Archive for January, 2013

Henry Denander

Posted in Henry Denander with tags on January 6, 2013 by Scot

henry hankHenry Denander has many talents as you will discover below.  He is  lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden and relaxes in Greece.   But what you may not discover in this short piece is that Henry is a nice guy.  I discovered him a couple of years ago and was drawn to his watercolors.  They make me smile.  He describes his art humorously in a poem you will read.
All I know is his art and poetry make me feel good.  The bright watercolors make me happy.  Maybe I just like cats, jazz and donkeys, I don’t know.  But when I see his mail art on a package (chapbook) when I pick up my mail, I go to my truck and carefully open it and read every word before driving home.  I think the world needs more artists, writers and humans like Henry Denander.  Pay it forward with a smile…not too bad Hank.  Those of you that have received a package from him, know what I am talking about.

Henry Denander: The Rusty Truck Interview

Posted in Henry Denander with tags , , on January 6, 2013 by Scot

Scot:       As a child in Sweden, what did you want to grow up to be?HDsmall

Henry:    My mother used to tell us that I once said I wanted to be a priest, but I think she made that up. I come from a working class family in Eskilstuna, my older brother was a pilot in the air force and he was my role model when I was a teenager but I never had any real thoughts or plans on what to do when I grew up. I tried many different jobs while at school and University and found I had an administrative talent.

Scot:       What makes Henry Denander feel good?

Henry:  At one time I used to write a poem almost every day and of course a day with a new poem on paper made me feel really good. But I don’t write much poetry these days and a really good day is spent on a September day on Hydra Island in Greece with my family, writing some letters in the  morning, breakfast with figs from the garden, reading Murakami, siesta below the orange tree, painting some water colors or drawing with ink in  the afternoon, a swim from the cliffs when the sun is cooler and then some Kalamari at Dimitri’s tavern at night.

Scot:       Blues, donkeys, jazz, and cats are common threads in your art and poetry.  Do you have a subject that you go back to just because you love it?

Henry:  Since my poetry is narrative and usually based on memories, I had stories I wanted to tell. And my music interest has always been really strong.  I remember when I got a job with a Swedish record company the only thing my friends said was that this suited me very well with my interests.
I  was a financial controller, a bean counter still, and at times a very demanding job but in a way they were right.  Since I started to write poetry I always carried a notebook to jot down ideas. But maybe one day I ran out of stories to tell? I wish I had been  writing more when I was traveling all over the world in the 70’s and 80’s. Although recently I found a couple of diaries from that time, I am working on them now. Maybe there are some poems there.

Scot:      You live in Stockholm and spend a lot of time on Hydra, do you write poetry in languages other than English?

Henry: No, I must say that I never wrote poetry in Swedish, it sounds strange and some people in Sweden have wondered why I write in English. It was
more of a coincidence but I had been reading American poetry and prose since the 70’s. And when I started with Bukowski’s poetry I was hooked.locklin
Here was a way of telling stories that I really liked. Then I found Gerald Locklin’s poetry and read almost everything there as well. That got me started, I wrote some prose poems in that tradition and after I got the first ones published in Chiron Review (where Locklin was one of the  editors!) my self confidence rose and poems started to pour out.

Scot:     What do you collect?

Henry: Oh, I’ve collected many things over the years. I still have a large collection of old wrist watches, bought while travelling to the antique markets in  London but also in Singapore and Penang in Asia. My teenage son is now interested and is wearing some of the nice ones from the 50’s.
I have a large collection of signed and rare books. I would say I have almost every Bukowski book in 1st edition, most of them signed, some even with artwork. Also many Bukowski association copies, like Liza William’s copy of Burning In Water with her handwritten notes, Ben Pleasants copy of Post Office with Buk’s inscription, books inscribed to some of Buk’s notorious neighbors on Carlton Way etc etc. I have many small press titles, many signed 1st editions, almost all Gerald Locklin titles, also almost everything by Tom Kryss, Dan Fante, Steve Richmond, Annie Menebroker, Irving Stettner, a rare signed D.A. Levy title etc etc.  When I was younger (and actually even recently) I collected autographs and signed photos, I have some really classic ones.  Of course, my family wonders sometimes about all my files and boxes with “memorabilia”. I think I even have a poem about that.

