if it aint beyond baroque, dont fix it


beyond baroque is a magical place and i am happy their lease issues were settled. i got to talk with their executive director, fred dewey, and he is a really awesome man. he showed me their chapbook selection (the best i’ve ever seen) and encouraged me and achiote press to send our chapbooks to their chapbook archive., which has books dating back to the sixties. the next time i am in town, i would love to just dig thru all the old chaps.

i finally met steve dolph, the co-editor of Calque, and he has wonderful energy. also, the newest issue of Calque was available for the reading and it’s quite a treat. i’m most excited about jen hofer’s translations of laura solarzano’s LOST MOUTH. i reviewed jen’s translations of laura’s LIP WOLF (ACTION BOOKS). my review is in the current issue of the DENVER QUARTERLY.

beyond baroque has a cool little theatre space…and the best thing was that i got to read last (as i joked at the reading, i’m tired of being typecast as the young, good looking opening act for older, more famous poets)! i sat patiently listening to jen hofer, suzanne jill levine, and stephen kessler read from their translations (all from the spanish) and some of their original work. i was in awe to be in such amazing company.

i read:

1) excerpts from ALL WITH OCEAN VIEWS
2) excerpts from THE LEGENDS OF JUAN MALO
3) excerpts from PRETERRAIN
4) from achiote

after the reading, i was very honored that Antje Ravic Strubel bought all my chapbooks and told me about this group in germany that is working with the chapbook form. i gave her my email and she is supposed to send me some samples. she’s apparently in LA for a few more weeks. so cool.

also, i met Tisa Bryant. she is so amazing and funny! she even gave me a copy of her new book, Unexplained Presence, from LEON WORKS.
You seriously must buy this book. i just started it, but it is blowing my mind. i love LEON WORKS. maybe tisa will submit to achiote press–how cool would that be?

i also had the great honor of talking with Sesshu Foster, whose work i keep hearing about, but havent yet read, particularly CITY TERRACE FIELD MANUAL and ATOMIK AZTEX. the funny thing is that after the reading he said he was surprised that achiote grows on guam too–i felt a certain kinship with sesshu and i look forward to corresponding with him.

finally, it was really great to meet sharyn blumenthal, who teaches in the film department at cal state long beach. she had the funniest stories to tell about her students and steven speilberg (who apparently got his BA in film from csulb (strange, i know). anyways, she said she wants to make a poetry film with my poems. something noirish she said. but then i found her bio online and read this: “Ms. Blumenthal has just completed her indie feature TAKET WO, a dark comedy about bad choices, worse choices, power politics, and personal redemption.” then, i thought, hey, that sounds like all my poems!

after the reading, we all went out to dinner at a cuban restaurant on venice blvd. lots of fun to chat with everyone–one of the most fun readings / after dinner readings i’ve ever been to. thanks to steve and fred for organizing this event!



6 thoughts on “if it aint beyond baroque, dont fix it


    And I’m up in the comments to the latest post by JH, probably making a hash of things again. And on my own blog, Say Something Wonderful. I’d love to see you swing by & weigh in, at either site.

    Curious (& Yellow),

  2. Hi Craig:

    The evening you describe, particularly the after-event dinner sounded really special. I’ve never been to Beyond Baroque and have often wondered about trying to organize a Wind Shifts reading there…

    Eric’s “letter to the editor” is up at LPR.


  3. eric gets the point! will def comment on your comments / letter soon, but probably just here on this blog since it’s NaBlogWriMo and i need some material 🙂

    hey francisco, i can imagine a wonderful Wind Shifts reading there. i’ll mention it/you to the director who i have to email for another reason 😉 or i think his info is also at the site. you should also send some momotombo chaps there.


  4. Hey Dude,

    this is Blumenthal. Just found this and I love it. Love your poetry want to send you two very short videos to give you the idea. Incredibly fun.

    sharyn C.


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