Tuesday, November 30, 2010



A three-day free conference (18-20 November, 2010) in Buffalo, NY to celebrate and explore Charles Olson's legacy and extension through 'A Curriculum of the Soul", a series of poetic essays published as fascicles edited by Albert Glover and John C. (Jack) Clarke. Sponsored by: The Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York, Just Buffalo, Kareples Manuscript Library Museum, the Poetry Collection at University at Buffalo.

World-view with a vector. The talk of fields mixed in poetry, in lives, between covers and on the page. All those fields, all those fasicles, poets/ then & now and thinking just how the combined forces of these contributors would create image and movement. "What is the use of" was an opportunity (bunch of serious students of poetry, tied by some threads, bunch of different threads) to find common language. In a year of Charles Olson events this one was the from Buffalo out vector or so I hoped pulled together by Kenneth Warren of House Organ and fired by Glover/Clarke time factor. The combining of fields, the wave tank that rolls distinctions and allows for resounding surf. At the Conference, Joe Napora told a tale of whitewater kayaking the Colorado River (which I don't want to steal entire because he can probably keep telling it for five or ten years ) how at the last run of giant rapids it becomes important to follow the tiny bubbles. I listened in when Pat Glover asked him to explain more and he described the physical geography, a fold made between different million years-old rock formations on the river bottom. Not that that made paddler, kayak and white water all work together. I could be all over Napora's metaphor but like I said somehow it goes with him. I mean he's the guy with the paddle in his hand. Follow the tiny bubbles.

PHOTO KEY: top to bottom & left to right. 1.) Kitty Jospe 2.) John Roche 3.) group: Amarilys Lora, Pat Tansay, Kathy Tussing, Pat Glover 4.) Albert Glover 5.) Daniel Zimmerman 6.) Andre Spears 7.) Kenneth Warren 8.) David Landrey 9.) Stephen Ellis.

click on any photo and enlarge . all photos by Alan Casline on November 20, 2010

I want to post something on the celebration found at the Soul in Buffalo Conference. It was a low-cost (bring your own coffee) human event. The kind which happens sometimes when good intentions and civil people gather around shared ideals. Albert Glover, Daniel Zimmerman, Michael Bylebyl, David Tirrell and Michael Boughn all present and read from the completed CofS book their long ago work is a part of. Very interesting the book as object brought to life with Glover inspired method of not self protecting rather reading from any author/any selection. He did the same thing in Rochester at the Black Montain North Symposium in October when he read from Harvey Brown's JAZZ PLAYING section. He and Michael Boughn didn't read their own work this time but read from other sections. The voices of Zimmerman, Bylebyl and Tirrrell were all very welcome to me. I had read their individual CofS fasicles and perhaps now heard them joined. Kind of irritating that the whole book is not generally available to read but when online version appears that issue disappears. Cass Clarke in Buffalo I thought as talk drifted away from Olson to Jack's work she seemed energized and sharp.. She didn't come back for days two and three, however and expressed distrust of Analytical Psychology examination (as in Kenneth Warren's benevolent obsession) For me, meeting Joe Napora and Stephen Ellis was great. David Landrey and I were talking as the final clean-up went on that along with whatever else happened it was nice that the poetic corridor running from Albany through Rochester to Buffalo seemed alive and ready for more.

collective torn images, twice collected
or more each migration heaped up
not yin/yang (once past the selection over mine and yours)
one over the other, on surface, over edge.
first dealing with the crap, the junk
tie it down in the middle
easy beyond beginning specs
balance bung, usu, low building with low-pitched roof
shared rhythm picked up
agreed to use care when overlapped
space remains, a vector world-view
spin toward the better
we say it, more of the good
turn over with grins
that now we can create chaos
Alan Casline
November, 20, 2010
Buffalo, NY

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ten Most Important Mountains in Poetry

As part of the Black Mountain North Symposium I presented a selection of the ten most important mountains in poetry. I wanted to get a conversation started and also thought by putting together a hand-out I could impress upon people the background on my picks. Here is the list:

Ten Most Important Mountains in Poetry

Alan Casline List October 5, 2010

1] Black Mountain

2] Cold Mountain

3] Machu Picchu

4] Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo

5] Inyan Kaga (Black Buffalo Horn) or Harney Peak

6] Mount Olympus

7] Sourdough Mountain

8] Mount Liupan

9] Fujiyama or Mount Fuji

10] Monument Mountain

Black Mountain has probably the least profile as a geological feature. Black Mountain College, Black Mountain Review and Black Mountain School of Poetry all carry the notation. There is a Black Mountain as part of the landscape in North Carolina but the actuality of stone and heighth is not as important as Black Mountain is as a place. All the mountains on the list have mythos and imaginative place as well as physical. Charles Olson in an April 1969 interview with Andrew S. Leinoff (Muthologos 2010) had this to say; Black mountain to my mind is not only not in past time but is a flag hanging out in the future which hasn't yet been, hasn't been redrawn, in a funny way.

Cold Mountain has a ancient and modern tale to tell. Han Shan the Chinese monk who legend has as the author wrote the originals and Gary Snyder provided an introduction to most of us through his translations. He famously used a language of the trails and mountains of the Pacific Northwest to shape and surprise us (scree, riprap etc.) These are poems that really place you on the mountain and helped me understand how mountain poems could be important. Also in my library the Burton Watson translation of 100 Cold Mountain poems has long held a prominent placement. For many years I had it at my desk at work.

They critcized the Old Poet of Cold Mountain
'Why write poems other people can't understand?"
"Unlike you," he offered, "I have read of the ancients,
beings not ashamed to be poor and humble..."
This caused laughter at his poem and his answer,
"How can you talk such foolishness?"
"Then carry on my friends, go as you are.
you let money be your whole life!"

Machu Picchu I selected because of Michael McClure's poems and visit to there. There was a program on the site that I saw on TV not too long ago which reinforced it's unique presence. It is in a part of the world still dangerous to travel to. McClure said "Machu Picchu is an interesting place. It can really get one into an entirely different way of feeling." He said he noticed "it's not the buildings that are interesting but where the windows look out to." He wrote the poem VILLANELL for Gary Snyder while he was at Machu Picchu. The poem is on "creating visions not solutions." When I wasn't sure about keeping Machu Picchu on the list, Gary Lawless let me know about the Pablo Neruda poetry that travels spiritually from lost jungles up the ladder of the earth to "Mother of Stone, spume of the condors./Highest reef of the human dawn./Shovel buried in the first sand." Neruda's poetry on Machu Picchu is expansive and moves the mountain city into literary significance and on to another list of mine, the list of poetry I need to spent some time studying.

Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo like Machu Picchu and further down the list Mount Fuji are significant beyond the poets who might have created lasting impressions of them. There are some mountains that are sacred to a people and culture. You can say, of course, all nature is sacred to people and cultures. Some mountains, like the Navajo peaks, are specific in importance to the mythology and religion. My visit to New Mexico in Spring 2010 placed me in Navajo lands and I joke about spending too much time there talking to the Cloud People when I should have been paying attention to heavy traffic on the interstate (inner state?). Four mountains, as I have been multi-corrected, make my list of 10 actually 13 to which I am going to add three more Navajo mountains to total 16. Think of the Navajo mountains as boundary stones as the Navajos believe they were placed on the land between four mountains by their Creator. Four is a sacred number and the four mountains represent the four cardinal directions. Song poems from the native southwest use four as repeating form and rhythmic magic.

Tsisnaasjini, dawn mountain, mountain white shell
boundary stone above San Luis Valley
over you comes the morning sun
your peak opens to the East

Tsoodzil, blue stone bead, turquoise charm
Laguna lies past your guard
arc of sun path in your sky
roads escape to the South

Doko'oosliid, mountain Abalone shell
late shadows trail dusty Flagstaff
you rise, sun passed over your head
faded light echos the distant West

Dibe Nitsaa, graze mountain sheep
high on your rock face grass grows
Cloud people gift on the La Plata mountains

North where clouds gather

If you are looking for them: Tsisnaasjini is Mount Blanca, Tsoodzil is Mount Taylor, Doko'oosliid is San Francisco Peaks and Dibe Nitsaa is La Plata Mountains. The three inner mountains added to Navajo sacred mountains are Dzil Na'oodilii or Huefano Mesa, Ch'oolii or Governador Knob and Naatsis'aan or Navajo Mountain. These three are all sites important to the mythology of the peoples. The three are known as the lungs, heart and head of Navajo country with their stories tied to the tale of Changing Woman. Now you can see why I didn't pick just one of these sacred mountains and why they make the list of the most important mountains in poetry.

Black Elk's Vision brought the site of his visionary trance, Inyan Kaga or Black Buffalo Horn to the list. Known as Harney's Peak in the Black Hills of Dakota, it is unfortunately named after the Military leader responsible for taking native land for US government land in the area. The Black Hills are a geologically old mountain range that have long been sacred to the native peoples. Most know the story of how gold was found and to protect the unlawful miners the US government pushed out the natives, mostly by armed intervention. Black Elk's story was told in the 1930-31 although he had his great vision at the age 9 in the year 1872. When first published in 1932, I suspect it fed the nostalgia and awakened consciousness of educated Americans. When republished in 1961, it was available for counter-cultural native lore seeking hippies and others in the sixties. I read the vision during my undergraduate college years in the early 1970's. It is a beautiful language net which you can see why Carl Jung found it interesting. In the tradition of magpie poetry there are many shiny pieces in thoughts, word phrases and images available in it. It could be a good workshop to have every poet read this text, go away for a few hours and then return to write a poem influenced by the experience. Here is a small sample of the words: "And as I passed before them there, each gave again the gift that he had given me before--the cup of water and the bow and arrows, the power to make live and to destroy: the white wing of cleansing and the healing herb; the sacred pipe; the flowering stick. And each one spoke in turn from west to south, explaining what he gave as he had done before, and as each one spoke he melted down into the earth and rose again; and as each did this, I felt nearer to the earth."

Mount Olympus seems like a no-brainer as an important mountain in poetry. Found in the poetry of Homer, Milton and must be lots of others. When asking other poets for possible mountains for this list Mount Olympus was always among the first handful mentioned. Mount Olympus, Home of the Gods, Big head faces looking down on tiny us and pinching out a life or raising storms and sinking ships, you know the whole pop cultural thing is so ingrained. I find, however, no signature poem(s) with Mount Olympus as subject or even as primary setting. It must be my lack of a classical education. Maybe someone else can help me out. As subject matter for poetry the Greek myths are used and reused. They trace the whole of poetry's ages in art and culture, however a Mount Olympus poem, I don't know?

Sourdough Mountain doesn't have that problem. It has a poem, SOURDOUGH MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT by Phil Whalen. Sourdough has more than one poem from the days poets worked as fire tower keepers but this one by Whalen puts one on the mountain and opens space to all-seeing transformation, a verse meditation, life/death poet stuff: This rock, me,/To no purpose/I tell you anyway (as a kind of loving...) He says, I destroy myself, the universe (an egg)/And time to get an answer. Let's generalize on these mountain poems, what for to go there -- to make a climb, the metaphor like Grandfather Carp swims upriver. Whalen ends the poem, Like they say, Four times up,/Three times down." I'm still on the mountain. I recommend the book POETS on the PEAKS: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades by John Suiter published by COUNTERPOINT (2002). The story is there with quotes from poems and journals with photos historic and contemporary to the books publication.

Rooting around in the material from the time of these poets in the mountains. Poet Lew Welch I believe also was a fire tower lookout or at least he spent time in the same mountain range. Gary Snyder's poem AUGUST ON SOURDOUGH, A VISIT FROM DICK BREWER is an account of Brewer's visit when they lay in their sleeping bags "talking half the night". Gary Snyder staying and Dick Brewer hitching to New York. Snyder ends the poem "me back to my mountain and far, far west." These mountains would have nothing in the human language to say without our involvement.

Mount Liupan is the most obscure and perhaps that makes it the most personal. In July 1983 when I lived in Saratoga Springs, New York I wrote and later had published a poem ON TWO POEMS OF MAO WITH RED BANNERS. The Mao Zedong poems were Jinggang Mountain (1928) and Mount Liupan (1935). My poem was an idealistic expression of the value for the character of a person and for a political movement of not giving up on beliefs even in the most difficult situation. Mao had written these poems while on the longest march. In looking Mao's poem up for this list I found he had written a later poem, Reascending Jinggang Mountain (1965). He finds new scenes have replaced the old. "Everywhere orioles sing, swallows dart,/Streams babble/And the road mount skyward." Thirty-eight years are gone in a snap and the old soldier knows wherever men live "Flags and bannners are flying" (political strife goes on). it is not on that note the poets ends however:

We can clasp the moon in the Ninth Heaven
And seize turtles deep down in the Five Seas:
Nothing is hard in this world
If you dare to scale the heights.

from Reascending Jinggang Mountain (1965) by Mao Zedong

Chinese cities on the moon. We may both live to see them!

