Monday, December 10, 2012
Song of San Francisco: Ten Poems by Ed Mycue, reviewed by BL Kennedy
Song of San Francisco: Ten Poems
A day comes, wind rises, shoots drift up
by the pull of the periphery, from the desk’s edge
to announce new names to the leather old of family.
Names like Katie, Zen, Johann, Ulley were gifts
of what now will be known as an older generation.
Into a new century comes many new heartbreaks,
and when rains come, sensing I too now almost as/we
are ready will nod yes to a rose sunset.
First off, I believe that Ed Mycue is one of the best living poets in San Francisco. He lives, eats, and breathes San Francisco. So its only natural that this small collection of ten poems is titled Song of San Francisco. Mycue’s poetry moves around your psyche and leaves that rare flavor or a good red wine.
I love this small chapbook for several reasons. One, it has a beautiful layout. Almost a classic homage to sixties small press literature. Second, I love the poems. Third, the book itself as a whole held me in a near hypnotic state the whole time I read it. I got lost in these poems. But in a good way. It was like swimming through an endless ocean of well-crafted words.
EDWARD MYCUE (LITERARY BIOGRAPHY) 1/III/2011
Born Niagara Falls, New York, raised in Dallas, Texas. Earned a magna cum laude BA from North Texas State. Teaching Fellow at NTS, Lowell Fellow at Boston University, Intern at WGBH-TV Boston, Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Peace Corps Volunteer teaching in Ghana. Upon return to the US entered a period of intense Civil Rights (SCLC, URBAN LEAGUE, NAACP, naming a few from those days) activities & immersion in the counterculture & working for six years for the Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare in the 5-state Dallas southwest region office, then Washington, DC.
In late-sixties in Europe, worked in shipyards and warehouses in the Netherlands, harvested grapes and vegetables in southwest France, and delivered washing machines in West Berlin. Also tutored American writers in Elsinore, Denmark and immersed himself in London’s poetry ferment, and on June 1, 1970 moved to San Francisco. Joined the Gay Liberation Movement. Began working for Margrit Roma and Clarence Ricklefs’ The New Shakespeare Company-San Francisco.
Met painter Richard Steger on Memorial Day in 1971. Both joined literary/ artistic conversations in English and in translation, publishing poems in the explosion of small-circulation literary magazines and presses that provided the ground for a literary life. Ed was drawn by George Oppen into a writers’ group that met first in Lawrence and Justine Fixel’s living room that evolved into in Ed’s living room with poets Lennart Bruce, Laura Ulewicz, Jack Gilbert, Shirley Kaufman, Ray Carver, Josephine Miles, Nanos Valaoritis, Mort Marcus, William Dickey, Frances Mayes, Honor & Wayne Johnson, William Talcott, Adrianne Marcus, Jim & Eleanor Watson-Gove, Elizabeth Hurst, Jules Mann, Helen Sventitsky, Andrea Rubin, Carl Weiner, Sybil Wood, Marsha Campbell--and more now--over the last 41 years. First as a partner with Lawrence Fixel in founder/ proprietor/ publisher Dennis Koran’s Panjandrum Press, and later with his own Norton-Coker Press (with Laura Kennelly’s MRS JUNG book as first of dozens), Ed published with Richard Steger 19 issues of TOOK, a free magazine.
Since 1970, Ed’s published works in addition to poetry, criticism, essays, and stories have appeared in 2000 literary journals, magazines, zines, broadcasts, fliers, broadsides, and broadsheets. Publications (often with artwork by Richard Steger) include DAMAGE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY (Dennis Koran’s Panjandrum Press, San Francisco 1973); HER CHILDREN COMME HOME, TOO, Sceptre Press, England 1974); CHRONICLE (Mother’s Hen Press, San Francisco1974); ROOT ROUTE AND RANGE (Gary Elder’s Holmgangers Press, Alamo, CA 1976); ROOT ROUTE & RANGE THE SONG RETURNS a 88-page poem (Walter Billeter’s Paper Castle, Melbourne, Australia 1979). In the 1980’s: THE SINGING MAN MY FATHER GAVE ME (Anthony Rudolf’s Menard Press, London, England); THE TORN STAR (Larry Oberc’s Opposm Holler Tarot, Indiana), EDWARD (Michael McKinnon’s Primal Press, Boston, MA). NO ONE FOR FREE (SF,CA); GRATE COUNTRY (split chapbk w/Lainie Duro, Chicago); IDOLINO (SF,CA); NEXT YEARS’ WORDS (split chapbk w/Andy Lowry,Chicago); THE SINGING SURGEON (Colorado); 1990’s PINK GARDENS BROWN TREES (Bernard Hemensley’s Stingy Artist/Last Straw Press, Weymouth, England); BECAUSE WE SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE (Paul Green’s Spectacular Diseases Press, Peterborough, England); SPLIT, chapbook w/Jim Watson-Gove, Mycue’s half titled LIFE IS BUILT FROM THE INSIDE OUT. 2000 came NIGHTBOATS (Jim Watson-Gove’s Minotaur Editions, Oakland, CA ). Then, 2008, MINDWALKING: NEW & SELECTED POEMS 1937-2007 (Laura Beausoliel’s Philos Press, Lacey, WA ).
September 2009, Jo-Anne Rosen’s Wordrunner Press of Petaluma, California issued online, Edward Mycue’s first Echapbook http://www.echapbook.com of 25 selected poems, I AM A FACT NOT A FICTION.
A television program featuring Edward Mycue is on the internet at http://mysticbabylon.podomatic.com/entry/2009-05-25T15_15_33-07_00 and http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/san-francisco-open-mike-poetry/id273761100