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Gloria Mindock, Editor   Issue No. 109   June, 2022




Cervena Barva Press June Newsletter, 2022

Hi everyone! There was no newsletter last month. I did not have much to write about. This month, there is plenty.

I recently did a book trailer for Karen Klein. Her book "This Close" is published by Ibbetson Street Press. Here is the link to the book trailer for it. I hope you will order it. It is a great book! Enjoy!

Cervena Barva Press has just released three books this month. They are:

Quiet Geography
by Michael C. Keith

Nomad Moon
by Doug Mathewson

Gobbo: A Solitaire's Opera
by David Cappella

Last month we released:

Riot Wake by Nina Rubinstein Alonso

How to Jump from a Moving Train by Oriana Ivy

Both these are available for ordering at: Here are the book trailers for both of them:

Riot Wake:
How to Jump from a Moving Train:

Visit our bookstore to buy these and other great books!

While you are on YouTube, browse at our other book trailers and videos. Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel. (I am trying to build up our YT audience. I can use your support with this!)

When I publish interviews, I leave them alone and do not correct what the writers wrote. How they write their answers is how you get it. It is important to leave it in their voice. Over the years, many interviews have been left alone. No need to email me about it.

I am so grateful for all the interviews over the years and all the book reviews by so many. I am so happy to give writers attention in my newsletter. We learn so much about them. Thank you to everyone who interviews and writes book reviews. You rock!

Interview with Andy Clausen by John Wisniewski

1. What was your early life like, Andy? What kinds of jobs did you hold?

      I was born in Wallony during a Nazi bombing raid. I still don't like fireworks. (The sound not the visuals) My Belgium Underground bio-father met my dad, Frank Clausen Jr. in a bistro and brought the American home. A few days prior the Gestapo/SS gave my mother 24 hours to come up with Joseph Laloux or we were going to concentration camp. 6 hours from the deadline my distraught mother heard weird noises "like angels singing loud." She opened the door and was hit by a package of Wrigley spearmint gum; the Yanks had liberated the town.

      Soon me & mother were traded for the furniture and we went to Reno but had to go back (on the giant Queen Mary) to straighten legalities (each time a near total language change.) I lost my French, my 1st grade peers called it a sissy language growing up in Oakland Calif. Roughed me up. From 4th grade on I went to Catholic school and didn't speak French again.

      I was into sports, playing and as a fan, in high school, beer, teen dances, fist fighting. Five community colleges (finding reasons to drop out like training for the Golden Gloves or having too much fun partying to take my finals looking at a 3.5 GPA. I didn't care) No steady girlfriend joined the Marine Corps went to jump school. Had a dozen or so parachute jumps. I've written extensively about this period in BEAT, The Latter Days of the Beat Generation, A First Hand Account (Autonomedia 2018) I essentially quit, a process I detail in BEAT.

      Jobs? Paper route, ice cream cart, gas jockey, Watkin's door to door salesman, nursery box maker, hod-carrier ((one of the main occupations Local 166), milkman for Chuck Kesey's Springfield Creamery, frozen foods graveyard shift in Canada, green chain line a half dozen mills all over the north country(veneer & giant lumber too), tire warehouseman in Nashville, Rockola Jukebox factory, Chicago 68, a tile warehouse in Denver, Two years Yellow cab in Austin TX, laborer Local 1000 Poughkeepsie NY, in the early eighties entertainment program director at new age Friends of the Mountain New Paltz, Teacher's and Writers 12 years (poetry in schools) NYC, LI, Conn, envelope factory, stone mason, pharmacy delivery boy, Vulcan Forge stamping out wrenches, prison poetry workshops for over ten prisons, tree surgeon ground man, land scraper, limo driver & dispatcher

2. When did you begin writing?

      In my tenth grade English class we would go home and write a one-pager and recite it next day in class. I ate it up. I got their attention, could get laughs.

      I considered for a while sports writer as vocation. Then I read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Kesey. My friend Larry turned me on to Big Sur (Kerouac) I bought Desolation Angels and On the Road. In Desolation Angels Seymour Krim (who I read with in the eighties) revealed the real names of Kerouac's characters. I read "On the Road" and thought Wow! Dean and Sal and Carlo have fun and sex and read books, value intelligence and travel the whole country. They meet people from all walks of life and drive and go, farther than Oregon or Ensenada, they go go go like athletes in pursuit of a vision of a life where kicks keep coming and everything magical you imagined about life, about our place in the Universe (which we considered prime when we were wee and the joys of running through the grass, the smells, overwhelming us) came true. It was a ride into the future with the cargo from the past, the cargo that wasn't a bummer. It was a way to enter the atomic age without giving up our old kicks and desires. I was definitely for it; I wanted to join the Hip Beat Wild Love Generation. I went to the University and looked for art students who looked like they turned on, as we used to say in the day. I went to student and coffee house poetry readings. I saw the photos of napalmed kids and realized what they were and became anti-war; I listened to jazz with new ears.

