Monday, December 21, 2009


JIM MCCRARY Presents Mini-Reviews of

House Organ Summer 2009 –Number 67 edited by Kenneth Warren

Rugh Stuff by Steve Tills

Hyperglossia by Stacy Szymaszek

Some Speculations Around George Oppen’s Parousia by Rob Halpern

Well Meaning White Girl by Alli Warren

Sprung Formal Literary Magazine

Get the Fuck Back into that Burning Plane by Lawrence Giffin

My day walking from Mt. Tabor to the zoo and My day by James Yeary and illustrated by Nate Orton

House Organ Summer 2009 –Number 67. Edited by Kenneth Warren
(SP, 1250 Belle Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107, 2009)

Number 67! Congrats to Warren for reaching that number of issues. What could be simpler than HO. The new issue is 6 sheets of 8x11 white copy paper folded vertically and stapled which makes for 24 pages of poetry and essays which is usually what the issue contains. Put in USPS mail box with a stamp. That the beauty of it for me. Oh wait, the writing too. This time (as always) something to turn ones mind a bit…to see in print after a very long time two of the first poets I encountered in the mimeo mag world of mid 1960’s. Richard Grossinger who published a mag called IO among other writings from somewhere up in northeast woods. Always on edge of what made that time interesting in the conscious expanisism of poetics in print…and here in this House Organ…a title for the times 2013: Raising the Earth to the next Vibration (after 2012, Richard?). And further down the contributors list is Sotere Torregian…one of the great known/unknown poets of my life span first noticed by me, I think, in maybe a D. A. Levy mag or not, in mid 60’s too. Well good to see them along with Stephen Ellis, Clayton Eshlieman, Harrison Fisher, BrianRichards, Peter Lamborn Wilson, A D Winans and Dale Smith. A grouping of contemporary writers that would not come up many places. The essays by Grossinger and Smith (writing about Walter Benjamin are deeply intellectual and provoking. The poems/texts of the other contributors resonate as with few collections around today. Send Warren money.

Rugh Stuff by Steve Tills
(theenk Books, Canandaiga, NY, 2003-2009)

79 pages and for a golfer like Tills can that be just so. Well, if you wonder and you should and I did throughout this book that the puns and meanings are flying all over the course and in and out of a lot of so called ‘traps’ manmade or not. It is the unspoken rule of poetics, golf, roommates, drinking buddies, and whatever else makes up the heartless brotherhood formed by fellows who go on with this notion of textual nonsense. And then to put down the golf club and knock about on a keyboard for what comes as in:
“Look Pards! There’s more to the cup/than a half mast coiled/So Master This!/ ya cheatin bastard: 16 irons in the Erie Canal/and your Bag-old caddy/on a course of his own.”

Tills is one of the funniest poets alive today….and there are a lot of funny poets around….that is a good thing. To write the perfect mix of golf, poetry, textual swing and not once give up and walk away is a great accomplishment.

Hyperglossia by Stacy Szymaszek
(Litmus Press, POB 25526, Brooklyn, NY 11202)

I listened one nite in a basement art gallery in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, to Ms. Szymaszek read for some time. It was a great pleasure to my mind. But it wasn’t until a few weeks later that I held this book in hand and was able to see the words spoken earlier. So I was able to read and see the page before me and before I read any of the back cover blurbs. I simply read this book from front to back. There I said it. The next day I read the back cover and had no idea what some few of the words meant but that is something that doesn’t matter just now at all. No offense for sure. Here is what I found in on the pages of this book(whose title I still have not puzzled out)…ten thousand words(?) that took me up and flung me against my own brain and as I slide down the inside of my skull it was Stacy who caught me in her henna hands. She is a beautiful person, you can tell from the words and she is gonna, as the girls along the bank of the Nile (in the BC) used to say KICK SOME POETIC ASS!!! Why the Nile and why before Christ….oh just because.

