Saturday, 30 April 2011

Becoming Visible

Winged Swallow Longing - Ira Cohen

The poem card Winged Swallow Longing by Ira Cohen was published by Cold Turkey Press, France.
Reproduced courtesy of Cold Turkey Press.

Ira Cohen: The Cosmic Traveller, by Indra Tamang

On Monday, April 25th, I received a call from Sky, an old friend who I have known for many years, letting me know that Ira Cohen had passed away moments before in St. Luke’s Hospital. She told me that I was someone Ira cared about, which is why she was calling, and I felt immediately very sad at hearing the news, and for having not seen more of him in recent years.

Next to Charles Henri Ford, Ira Cohen was one of the people I knew the longest in my life, even though I sometimes felt that in spite of how long I knew him, I didn’t know him deeply...Read more here

Thursday, 28 April 2011

New publication from Dye Hard Press: The Edge of Things

ISBN: 978-0-620-49506-6

The Edge of Things consists of 24 South African short stories selected by Arja Salafranca.

The authors are Jayne Bauling, Arja Salafranca, Liesl Jobson, Gillian Schutte, Karina Magdalena Szczurek, Jenna Mervis, Jennifer Lean, Fred de Vries, Margie Orford, Aryan Kaganof, Bernard Levinson, Hamilton Wende, Pravasan Pillay, Beatrice Lamwaka, Hans Pienaar, Rosemund Handler, Tiah Beautement, Angelina N Sithebe, Jeanne Hromnik, David wa Maahlamela, Perd Booysen, Gail Dendy, Silke Heiss and Dan Wylie.

280 pages.

Will soon be available from bookstores countrywide, estimated retail price R180.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Book covers of titles by Ira Cohen

Ira Cohen: poet, photographer, film maker and publisher, February 3 1935 - April 25 2011.

"The wizard of Tangier and the sage of Kathmandu" - William Burroughs
"Reading your poems is like smoking raw nerves" - Henri Michaux
"Ira Cohen is a richly woven, mystically embroidered tapestry" - Deborah Harry

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Suitable Girl by Michelle McGrane

The Suitable Girl is Michelle McGrane's third poetry collection, and is published by Modjaji Books.

As Ian Duhig says, the collection shows "a sophisticated range of reference together with a powerful and moving emotional address. There is great technical range here which includes prose poems alongside sinewy lyrics;elegy jostles with imaginative sci-fi, humour with horror in language which is often gorgeous as it is precise."

Two of the poems are:

The Recalcitrant Muse

Sunlight blisters through moth-eaten curtains.
In her mildewed apartment high above the city,
the Muse stumbles out of bed, stubs her toe
in the kitchen as she fumbles for a cigarette,
reheats last night's coffee and loneliness,
gulps it down dark, bitter, thick with grounds
that refuse to dissolve her tongue's furred lining.

She is late for the morning's first appointment
with a middle-aged divorcee at 52 East Avenue.
It's not all it's cracked up to be, this muse business.
She's tired of being aloof, untouchable.
Give me strong hands, warm flesh, a hairy chest,
a plunging prick, fucking on the formica table.
She could use a drink. A few hours' sleep.
Immortality doesn't pay the bills.

Gallows Bird

St George's channel
through the Dover Strait,
I sailed up the Thames
towards Greenwich.

I'd heard talk
they hanged rovers,
dangled them in cages
at Wapping Stairs.

When the prow nosed
around Blackwall Point,
I saw myself,

bones picked clean,
starlings nesting
in my ribcage.

The Suitable Girl, ISBN: 978-1-920397-26-5, is available for R135 from Modjaji Books.

Snowstorm under a midnight moon burning through the sky

So what are we going to do about Che?

Friday, 22 April 2011

Watercolour by Henry Denander

The Loulaki Bar and other poems from Hydra by Henry Denander

The Loulaki Bar and other poems from Hydra by Swedish poet and artist Henry Denander was published by Miskwabik Press, in the US in 2009. A beautiful little collection filled with watercolour paintings of people, animals ( lots of cats) street and harbour scenes.

One of the poems in the collection is:


i eat twelve different pills
every day, i swallow them
down with water, there's no
taste or flavour, some are white
and some are blue, some are
large and some are small,
none of them make me fly.

