Flash Review: JARMICK’S NOT ALOUD

Jarmick coverNot Aloud,
by Christopher J. Jarmick
MoonPath Press, Kingston, Washington,
http://MoonPathPress.com
ISBN 978-1-936657-19-3
2015, paperback, 188 pp., $20.00

Reviewed by Thomas Hubbard

Do you read or write poetry in Seattle? Have you ever read or written poetry in Seattle? Columbia City? Kirkland? Are you familiar with the term, Poem Starter? You do? You have? You are?

Then you must know Chris Jarmick. So you won’t be surprised, reading the first poem in this collection, “A Supermarket in Seattle,” to learn that it is not only a tribute to dead poets, but a very skillfully crafted, sometimes giggling, near paraphrase of Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “A Supermarket in California.” Look it up on YouTube, and realize this guy does his homework.

Nor will you be surprised, upon buying and reading Not Aloud, to find that Jarmick’s “Supermarket” takes you back to shake Ginsberg’s hand and laugh with him. And you will likely agree that Jarmick does funny about as well as anyone, including Dr. Seuss, another of his sources. But if you want something other than funny, turn directly to “Rides With Dad,” on page 112, and be sure to have a handkerchief handy. Not that it’s sad — it’s not. It’s a feel-good poem that could change the way you feel about family errands. But have the hankie handy, just in case a drop of rain … well, you know.

Perhaps you’re a lover of irony — maybe even irony about love? Then “Not A Poem About the Divorce,” on page 63, will please you. Ironic as it is, you will still get a belly laugh. This is a big book, so despite the Poem Starters (after all these years I’ve come to enjoy them), there are plenty of funny, serious, ironic, earth-shaking poems here that will change the way you see most anything, at least for a while.

This is another of those books you buy, then give away, then buy another. Might as well just go on and buy a couple. Not Aloud is a bargain. And the cover art, “When The Believers Try To Silence Their Gods,” by Duane Kirby Jensen, is a big bonus.


Thomas Hubbard, a retired writing instructor and spoken word performer, authored Nail and other hardworking poems, Year of the Dragon Press, 1994; Junkyard Dogz (also available on audio CD); and Injunz, a chapbook. He designed and published Children Remember Their Fathers (an anthology) and books by seven other authors. His book reviews have appeared in Square Lake, Raven Chronicles, New Pages and The Cartier Street Review. Recent publication credits include poems in Yellow Medicine Review, spring 2010;  I Was Indian, ed. Susan Deer Cloud, Foothills Publishing, 2010 and Florida Review, and short stories in Red Ink and Yellow Medicine Review. He serves editorially with Raven Chronicles and The Cartier Street Review and he blogs about writing techniques for WordCraft Circle of Native American Writers and Poets.

Poets Against Hate Reading

Poet Larry Crist: fights against hate, February 13, 2016
Poet Larry Crist: fights against hate, February 13, 2016

Video of Poets Against Hate Reading This video was recorded by Seattlechannel.org, City of Seattle Channel 21, on February 13, 2016, 2-5 pm, at the Central Seattle Public Library, in the Microsoft Auditorium, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA. Co-sponsored by Raven Chronicles, It’s About Time Writers Reading Series and The Seattle Public Library.

An Unevenly Distributed Future

Matt Briggs discussing writers and technology, on 2/4/16 at Seattle Central College Library
Matt Briggs discussing writers and technology, on 2/4/16 at Seattle Central College Library

by Matt Briggs

It is hardly news to anyone in Seattle that humanity over the entire planet is experiencing an unprecedented rate of technological change. In Seattle this is visible in entire neighborhoods replaced in the last ten years. According to Governing Magazine, Seattle has experienced a 50% gentrification rate since 2000, compared to a 40% rate in the 1990s. Cleveland, in contrast, has experienced a 6.7% rate since 2000. In Seattle, to travel to a new city, you only have to spend an afternoon watching a movie. You will find a new skyline when you go outside. Major shifts such as the movement from stone to metal tools, from hunting and gathering to agriculture, or from human labor to mechanical labor, once took place over millennia or centuries. Since the end of the 19th century, however, we have experienced a continual and increasingly rapid succession of equally large technological shifts: the internal combustion engine, the rise of machines capable of computation, nuclear power, global communication networks, the spread of pervasive data collection, and automation of complex information and physical systems.