Some Speculations Around George Oppen’s Parousia by Rob Halpern

This is a 4x11 inch broadside on card stock. Has an image of two spikes. Printed in gold on grey. Beautiful. I don’t even know where I got it. Maybe when I was in Seattle or Portland. There is no print info, who did it or where or why. It is worth repeating. Here is the poem:
the casual horror of the iron
(By which he must have meant being
Penetrated bysome impenetrable thing
I mean fucked & nailed to wood a beam
Still singing of sky or stone or glass
Anything to name so that by naming
Make that thing appear to overcome
Its own idea or the labor that made it
Look unimaginable a glean so hardened
By time a speech so impure so perfectly
Coinciding with the nail my thing avoids

----yr emptiness impossible to bear

Well Meaning White Girl by Alli Warren
(Mitzvah Chaps, 706 Illinois St, Lawrence, Ks 66044)

(Here publisher Robert Baumann, designer Anne Boyer and writer Alli Warren come together in one of the most thoughtful chapbooks seen in quite a while. The poet supplies a collection which deserves wide reading and at the same time provides text which creates multiple responses….all positive and pleasurable. This quote from early on does provide detail:
“The squad and I ski and swan
Thus a prayer is a sentence
And individuals are predicated
By the eyes and face
By our being holding them
By which I mean I met
Convulsions both moving & impressive…”

To Ms. Warren….thank you and all best for the future you create or desire.

Sprung Formal Literary Magazine
(Kansas City Art Institute, 4415 Warwick Boulevard, KC, MO 64111)

Yes and yes to both journal and institute. There are such things and places here. And one of the perks , besides getting Sammy the Pope Brownback as our next Gov of Kansas, is getting lit mags like Sprung Formal in the mail. This publication must be one of the, if not the best lit journal coming out of any ‘institute’ In these here United States…especially, now without question, these HERE Jesus states aligned geographically with Missouri. Okay, enough of that. Great magazine, even better graphics, even better writing. Oh there are a few ringers who some how got through including Mike Hauser (who I believe attending the Milwaukee County Arts in Restraint Program) and Nada Gordon (who I believe works for the Elsewhere Institute of Visual Arts, Brooklyn) but hey…so what they are both funny, brilliant, good looking and well dressed contemporary poets and deserve any print they can find. I gotta say that there are a lot of contributors to this journal and they are all good writers/vispoets/graphicpoets or whatnot. I wish I could single some out for that ‘special recognition’ we all crave…but that would be unfair to the rest. Maybe you can find some of this mag online at Maybe not. They are a school. They probably can’t afford too much of a fancy online issue. Order by pay pal.

Get the Fuck Back into that Burning Plane by Lawrence Giffin
(Ugly Duckling Presse, 232 Third St, Brooklyn, NY 11215)

“There is nothing to do/For our liberation, except wait in the horror of it.” This quote appears in front of Griffin’s long title poem. It could be a quote from , oh, Kathy Acker, William Burroughs, Joe Conrad or Ed Dorn, or Shannon Compton, or John Ashbery (no, really? It is? I don’t believe it.) The author, Griffin made this shit up and I don’t have time to google Ashbery to see if he is bullshitting me. Does it matter. Fuck no. This is a cheap, 10 dollar chapbook come out of Brooklyn. It’s a long poem by some guy I never heard of. And, you know, it is a good poem. Can I say that without getting bashed? Well long poems are not so common around here and having one handed to you is a treat. This is. Griffin seems to consider a greater culture from which his text comes and that is welcome. Oh it has left margins and quotes and punctuation and names and hidden signals to young people and could probably be re-mixed and become really important…but why bother. I read it through and say now that it is worth finding. And what is more important for me, him, the publisher, all of us is that I will now seek out more from Lawrence Griffin. Hopefully it does exist.

My day walking from Mt. Tabor to the zoo and My day by James Yeary and illustrated by Nate Orton
(both from abandoned bike press in Portland, Or.)

(No more info on chapbooks, look online). Call what these guys that put up in print what they did…day book, journal, notes, scraps, drawings, thoughts, quotes, rants or simply fiction (maybe some of it?). It matters because they took the time to collect these couple of days and make them available to the rest of us. Maybe if more so called poets did some of this it would matter, I don’t know, maybe. Orton’s drawings are priceless, could be on the wall of the fucking Sistine chapel or a dumpster or a mad classroom chalkboard. That good and nail what the street is. Yeary does more than just ‘put it up’. “Trying to decide if a corner’s important…” is a single line and somewhat typical of both chapbook contents. You could do worse to write that line. It carries a lot. These two should do more, maybe they do. Who knows? We’ll see.


One can find Jim McCrary occasionally at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jim!
    & thanks to your host!

    you can find more abandoned bike press materials