Saturday, 26 March 2011

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Tale of the Amazing Tramp by Dan Propper

The Tale of the Amazing Tramp is a collection of poems by a little known Beat poet named Dan Propper (1937-2003). It was published by Cherry Valley Editions in 1977. Propper's poetry is jazz-infuenced and is also reminiscent of Frank O'Hara with frequent name mentions (eg Lenny Bruce, Nathaniel West, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Walt Whitman, Malcolm Lowry, William Faulkner, Charlie Parker). His best known work is probably his long(ish) poem The Final Hour, published in 1960.

Admitedly the poems in The Tale of the Amazing Tramp are of mixed quality, but overall I think it is still a damn good collection and if you want to check it (and other out-of-print Propper titles) visit The Tale of the Amazing Tramp is worth it.

Monday, 14 March 2011

New from Tearoom Books: Reader Digest

Reader Digest is a free e-chapbook of poetry and recipes, compiled by Pravasan Pillay and Victoria Williams, and featuring 13 poets from 5 different countries. Poets were asked to pair their poems with a suitable recipe and the result is a deliciously good read.
The poets are Philip Burton, John L. Cope, Gary Cummiskey, Heshel Heller, Eva Jackson, Anton Krueger, Haidee Kruger, Joan McNerney, Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah, Joanna O’Connor, V.W. Sparkes, Pȁr Svensson and Adam Taylor.

Get the free e-chapbook here

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Review of alan finlay's pushing from the riverbank by Jim Wittenberg

pushing from the riverbank is a combination of poetry and prose poetry. The images are strong, and the wording is powerful. The poet, Alan Finlay, displays a childlike grasp that all of time exists in the present, and an affinity for elements of the surreal and absurdist.

Of particular note is the recurring relationship of father and son.In the poem, 'Shadows', the father explains the very real dangers the child will face in this world without diminishing the child's awareness of the dangers contained in shadows. In the title poem, 'pushing from the riverbank', the son crawls into bed beside his father to talk about the dangers that are awakened by the flushing of the toilet.

In some of the poems the viewpoint of parent and child are fluid and interchangeable. Be prepared to see things the way a child sees things.

Jim Wittenberg is a US poet and author of Haunt me in the morning, published by Graffiti Kolkata.

Tuesday, 08 March 2011

Review of alan finlay's pushing from the riverbank by Liesl Jobson

pushing from the riverbank is an exceptional poetry collection that explores the gaze of a man beholding his family.With tenderness and longing,Finlay’s narrators present a fearless account.Whether a boy talking to his mother, the husband watching his breast-feeding wife, or the man soothing a son in the small hours, the narrator probes and measures the supreme vulnerability of the modern family unit.
In stark musical language,Finlay peels back memories and unpicks the present, displaying his own intense yearning for something just beyond reach. This observation of the homesickness some suffer while at home is beautifully resonant. The poems get under your skin.

(published in Cape Times, March 4, 2011)

Sunday, 06 March 2011

Yannis Livadas: The margins of a central man

Yannis Livadas was born in Kalamata, Greece in 1969. He has done dozens of different jobs and travelled extensively in India, Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, France, Morocco, Portugal and Spain. He has published seven poetry collections, the most recent being Ati: Scattered Poems 2001-2009. He has translated the work of authors such as Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso and Charles Bukowski. He now lives secluded in the Greek countryside....Read more here


Prathamata is a poetry journal published in Kolkata and edited by Debasis Roy. While most of the poetry is in Bangla, there is also an English section - in this issue the section is called A Textival of World Poets, edited by Subhankar Das. Poets included are Dan Provost, Aleathia Drehmer, Adam Henry Carriere, Freke Raiha, Henry Denander, Lyn Lifshin, henry 7. reneau, jr., Jim Wittenberg, Michael McAloran, Arunabh Banerjee, Boel Schenlaer, Sharmy Pandey, Subhankar Das, Doug Mathewson, Satanu Roy, Erik Vatne and Gary Cummiskey.

Friday, 04 March 2011

Thursday, 03 March 2011

Sky Dreaming: a review by Aleathia Drehmer

It isn’t often that I am taken by surprise with a chapbook in the small press … especially one that I didn’t seek out myself.

Subhankar Das, editor of Graffiti Kolkata, recently sent me Gary Cummiskey’s Sky Dreaming. I had never heard of Gary prior to this and I set to reading it in short bursts rather than put it on the pile to read which is ever growing.

Sky Dreaming is a healthy mix of touching observations scattered between prose poem pieces that leave you wonder exactly where you have been, or maybe better, where the author has been.

They aren’t so bizarre you cannot relate, yet they make you feel like an uncomfortable watcher.

The poems that grab the most are sparse of word, but heavy on feeling and meaning.

The opening poem “Immortal” sets you up for the entire collection, as an opening poem should, by gripping you with a sense of infinity and finality at the same time:

Last night, feeling suicidal,
I leapt over the balcony
and landed flat on my back
in the garden below.
Lying there, I looked up
at the sky and saw how empty
it was, apart from a few
insignificant stars.
Now I know I am immortal.

Gary touches on other subjects like the juxtaposition of science and religion in poems “Animals” and “I telephoned God”. He explores a visceral strangeness in “Alien” and the ragged endings to an old nurse in “Moon woman”:

She has thin, pointed breasts and a rose in her hair, as the crescent moon slides into her mouth like a hard cock.
Cummiskey dabbles in his own brand of love and sexuality in poems like “Afterwards”, “Intimate Lives”, and “You Lead Me”. This last poem feels like an enticement to a lover ... a calling to bring them back by telling them all that they have given or shown him:

You lead me
Through letters smeared with caresses and sperm
Through the music of lonely politicians’ pipes
Through a landscape where you and I are alone

I want you to touch me
I want you to feel me.

If the bizarre and surreal are your cups of tea, then be sure to check out the poems “Alien”, “Summoned”, “A day at the races”, “Meat” and “In chains”. Gary Cummiskey also makes comment on the life of African-American Beat Poet Bob Kaufman in the poems “Between floors” and “Sinclair and the Great Dane”.

The poem that touched me the most and really drew me in was a prose poem titled “Takeover” and it was one of those works that makes you sad and frightened and angry at the same time…the emotions swirled together in a subversive way that leaves you unsure of how we survive the disparity of our humanity:


Five years old. The parents take him to the hospital. He doesn’t know what hospital is. The parents leave. He watches a child in another ward get an injection in the head. Both scream simultaneously. A nurse calms the new arrival and gives him ice cream and comics. The next morning they take him to the operating theatre. He wakes up sick, without tonsils. There’s blue vomit in the basin. The parents are not around. Something else has taken over.

Sky Dreaming by Gary Cummiskey has a little bit of everything for whatever your tastes. You can purchase a copy from Graffiti Kolkata, based in India. Check out this title and others at:

Take a leap on this one. You won’t be sorry.

Aleathia Drehmer

Sky Dreaming by Gary Cummiskey

My latest chapbook, Sky Dreaming, consisting of 24 poems, published by Graffiti Kolkata, India

Forthcoming from Tearoom Books: Reader Digest

Tearoom Books is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Reader Digest, a free e-chapbook of poetry and recipes.

Compiled by Pravasan Pillay and Victoria Williams, the chapbook features 13 poets from five different countries. The poets are: Philip Burton, John L Cope, Gary Cummiskey, Heshel Heller, Eva Jackson, Anton Krueger, Haidee Kruger, Joan McNerney, Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah, Joanna O’Connor, VW Sparkes, Pȁr Svensson and Adam Taylor.