Continue reading An Unevenly Distributed Future

Patrons, Revolutions, Romantics, and Boarding House Reach:

Paul Hunter discussing writers and technology, on 2/4/16, at Seattle Central College Library
Paul Hunter discussing writers and technology, on 2/4/16, at Seattle Central College Library

Pursuing a Life in the Literary Arts

by Paul Hunter

During the last four thousand years, where art existed at all, for most artists making a living meant begging from those in power. Historians call it patronage, though most of it went without saying, part of the facts of life absorbed by osmosis. Some rich person, king or noble, bishop or abbot, cardinal or pope would be approached by an artist, a painter or sculptor or poet, and if the rich person liked what he saw, the two might arrive at an understanding whereby the artist would be clothed and fed, perhaps given supplies and a stipend along with a series of commissions which were really command performances. He might also sometimes be given a tedious, responsible job as personal secretary or teacher of the rich man’s kids, in return for his work being sponsored, tacitly approved, owned and enjoyed by the wealthy man and his family. If the artist remained properly subservient, the arrangement might be lifelong. To some extent patronage still goes on today, politely veiled through a couple of mechanisms I will come to in a minute.

Continue reading Patrons, Revolutions, Romantics, and Boarding House Reach:

UPCOMING EVENTS

APRIL BOOK EXPO: March 20th, Hugo House, 11am-5pm. 1634-11th Ave, Capitol Hill, Seattle. Please visit Raven’s table at the book fair!

APRIL is an annual festival of small and independent publishing. Since 2011, they’ve created programming designed to connect readers with small press writers and publishers. They believe that small press publishing demonstrates the best of what is vital, daring, and energizing in writing today.


 

¡Xicanismo Afire!

​Museum of Northwest Art, LaConner, Wa
             March 25-26, 2016​


Xicano (Chicano) ​Literature Foundation​ Poets
Friday, March 25 from 6-8+pm
Poets: alurista, Lorna Dee Cervantes, John Martinez
6-6:30pm light refreshments; 6:30-7pm, USA Chicano History
7pm–8+pm, poetry reading and questions from the audience
​Tello Hernandez, guitarist​
Pacific Northwest Xicano  (Chicano) Poets
Saturday, March 26 from 6-8+pm
Poets: Ramon Ledesma, Raul Sanchez, and Angelica ​G​uillen
6-6:30pm light refreshments; 6:30-7pm, Northwest Chicano History
7-8pm, poetry reading and questions from the audience
​Dr. Devon Peñ​a, guitarist
Questions? please contact

Liz Theaker,  lizt@museumofnwart.org

 

Introduction by Paul Hunter

MC Paul Hunter’s introduction for the Raven Chronicles’s reading and reception, for Vol. 21, Laugh. Laugh? Laugh! magazine, at Jack Straw Cultural Center, Seattle, Washington , 10/16/2015.

 

MaryLee Martin (1929-2014)

by Priscilla Long

MaryLee Martin started came into my writing classes beginning in 2006. What I appreciated most about her was her essential seriousness as a writer. I loved her turn to poetry, the intellect and passion she devoted to it. Her presence in class and in our community was ever-gracious and humorous, continuing through a couple years of terminal illness. Her enthusiasm and attention to the work were a gratifying component of every single class she was in. Also, she was a very good writer. 

In our community, because we are writers, we are inevitably and constantly revealing ourselves. So without much commotion or bother we end up knowing quite a lot about one another, since it’s part of the creative enterprise that our instrument—as they say in theater—is our selves and our lives even if we write about other selves and other lives. It was a great gift to learn of MaryLee’s childhood in Aberdeen, her struggles with Lewy-Body dementia as she cared for her husband, her love of plants and flowers and the garden, and her love of music. Another gift was her awareness of her own mortality, never shrinking from it but never losing her cheerful and loving way of relating to the community. 