Fujiyama or Mount Fuji is the Japanese sacred mountain found in poems for centuries. Like Mount Olympus a mountain included by everyone asked to help me with this list. From the haiku of Matsuo and Yosa Bunson all the way back to the poems of the Man'yoshu, the oldest exisiting collection of Japanese poetry. Still a potent symbol in the 20th Century, an anti-war poem by Mitsuharu Kaneko places us at the foot of the mountain as father and mother talk of hiding their son from the draft. Birth certificates, they ought to be burned right away./Nobody should remember my son. When night time at last ends this is the mountain he sees: The rain has let up./In the sky vacant without my son,/well, how damnably disgusting,/like a shabby worn-out bathrobe,/Fuji!. Not songs of praise and thanksgiving the Japanese poets make Fujiyama clear or obscured depending on each poems moment of insight. Here is my current collection of poems:

in the misty rain
Mount Fuji is veiled all day -
how intriguing!
-- Matsuo Basho

the wind of Mt. Fuji
I've brought on my fan!
a gift from Edo
-- Matsuo Basho

O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!
-- Kobayashi Lssa

Oh Mt. Fuji
Grey sky, green pine.
Soon will snow fall.
Grey will turn to white,
Will fall on pine,
Will flutter on ground.
I've got to sit down
and rest this heavy bundle
Which is making me
Black and blue.
I'll take off my tabi
and scratch my foot
which itches. Oh, Mt. Fuji!

-- Yosa Buson

pouring floods of rain
won't Mount Fuji wash away
to a muddy lake?

--Matsuo Basho

Immobile Fuji
alone unblanketed by
millions of new leaves

--Yosa Bunson

peacefulness ... today
Fujiyama stands above us

-- Matsuo Basho

to celebrate new year's
we feast newly-opened eyes on
snowy Fujiyama


Monument Mountain is not that far from my home and is one of two of the Ten Most Important Mountains in Poetry that I have climbed to the top of. The other is Harney Peak which I climbed as a teenager on a family trip to the Black Hills. Monument Mountain is not a difficult climb. It stands tall with a sharp cliff-side and is quite beautiful with large sections of white marble stone. There is a poem Monument Mountain by William Cullen Bryant that tells the story of a fair Indian maid who loved her cousin, a forbidden love which so upset the girl that she began wasting away and became "sick of life". Her friends went to the cliff edge with her and sang all day songs of love and death. And decked the poor wan victim's hair with flowers,/And prayed that safe and swift might be her way/To the calm world of sunshine, where no grief/Makes the heart heavy and the eyelids red. Kind of tribal assisted suicide on moral grounds. She jumped and they buried her upon the mountains southern slope. A pile of small stones marks the grave. This cone of stones was added to by each visitor and according to Bryant is the monument the mountain is named for. There is a lot to chew on with this poem.When hearing it, poet Tim Lake supported the notion that now centuries old social and cultural conventions could intensify emotions to the point love unrequited could physically harm and even kill (through physical neglect) the tragic lover. Monument Mountain's importance grows because on August 5, 1850 Herman Melville, the editor Evert Duckinck and Oliver Wendell Homes joined a party on the mountain that included their host, David Dudley Field Jr. and Nathaniel Hawthorn. The meeting and friendship that began between Melville and Hawthorn started on the mountain ridge where the party read Bryant's poem. The story goes when a thunderstorm arrived Holmes built an umbrella from branches and they passed around Champage in a silver mug.

Now that I have a list what about the mountains I have left off? Shelly's Mount Blac is mentioned by Gary Lawless and Stephen Baraban. Stephen Lewandowski suggested Mount Tamalpais writing Snyder, Whalen and Welch all have a poem about Tamalpais. John Roche had the most suggestions so far. He says Olympus is good, but Mount Parnassus, home of the Muses, even more essential to poets; Dante’s Mount Purgatory; Yeats’ Ben Bulben; the Hill of Tara (Red Branch Tales, etc.); Mt. Tamalpais, sacred to SF Zen Center and all those poets (Snyder, Whalen, etc.); also for Kerouac, Desolation Peak; Mt. Katahdin in Maine: “In the 1840s, Henry David Thoreau climbed Mount Katahdin. His observations are recorded in a chapter his famous Maine Woods. Katahdin had such a profound effect on Thoreau that he was inspired to call for a creation of a national parks system.” What was John Muir’s favorite Yosemite peak? N. Scott Momaday: Rainy Mountain. Noah’s rock (Mt. Ararat); Gilgamesh’s mountain (Mountain of Nisir); On Top of Old Smokie; The Mountains of the Moon; Mt. Etna must be in a lot of poems; Everest, the Matterhorn, etc. must be in many..

Many good mountains to add but I am sticking to my list for the moment.
--- Alan Casline

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Picked up an old post card in Pottersville, New York last Thursday. With United States election day coming up it a few weeks I was amused by the comments attributed to Hosteen Yazzie, an old Navajo. The back of the postcard has this to say:

"Old Hosteen Yazzie, was one of the last Navajo Indians to surrender to the Army Scout, Kit Carson, and the U. S. Soldiers. He has been a familiar figure throughout the Southwest. His "LAMENT" gives an idea how difficult it is for him to understand "White Man's Ways". He is past 110 years of age."

J.R. Willis, Gallup, New Mexico is company responsible for the card.

