by Editors: Conyus, Indigo Hotchkiss and Alice Rogoff.. Volume 19, Number 1. Twentieth issue. Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, 558 Joost Avenue, San Francisco, CA. 94127. haightashburyliteraryjournal.wordpress.com
Book Review by Michael Basinski
I bought my issue, this issue, Volume 19, Number 1, from a guy with a gray beard on a corner. I don’t know - Clayton and Haight? Cole and Haight? Maybe I am making this up? The guy’s name - I think it was Bob and maybe his last name started with the letter P. I should have written it down. I did not. And then he was amazed that I knew who Jack Micheline and Bob Kaufman were. Do not everybody? He wanted to sell me the Kaufman issue of Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. I just saw it in a rare bookstore for $20.00. A smart poetry seller, I thought. I hope the editors know that they got a good huckster out on the street. And union printers print the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal! These are two good things. Union and street huckster. However, the best is the poetry in the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. It is mostly all poetry with some prose and a few drawings and a few ads - but mostly poetry. It is void of that muck produced by reviewers (like this writer) that schmooses and butt kisses and says little and only gloms on to a network or writer who might write, might return a flavor favor and writers who call this criticism and blurbism and mumblism and hippoism and toiletism and the like. Muck. Forgive me. Thank you. But the poems, the poems. Of course the contest winner for Spring 2000 - a poem called: A Notion of Herself was a powerful one by Donald Brennan. The poem, about - so to speak - the feminine all soul and earth burgeoning. Well, I can’t mention everyone but Alice Rogoff’s poem Curfew stuck in mind because it made me again realize that art does have a purpose in all the ugliness of the outside, general world. And that art is an act of breaking a social curfew. And also I was nailed by Teddy Weiler’s poem: When the Fog is Gone from San Francisco, which is a poem reminding again how humanity and Bush are screwing up the air and environment and water - while he sits on his ranch. Let me ask you - good reader - do you have a ranch? Ah - poems can be political and mean things and have purpose. Well, I am getting a bit long winded here. Let me write about page 11. A solid page, a choice page, a cut of real red meat or if vegetarian: a carrot. Bull’s-eye is A. D. Winans and up in the corner his poem: Poem for Neeli. As I understand writing, getting clear of the stuff of world to get clear to the self is a major philosophical job to get accomplished before the writing can be art and it seems A. D. Winans has it. Sure he has been around, but rightfully, there are many around a long time who miss the nail and hit the thumb or dick in the zipper or get their tits caught in the ringer. Glad to read there are poets like Winans free of those painful poetics. And so is, on that page, John Cordova’s long poem called: Ally, and Daniel O’Connell’s short poem: Addiction. Both poems new species, mysterious and blazing pyramids from the African soul carried by Hippo-humans to the sea for homage to poetry. And then Julia Vinograd’s poem: The Jack Micheline Memorial. She has this poetry, this talking poetry that I thought died with Bukowski - but here it is sweet and clear a thorn and a bee and a flower and a broken bottle of beer candid and saying what she says after being alive with more than five senses. Jesus, I write too much. It was a good issue all away far around. Well, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal has been a lit. journal for twenty issues. Here’s to twenty more. Cheers and send them money.