When this year’s June Intensive (a seminar I teach) was coming up, MaryLee told me I’d better give her seat to someone else, since she probably wouldn’t be here. I told MaryLee that as long as she was breathing she would have a seat in the June Intensive. I wasn’t sure she’d make it. What a happy moment it was when she walked in with her little smile.

 I feel lucky to have known her. What follows is a piece by MaryLee titled “Why I Write.”

Why Do I Write

by MaryLee Martin

I, Mary Lee, write so that I will remember.
I write to resolve pain.
I write to change the past.
I write to cling to lost loved ones.
I write to save myself for posterity.
I write to notice what I may have missed.
I write to forgive. I write to let go. I write to clear my mind.
I write to clarify my thinking.


I write to frolic in my various delights.
I write to make myself laugh.
I write to see what the page asks of me.


I write to avoid the task at hand.
I write in hope of fame and fortune.
I write to amuse.
I write to share my experiences and my
wisdom.
I write to explore my foolishness.


I write to portray a woman of the twentieth century.
I write to find joy.
I write because I enjoy the lovely shape and sound of letters and
words.


I write to greet my readers from this sunny day and from
beyond my long, happy life.
I write to join eternity.
I write to relinquish my thoughts and words as they fade and
become ash.
I write to summon my children and all who follow us
to 
pleasure and appreciation of the present and hope for the
future.

I write to become myself.

Priscilla Long is a Seattle-based writer and teacher of writing.


Lalo Alcaraz

Cover cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz
Cover cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

Lalo Alcaraz,  the artist/cartoonist who created the cover for Raven’s humor issue, Vol. 21, is the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip, La Cucaracha, seen locally in the L.A. Times and other papers nationwide. Lalo is also a consulting producer and writer at Fox Television’s Seth MacFarlane executive-produced animated show, Bordertown, which debuted this January, 2016. He is also a consultant for Pixar, and is on the team that is creating COCO, their animated movie around the Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico. A prolific political cartoonist, Lalo is winner of five Southern California Press Awards for Best Editorial Cartoon; produced editorial cartoons for The LA Weekly from 1992-2010; and creates nationally syndicated editorial cartoons in English and Spanish. He drew the Sonia Sotomayor themed “Lil’ Judge Lopez” cartoon which appeared on 60 Minutes, CBS News and Univision, and hangs in Justice Sotomayor’s Supreme Court chambers. Lalo’s books include the New York Times bestseller, A Most Imperfect Union, US history book with Ilan Stavans (2014), Latino USA: A Cartoon History, 15th Anniversary Edition (2013), Migra Mouse: Political Cartoons On Immigration (2005), and La Cucaracha (2004).  He is also Jefe In Chief of satirical website Pocho.com, co-host of KPFK Radio’s satirical talk show, The Pocho Hour of Power, heard Fridays at 4 pm in Los Angeles. on 90.7 FM. Lalo recently taught illustration at Otis College of Fine Art & Design in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of San Diego State University (BA in Art) and UC Berkeley (Master’s in Architecture). He has seriously talented but erratic children with his wife, a hard working public school teacher. He lives in a house.

The Chelsea Hotel

 

by Ann Spiers

Have I told you about my honeymoon? It was perfect.

When I stepped out of the taxi into a pile of dog poo, I knew I was in New York City. I slipped out of my wedding shoes and left them curbside, proceeding barefoot in my wedding dress into the Chelsea Hotel lobby. Being so unshod was possible back in the great and late 1960s, the hippie days. The Chelsea was perfectly seedy, stinky, badly lit. I was a poet. Dylan Thomas drank upstairs.

