Archive for the ‘Reprint’ Category

Andreas Maria Jacobs is an artist, writer and editor born in The Netherlands in 1956. Urbanity is a main motif for the transmedial art which he produces. AMJ defines “transmedial art as any art trying to escape the traditional boundaries normally applied to specific art fields such as painting, dance, performance and the like. For me the art genre I work in is best described by ‘painting’.”

AMJ confesses that inspiration for his work comes both from his own experiences and the world surrounding him:

“In the sense that the separation between ‘me’ and the ‘other’ is always a problematic one and I use my work as a means to investigate this problematic duality. Inspiring philosophers who influenced my works are among others Jacob Boehme (a Renaissance thinker and Shoemaker), Spinoza (Dutch Renaissance Freethinker), Vladimir Solovyov (Russian 19th century Mystic) and the whole bunch of modern philosophers ranging from Karl Marx and Oswald Spengler to Deleuze and Pierre Bourdieu.

I cannot make a distinction between my ‘head’ and my ‘life’, my ‘head’ is my ‘life’ and my ‘life’ is my ‘head’, so what’s in my head is also in my life and vice versa.”

My head is my life and my life is my head.’ ~ Interview with Suze Hupkes, Yeditepe University Instanbul / Hogeschool Utrecht

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Eddie Woods writes poetry the way he lives life, intensely. Experience informs his art, and vice versa. Passion, raw edges, nothing left out. Sex, love, politics…coupled with an unrelenting drive towards awareness, the need to understand what universal reality is all about. The Irish poet Ewart Milne said of the poem “Mary,” following its publication in Peter Mortimer‘s Iron magazine [Issue 43, Tyne & Wear, England]: “It’s very powerful, strong and fearless, and it troubles the hell out of me!…It reminds me somehow of the brothel scene in Ulysses.” “My words are like bullets…Plus I have enough ammunition to wipe out as much opposition as will ever come up against me. And every bullet will hit the mark, because I am a good shot.” From the telephone prose-poem “Bloody Mary.” If, indeed, Eddie Woods’ words are bullets, then his poem “Mary” enters the listener’s ears like a wordbomb, exploding inside the mind, and reverberates down the spine like electroshocks from the brain’s pleasure centre. Introduced by the Amsterdam performance artist AnAmontAnA at Salon dAdA on May 1st, 2011 (in the above video), Eddie Woods describes AnA’s Salon “as pure Dada. Usually laced with clear sexual overtones and occasional nudity. You’ll find acts calling themselves The Sugar Sluts, et cetera.”
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As a publisher, I have found there to be nothing more gratifying than the opportunity to observe a writer develop, sometimes from their earliest initial publications in which one can see their obvious talents emerge and blossom. Urban Graffiti has published many such talented writers and poets throughout the years who have gone on to have successful careers in their own right, and I am pleased to have played a small role in their success. One such writer and poet is Sonia Saikaley, whose short fiction piece, “A Specimen In A Petri Dish” first appeared in Urban Graffiti #7 in Autumn of 1999. I am pleased to reprint Sonia’s story here, now, for your critical enjoyment. Enjoy.

I look through the peephole, my heart pounding like the drums at a First Nations pow-wow. I quickly stop looking through the hole and comb my fingers through my short, brown hair. “What the hell is she doing at my door?” I whisper to myself.

She knocks at my door again, louder this time. “I’ll be there in a minute,” I call out, frantically shoving the tits and pussies magazine under the chesterfield.
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The prose poem has always been a welcome form of poetry in the pages of Urban Graffiti from the very first issue of the litzine. It allows the poet to freely explore sometimes extremely difficult territory unhindered by form. The prose poem also allows the poet to rise beyond metaphor and begin to speak with an allegorical voice. I don’t know of a single major Canadian poet that hasn’t written in the form. Many appear in one of my favourite anthologies of prose poems, The Lyric paragraph : a collection of Canadian prose poems, edited by Robert Allen, published from Montreal’s DC Books in 1987. In the inaugural issue of Urban Graffiti, the very first prose poem I happily accepted for publication was a poem entitled, “House of Unfulfilled Dreams” by Montreal poet and small press publisher, Stephen Morrissey. In this poem, he explores those dark spectres of anger and rage which sometimes haunt and kill a marriage. I’m pleased to reprint it here for your enjoyment.

