Books in the Mail

I love going to the mail box and being surprised by a package containing a new book by a friend. I've received two books over the past few days:


s John Martone, self-published

"String Parade" Jordan Stempleman, BlazeVOX [books]

"all saints" is a small, 4.25 X 5.5, handmade chapbook of light green Cambric Linen 65 lb. cover with black tape neatly covering the stapled spine. The inside ends pieces are delicate lavender handmade Japanese paper. The inside pages 24 lb. Cambric Linen Natural. The tactile experience coincides with the delicate poetry of a writer who has disciplined mind and spirit to note only what is essential in a poem. John Martone's work is one of those secret finds I could only hope for prior to getting acquainted. Light falls from the pages of his book.

all these old couples
                           out for a walk
                                                & me

the elderly
couples walk

the young ones
lie down
under maples

- John Martone, from "all saints"

"String Parade" by Jordan Stempleman is a BlazeVOX [books] production, 6 X 9, four color process, acquias coated, C1S cover. I'm assuming the cover is a Geoffrey Gatza design, the books is, I don't see a credit otherwise. Anyway, all hail BlazeVOX [books] for kicking and screaming and surviving the economy (the best revenge is to do well and Geoffrey certainly is). I love the cover design. "String Parade" is maroon (you want the PMS number?) PenultimateLight typeface on a 1.25 inch black background above a half inch white bar bearing Jordan's name margin-right above the cover photo: a headless mannequin sitting on a crystal looking construction, in a hot pink, short gown clasping her hands together, her white 'skin' in contrast to the hot pink and Op-art design on the wall behind her (the colors on the wall match the book title).
Why do I bother with all that description? Well, it's the first hint of what's inside, a well crafted book of poems with a view of language as surprising as a well dressed, headless mannequin.

Copied Mist
for Charles

the weather
and the weather

as it comes
and goes

as it seems
able and nowhere

after holidays
taken from towns

beside towns
unlived in

for some time
unheard of

until picked up
and sent

where others live
and announce

where they go
by leaving

and moving in
above all

Each of the 38 poems is dedicated to a person. I'm left wondering if each dedication is Jordan's nod to the people he knows or a riff on dedicating poems in general. Could be both knowing Jordan. Anyway, I've only just begun to read his book which arrived today. I expect a rocking good time.

3 December 2008

a plum, happy lungs, a radio in touch
evidence, restrained desire, syntax with a view

Frank is . . .

a hungry ghost gripping the wheel
an apple's nipple into cider-bearing sentences
paleontological stretches, a few moles, pines, transversely ridged
old man saguaro, the hum of blood, the sun, a glow
pajama sleeves, morning's radiance, unspeakable things
the compass in my pocket, whatever I can picture
the wheel, fallen leaves, the road ahead

Frank Parker
© 2008