All posts by 'robert':

Alice Notley on Animal Shelter in Poets & Writers

The summer issue of Poets & Writers features a great "Literary MagNet" column with Alice Notley, reflecting on some of the places she published in the lead up to her new collection, Certain Magical Acts. In the feature, Notley praises Animal Shelter #4—where six passages from her serial poem "Voices" appear—as "a remarkably beautiful object." Read the whole column, by Dana Isokawa, here.

New from Scary Topiary press: Crystal Marys by Feliz Lucia Molina & Absolute Love by Chris Kraus

Announcing two new titles from Scary Topiary press!

CRYSTAL MARYS by Feliz Lucia Molina

Written from the impassive surface of the Internet and the high desert of Southern California, CRYSTAL MARYS is a field study of social-media fatigue, suburban youth, Filipino immigrancy, a denim day job in LA's garment district, and other sites of crystallized dis/enchantment. Molina traces life's "beautiful unreliable narrative logic" by the devotional images of our times—the Virgin Mary, emoji, family photos, profile pics, etc.

Saddle-stitched binding and silk-screened covers. Art by Emily Pauline Fanny Dart-McLean Harris, Shola Wynne Lawson, and Feliz Lucia Molina. Edition of 129.

ABSOLUTE LOVE by Chris Kraus

A parable of activist youth, mellow courtship, and lost time told with Proustian pathos by our best chronicler of modern relationships and romance.

Saddle-stitched binding and silk-screened covers. Art by Matt Fishbeck. Edition of 212.

☾ $12 each, or both for $20; prices include shipping. ☽

Reading with Robert Glück, Colm Tóibín, and Feliz Lucia Molina Tonight in LA

I'm delighted to be joining Robert Glück, Colm Tóibín, and Feliz Lucia Molina tonight for a reading/release-party to celebrate the publication of Glück's Communal Nude and Molina's Crystal Marys. Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, 7:30 p.m.

Spring Cleaning

Hi! I'm updating this site again (and renewing my vows to post here every once in a while) after a few months of digital neglect.

I've now added a separate page for Supplication, which gathers a wealth of smart reviews -- in Bookforum, American Poets, Jacket2, and elsewhere -- plus archives some audio/video content from recent Wieners readings at City Lights Books, the SFSU Poetry Center, Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room, Poets House, and the St. Mark's Poetry Project.

Last month, I participated in a discussion on New Narrative at the University at Buffalo (see Scholarship). The paper I presented there (on the links, or lack thereof, between John Wieners and New Narrative) will be published in a special volume on New Narrative, forthcoming in 2017 from ON Contemporary Practice.

Last fall, I interviewed Alice Notley for Bomb magazine. As always, Notley spoke beautifully:

It’s a huge job to be a poet. It’s the most essential thing there is. In terms of essence, it’s very essential. Poetry is the species. I would probably emphasize the “is.” All of our perceptual equipment is geared toward seeing us as forms, as compact forms operating on many levels—that’s like a poem. That’s who we are, that’s how we see. That’s what there is, really: there’s poetry. Prose is very, very flat. But we’re not flat. We’re dense and layered.

Finally, exciting new things are coming from Scary Topiary and Free and Natural Poetry. More soon.

The Free & Natural Poetry Faire

I'm terrifically excited for the first ever Free & Natural Poetry Faire in Los Angeles next weekend! Co-organized by Dorothea Lasky, Elizabeth Metzger, Max Ritvo, and myself . . .

The Free & Natural Poetry Faire is a gala of poetry, art, and arcana. It is our belief that poetry itself is by its nature transdisciplinary, and, to that end, the Faire will create a collaborative and unrestrained space where poetry will coexist for two days with many other art and knowledge forms. True to its name, the Free & Natural Poetry Faire is free and open to the public. This will be the first of a series of Free & Natural Poetry events.