House of Unfulfilled Dreams

Details of events aren’t necessary; it is enough to say that a madman involved with religion murdered a woman. Then there was the murder house, a door left open by the police, and my curiosity about the murder. There was also my own hell; slowly parts of myself were being shut down: I was a house with most of the rooms shut and locked, and those still used were barely furnished. I accept the blame for everything. What else was there to do? What was left but resignation? I would leave my house not saying where I was going and enter the murder house by the back door. It was quiet there, no restless ghost of the murdered woman came to bother me; I was the only restless spirit in that house. I would enter the house and sit near the living room window which had almost the same view as from my own living room window. I would watch cars and trucks passing on the highway. It was cold, February cold, but not uncomfortable in this unheated house; frozen vines and plants in the house seemed almost alive. I would think how strange it was that the only place I could find quiet and peace was in this house where there had been a murder only a few hundred feet from my own house. Each visit I would go through the murderer’s papers, his mad writings about God and religion. Then I would look at his pornographic magazines and consider the absence of sex, loving, caring and tenderness in my own marriage. Meanwhile, at night, I was being tortured: secretly parts of my body were being removed: one finger tip, a toe nail, a bit of flesh on my upper arm; I would awake the next day in pain and wonder about this loss. Gradually my body was being dissected. For several months I would visit the murder house and feel relaxed, at peace with myself, before returning to my home where anger was increasing to the amount of peace I found elsewhere, in the world where people love and hate, go mad and murder each other, or find a lover for the peace and quiet and love they can’t find in their own homes.UG

Stephen Morrissey, poet and teacher, was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1950. In the 1970s Morrissey was associated with the Vehicule Poets, a group of young poets (Ken Norris, Endre Farkas, Tom Konyves, Claudia Lapp, Artie Gold, John McAuley, and Stephen Morrissey) who published and organized poetry readings at Vehicule Art Gallery in Montreal. Morrissey’s first book of poems, The Trees of Unknowing was published by Vehicule Press in 1978. Morrissey also published two literary magazines of poetry, “what is” (1973-1975) and “The Montreal Journal of Poetics” (1978-1985). Since 1976 Morrissey has taught English and Humanities at Champlain College, where he is still employed. In 1983 Coach House Press in Toronto published Morrissey’s second book of poems, Divisions. The book was accepted for publication by bpNichol and edited by Frank Davey. Family Album (1989) was published by Caitlin Press in Vancouver. Morrissey has also published five chapbooks of his poems, Poems of a Period (Montreal, 1971), The Divining Rod (Edmonton, Greensleeve Editions, 1993), The Beauty of Love (The Poem Factory, Vancouver, 1993), The Carolyn Poems (The Poem Factory, Vancouver, 1994), and 1950 (The Poem Factory, Vancouver,1996). Stephen Morrissey has one son, Jake Morrissey, born in 1979. He married poet Carolyn Zonailo in 1995. In 2000, they founded Coracle Press, in Montreal, Canada.

Photograph which begins this post is entitled “Urban Winter: I” by Devin McCawley. For prints, contact him through his website.

Since it’s inception in July, 1993, Urban Graffiti has always received far more poetry than it could ever possibly use — rejecting almost 95 percent of the poetry submitted over it’s eighteen years as a paper-based litzine (largely due to the UG’s specific mandate). That said, ever so often a poem submitted would not only stand out as both an excellent poem in its own right, but an excellent example of the litzine’s overall mandate as well. Such a poem was Lyn Lifshin’s poem, “The Mad Girl Dreams of Cleaning Women” first published in Urban Graffiti #6 in February 1998. I am pleased to reprint it now for your critical enjoyment.

