Sunday, 24 April 2016

Hand-drawn poster by Daniel Abdal-hayy Moore, circa 1968

Poster by Daniel Abdal-Moore for The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company

A hand-drawn poster by Daniel Abdal-hayy Moore for an event at The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company in San Francisco, circa 1968.

Daniel Abdal-hayy Moore and Allen Ginsberg, circa 1995

Daniel Abdal-hayy Moore and Allen Ginsberg, with Whitman in the background, circa 1995.

Daniel Abdal-hayy Moore 1940-2016

I was shocked on Thursday to read of the passing of US poet Daniel Abdal-hayy Moore just a few days previously. Sometime around 2003-2006 we enjoyed a regular correspondence. I had read his second book, Burnt Heart, while in England in 2001 - on the outward and return journey from London to Worcester - and then when back in South Africa I bought his (then recent) collection, The Blind Beekeeper. I found his email address on the internet and contacted him. He sent me a photocopy of his first book, Dawn Visions, published back in 1964, and photocopies of posters and photos relating to his ritual theatre project from the mid-60s, The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company. He wrote about friends such as Philip Lamantia, Ira Cohen and Angus MacLise. He sent me some poems, which I published in my literary journal Green Dragon. I also published a poem of his in an issue of Carapace that I guest-edited. I was amazed at how prolific he was. He told me he often got up in the middle of the night to write. He didn't write individual poems, but rather whole books of interrelated poems. In the last 10 years of his life he published about 30 books of poetry through his imprint The Ecstatic Exchange.
Why we lost contact with each other, I don't know. Even though we were friends on Facebook we did not really connect. Probably he was so busy with his life and projects and I was so busy with mine. I must admit that I also much preferred his earlier, pre-Sufi poetry, though perhaps if I reread his more recent work now I might change my mind.
The sad fact is that another great voice of tremendous poetic energy has gone.

The  photograph shows Daniel Abdal-hayy Moore performing his poetry at the Berkeley Folk Festival in 1965. Photographer unknown. 

Sunday, 03 April 2016

Rising to the bait

Gary Cummiskey, Paris 2016

Collage by Bruno Sourdin

A collage by Bruno Sourdin, presented to me as a gift at Café de l'Arbalète, Paris.

Bruno Sourdin, Paris 2016

At Café de l'Arbalète, Paris. Photo: Hugo Sourdin.

Gary Cummiskey and Bruno Sourdin, Paris, 2016

At Café de l'Arbalète, Paris, 2016. Photo: Hugo Sourdin

At 42 Rue Fontaine, Paris