Memorabilia

They renovated the old
bar where I spent a lot of
my free time from the mid
80’s to the mid 90’s.

They chopped up the
wooden bar into small
pieces and framed them
together with a photo of
the bar.

This added one more
thing to my large
collection of interesting
stuff, like the program
from Buk’s favorite race
track, the dried flower
from Leonard Cohen’s
garden, the signed photo
of Russ Meyer holding a
bra stuffed with melons

and for every new esoteric
thing I frame and hang on
the wall there is always an
unanswered question from
my wife hanging in the
air:

“What are you going to
do with all these things?”

____________

Scot:   Alive or passed on, who would you like to sit down with for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine?

Henry:  Henry Miller I would ask him about that tavern that he describes in The Colossus of Maroussi and talk about Ghikas the painter whom Miller visited on Hydra in 1939. I’m a bit obsessed with that story and the ruins of Ghikas old mansion that is not far from our house on Hydra.

Scot:     Tell me about the process of your watercolors?  Your poem How To Draw like Picasso is a favorite.

How to draw like Picasso

In my spare time I have been trying to
draw portraits, from photos of jazz
musicians and writers.

After many failures I found that my
talent in drawing was knowing when to
stop; I left all the complicated things
out of my drawings.

Picasso said that after learning to draw
professionally he spent a lifetime trying
to draw like a child.

I took a shortcut and went straight to
the children’s style, without passing
through art school.

Henry:  Although laced with a touch of humor, that process is still valid for me. I never had a proper education in painting or drawing. It has more been more been trial and error and lately some hints on materials and technique from an artist friend in Greece. I work with heavy, good quality French paper, as heavy as possible. Good quality French watercolors as well. I have found a way of wetting the papers and waiting for the right wetness/moment to start, either with the ink (which I apply with a bamboo stick) or paint. Sometimes the ink will dry in the sun and then I re-wet the paper to proceed with the paint. I have also used a lot of water color pens, on top of the still wet paint. And, as I said in that poem – stop before it’s overworked. I have never aimed for likeness or photo quality – I hope that is noticed.

That How to draw like Picasso poem was one of my first. One of my latest poems is about seeing Picasso on Hydra.  His son, actually, but still.

Scot:  What got you into to mail art?  Was it a natural progression?henryd mailart

Henry:  I actually started with mail art already in 1984, I recently found some letters and envelopes from that time. I even made my own artist stamps then, not with computer skills but watercolor and scissors.  After a long break I started again a couple of years ago, the internet is actually fantastic for mail art with all the bloggers and even on Facebook there is inspirational input. Of course I always liked to receive snail mail and with email taking over, the mailart is a fantastic way to keep in contact. So I am doing rubber stamps, artist stamps and even small artist books that I send out. It’s good therapy for your soul.

Scot: Poet, watercolor artist, creator of mail art, publisher at Kamini Press—what artistic pursuit did I leave out—blues slide guitar maybe?

Henry:  Haha! Well…even if I have played a fingerpicking guitar for 45 years I will never be a real musician. But I am glad to see my son using my guitars now and we have even played together, although he thinks my old blues licks are just horrible and it sounds like “old man’s music”…Being good at many things is maybe spreading it thin but as long as I am not living on any of these skills, I may be allowed to keep up.

Scot:   I read you began with the beat poets, who are your poetry heroes?

Henry:  I began with Bukowski, he opened up the poetry thing for me. I loved his prose also, almost all of it, except Pulp maybe, but the poetry was something special. I remembered in the mid 80’s I translated a lot of his poems, sent them to the Swedish publisher who published the prose in Swedish. They liked them but they suspected that the ordinary translator would do the poems as well – and later he did.

BukFrenchI have never tried to write like Bukowski. I have written about family and music and work and travels, it was just so refreshing that you could write about almost anything and find your own poem – as long as it has some rhythm and soul.

Scot:     Who has had the greatest influence on your art and writing?

Henry:  Bukowski as a poet.

Gerry Locklin as a poet and a friend and inspiration he guided me to the small press magazines, he has been very supportive, and a true mentor.