The Mad Girl Dreams of Cleaning Women

She’s burned out,
down on her knees, a
supplicant who could
be kissing some
savior’s feet
only it’s the floor,
stretching out in
front of her, an
enormous penis
that won’t be
satisfied, a
beach she has to
smooth over
with a toothbrush.
Her knees are
raw as someone giving
head 24 years. She’s
bent over. Under
her hair dirt
yelps more with a
switch. If she
stood up she’d have
the bends. She’s
heard of women in
India crawling
on hard floors. At
least when they’ve
spread them
selves, are avail-
able and prone
and open as O,
they have flower
designs to show for
it. For the
mad girl, the
best she can hope
for is no dirt
under her nails no
scuzz on stairs
or paw prints
on tile, all she even
has to show for her
sweat and stress
is nothing.UG

After Lyn Lifshin heard that in the Eskimo language, the word for “to breathe” and “to make a poem” are the same one, she no longer worried, as she had in graduate school, she’d never be able to write enough. Born in Barre, Vermont, in 1942, Lyn Lifshin has written more than 125 books and edited 4 anthologies of women writers. Her poems have appeared in most poetry and literary magazines in the U.S.A, and has been included in virtually every major anthology of recent writing by women. She has given more than 700 readings across the U.S.A. and has appeared at Dartmouth and Skidmore colleges, Cornell University, the Shakespeare Library, Whitney Museum, and Huntington Library. Lyn Lifshin has also taught poetry and prose writing for many years at universities, colleges and high schools, and has been Poet in Residence at the University of Rochester, Antioch, and Colorado Mountain College. Winner of numerous awards including the Jack Kerouac Award for her book Kiss The Skin Off, Lyn is the subject of the documentary film Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. For her absolute dedication to the small presses which first published her, and for managing to survive on her own apart from any major publishing house or academic institution, Lifshin has earned the distinction “Queen of the Small Presses.”

Recent books from Lyn Lifshin:

THE LICORICE DAUGHTER: MY YEAR WITH RUFFIAN, Texas Review Press,
ANOTHER WOMAN WHO LOOKS LIKE ME, Black Sparrow at Godine.,
COLD COMFORT, Black Sparrow
BEFORE IT’S LIGHT, Black Sparrow
DESIRE, World Parade Books
92 RAPPLE DRIVE, Coatlism Press

Also out recently:
NUTLEY POND, PERSEPHONE, BARBARO: BEYOND BROKENNESS, LOST IN THE FOG, LIGHT AT THE END, JESUS POEMS and BALLET MADONNAS, KATRINA, LOST HORSES, CHIFFON, and BALLROOM. And just out: ALL THE POETS WHO HAVE TOUCHED ME, LIVING AND DEAD. ALL TRUE: ESPECIALLY THE LIES.

Forthcoming books include TSUNAMI AS HISTORY from POETRYREPAIRS.COM.

Death Valley Days

The TV was straight ahead. In my hand was the remote control. I was pretending it was a gun.

A person flashed across the screen. I pressed a button, shooting him dead.

Another face appeared. There were twelve buttons on the remote control. I pressed them one after the other.

Oprah Winfrey. “Bang! You’re dead.”

Family Feud. “Bang! Bang! Bang!”

Vanna White. “Bang! Gotcha.”

I had won the TV in a raffle six days ago. I had been lying on the sofa ever since. I hadn’t slept. I hadn’t bathed. Bags of potato chips and jujubes littered the floor. I had filled a Giant Slurpee with piss.
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Urban Graffiti published several of Matthew Firth’s short stories throughout its existence as a paper-based litzine, yet “Life During War Time” which appeared in Issue #7 has long been my personal favourite. It brought together all the rich elements I found missing in so much of Canadian fiction — postrealism, tragicomedy, sardonic humour, and allegory. I’m pleased to reprint it here.

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I worry. It’s what I do. Not all the time. No, Christ, not all the time. I manage to wait for what I consider to be appropriate moments. Moments that stretch from seconds to minutes to hours, soaked with a bitter anxiety that I cannot come close to describing, that I do not care to recall. Who the fuck could write that sort of thing down? Hands trembling. Heart sprinting. Mind twirling loose in my skull. No, it doesn’t lend itself to words. Not the actual feeling. Not the actual worry. But how the worry is manifest. Where it comes from. What feeds it. That is always palpable. That is easy to explain. Because it is rational. The worrying. To worry. Both. It is based on a certain real, tangible something. It exists. It has its basis in the real. It is triggered by real events. You know what I mean? You know the sensation? You know what it’s like to truly worry? Way down deep inside where your guts knot and stew? You do? You don’t? Ah, fuck you if you don’t!
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