Author: stevepotterwrites

Punk-Poets and Poet-Punks: A Review of Daniel Kane’s Do You Have a Band?

Maybe you’ve had the same experience, you go looking for a book you are sure someone must have written only to find that no such book exists. No one has written it yet. A few years ago, I wanted to learn more about the interconnections between the early days of punk rock and the poetry scene in New York City in the Seventies. This, in part, grew out of research for a project. I was searching for information to help establish a backstory timeline for the poet-professor parents of the protagonist of my then novel-in-progress/now novel-in-search-of-an-agent Gangs With Greek Names.  I was

Nico Vassilakis to Read in Seattle

  Poet and former Seattleite Nico Vassilakis will be making a visit to read from In the Breast Pocket of a Fine Overcast Day, his latest collection of poems. He may also have copies of Diesel Hand, his recently released limited edition book of visual poems from Chax Press available. The reading will take place at 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 5th at Gallery 1412 in the Central District (1412 18th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122, between Union and Pike). Vassilakis was an influential figure on the poetry scene here in the 90s and early aughts. As the long-time warehouse manager for Fantagraphics Books, he was also

Because: A Review or Matthew Zapruder’s Why Poetry

Part literary criticism, part memoir about how he found his way into the life of a poet, Matthew Zapruder’s Why Poetry is a good read for anyone who loves poetry and would like a reminder of why. It is also a good read for those who feel they’ve never understood poetry and would like to try again. Here is how the introduction begins: “‘I have a confession to make: I don’t really understand poetry.’ For over twenty-five years, I have heard this said, over and over in slightly different ways, by friends, family, colleagues, strangers I met in bars and at dinner

Joanne Kyger: An Appreciation

The bio in the back of On Time, Joanne Kyger’s collection of poems written between 2005 and 2014, describes her as, “One of the major women poets of the SF Renaissance.” That is, of course, correct, but I would make a case for removing the word “women” from the sentence. While I’m sure the intention of including that gender signifier was to emphasize the importance of her position as a woman in what was largely a man’s world/boy’s club, its placement before “poets” in the sentence diminishes rather than enhances her standing. It reeks of “pretty good for a girl” condescension, unintended as

Dark Days in Western Mass.: A Review of Jon Boilard’s Settright Road

Like Ray Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Jon Boilard’s Settright Road is a cohesive collection of stories about working-class life that delivers an impact similar to a novel when read as a whole. Set mostly in dying mill towns in Western Massachusetts in the eighties, these sometimes interrelated stories, composed in taut yet often lush and lyrical sentences, present characters teetering on the edge of ruin and sometimes death. Children living in unstable households mismanaged by adults struggling with fading economic prospects, mental illness, alcoholism and drug abuse cope as best they can. Go get my medicine you

Enter the Ouroboric: A Review of Anselm Berrigan’s Come In Alone

Upon first look, Anselm Berrigan’s latest collection of poems, Come In Alone, reminded me of that bit, “Is This Anything,” Letterman used to do on The Late Show. They’d open the curtain to reveal some random act — a guy riding a flaming unicycle while juggling chainsaws or suchlike. Afterward, Dave and Paul would discuss to determine whether or not what they’d just seen was anything. The form (or formlessness) Berrigan employs in Come In Alone — one long line running around the perimeter of the page with no definitive beginning or end — has that now there’s something I’ve never seen before factor going for it,