A little internet research finds he is also known as
Hosteen Tee Yazzie. The Navajo meaning is
Hosteen (Mister, Sir, a very Respected Elderly Man)Tee (pronounced "Tsh E") (Little)Yazzie (Tree)Old Mr. Little Tree

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Click on image to enlarge

On a rainy wet moist night (It was October 6, 2010. It was too many adjectives on purpose) WOW! My Black Mountain North adventure took a predictable turn, a run around the block on Irving Street in Albany New York (the dirty, the mean streets, urban decay, wet leaves waiting for street cleaners) Yes we waited. We waited for street cleaners as a few of us, braze souls, waited for MORE! Cleaning like the fire that swept through Clarksville, New York burning houses, rumbustious old photos, that have caught--yes predictable, inevitable has caught the eyes of Obeedude. "Bird, Bird ", he said. "There is a lot of history in Clarksville." Braze meant "hardened". With the end in the beginning, I see cosmic sorting out. Said to Jason Crane, "Surely you know from jazzchasing the sound certain times when the players, the sound is perfect & right and you look around and see who is there, how the heck you got there to that club at that time and the wonder of the sorting out not formula though you could probably do it mathematically but as I know there are wee people inside the numbers on the page as well. It was a daRK ANd storMy night when into the Parting Glass Tavern in Saratoga Springs walked Tim Cook who unsurprisingly greeted Albert and Pat Glover first. I had arrived earlier. Glover had his nose in Obeedude's IPAD. Now there was a meeting strong in ROOTDRINKER mythos, "Obeedude meet Glover" "Albert this is Obeedude" I was dejected like Creeley. No not like Creeley, "Creeley was Creeley" as Albert was kind enough to school me. I thought instead of lesson of silence when I wasn't shouting and strutting my stuff.

The scene moved. I am overcredited. On Phila Street next to Hattie's Chicken Shack above a comic book store lying in wait Cafe Lena.

No joke Albert Glover gave us a great poetry reading. Jason Crane recorded the event which means at some near point he and I will make it available to the World-O-Sphere. For Ken Warren, Michael Boughn, Hoa Nguyen, John Roche and other A Curriculum of the Soul (the book version) fans here is what happened. Carol Graser the open mic host asked me if I had any personal bits she could use in introducing Al. I went over to Glover's table and hijacked the copy he had in front of him brought it over to her, I took it out of the plastic bag it was in and then out of the box the book fit in and put it in front of her. She opened it and spent a minute or two looking at pages. During her introduction she referred to it. She wanted to say "Bible" but then changed it to "Dictionary". I guess other people there were paying more attention to this all then I thought. Glover read beautifully from RELAX YR FACE and OMEGA SEQUENCES. Then something happened that had never happened in Cafe Lena poetry history (to anyone there's memory). Carol asked Albert (after he had already sat back at his table) if he would do an encore and the crowd (not those of us with intimate knowledge of the CofS) started calling for Albert to read more poetry and started calling for A Curriculum of the Soul. "Read from the Curriculum" 'Read from the big book" The crowd actually called for the Curriculum to be read to them. WOW! again (more sincerely this time) so Albert read briefly from the Charles Olson Introduction, read the Table of Contents and then read a nice piece of THE MUSHROOM

If you have not yet seen here is a taste http://jasoncrane.org/2010/10/

Now Thursday morning a respite from many-armed Black Mountain slopes. Blue sky

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


A global problem with local impact. Still not understood the decline in what are unfortunately seen as "bait fish" will lead to a catastrophic decline in sea life if the overharvesting does not stop soon. Harvesting from lower in the ocean food chain is an all too familar example of the trail to ecosystem destruction. Think of a forest impacted by over cutting. Soon the large trees are gone and harvestable timber is redefined as younger and smaller growth. The demand for wood fuel in many parts of the world strips the forest of the growth of small trees and bush. If conditions allow it grassland appears for a time until over grazing and erosion finishes the job. On the way back home after a weekend in Maine, my alternator and battery quit, resulting in a night at Motel 6, not quite the fun poet Obeeduid had had the previous two nights camping out at Lake St. George State Park. Developing awareness and raising consciousness the poets Gary Lawless and Karin Spitfire held events all summer in the coastal towns of Maine where an once thriving sardine fishery allowed small town factories to process and can the fish for later consumption. The closing of the last operating sardine factory this year punctuated the effort.
One cosmic connect of the extra day on the road was the discovery of a column in the Worcester, MA. Telegram & Gazette newspaper (8/20/2010) by the outdoors writer Mark Blazis (markblazis@charter.net) The title "Giants gobbling up fish"

Monday, August 9, 2010


Crave an underground view
streams flowing out of dark chasm
deep below surface
water currents head down to deeper lair.
Darkness of side passages
branch channels in limestone
room to crawl away from the electric light
but not on a wild cave adventure today.

A Show Cave is all upright
grandmother with a walking stick
teenage girl shivering in shorts
stairs to climb, damp flattened floor
the wiring nearly as old as discovery day.

Light brought to show melting form.
Eyes open to beautiful structures
Water drip carried stone deposited
grows an inch in a hundred years.

Later shut my eyes and minds-eye
sees the glowing multiple forms
calcite crystal flowers, thousands of stalactites
pure white flowstone not frozen
but so slow time stills.

Inconsequential cave crickets above the entrance
the usual tales of fish without eyes
names carved on walls
near the surface roots dangle down,
they find a way.

Ceiling and walls black from woodsmoke
natives stored their corn
made a trading place for tribes
spirit world was strong
phosphorescent flakes a star map to a different heaven.

Our guide calls cities concentration camps.
She is still pissed about the small pox blankets.
She has been touring this stone
for most of her life.

July 31, 2010
near Huntington, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Back from the Olson Conference held June 4-6, 2010 at Simon Fraser University's Segel Graduate School of Business in Vancouver, British Columbia. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt with the people and the surroundings. I have to think they found a way to a great success for this conference where the participants did not seem to need to create conflict inorder to be noticed; but strived to communicate instead. There were great differences of opinion but also careful conduct expressed in willingness to entertain ideas for their own sake. Course that is just my opinion. Who knows what dark underpinning of antithetical representation appeared when I was not looking? None I hope.

My comment the first day to the first of two roundtables on The Future of Olson Studies followed me around a bit for the rest of the conference. There was talk about the complexity of Olson and the necessity to study and understand his systems and antecedents (which wouldn't hurt, you understand) before reading his poetry. I just said, "Well, you don't have to. You can go ahead and read, enter the text. Bring whatever you have with you. Look around and bring out what you find, what is useful to you." Oh yes, 'negative capability' someone in the audience said. Probably because they were thinking the same thing themselves, a bunch of people came up to me and said they were glad I made those comments. Whoever said 'negative capability' really had it right. Those who know me know I am not a champion of ignorance. The anti-intellectualism of American culture is one of my country's biggest failings. Studying Olson has its own reward. The collection and archives at the University of Connecticut is suppost to be filled with material from a poet who wrote on all available materials with great profusion. Those who have visited these archives recommended them to the assembled as an almost necessary stop. You have to have "certain" credentials to be admitted, however. I'll have to try some time to see if I can get in.