Sam Charters, one of my best friends, my editor and inspiration who read all my poetry before it’s shown to the world. Sam has been very supportive and vital for both my writing and my art.  There are so many painters I admire but maybe Henry Miller showed me the Greek colors.HenryMillerColors CLEAN

Scot:  It may sound silly but are you more artistic in Sweden or in Greece?  It seems your artwork is inspired from Hydra.

Henry:  Yeah, mainly because I have been free when I’ve been there, on holiday or some other sort of vacation. To paint and draw you need to keep it KaminiVillage cleanup,  do something every day and get into it. In Greece I usually have a large table with all my painting gear out – it’s easy to get going.

Scot:   Of the 300 poems you have had published, is there one that sticks out more than the rest?  Same question with your poetry books?

Henry:  Weeks Like This is probably the book that stands out, my first full-length book.  For me some stories are more important than other, maybe for the reader it’s not the same, they are just another poem. There are some of those that take me back, like that early morning in Tolo on the Greek mainland.

7 AM at the Zeus hotel

Because of a long swim in the sun yesterday and
a three-hour long siesta in the afternoon, I wake up
before 7 AM this morning.

I sneak out of the room and take a table at the front
of the hotel, overlooking the beach. No one else is
around, no guests, only Paris Theodorakidis and
his dog Astero.

Paris gets me a cup of coffee and Astero leans her
head on my leg. The small city of Tolo starts to
wake up, there are deliveries of Loutraki water,
fish, fruit and vegetables. Some early swimmers
are heading down to the beach.

After a while Paris gives me an omelet and some
bread.

I have my notebook and the book on Mycenae, I
drink coffee, pat the dog and write some stuff in
my notebook.

Stuff like this.

____________

Henry:  Maybe “The salmon in the sky and…” is the poem I’ve had most feedback on.

____________

The salmon in the sky and how everything just stopped

No one died but a few people were injured and it was
a miracle that it didn’t end in a disaster since Stockholm was
filled with hundreds of thousands of people. It was
The Water Festival and there were crowds of people
everywhere; on bridges, on the islands and
all over the city.

Strangely enough, someone‘s brainless idea of showing the
newest Swedish fighter jet and flying it over Stockholm had
somehow been approved.

I stayed at home since I hated the crowds but when I heard
the loud noise from the plane’s engine I walked out on the
balcony and saw a very impressive JAS 32 fly over
our house.

Then when the plane disappeared over the roofs of the
houses on the other side of the street suddenly
everything turned quiet. When I looked up I glimpsed
the plane turning up towards the sky and after the
engine stopped everything was so quiet, as though
the whole city had just stopped and everyone was waiting
for the plane to crash.

It was more than ten years ago and the feeling of someone
just turning off the sound of the city,
and the plane in the sky,
like a small salmon in a rushing water, showing it’s belly
and struggling in the sun,

that’s what I remember.

____________

 

More Poetry of Henry Denander

____________

on the chess board

he was the lawyer for the american record company that
came from california to sweden to negotiate,
we were an independent swedish record company

the meetings went on for a week and every morning the lawyer
brought his attaché case, inside only his yellow legal pad and a huge
packet of juicy fruit gum

his english was broad and he was chewing his gum all day,
for me he was a real american music business lawyer, old school,
only the cowboy hat was missing

he was a nice guy and very charismatic and twenty five years later
when i saw his face on the tv screen, i instantly recognized him

it was a documentary on the chess champion bobby fischer,
the famous chess player who was a very complicated and
unstable character

my lawyer friend looked very serious, dressed in a suit and
now he wasn’t chewing his gum any more

it must have been hard to represent bobby fischer, who was
a chess genius but also a racist, a religious fanatic and
an anti-american

maybe the lawyer had taken on more than he could chew

Henry Denander–the art of

Posted in Henry Denander with tags on January 6, 2013 by Scot

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BEAT MEMOIR # 10 – MEETING LAMA THARCHIN AND GINSBERG’S HEART CONDITION By Marc Olmsted

Posted in Beat Memior, Marc Olmsted with tags on January 6, 2013 by Scot

The Maitri Benefit was for the San Francisco Zen Center’s new hospice (maitri is Sanskrit for compassion), and included Philip Whalen, Michael McClure, Ginsberg, trumpeter Don Cherry and others.  Libby came, too.  She worked at the hospice and, with the encouragement of the Lama at our Center, we were now romantically involved.  It led to us moving out.

