Aug 29, 2008

Summer Comes Undone with 3 New Titles from Cy Gist Press

Cy Gist Press is Happy to announce the release of 3 new titles, just in time for the end of the summer.

GARY GYGAX
by John Sakkis (28 pp. Saddle-stapled.) $8 ppd.

The tradition of the Bestiarum vocabulum goes back to the 12th century; the tradition of Dungeons & Dragons, that cross between improvisational theater and light bondage, goes back to the 1970’s when it was invented by this chapbook’s eponymous hero. If you grew up in the 70s or 80’s you played D&D, knew someone who played D&D, or stuffed someone into a locker who played D&D. Whatever your feelings about game, there is no question that in their earliest incarnations, its rulebooks were celebrations ofbizarre language and bizarre ideas, which undoubtedly had their influence upon poets-to-be who indulged in them. In Gary Gygax, John Sakkis brings bohemia back to its roots in its parents’ basement in this monster manual of beings malevolent and benign. Like an umber hulk, this book is a strange hybrid of disparate parts—snippets of language pulled from the game, from popular culture and from Sakkis’ subconscious. Like an umber hulk, this book will hold you rapt with its four terrible eyes.



LOOKING FOR LAKE TEXCOCO by Kevin P. Gallagher, with Spanish language translation by Guillermo Parra.
(44 pp. Sewn Binding. English and Spanish Facing Pages.) $8.00 ppd.

The author says of Looking for Lake Texcoco:

“These poems are a variation sequence evoking the painting “La Cuidad de Mexico, 1949” by Juan O’Gorman, an Irish-Mexican painter who lived in Mexico (1905-1982). The painting, now at the Museo Arte de Moderno in Mexico City, is a bird’s eye view of Mexico City during its transformation into a modern city. In the foreground, two hands hold a map known as the Santa Cruz map, which represents the colonial city being built on top of the ruins of the pre-Hispanic era. In the top right of the painting two angels carry a Mexican flag bearing the legend "Viva Mexico.”

Alongside Gallagher’s English is a Spanish-language translation by Guillermo Parra, author of
Caracas Notebook.


DEAD-EYE SPRING
by Cheryl Clark Vermeulen
(24 pp. Sewn Binding. Vellum Endpapers.) $8 ppd.

Dead-Eye Spring offers a bird’s-eye view of being-in-the world. Cheryl Clark Vermeulen navigates the minefield between the self and the universe as a Kevlar-clad ballerina. Never quotidian, Vermeulen’s unheimlich observations consistently surprise and reassure. She is unafraid to tell us what we already knew but were afraid to ask. Do not fear this chapbook, fear this chapbook.

Aug 14, 2008

In Other News



I have made 2 fruit tarts so far this summer. A blueberry one and a peach one. Based on this summer's tarts, I have come to the following conclusions: a) mixed fruit tarts are more interesting than single-fruit ones (I need to try and make 1 mixed one before the end of the summer) and b) margarine actually works better than butter for making the crust, whereas I had previously thought that it wouldn't work at all. Go figure. Though, apparently, margarine is not a priori better for you than butter, which I always thought it was. I just can't keep track anymore; basically, though, if it feels or tastes good it is bad for you and you have to give it up when you get old (such as I am, or am getting). Generally speaking, however, fruit tarts contain less things that are bad for you than, say, a chocolate cake, but more things that are bad for you than, say, 2 rice cakes slathered with...um...air?

I have finished 2 of the 3 Cy Gist endeavors of the summer; number 3 has been held up by an inefficient thread retailer. Boo to inefficient thread retailers. I will be releasing all 3 at the same time, so you will have to wait until I get my thread.

Films I watched while assembling the two chapbooks (I usually watch crap because it's hard to pay that much attention while you are stapling/sewing/trimming, etc., but this time I ran out of crap at the end): Threads, The Woman in The Moon, White Noise 2 (including all extra features), Supernova and Hotel Rwanda.

Threads is a British movie made in 1984 about nuclear war. Nuclear war is very bad. Though I have to take issue with the logic of the film in certain parts, particularly this part where a woman gives birth all alone by herself in some burned out shack and has to sever the umbilical cord with her teeth--apparently the bomb obliterated all useful sharp objects, even though every frame of the film is filled with smouldering, fairly sharp-looking debris. Anyway, it was quaint to hear about East Germany and West Germany. We don't have to worry about that anymore. But the missiles still exist, folks, they didn't go anywhere.