Envelope from poet and artist Henry Denander, holidaying in Hydra

Philip Whalen's Goof Book for Jack Kerouac

Dating back to 1961, and referred to in Jack Kerouac's Big Sur, these meditations/jottings were finally published in 2001 by Big Bridge Press,Pacifica, California.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Triadic Ballet - Oskar Schlemmer

Postcard reproduction of poster advertising Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer's The Triadic Ballet

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Gary Cummiskey, author of Sky Dreaming, in conversation with Janet van Eeden

Sky Dreaming is Gary Cummiskey’s most accomplished work so far. In this volume his work takes a more introspective turn with the unifying theme of a profound existential questioning of life. This kind of depth comes, I believe, from suffering through difficult times. There’s a world-weariness to this collection which takes it into universal territory... Read more here

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Big Book Chain Chat - In Love With Books - Gary Cummiskey

What made you fall in love with books – and how did it happen?

I have no recollection of exactly when I discovered the world of books and the magic of words. I was an avid reader of comics as a child and vividly remember when I moved on from reading the Beano and Casper the Friendly Ghost comics and on to the Illustrated Classics series...Read more here 

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


German flyer for the release of the film Howl, about US Beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

100 Thousand poets for change


(Ed. Anny Ballardini & Obododimma Oha, in collaboration with MICHAEL ROTHENBERG)

"We will turn to the idea of the messianic in Chapter Ten of this book, but for the moment it suffices to stress that both Benjamin and Agamben employ the term in singular fashion. For them, a messianic idea of history is not one in which we wait for the Messiah to come, end history, and redeem humanity, but instead is a paradigm for historical time in which we act as though the Messiah is already here, or even has already come and gone. What is so difficult about Agamben's use of the term messianic is how radically it is to be distinguished from the apocalyptic. Agamben says that to understand "messianic time" as it is presented in Paul's letters "one must first distinguish messianic time from apocalyptic time, the time of the now from a time directed towards the future" (LAM, 51). To this he adds, "If l had to try to reduce the distinction to a formula, I would say that the messianic is not, as it is always understood, the end of time, but the time of the end" (LAM, 51). The model of time corresponding to this idea is one that no longer looks for its decisive moment in a more or less remote future, but instead finds it in every minute of every day, in this world and in this life; and it is through such expressions as "dialectics at a standstill" and "means without end" that the two thinkers aim to return our gaze from the distant future to the pressing present."

(from GIORGIO AGAMBEN: A Critical Introduction, Leland de la Durantaye, 2009, p. 120)

Set in the context of this split between "the end of time" and "the time of the end" is Michael Rothenberg's recent invitation for the global writing public to participate in "a demonstration/celebration of poetry to promote serious social and political change" titled 100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE on 24 September, 2011. As protests for political reforms sweep across North Africa, the Middle East, in some parts of Europe, in the US, with the recent disasters in The Gulf of Mexico and in Japan, one cannot help thinking about the "Rothenberg Project” as a highly significant creative response to change as something more than an adjustment to the way social relations are constructed.

Obododimma Oha and Anny Ballardini, in collaboration with Michael Rothenberg’s event, will edit and feature outstanding poetic compositions for the 100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE on Fieralingue's Poets’ Corner. Visual art, poems, poetic fiction, poetic nonfiction, and photographs to be submitted for consideration should go beyond the simple, gratuitous statement that ‘a change is needed.’ Our present, our Messianic time requires a STILLSTELLUNG (Benjamin’s word, translated by Dennis Redmond in On the Concept of History  - 1940) with “an objective interruption of a mechanical process” into which we have been engulfed. Dennis Redmond continues in his explanation of STILLSTELLUNG: “rather like the dramatic pause at the end of an action-adventure movie, when the audience is waiting to find out if the time-bomb/missile/terrorist device was defused or not”. We feel that we are living in a similar situation, and we are in need of a Stillstellung followed by ideas to offer our politicians, to make students/friends/our communities more aware of how we can change, revise history, start over again.

Visual works and photographs for submission are to be saved in JPEG format, while texts, which should not have rigid formatting, are to be in Word. All submissions should be emailed to editors and by September 1, 2011 with "100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE" in the Subject line.