      Then I read "Desolation Angels" and in the foreword by Seymour Krim, (who I met years later, while doing a reading together; he said to me, "I'm an urban man but I can still appreciate your work") explaining who the characters were based on in real life, so I went to Berkeley and bought Howl, The Happy Birthday of Death, The Golden Sardine, Abomunist Manifesto broadside & Mexico City Blues, and was on my way to being a beatnik poet, which, I assured my room mate, who was going into computers, was the wave of the future not computers, "I can count and subtract fast enough on my own, give me some numbers..."

      This kind of poetry will get real popular the more people turn on and realize this is the new scripture. The God in the Church is the false God. I know because I have seen God, sometimes It is just a Voice, sometimes like Light, a light that electrifies the entire body, a blinding clear glow of molecule. It's what's behind the sky. We'd get stoned & drunk and I'd recite from Howl and Corso cracked us up. I read Beat poetry to girls like guys use4d to play records to impress them. I was hooked I thought Beat Poetry would be as popular as baseball.

3. What inspires you to write?

      What inspires me to write? Right away I felt this was my calling. What inspires me to write? My first thought was women inspire me, now my beloved the terrific poet Pamela Twining keeps me at it, also the beauty & strength I see and feel in the work of the poets I love. I know what the Bard does for the tribe is absolutely essential I think without great poetry the human race would already be history. My main goal was to be consequential. If ugliness overwhelms our political realities I want to write about it. If I behold overwhelming beauty I want to put it in words.

4. Any memories of Alan Ginsberg and William Burroughs?

      I met my hero Allen Ginsberg in 66. First intimate time at the Anchor Steam Beer Brewery a party for Rolling Renaissance Poets. 11 of us young poets took our clothes off. Many a time I sat knee to knee with Allen as he critiqued my verse. I substituted for him at Naropa. My family took care of The Committee on Poetry (his farm & retreat) for a few years. He wrote introductions to my work. I read with him over 20 times, I have the posters on my writing room walls. I loved him like a father, mother, older brother., cherished mentor.

      When I would walk with him in New York, Berkeley, San Fran, Austin, Prague, Boulder, Denver, New Brunswick going to the store or post office or to a reading, stopped on the street, he would always give them a bit of time. He could get irritated if they interrupted a conversation or wanted to poke a finger in his chest telling him he'd Lost his Soul or East Village Manhattan Babushkas lifting up their skirts, showing their bloomers, shouting, "This is what you want Ginsberg!"

      He'd moan, then chuckle at that, followed by a wry whimsical naughty turning of the mouth.

      He helped Naropa Institute, the Mahayan Buddhist University, off the ground, raising money, donating his salary, using his celebrity, his connections. He & Anne Waldman founded The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. He read at more benefits, for peace, for legalization, gay rights, the environment, refugees, little stapled magazines, more than any other poet I'm aware of. Even at the height of his fame & notoriety he sent work to little shoestring poetry mags with dreams.

      He bailed many a poet and fellow traveler out of jail, sent money when they were stranded or their cars broke down in Texas, he got help for the aging ones and the ones on the skids, he helped me when I hurt my back bad falling off the scaffold onto broken cinder blocks and rebar carrying two buckets of mortar and me shoes skidded on the dry sand on the planks.

      Allen volunteered me to be William Burroughs' chauffeur for the day in Boulder, Colorado. We didn't hit it off. I found it to be tense, boring work. I loved to watch and hear the guy on stage delivering his strident futuristic politics, with no lines between terror and humor, disgust and wonderment, but in person this guru like figure of the Beat Generation gave me the uptight willies. I couldn't really relax, like I was going to piss him off just being me.

      Everything dark, shades drawn. One time everyone was talking about sucking d**k so I started talking about eating p***y. It was not popular, though Gregory thought it was funny.

