of Vagabond Anthology: 1966-1977. This anthology is edited with love and understanding by none other than John Bennett, editor and publisher of Vagabond Press.

I cannot tell you how much I love this anthology. I guess primarily it’s because it addresses an era of American literature and a group of poets that you don’t always run into. Oh yeah, we’ve all heard of and read Charles Bukowski, and maybe, the more astute reader of poetry has come across the writings of Jack Micheline or d.a. levy. And probably the connoisseur of the small press has encountered Ann Menebroker, William Wantling, or Hugh Fox. But when’s the last time you’ve encountered the works of Kurt Johnson or Peter Nicoletta, or Kell Robertson, or, better sill, Vivian Yudkin? You probably have not read these writers at all. But that’s okay, because up until this anthology came into my hands, I was only familiar with half the authors included in it.

This is just a wonderful collection, and one that should be in the library of any lover of poetry. Here you’ll encounter rare poems by Art Beck, Gerda Penfold, Eric Cheat, Al Masarik, and, of course, the legendary John Bennett.

The Vagabond Anthology is one of those books that my young student Genelle Chaconas is dying to have, and for no small reasons, have it added to her personal library. Now, you’re not gonna find this book at Borders or Barnes and Noble. If you go searching for it online, you probably gonna pay some absurd rare book dealer’s price. What I would suggest is to contact John Bennett and order it straight from the man himself, because in the words of Richard Hugo: “The very nature of poetry is making certain it goes on.” So get off your ass and order a copy of Vagabond Anthology. You can contact John Bennett at:

P.O Box 879
Ellensburg, WA, 98926

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