Ps. If you are interested in signing up to participate as a reader, organizer or attendee, in the 100 Thousand Poets for Change event on September 24, 2011, (in your town) please go to Facebook for more details and indicate that you would like to attend the event. Link: . At Facebook you will be able to read more about event organization ideas and our thoughts about “what kind of change.” Over a thousand people have already signed up and over twenty cities have begun to organize events for their communities. JOIN US!!

Friday, 08 April 2011

This vehicle is under 24-hour satellite surveillance

Catfish McDaris: A review of Horror Sleaze Trash by Ben John Smith

Horror Sleaze Trash is a beautifully done 110-page hardcover book of poems by Ben John Smith. Simply put, it is a loaded bazooka that fits nicely in your hands and fires round after round, guaranteed to knock down anything that moves.

Ben is from Melbourne Australia, so his writing gives an insight into his country.

He works construction, drinks with his mates, is true to his woman, and likes Elvis Presley. Ben runs one of the top “anything goes” on line literary and art zines at The poems in Horror Sleaze Trash, his second hardbound collection, are each a bit different examining life under a poetic microscope and exposing it in many brilliant ways.

In “Chump” the poem has a poet explaining to his woman (as all poets must do at some time with their loved ones) why most of his nonwriting work mates won’t buy his books, but will blow loads of cash on drink and horse races. At the end of this poem he ends up sitting in the rain with a kangaroo with a broken leg until the cops show up to shoot it. Sadness made its debut in this poem, but there are plenty of happy ones and head shakers also. Words of too much drink, old men described perfectly, vaginas, sweaty dicks, folks going to church, Henry Miller, a black fella with lice, a dude that shits like a drainpipe in a thunderstorm. Ben John Smith writes as all educated men do or as Gary Snyder said “deeducated” which is uncivilized and barbaric.

He’s well read and influences of Bukowski, the Beatniks, Travis Bickle, Joseph Conrad, and Galatians from the Bible appear, but Ben’s got an original voice and shows no fear. In “Foreskin” he compares a bulldog on ice cream to sticking his dick in a beer bottle. Included are three poems titled “Shaving My Balls Pt.1, 2, 3” and they end in a query to about what to do about itching testicles.

Australian English is a bit different from American English, which is refreshing and makes this book that much better. There’s a cool photo of Ben at end of the book standing in front of the Liberated X Bookshop and ladies, he’s easy on the eyes. I wholeheartedly recommend buying this book, you won’t be sorry.

Purchase Information:
Ben John Smith
PO Box 806
Tullamarine, 3049
ISBN 978-1-4467-1427-0

Good news on the short fiction front

Good news on the short fiction front: Arja Salafranca has put together 24 South African short stories which will be published by Dye Hard Press under the title The Edge of Things, a special short fiction issue of the the literary journal Green Dragon... Read more here

The poetry of Mr. Blue by Henry Denander

The poetry of Mr. Blue is a short story by Swedish poet and artist Henry Denander, published by Bottle of Smoke Press in 2007. The story, dedicated to jazz and blues historian Sam Charters, is a mysterious and disquieting tale set on the Greek island of Hydra. A beautiful little production, this English editon was limited to 225 copies. The first Swedish edition was limited to 75 copies.

Envelope from Stockholm poet and artist Henry Denander

Tuesday, 05 April 2011

alan finlay's pushing from the riverbank on Peony Moon

why do i wake up at four
in the morning and think:
“Now is the time to work

to finish the day before
it starts”? what day is it
just night sweeping over

us: as my little boy climbs
into bed beside me says
daddy i can’t sleep i want to

talk, and i’m lifting my eyes
heavy as doughnuts from
my own thoughts....

read more here

Friday, 01 April 2011

As she came to the vale in Spring

Philip Hammial's Black Market in The Wild Life

The Wild Life was published by Penguin Books Australia in 1996 and contains four poetry collections: Dovchick by David Curon, Black Market by Philip Hammial, William's Mongrels by Coral Hull and Islands of Wilderness: A Romance by Stephen Oliver.

One of Hammial's prose poems in his collection is:

A Miracle

In the rat's stomach there's an alarm clock set to go off at 6am & in the cat's there's a sleeping man, his head buried under a pillow. Only one chance in ten thousand that the cat will catch the rat at exactly the right moment, but the miracle occurs. The man hears the alarm, leaps out of bed, throws on his clothes, gulps down a cup of coffee & manages to catch the 6.15 bus that will take him to work.