One of the most interesting presentations for me was by Jonathan Skinner. He showed a photograph of Charles Olson standing next to his research collection of notes, diagrams and map overlays of the Gloucestor, MA area, stuck on probably the biggest wall area available in Olson's Fort Square apartment. A continual work in progress for Olson. The partly disassembled map survives in the archive. This got me thinking about the levels of thinking interfacing the unknown and familiar. You have the map. You have the interior mental map and then you have walking the place mapped. Plus the rest like mythic, chronological and knowledge of prior events all brought to cognitive structure and perception

Having Ralph Maud present was invigorating. His life and sharp mind are what I want when I am 82 years-old as he is. Those of us still at the conference late Sunday got to hear his presentation of a dramatic reading of Olson's play Apollonius of Tyana. When I first met him on Friday afternoon, I wanted to ask him about one of the points of the larger dialog our panel members had been having in preparing for our presentation (one I have returned to more than once). The specific of it is that Tom Clark in his biography of Olson refers to the poem Cole's Island as an example of allegory. I do not find allegory as I place this poem's poetic work in the mythological present. I said to Ralph Maud in the poem Olson meets with the Death not some distant reference of. He said he met someone there. Which reminded me that the poem never identifies the stranger as Death absolutely, "it was not one thing more than that he was Death instantly that he came into sight." We talked some more about his biography of Charles Olson. How he felt he needed to write it as for all of his work showing inaccuracies in Tom Clark's biography of Charles Olson, Tom Clark went and published a second printing without making any changes.

Of use was Kim Minkus talking about ways of reading a page, new technology and "the high energy construct" of Olson's Projective Verse being available and generated by performance using internet tools. I should say Minkus's Presentation was on Rachel Zolf's work which no doubt limited her talk. She did trace the investigative form of poetry to Charles Olson and made a nice point about the poet's use of space being invaded by digital space.

Jeanne Heuving gets my award for HOW COULD YOU LEAVE THAT OUT? Her presentation "Whose Projective Poetics?" shared ground with Jacqueline Turner's, who went just before her. The published letters between Frances Boldereff and Charles Olson showed he had a deep debt to Boldereff in regards to the ideas that shaped Projective Verse and other works. It was when she talked of "other energy sources" and even "stealing projective away from Olson" looking at contemporaries that followed in the decade of the 1950s without mentioning a prime energy source Jack Kerouac. Kerouac even said he invented "projective verse". Look at Mexico City Blues, the pages themselves how he broke open form and used space

Continued on Saturday morning by attending presentations on Projective Geometry and Dance. The three panels found under this topic were diverse and all very well done. Lisa Siraganian "Administering the Poem" As a propagandist and "artist/bureaucrat" Charles Olson had a life of qualitative success before he choose the life of a poet. What Siraganian intuited was the Idealized Admininistrator where an administrator must be a method expert and methods triumph over specialized knowledge. Interesting Olson life history in World of Ideas. He did a publication "projection of America directive" and progressive pro-labor circulating multi-media. How much carry over and carry on are the questions to fulfill. I can see forward, onward, projective as thematically similar but find the whole question less interesting then one good Olson poem. People have heard me say this before, the work is in the poetry itself. If the poem is not any good then the rest of it doesn't really matter. There are lots of words that if you are not sure of your originality you would be afraid to touch. macro and micro social norms also come into play. It is already fading but can anyone remember the word you were not allowed to say at this Conference (prophetic)

Kate Markoski brought us the dancing of Merce Cunningham. Mindscape picture of large Charles taking Cunningham's class at Black Mountain College and dancing with great particularity. Cunningham brought vision of dance being always individual, dancers own center the focus with position not oriented towards center front of stage. In Letters for Origin (letter of May 8, 1951) there is a passage on dance. "an investigation of the body as instrument" and the movement Olson was seeing in the glyphs he was studying, "the graphic of drama." He states as dictum: any player is (has to be) 1st dancer. I can report on the weekend's big mystery. Unless there is another description somewhere? Martin Duberman quotes Merce Cunningham on Olson as a dancer. "I enjoyed him... he was something like a light walrus." Looks like "walrus" wins and "elephant" loses.

I wondered if David Herd's presentation was on Secrets. I don't think it actually was. This was a case (and not the only one) where the presenter needed either more time or a less intellectually stacked setting. Herd's presentation required concentration which I apologize for not having enough at the time. Herd's title was From him only will the old state-secret come. I would like to read the whole paper if the opportunity comes my way. He pointed out how Charles Olson searched for sources on whaling used by Melville, however conceptualized deeper and gathered additional data which revealed more of the underlying social-economic structure. I could be off on this, but perhaps Herd then brought his own perspective to the source material as well as both Melville's and Olson's use of it. I did think; "Hey there are other poetic uses of that material" when Herd equated Capitalism with image of:

eight skeletons in a cave
shipped wreaked
by a whale stoving in
their vessel

Answering my question, he cleared up that he was referring to the eight men themselves. How their own choices had put them in a death trap. The reference to Capitalism put me more immediately in mind of the distant owners.

I went to the Panel: Olson and/or Apocalypse. This was a last moment choice. I was aimed at first at the panel that was going to discuss "the Archive" since Rootdrinker Institute has an archive which is growing but not as yet organizing. But after earlier discussion of "the Archive" I was not sure I could even get past the gatekeepers there. Now the gatekeepers to the Apocalypse that is a different story. There I have a seat saved. Peter O'Leary was the only announced presenter in town. Stephen Collis contributed a poem impression which was a imperative pleasure for me. What if they went to an Olson Conference and poetry broke out! Peter O'Leary's talk was titled "Fire against Wisdom:Olson and Synchronicity" Peter's own energy was pouring out like the sun. I enjoyed his style and conviction completely until later when talking with Jonathan Skinner, we discussed that topic (indirectly). There can be a bit of the zealous in presentation speech but it is a tough line because of the easy dismissal of the overzealous. I don't think Peter was overzealous except for maybe just a tiny tone. No problem, really, but for myself it was a reminder to keep questioning. The content of Peter's talk was along pathways I have traveled. Jung writes in his Forward to the I Ching a certain moment, not of time as in hours and calendars, but as "an indicator of the essential situation prevailing in the moment of its origin." O'Leary spoke of acausal connective, not causal, meaning full of cross connective. Here are a couple of Casline bumper stickers: THERE IS ORDER IN RANDOMNESS (which is how I organically design my vegetable gardens) and CHANCE DOES NOT HAPPEN BY CHANCE.