Most hilariously, Don Cherry kept noodling on his horn as if warming up with a seeming acid casualty glee during some of the other lesser poets.  It was clear that Don knew pretty well what he was doing, but he acted like he didn’t so there was no calling him on it and certainly no controlling it.  It had a Corso-esque prankster element that really showed the true selves of the various posturing poets who attempted to read with his merciless punctuations of blat and bleep.  Cherry was mainly there to read with Ginsberg, and he behaved himself then.  Afterward, McClure asked Philip, Allen and me to sign his poster, which I appreciated.  I saw a young man preparing to squire Allen away, and he had that self-important look that I knew was difficult to avoid.

Libby and I had a tumultuous affair that eventually resolved into a lasting friendship.  She’d heard about this interesting teacher, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, and took me to an empowerment of his in Berkeley.  I came into the small apartment where it was being given, and Lama Tharchin looked up from his preparations and directly into my eyes.  His expression seemed to say, “Oh, it’s you.”  For me it was an immediate connection that remains to this day.  And Libby wound up his consort after our affair had burned out.  One might say our romance was her slumming between lamas.

A month later, Allen read with Andy Clausen at Cody’s in Berkeley, the place was absolutely packed.  Allen saved me a seat, thankfully – the scene extended far beyond the ability to view him.  As per usual, he was gracious and mentioned to the audience how nice it was to be in the company of old poet friends, and I was listed.  I have always loved Clausen’s work, an enormously under appreciated poet and great reader of his own stuff – a real American voice, gravely, bear-like, voice of the blue collar with strange baroque Whitmanic expansiveness, the poetic equivalent of Orson Welles but with a down home intelligence, like the wisdom of a hobo.  We wound up over at Clausen’s in Oakland afterward, and I sat next to Wavy Gravy, charming old doper who remembered everyone from the Merry Prankster Electric Kool-Aid ‘60’s – mentioning that a lot of people had died trying to imitate Neal Cassady.

The next day we walked around the Haight, looking into the used bookstores.  With Allen, a new boyfriend that must’ve been my age when we first met.  I’ve forgotten his name, but Allen showed good taste.  Sweet, gentle bespectacled intellectual kid – I had one of those amazing moments where one readjusts one’s own sense of age, for this boy’s face was completely without lines, as if newborn, or even still of the womb.  It was similar to the way college freshman just look younger and younger as time progresses and the carcass grows tired.  We chatted a little – he knew I was an old boyfriend, he was a little shy, perhaps thought I’d try to make him like I had been hounded at his age.  Allen bought me a couple of finds, including a copy of Antler’s poetry that had been signed by Antler as well to some ingrate who’d sold it.  We ate in a place called Hell’s Kitchen that didn’t last long – the service was so terrible everyone had to be on drugs.

GinsValiantI drove Allen and his new boy around in my ’64 Plymouth Valiant which the previous owner had painted black with house paint.  Photographer Chris Felver was along for the ride.  I remember driving up Market Street past the Cinema Theater, and somehow getting into an extended explanation as to how it mainly pitched out-of-town porn stars with gigantic tits – and I mean behemoth – their main act was that they’d altered their tits to near-beach ball size.  Allen asked me if I’d ever gone and I said no.  I only knew about it from ads.  Funny, I later wound up in 3-year-retreat with a lesbian woman who lap danced there, but she, like all the local strippers there, were not of this huge tit mutated variety.

We visited a venerable queer hippie commune in the Mission that had been around since the ‘60’s.  Irving Rosenthal’s place, the “Kaliflower” commune, who also once edited Big Table (a Chicago Review splinter mag named by Kerouac) with some of the initial publishings of Beat authors .   Allen somehow managed to get Felver to wait in the car (at least for a while) just to get a break from the camera and not agitate the soft-spoken Rosenthal.  Felver eventually grew restless and knocked on the door, video camera under his t-shit like a strange bionic growth.  Needless to say, Rosenthal wasn’t fooled.  We talked about the Gulf War, how everyone he knew was against it except for Burroughs, who said, “Those Arabs, give ‘em an inch, they’ll take a mile.”  Ginsberg laughed, repeating it.  Of course, Allen knew all the political history that had led up to it, the incredible meddling we’d done in the mid-East that kept backfiring, even the father of the then-current General Schwarzkopf helping the newly enthroned Shah of Iran develop his dreaded secret police.