The Free & Natural Poetry Faire is being graciously hosted by the gallery Commonwealth & Council, and will occur on Friday and Saturday, November 20th and 21st. For these two days, the Faire will provide a festive exchange for many brilliant people and happenings. Semiotext(e), Penny-Ante Editions, and other LA small presses will be present during the day. Asher Hartman and Stuart Krimko will offer readings psychic and astrological. At nightfall, poetry will ascend, with over twenty-five poets and performers reading over two nights—Cedar Sigo, Micah Ballard, Feliz Lucia Molina, Fred Moten, Kate Durbin, Amber Rose Tamblyn, and many others. Somewhere in the middle, there will be a new one-act play premier by "Tall Paul" Gellman & Friends. Visit the official Free & Natural Poetry Faire site for more details and the full schedule of events!

John Wieners in the New Yorker

Another belated book review notice! In its recent November 2nd issue, Dan Chiasson of the New Yorker had this to say about Supplication:

His many poems about sex, his celebrations of heroin, peyote, and cocaine, and his reverence—in poems that make gritty and real the heart’s imperatives—for an idealized poetry so different from the facts on the ground make Wieners (born a Catholic, and, like many lapsed Catholics, prone to beliefs that fill in the blank) a devotional poet . . . His afterlife exists in the form of these poems, a mental Boston, eerily lit by neon and street lights, through which the rest of us wander.

Read the whole piece here.

John Wieners, “a singular poet,” in the Boston Globe

Here's a little belated notice that the Boston Globe has penned a great review of John Wieners's Supplication and Stars Seen in Person: Selected Journals, in the Sunday Arts section of October, 18.

“Supplication” doesn’t come as a correction of the Black Sparrow “Selected” so much as a refinement. It offers a slimmer stack of poems, yet somehow feels more generous . . . Read alongside the four journals spanning 1955-1969 assembled in “Stars Seen in Person,” the lilting, drifting highs, lows, and noise of his poems come to feel more like carefully distilled concentrates of his grander, wilder project of seeing, saying, and seizing as many moments as he could . . . A hazard of Wieners’s long-held position on the fringe as a cult antihero is that we don’t properly see how central his spirit figures into what American poetry was becoming at mid-century. Even these decades later, Wiener’s poems — so fresh and fluid, lurid, and luminous — still feel too vital to leave behind.

Read the whole review, by Michael Andor Brodeur, here.

Supplication in PW

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners has received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly:

. . . in this marvelous selection [the editors] heed Wieners’s call to “visit this house often, / imbue my life with success, / leave me not alone.” A bridge between the radical content of Allen Ginsberg and the mainstream, Wieners’s writing fuses the plainspoken with the florid: “I wish I was a dancer/ and cd. move/ in feet/ undo my body.” Unapologetically queer and overtly sexual, he worries through the reality of gay life in mid-20th-century America. There is a deep concern with poetry as muse and form, and the poems “burn in the memory of love.” But Wieners also sees the danger in that love . . . With this publication and the recent release of his journals, Wieners’s plea not to be left alone is a step closer to being realized.

A preview from Supplication, the (hitherto uncollected) 1956 poem "Not Complete Enough," also appears in the October issue of Harper's Magazine.

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners (coedited by myself, Joshua Beckman, and CAConrad) is now on presale from Wave Books. The gilded limited-edition hardcover (pictured above), beautifully designed by Jeff Clark, is currently available for a mere $20! The book officially publishes October 6.

Nat Raha has penned an expert review of Supplication for Critical Flame:

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners (Wave Books, 2015) is the first comprehensive volume of Wieners’s poetry to appear for nearly thirty years. Providing a chronological account of the transformations of Wieners’ writing from the mid-to-late 1950s into the 1980s, and restoring a significant amount of material into print, Supplication provides a fresh perspective on Wieners’s eclectic and idiosyncratic oeuvre, spanning the range of affective extremes that Wieners produced in verse. The crescendos of visionary poetics, and its subsequent collapse into romantic desolation, with the nuances of queer desire and embodiment, are distilled finely into two hundred pages.

Publishers Weekly has also named Supplication one of the three "Most Anticipated" poetry titles of Fall 2015.

Rachelle Rojany: Abecedarian