The Panel I came to Vancouver to be a part of was the last panel on the last day of the Conference. called A Curriculum of the Soul: from Buffalo Out. It is like reviewing a friend's poetry book or even worst reviewing your own poetry book to comment on the panel you yourself are on. I think I'll take a clue from the proceedings and say a bit about the development and hoped for impact and let others give feedback and critiques on the panel itself. John Roche, who I met after seeing and then publishing his poem Joe the Poet in Rootdrinker, was able to swap information and stories about Charles Olson's Buffalo days and The Institute of Further Studies. I remember asking him if he thought Charles Olson would be remembered as a poet or if he would be assigned to "the dust bin of history" (cliche). Ken Warren and House Organ became known to me through multiple vectors. Michael Boughn and Shuffaloff, I believe I found on my own even though I first read his work in the CofS fascicle Mind. I unconnectedly found a website when on a search through the innersphere and remember showing a copy to Dennis Sullivan in Smitty's Tavern and saying this is a guy we should meet. Hoa Nguyen also became interesting after I read an interview in which she discussed her personal take on teaching Olson's work. I had heard of Skanky Possum through Albert Glover. Glover I first met on campus at St. Lawrence University. He was carrying his medicine pouch and had a carved staff decorated with feathers and was pointed out to me as the poetry teacher which looked about right. The lead up to the panel presentation in Vancouver involved some long e-mail streams; Hoa's Buffalo reading when I met her and Ken for the first time; compressed research into the letters between Jack Clarke and Albert Glover regarding CofS and other matters and distribution of From Buffalo Out poem packet. We had shared and individual goals for what we wanted to accomplish in Vancouver. Sharing the stage as a panel and helping to create space for Albert Glover to expound and share insights on the "great project" brought to culmination in the form of a book A Curriculum of the Soul was one of the ones our gang prized.

Whatever wave of the event I was riding put me next to Renee Rodin and other poets from local Vancouver at the concluding poetry bash at W2-Storyeum. A great cave of a place with about seventy people there to hear poets from out of town and from the Olson Conference read. Stephen Collis happy to introduce me as from the Normanskill Watershed and not Albany, New York. Nice to leave their city with such bright and affectionate support as I return to the local, something like water seeping from a hill. Each poet dependent on their own time situation. Our application of poetry depending on who we are (who I am) with the variation always fitted to the individual's moment, though the fundamental lines of direction are of course the same.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Michael Czarnecki May 15, 2010

Michael Czarnecki is traveling and writing his way across country for the next 23 days, 28 days all told. Day 3 was spent in Albany County, New York State. Michael Czarnecki is poetry reading and blog journaling his way along US Route 20 all the way. Here is his site where he records his journey: www.foothillspublishing.com/us20/. You can look up his schedule and maybe meet up with him at one of his readings. He is also poetry reading 4 times in Montana on his way back (Route 20 doesn't go through Montana...too bad). We got the only workshop on the trip. A three hour affair on the travel writing form Haibun. In talking about travel writing Michael mentioned David Grayson, who he discovered while reading Lin Yutang. He said Grayson doesn't actually travel all that much but has a style of observation and simple prose that Michael tries to incorporate in his own journal work. The criticism that Grayson has language that is too simple is not at all a negative to Michael. "Simple good!" he said in a monosyllabic way (just kidding Michael) For the Haibun form itself look to poet Matsuo Basho's famous travelogue The Narrow Road to the Deep North described as a journey away from the familar in search of deeper meaning through zen. Writing Haibun is a choice as it requires a different focus. Not just for writing of spiritual poetic pilgrimages as Basho did, but for riding prose over the changing journey of sensation, writing to move one along and then add haiku to bring a stop and fill the moment.

tea, coffee, water
old writings brought to surface
quench poet's thirsty mind

After the workshop Michael has said he wanted to explore Route 20. I took him to the Albany pine bush to show him the old native's road, a footpath network, the literal beaten path of a time before whitemen and horses. Following East Old State Road I looked for a stop for some walking off into the pine. True exploration as I had never walked in this area before. I did take a group of schoolkids on a traverse of the State Preserve a few years ago so I knew it was terrian where it would be easy to get lost because of the sameness of topography and vegetation. The size of the pitch pine was impressive. Michael pointed out the sharpe prickles on each tip of cone scale which are an outstanding feature of this tree. There were old cones on the trees and ground. New cones ripen in September.

against the bright sky
twisted trunk sprays grasping branch
turns backward forward
A little map reading got us to our next site. Glass Pond in Guilderland. These small ponds form where the east branch of the Hungerkill joins the main branch. They are right on Route 20 so both locals and travelers notice the marshy expanse and see duck and other waterfowl visiting. Not much farther along the Hungerkill joins the Normanskill just upstream from the Route 155 bridge. The Schoolcraft family ran a glass factory next to Glass Pond where Henry Rowe Schoolcraft learned the family business. Schoolcraft and his wife Jane Schoolcraft did some of the earliest collecting of native folklore and mythology with emphasis on native culture and language. I wanted to show Michael Glass Pond before I took him to the Guilderland Library History Room which has a nice collection of old books including some written by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft. In my FootHills Publishing book Thirty Poems my poem THE MYSTERY OF THE GHOST HAUNTED HILLS is dedicated to the late local historian Arthur B. Gregg. I was able to show Michael the heart of this fine collection of books was Arthur Gregg's private library. In the poem Gregg looks for the grave of Colonel Abraham Wemple and speaks of the flooding of the Wemple homestead to make a reservoir. On this day we were able to trace the landscape mentioned in the poem and add to the "history" by making some new memories.
Later in the evening, after some good conversation and a few homemade beers (gift of Martha Healy and Sandor Schuman) Michael, either loading or unloading, lost his photos from the day. I had wanted to make Czarnecki's US ROUTE 20 Journey known to readers of this blog. There are good number spread across the United States. Also I wanted to post some Day 3 photos that I took.

