Well, here we are. What question would you like to be asked, for starters?
‘Why is this night different from any other?’
Oh come on now, you’re not even Jewish. Besides, you’re just ripping off Spalding Gray.
Yes, from the first piece I ever saw of his, The Terrors Of Pleasure. It was a cable TV special in the mid 80’s and, if you hunt around, came out on video for about five seconds. Wonderful work, such a presence, and so sad what happened to him.
So talk about Spoken Word, then. You’ve been writing all your life, yet only in the last few years did you decide to put your work out there for public consumption. What or who inspired this leap into the unknown?
Seeing people like Richard Hell and Billy Childish who were possessed of the polymath gene: mostly known if at all for being musicians, but also writers, poets, visual artists. That they were creating and, especially in Billy’s case, getting his poetry and fiction out there for people who were interested in that sort of thing to access and appreciate. Maybe it doesn’t all resonate or hit the mark in one’s aesthetics all the time, but hey. Then there’s Hell’s connections to the independent NYC poetry press community, things like Giorno Poetry Systems and the St Mark’s Church Poetry Project (all excellently overviewed in the book Up Is Up But So Is Down).
Having been involved in the early Punk and post-Punk scenes back when, the DIY approach in and of itself – not waiting for a publisher to accept my manuscripts and putting in time at home and at the local copy shop – was highly inspiring and appealing.
And another utmost point is to not give up. Never ever ever. A difficult thing for me even now is to just get out of my own damned way, not obsess on perfection, and just let it flow. As much as I’d love to someday (could it ever be) make some supplemental income from my self-expression, despite my advanced years I suss more and more that all one can do is be creatively productive and those who get it will and those who won’t won’t, and not to take either angle too personally. (Though I do wish there was more communication among literary folk, no matter what their strata of success or lack thereof happens to be.)
So what’s up in your neck of the Bay Area these days as far as poet events?
The monthly Quiet Lightning series is almost a year old and is well happening, just did my second with them this week in fact. Anything helmed by folks like Paul Corman-Roberts, or Charlie Getter (the latter being an astonishing street poet, and as much a booster and organizer for the local u/gr’d lit. community at present as anyone).
There’s a fantastic new venue in the basement of Viracocha, this sort of curio shop in the Mission. Another performance space in the Mission called Kaleidoscope SF. Then there’s all the justifiably renown, established lit. venues: K’Vetch, Smack Dab, Michelle Tea’s RADAR Readings. And even with my varied misgivings about the Poetry Slam concept, Berkeley’s weekly slam at the Starry Plough has its share of near geniuses offering up exciting, quality work. Not forgetting John Shirley’s LitPunk! event, which I hope will return for its third year next spring-ish.
Five favorite words.
This week? Autodidact. Esurient. Psychogeography. Catywhompus. Kerfuffle.
Working on a new chapbook, my fourth for the amazing Bill Shute of Kendra Steiner in Texas, due out after the first of the year. Getting sufficiently flush enough to road test my work elsewhere in the States (I very much want to read at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC, to name but one venue). More music reviewing for sites like Popmatters.com, in addition to my regular blog columns The Groover’s Grotto and The San Francisco Nobody Sings. Otherwise honing, learning, exposing, expanding, onward and upwards, to the toppermost of the poppermost. Being the cabin boy of my creative soul. I’m tired of talking about myself, ‘bye for now folks.
And another answer.