In a photo, Felver caught the new boyfriend with me & Ginsey in the Booksmith on Haight St.    Allen signed books at the Booksmith, so I stepped outside GinsMarcBooksmithfor some air.  I ran into McClure who was very nice to me, also waiting for Allen.  Diamond Dave, an acid fry of the good old days, came up and began holding forth on Allen like I had no idea who Allen was.  McClure smiled and said, “You may not know who you’re talking to.”  Dave looked at McClure and said, “After 40 you get your real face.”  It was a compliment for McClure, of course.  Less so for Diamond Dave, who looked like a cheery derelict, only shorted out with electricity rather than alcohol.

I went to a week of Lama Tharchin Rinpoche’s summer retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains, his new property that he’d christened Pema Osel Ling, Land of Lotus Light.  The practice was Vajrakilaya, a wrathful blue-black Buddha clutching his consort in ritual union.

The experience of Vajrakilaya was like an internal explosion of a subconscious A-bomb – I was completely roto-rootered.  I’d never practiced anything so wrathful before – and the wrath meant no prisoners were taken in the pathetic kingdom of my obscurations.  By the end of the retreat, I sobbed convulsively.  When this subsided, I stumbled up to Lama Tharchin and said “Will you formerly accept me as your student?”  “Absolutely,” he said, and then eyeing my obvious terror that I had just married him in a psychic shotgun wedding, he softened it with “I will help however I can.”

I was so enthusiastic, I wrote Allen if he would do a benefit for Tharchin Rinpoche to help pay off the retreat land.  I misspelled my new lama’s name, and this misspelling would find its way into Allen’s poem, “Death and Fame.”  Lama Tharchin Rinpoche remembered meeting Allen in Spokane, Washington some years back.  “A nice guy.”  Allen, like meeting Trungpa in India, had no memory of it.  Still, Allen agreed to the benefit.  Allen would be here again in December anyway.  Everything went very well in the planning stages, including booking local club DNA Lounge, until he called me the day before the event, short of breath.  He had “mild congestive heart failure,” he said, “not life-threatening,” but he “had fluid around the lungs” and had checked himself into a hospital.

Of course, relatively speaking, all Hell broke loose.  A reporter called me, and I had my first experience of how an extremely low-key conversation, “off the record,” literally became national news.  I told the reporter what Allen said to me.  I was quoted again and again across the country.

Bob Rosenthal, Ginsberg’s longtime secretary, gave me a lot of shit about leaking this to the press without Allen’s direct authorization (a statement for Lucien Carr to release had been in the works), saying, “You won’t get famous that way, Marc.”  But Allen later said that it was a “tasteful and accurate” response.

–photos copyright Chris Felver

 

The Rusty Truck Says Thanks Ya’ll

Posted in Scot Young with tags on January 6, 2013 by Scot

scotty’s birthday

began the new year
with ham and beans
sweet cornbread &
a cuban cigar
turned 58 today
that thing splake calls
gray beard being chased
by ratbastard time

today i almost complete
the last issue of an old friend
with some old friends
from an archived print version
2010 with a last
feature to follow asap
of an artist and a poet and a new friend

so for now the plan is to farm organic
write some
paint some
take a griswold vacation across
america
and love my bride of so many years
like there ain’t no tomorrow.

1-1-2013

HOSHO MCCREESH

Posted in Hosho McCreesh with tags on January 6, 2013 by Scot

Through These Terrible Midnights

Goddamn this world.

Goddamn all these people
walking around, trying to
destroy each other.

Goddamn all the things
people think they need
& goddamn all the things
people do to get them.

Goddamn our inventions,
goddamn our ideas,
our man-made borders,
our false gods, &
our so-called prophets.

Goddamn all the things
we use to separate ourselves
from one another
& if this is the world that
you agree with,
the world you want,
then take it, take all of it,
because, what use are you,
really, if you can’t see that
the only reason we are here,
the only things we were
wrought to create are
love & art
& only as a means to
help ourselves or help each other
through these terrible midnights.