scraps of paper fall
sent machine by machine home
memory recalls

Monday, May 3, 2010


Our Poet's Tour of the Catskill Mountains included views of greening mountains, small two-lane roads and indirect routes to almost everyplace we wished to reach. Woodstock area poet Will Nixon met Martha Healy, Sandor Schuman and me at the parking lot for the hiking trail up Mount Tremper. Our day was to also include a visit to Woodchuck Lodge, poet John Burroughs' summer house and grave site in Roxbury, New York (build on his old family farm). Burroughs had another writer's retreat built in a wild area less then a mile from his West Park, New York home. A small building with slabwood siding called "Slabsides." For over two years a group of local poets met there to share their own and others work. In part, the result is a new anthology of contemporary nature poems titled Universe at Your Door:The Slabsides Poets, edited by Will Nixon and Alison Koffler from Post Traumatic Press, 104 Orchard Lane North, Woodstock, NY 12498 (dswbike@aol.com). Will started our hike by discussing John Burroughs and I had brought some poems and quotes of his. As Will pointed out for a poet who today is largely forgotten, John Burroughs was amazingly popular and in his life time read by millions. He hung out with Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt on the level of collected friendship. Will said Burroughs hated the automobile at first but then Henry Ford gave him one and he changed his opinion. You do not have a million readers without having influence and celebrity. At his funeral the photographers, newspapermen and other reporters outnumbered family members and seemed more interested in photographing the rich and famous than anything else.
Since Will has written of quail in his book My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse. I read a stanza from John Burroughs poem The Partridge:

Ah! ruffed drummer, let thy wings
Beat a march the days will heed,
Wake and spur the tardy spring,
Till minstrel voices jocund ring
And spring is spring in very deed

This seemed like a nice energetic poem to start our hike with but first Will Nixon demonstrated how by flapping wings a partridge makes their drumming sound. We soon discovered we had hit the peak of spring flower bloom on Mount Tremper. The different colors and varieties of violets alone could fill a guide book. Sandy was taking his own pictures, especially of the few he couldn't identify. I pointed out that violet leaves make good salad greens and ate some to prove it.

We joked at the headlines, Noted Bioregional Poet Dies From Plant Ingestion Outside of His Known Watershed. I checked, violet leaves are edible and so are the flowers. Reading more John Burroughs while on the hike, we got I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. We didn't hear any patridge druming but I did hear the quiet of an owl in flight. What we thought was a fish crow was also determined by sound, more croak than caw.
Leap and the net will appear is another John Burroughs quote. This "wisdom" led to some good natured (pun intended) revisions and warnings. It was agreed that Burroughs didn't mean this literally. "It's a metaphor!" Sandy kindly pointed out.
The trail wasn't steep but the way was long. Martha decided to enjoy a spot part way up the mountain and Will and Sandy decided to take pity on my weary legs and removed a nice portion of the upward trail so I didn't have to go as far that last 3/4 mile. Then they added it back plus more on the long downward hike so I am not sure I gained anything and man it was a long way back to the parking lot.
The visit to Woodchuck Lodge was a great end to the day. Visually different then the trails with weathered house, stone fences, broad fields and ancient trees. I was interested in the Spring Houses at the Lodge and also near the John Burroughs grave site. One old apple tree had to be well over a hundred years old

Will Nixon pointed out the hill named "clump" mentioned in a Will Christman poem. In a sense we were recreating Christman's annual visit to see his friend John Burroughs and even followed the same roads back to Albany. I drove down past the Christman Preserve to show Williams Hollow Farm, the Christman home, to Sandor and Martha.
--- Alan Casline
View of Clump Hill at Burroughs Farm

John Burroughs at Woodchuck Lodge

Friday, April 9, 2010



waiting for a white truck
at United States Post Office
Magdelena, N.M. 87825
no one told me half the
people in New Mexico
drove white pick-ups!
Bruce Holsapple says “I figured”
spying me standing outside
writing in my pocket notebook
and then I still almost followed
the wrong white truck—only
paused cause I saw a passenger
Bruce stops at every turn onto a
different road—“Did you notice how
the last road followed along in the arroyo?”
ravens roost in the cliff
below his house—drink from
the small pond he fills—
at his doorstep

poem by Alan Casline

ravens roost cliff

Alan Casline: I have the whole world against me. I can’t even get the ink out of the pen. There is something not allowing me to write.

Bruce Holsapple: Pencil—go to pencil.

A.C.: I know. I know. I don’t have one with me. I like pencil. I went to look at the pictographs (I call them) near Albuquerque.

figure of man
next to spiraling form
next to scar in rock
where petroglyphs
were broken away
were cut/ sharp tool
on canyon ridge
sun glare precedes
1st ray over the rim

different power
airplane rumble
dig for a quiet energy

B.H.: So what do you think of New Mexico so far?

A.C.: I like it, I like it.

B.H.: Yeah…real different than New England or New York.

A.C.: Yeah, well—what watershed, rivers, creeks, I consider myself to be a Normanskill poet—I live in that watershed, which is an approach—I have three little poems called the three pillars of local poetry—one of them is called THE WELL. It just talks about the town may change but the well doesn’t change—that not just the well but those people you find using the well—that’s where you find wisdom.

B.H.: That’s in FROM BUFFALO OUT isn’t it?

A.C.: No, no—there’s another piece in there, which is my piece on local poetry. Says “dig out the spring”—literally dig out the spring. Which is true, I have dug out more than one spring. But—as far as the Southwest goes…what I’ve found out since I got here - wow – it is even more true here – the well is the town!

B.H.: Everything revolves around the water.

A.C.: All these settlements…

B.H.: Yeah – you can’t do anything without water for sure. We are up above the Rio Grande—this water here if it flows anywhere it flows down into the Rio Salada. The Rio Grande is a central rift and the mountains are lifting up on either side – we are up above here so the water is kind of flowing down, wherever it is flowing down – it loops around down here.

A.C.: The Rio Salada, that’s a tributary of the Rio Grande?

B.H.: Well—tributary is kind of a funny word. It flows sometimes and other times it doesn’t flow. We came up the road from Magdalena and then took dirt roads for the last eighteen miles. The house is close to where Abbe Spring is and this is called Abbe Spring Canyon. Where the water flows is basically into the Rio Salada which goes down into the Rio Grande eventually and you crossed over that when you drove south—a big wide swath of sand, that’s the Rio Salada. It flows two or three times a year tops. It is still watershed. It is flowing under the surface all the time. That is where, it was on the Rio Salada, when the Navajo were trying to escape persecution, settled a camp over here and just stayed put and out of everyone’s way until they were rediscovered in almost 1900 - No one knew there were a band of Navajo here. They were staying where the spring is.

A.C.: When you send me a picture of where your house is I thought—Oh you live in the brush land, now I get out to New Mexico and I find you live in a forest – comparatively. There is a lot of cellulose, a lot of woody fiber out there.