The desk clerk, being solo behind the battered boat of a register desk, asked us to wait. He would escort us to our room when someone came by to relieve him. Time ticked. We had things to do. This was our honeymoon. And certainly waiting for us upstairs were the spirits of Leonard Cohen and Janice Joplin, the songsters celebrated in Cohen’s “I remember you well / in the Chelsea Hotel…”

The clerk finally abandoned his post. Let the world have the Chelsea lobby. After unlocking our room, he stepped in, and Click! the door closed behind him. Unfortunately, there was no inside door handle to let him out. He jiggled the hardware, but he was caught with us in the room. He used the room phone to reach the front desk, but alas, no one had replaced him. He let the phone ring nonstop. Perhaps the ring would irritate someone enough to answer and locate a screwdriver to release the third wheel from our honeymoon suite.

A trio, we looked around the room. It was perfectly shabby, although the bed looked freshly made up. The rug, however, had a patina of dark brown, sorta the color of old dried blood. Sid Vicious would inhabit this room. Leonard and Janice must have booked this room. And Dylan Thomas must have died in this room. But just as the evening was slipping from perfection into gloom, someone answered the phone and arranged to let the clerk out. A threesome on any honeymoon — even Sid’s or Janice’s — was really not groovy according to my personal mode of hippiness.

We were fresh from our wedding ceremony in Washington, D.C. We had wanted to get married by the Quakers, the Society of Friends, in D.C., known for their anti-war politics, support of conscientious objectors, and a nice garden for weddings. But they wanted us to spend some weeks having “marriage lessons.” I had known my true love for one year, lived with him for eight months, what did I need yet to consider? And I wanted a May Day wedding — just us and a few friends. Undeterred, I fell back on the Jesuits, the priests of my youth. I went to their local church rectory, knocked on the door, and said, “I want to get married on May Day.” The priest responded, “Okay. Bring $25 for the bishop.” This culture was one of which I was perfectly familiar. My fiancée wore “good clothes” to work the week before the wedding, not wanting to get arrested in the biggest Viet Nam war protest ever and be in jail on our big day.

Planned for us in Manhattan was an evening “reception” hosted by a Seattle friend. He was adept at seizing opportunity, and for our benefit, he shifted his already-planned May Day party into our wedding reception. Later, he got a brief mention in The New Yorker as a friend of a rising artist and, much to everyone’s delight, he was referred to as “a wealthy friend.” Wealthy or no, my friend’s reputation includes the title “cheap bastard.”

But what a heart he has! Upon our arrival at the May Day party, he presented us with a cake, a sheet cake — not done up with wedding bells, but birthday clowns. However, the words, “Happy Wedding,” were writ across the cake’s icy field. Earlier, while tripping through Manhattan, our friend happened upon this cake in a bakery window. The place was about to close. Our friend never missed an opportunity, having been honed to survival as captain of a fishing boat in Alaska’s Bering Sea, the world’s most dangerous fishery. The baker conceded, “Yes, the cake was a display cake,” and “Yes, you can buy it marked down, and “Yes, at no extra cost, the words can be changed.”

How perfect the evening. Our friend’s large loft was separated by makeshift walls and furnished with objects found on the streets. A poet read from the claw-footed bathtub on a raised platform in the kitchen area. She sported lovely floating booblets. A ballerina pirouetted through the crowd. As forerunners of performance art, a pair of heroin addicts slept naked on the couch, one stacked atop the other. We marveled that white folks could be so white all over. And in spite of sweating so profusely, they did not slide off or out from under each other.

Later, back at the Chelsea, the screwdriver was left in the door hardware for our convenience. We read Dylan Thomas — “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower / Drives my green age. . .Love drips and gathers. . .” We toasted Thomas’s wraith, coalescing from the fumes of stale booze and cigarette smoke
left over from his last stay, the downing of his eighteen final whiskies.

It was perfect. The rest was ordinary: We spent our honeymoon night in the regular way. We are still married forty-some years later, have a good time, are set well for retirement, and are blessed with grandkids. How I miss the perfect days.


Ann Spiers is Vashon Island’s (Washington) inaugural poet laureate. The Peasandcues Press (Vancouver, Washington) recently published her poem Rain Violent as a letter-press broadside, designed and printed by Joseph and Marquita Green. Her latest chapbook is Bunker Trail (Finishing Line). Visit Ann at annspiers.com.

 

Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 21, 2015.