And if you aren’t doing that,
or at least trying to do that,
well, goddamn you too,
take this silly, stupid world
& leave me alone
with some bread, some wine,
maybe some decent cheese,
leave me with my little poems,
& my little paintings.
I want no part
in this
because
I am
not
impressed.
____________

Of Freedom, The Pursuit Of Happiness,
& Of The American Dream–
           These, The Fetid Bones;
           This, The Sinister Design;
           These, The Ugly Truths;
           & This, What They Actually Want…

To start you off in the hole,
then somehow convince you to
buy what you don’t need,
spend what you don’t have,
want more than you can ever get,
& watch you die before you can
dig out from under it.

____________

Simply The Impermanence Of Things

I try not to read
too many newspapers
or let too many things
get me down,
I try to remember
that things have
always been hard,
always been bad,
except sometimes
when they aren’t.

I try not to listen to
too many people
who say things like
“just choose to be happy”
which is a cruel thing
to say to someone
who doesn’t feel like
they chose any of this.

I try to remember
the mashed-up bullets
in the dunes off Normandy &
that man has drawn & redrawn
the borders, the lines, the rules,
has vaulted killers & goons into icons
raised statues to them only to
tear them back down later.

I try to remember that
everything crumbles,
everything fails,
simply the impermanence of things,
buildings; gods; ideals;
all built up, torn down, rebuilt,
only more wars & time
to mark the passing,
wars  as common as
a crow, a bursting seed, or a harvest
& time like hours lost to snowfall
beneath slate-grey clouds.

I try to trust in
my own heart,
my own instincts,
try to do the things
that feel important to me,
& try not to get too
distracted by all the rest,
not because I am right or wrong,
but because it feels important.

Sometimes,
it even works,
sometimes
I even
pull it
off.

____________

With But A Few Quiet Tears
To Solemnly Usher Them
Onward, Forward, Everward,
Until The Sun Is No More…

Slam it shut & watch
as the sparrows burst forth
from the tangles of a dying honeysuckle–

The crunch of gravel underfoot reminds us
as we march head-held-high
into the blue sky days of it–

Nothing can last, there is no way to outrun it,
& tragedy, like just about everything else,
belongs to the rich, belongs to the mighty,
belongs to the right now famous, & powerful–

when one of them kicks off
there’s unabashed weeping
in the filthy grey streets,
enormous outpourings of
fanfare & support,
a grandiose parade,
a spectacle,
a lavish undertaking.

But people I know
die a little everyday
with but a few quiet tears
to solemnly usher them
onward, forward, everward,
until the sun is no more.
No one saymuch, does much,
mostly we’re just left to it,
to the simple, tedious going on of it,
we’re left to sort it out what we can
with the help of a few others
that knew, that cared.

Yes, nothing about how you or I die
will appear in election year political ads,
or a goddamned Ford truck commercial,
we won’t embody anything, personify anything,
there will be no narrative thread, no story of us,
hell, I’m not even sure it’ll really mean anything,
at the ashen & bony conclusion,
but living, truly living, & all that will cost you,
is far more tenuous than
just
dying,
far more hazardous,
more dangerous, &
true…
…but so much more necessary.

& sure, it’s ridiculous,
maybe even unfair,
that so much
unheralded & unrecognized
death slips past…

…but still it’s
probably
the best
way.

____

Todd Moore

Posted in Todd Moore with tags on January 6, 2013 by Scot

taking turnstodd

firing 22
slugs thru
the wrecked
truck’s win
dows reno
puts one
dead center
thru the
windshield
i nail the
driver’s side
door which
was already
shredded
reno sez
it almost
feels like
we’re
shooting
at people
i hand
the 22
pistol off
to him he
kisses the
barrel
puts one
in the hood

____________

(today is my old man’s birthday.  Alive, he’d be 109 so this is for my old man.)

i sd you

got whiskey
dripping
off yr fingers
my old
man glanced
at his
hand
licked it
off & sd
next to
pussy i
cd eat
whiskey
all day
long he
gave me a
crooked
tooth smile
sd the only
thing better
is pussy
w/blood

____________

pig iron

had the
blackjack
going a
cross
ziegler’s
face
z kept
trying to
duck but
the jack
knew
where
z’s face
wd be
jack
on skin
sound
was like
raw meat
talking