B.H.: Ha, ha! The elevation allows—they call them cedar out here. They are actually juniper trees and Pinyons. Some are old, really old.



Out walking the dirt road
past my place (for exercise)
& as the road climbs
the pinion & juniper
give way to scrub oak
ponderosa pine

good for the lungs—humph!
(all the dust that drivers
swooshing by, put up)

spot a half-familiar plant
grassy tuft of thick blades
amid native grass & goldenrod
I know you, I said
kneeling, then peered down
over my shoulder
back to where I first learned
this weed, “goat’s beard”
saw through myself
to that desperate time

the distance
took my breath


Mysterious older man
named Charley, can’t hear well
thin body, white beard
slightly stooped
bicycles to town & back—
keeping active
I’d guess

walking the mountains
with his dog
I’d seen their tracks
& it takes them half the time, an hour
to reach the top of North Baldy

but the inspiration is what I want to know
for he’s climbed the peaks hereabout
many times

huh, he says, looking in my eyes

it’s a personal question

fear would be one response
the lack of integrity

fun would be another

huh, he says, looking in my eyes


I climbed Ladrones on Thanksgiving
where thieves once hid sheep
stolen from pueblos to the east
3 hours up, no path,
ate a precarious tuna sandwich on a protruding rock lip
wide eyed, huge reddish plains
east & north, & the other ranges,
Magdalenas or Gallinas

felt changed, saw differently—
to the degree I had climbed,
overcome myself
—thought so, at least

& working back down thru
a stony crowded canyon
pushed thru brush & cactus
hopping rocks, sliding on my backside,
wore holes thru my pants, both back pockets—
I discover this at home—lost my wallet,
credit cards, licenses

Going back up that canyon the next day
2/3s to the top, where it narrowed,
such a tangle of scrub oak, apache plume,
cholla, up, around, thru,
massive rocks, drop offs,
I’m down on all fours
cactus thorns, arms streaked with scars
close to stopping, stopped at
a small cliff I’d slid over,
flopped down from,
my fat black wallet
plunked into the sand

Monday, March 1, 2010


Dear Hoa,

So nice to meet you face-to-face in Buffalo last Saturday. You got to go snowshoeing at a preserve and saw great grackle you said and I arriving early got to walk around downtown with wet snow above, below and running off my hat. I won't pretend I'm noble and gave money to all the panhandlers, just two out of three. For one it was "busfare" and for another "to call home" but the third guy wanted money for a cup of coffee, that's a no...I could of used a cup myself about then, so screw him... I kept walking reading the names of streets. I saw Jefferson Street so I thought it was going to be a President thing but turned out not. As I like to say, I wasn't lost just off the path and I got all swung around somewhere and back to the 468 Washington Street place about a hour later. The trip to hear you read made too much sense in a solid extension of impulse and urge. You live in Austin, Texas and I doubt you will be this close again before our panel in Vancouver. Of our two vehicles, I took the one with 4-wheel drive and living as long as I have in New York State the Thurway becomes a familar road. Wasn't bad, there were bands of storms but nothing that sat down to wait for you, just kind of blowing in and blowing through. Bring Jack Kerouac into it (lunacy, wild foolishness and extravagant folly are the fountain for creative art) so of course I would drive three hundred miles to hear a poem (BALLERINA IN A MUSIC BOX).
Don't get me wrong, not to throw all of my poems out the car window as I drive down Main Street, good sense and my wife's concern meant I had a motel room in Batavia for Saturday night. I got to meet Kenneth Warren and John Roche was there so only Michael Boughn was not in the room. I was not there to make waves. I was explicitly not there to make waves. Calm deep still pool, that's me. Seriously, great crowd & on a stormy night had to be over a hundred people. This is not like a critical review or news report so please, to the other performers "I enjoyed it all" and to say anything is to slight the scope of everyone's efforts. Thanks Just Buffalo and Buffalo Poets Theater and the band Gut Flora. When Hoa Nguyen started to read there came over me a sweet contentment. The first poem out was one of hers I remember best. The NFL football playoffs are on T.V. and she is there in the room pretending they are all celebrating her Aquarious birthday. It is just congruent, weirdly so, as so many poets would detach & maybe add their social commentary but Hoa emerses. Here is the action, the tension and ultimately in the totality of her work the vector towards decency and the good. She brings her poetic consciousness and not judgements, awareness shapes, picking out bits (but I can't say "no joke or no lie" right Hoa?) and then we get it, all the commentary fuzz on the furniture "I disappear - I disappear."
When you mentioned tonic, Spring tonic, I wanted to yell out sassafras root! which the traditional Spring tonic of the St. Lawrence River Valley farmers was kept in a glass jar just inside the door to the cellar and I can remember this one old woman saying her father made her drink four or five swallows every day starting in late March to shake off lethargy. The recipe was secret and could contain a number of ingredients (the mints, ginger, willow bark, etc.) but they all had sassafras root from what I can tell. (Rootdrinker) Any of my good poet friends, I would of yelled out, but I couldn't with you, we are barely introduced. There is something to look forward to or maybe not? I enjoyed when you said "That is the herbal lesson portion" and again you had another lesson for the audience. Handing out lessons as part of a poetry reading that is an opening concept for me. Like hearing Ed Sanders be funny and thinking there is a use for humor and I can be funny and not be irrelevant. Poet as teacher and we haven't even gotten into the authority of Charles Olson. If you can, send me a copy of your essay that The University of Iowa is publishing in their anthology Poets on Teaching. I say the three hats of poet, editor, publisher are the same hat. You must know about that. Your thread involving grackles interests me and that you hated them at first and then came to love them. UGLY POEM of line "raucous perches" does get ugly, such uglies are the seasonings of reality. There is alot more to talk about when we meet again. We poets have a corner of our own in Smitty's Tavern in Voorheesville. I had Kiss a Bomb Tattoo, your book from Austin's Effing Press, with me on Sunday and it got passed around. Sorry if that hurts book sales and none of the pages were upside down either.
It was cool to talk with you, John and Ken at one time. Maybe using the power of the allmighty staple we can put together a poetry bundle to send around. Hope all is well.

Best, Alan

Thursday, February 11, 2010



bare hill — Seneca sacred place

bomb-fire hi-jinks for villagers

and faded lovers – blacken memory

windswept of snow

winter day — sky solid blue

jet like ant on pebble surface

slice of sky

--- Alan Casline