The Woman in the Moon isn't crap at all, but rather a silent film, which are good to watch when putting together books because they move pretty slowly and are generally pretty simple. This is a Fritz Lang film and therefore German Expressionist cinema, which features lots of extreme close-ups of kohl-eyed people looking pensive, anxious, or ambiguous combinations of the two. A motley group of folks travel to the moon in a fabulous Art Deco spaceship to find...gold... It was pretty realistic for the 20's insofar as there wasn't really much on the moon except for a cool, vaguely surrealist lunar landscape, bubbling pools of I guess gold, and, well, an atmosphere, taxing the willing suspension of disbelief just a little bit. What was most interesting about this film was how much it influenced Danny Boyle's excellent Sunshine, which has a similar only-half-the-oxygen-left-so-somebody-amongst-all-these-people-who-don't-really-like -each-other-must-die premise, as well as the same sense of lonliness and desperation. Boyle is one of my favorite contemporary film-makers, a revisionist and ripper-offer of the highest order, but, for the most part, a masterful one.

Remember the first White Noise? I didn't think so. It was one of these PG-13 supernatural thrillers about EVP- Electronic Voice Phenomenon, where ghosts talk to you through radio or television static. It would stand to reason, therefore, that the dead must me very concerned about the switch to digital television, which will all but do away with the creepy television static through which they communicate with us. But I digress. The first one was OK. This one really sucked. It had the guy from Serenity and the woman who plays Starbuck in the new Battlestar Galactica. Both of which are far better than this crappy film. This one wasn't really about AVP at all, but rather, NDE, Near Death Experiences. EVP + NDE = RSS: Really Shitty Sequel.

Supernova is about a spaceship that answers a distress signal to some abandoned mining colony where they find this psychopath who looks like Justin Timberlake who has found some kind of alien artifact that is basically this floating translucent piece of CGI that looks vaguely reminiscent of a vagina (what is it with science fiction films and vaginas, anyway? Though this one did not have any teeth). I'm serious, they even point out the obvious resemblance in the film. Though they can't bring themselves to say "vagina." "It looks like, an, um, well...you know..." When anybody touches it, it makes sort of groan-y, coo-y noises, as you would expect I guess. It also gives you superhuman powers and makes you homicidal. (Whoever wrote this movie has some serious issues.) Anyway, the alien vagina wants to destroy the universe for some reason and the New Psychopath on the Block wants to help it, but he gets foiled by the tough-as-nails copilot and the Female Character Who Also Inexplicably Survives. This was pretty bad, but the spaceship was cool.

I taught We Wish to Inform You Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families for a semester at Kingsborough, and kind of had been putting off watching Hotel Rwanda because most American films on serious subjects suck. I ran out of stuff to watch while I was trimming, so I had to dig deep into the DVD collection. Hotel Rwanda was a pretty good movie, though, perhaps one of the better non-inane American films I have seen for awhile.

I write this just so you know what I go through to bring you quality literature. Stay tuned for the official release of the books, which will happen as soon as I get my bloody thread.

A Teetering Crane of Poetry Crashing Through Your Luxury Condominium

I have a poem up at Cara Benson's e-journal Sous Rature. Check out the great work from many other friends and comrades as well.

Aug 9, 2008

Georgia On My Mind


I have had a slight obsession with the Republic of Georgia, stemming initially from an enthusiasm for old-style Georgian semi-sweet wines (Kindzmarauli, Saperavi, etc.) beginning with having been served some by Fulcrum editors Philip Nikolayev and Katia Kapovitch, which are best drunk with the Georgian dish of Chicken Tabaka, a simple, sort of savage preparation of a small chicken fried under a heavy weight, giving the bird the appearance of having been stepped on by a Transformer or something. Later on, I encountered, completely unrelated to anything to do with the wine, a piece on Georgian polyphonic choral music on the Naxos podcast and fell in love with that as well. After seeing a performance by the State Ballet of Georgia in the fall at BAM, I started looking at what is entailed in flying to the region (not cheap) and any famous Georgian poets in translation, or which could be translated at the behest of a Fullbright or something like that. Perhaps I still will someday, if there is anything left of the country following recent developments.

While it is unclear who actually started the conflict, far be it from a citizen of the United States in these times to pass judgment on the actions of any nations. Most importantly, nations start wars, but people fight them, and a war is a tragedy for the people on either side. Hopefully the situation will end quickly, and escalate into something scarily larger. It is always worrisome when the old Cold War adversaries find themselves on the wrong side of any issue; particularly with the adenoidal lunatic in charge of the country at this time (there's still 4 months to *really* fuck things up), though so far our imperious leader seems to be stifling himself.

I must say that it is alarming how the former superpowers of late behave as though they are kindergarten playground bullies desperately clinging to their sovereignty as the rest of the world moves on to the third grade and becomes to smart for them and they unleash their wrath upon the littlest kids in the class. They level entire countries to chide the actions of dubious, relatively powerless governments as though military might itself were the only moral prerogative in the world.

Anyway, too much in regard to a situation I probably know too little about. But here is a Muxtape of Georgian in honor of Georgians on both sides of the mess.