      I knew his son, Billy, who wrote two great books that captured the lingo of a seventies stoner youth- "Kentucky Ham" and "Speed"- the guy who needed a second liver, who met the Beat Generation when he was fourteen in Tangier, who had been on 130 or so different kinds of pills, had almost died in the hospital and was raised by his grandparents. But say something denigrating about his absentee dad, all messed up as Junior could be, he'd be ready to fight. I told him I thought he was a better writer than his dad and he wanted to fight me! He was a stoned nondenominational christian buddhist drinker who revered Neal Cassady and the lore of The West.

      On his last birthday we were outside the Nepenthe coffee house in Denver, friend and Denver renaissance man Ed Ward was there and Bill's sidekick Matt... what was his last name? Wild kid from Lowell Mass with a lot of talent and destructiveness?

      Billy proposed a toast, "Today is my birthday, the day my father blew away my mom."

      I said, "That's a tough one to drink to, Bill . Man, I don't know..."

      He smiled, "Come, on."

5. Any poets who have influenced you?

      Many Poets influenced me as far as style, purpose, politics as I've read thousands of poets, studied hundreds and myriads I've heard at both featured but especially open readings allover the Land.

      Here's a list of my favorites hence most influential
Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Walt Whitman, William Blake, Bob Kaufman, Jack Kerouac, Lenore Kandel, Pamela Twining, Velimir Khlebnikov, Langston Hughes, Bob Dylan, Buffy St. Marie, Arthur Rimbaud, Kenneth Patchen, Kabir, Leopold Senghor, Nicanor Parra, Jack Micheline, David Lerner, Jayne Cortez, Vachel Lindsay, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Woody Guthrie, Nakim Hizmet

And many more, lots of song writers and I lived with Janine Pommy Vega and her Strunk driven red pencil for a dozen years. Had to be an influence.

      You will notice many beloved and renowned poets are not on the list. Some might have slipped my mind. It doesn't mean I haven't read them or appreciate some of their work but in my book many are over-rated some I find inconsistent, some contrary to most everybody else I find boring or even despicable. But my mind is open to change. Of course there's probably a poet somewhere in the world who will or could be the most stellar of all the top influencers but her/his influence on me would be by vibrations not the written or spoken word as I've not been made aware of such a person.

      Though my first language was Walloon French and I had two years of Latin in Hi School Amer-English is all I have any proficiency in, so my appreciation of poets of other tongues is through translation. I will admit I am prejudiced against Tory Right Wing Poets. Many current fine poets I left off this list; that would be another list.

      If I like a poet, I often attempt a poem in their style or form. Mostly it's like eating food what I read or hear becomes part of my oeuvre. I met 8 of the ones on this list and was close friends with 4.

6. What made the beats so influential?

      What made the Beats so influential? Many factors confluenced. The Great War was over, the G.I. bill was happening. Be-bop jazz, races intermingling, highways were enhancing & spreading culture, yet we were living under threat of the BOMB. The Beat writers found each other, like the classic Greeks in Pericles's Athens. and there are such occurrences through out history, the Blake Shelley Byron Godwin Wollstonecraft Wordsworth Coleridge nexus for example.

      The Beats censored no subject matter, wide open about sexuality and sexual argot. Though there were "red diaper babies" mostly the politics were advocacy of freedom compassion beauty intelligent fun. Kerouac's books were filled with poetry and poets who were exciting heartfelt & adventurous. Building was generating, Unions were strong, economy terrific, tremendous energy but there was also HUAC and insane institutional paranoia. The Powers were frightened at Beat's popularity. Every major Beat had a special agent (FBI) a personal one keeping tabs. This was discovered by the Freedom of Information Act. Well, the poetry, prose, music of the Beats was more entertaining more profound, honest, inclusive than what preceded it. It's wide spread influence was due to conditions and the fact it was often superior work. Yes and Luck had much to do with it. It had life changing effect on me & many others. I see it historically but also as a live movement. I rather be called Beat than Neo-Beat and certainly not Baby Beat as one antho called later practitioners.

7. Could you tell us about your poetry collection "40th Century Man" and "Without Doubt," for which Allen Ginsberg wrote the introduction.

      Without Doubt is from Zeitgeist Press where Bruce Isaacson, a stellar accomplished veteran poet who has built an active press and culture around the Babarians a wild few score outsider mostly West Coast under-world performing poets that include4 Julia Vinograd, Jack Micheline, David Lerner & Joie Cook. Now he's added fine poetry from Las Vegas where the press moved to. Ginsberg wrote a substantial introduction to my 1990 book. The dazzling artist Michael Wojczuk did the cover. Check out his marvelous cover on my 2012 collected HOME OF THE BLUES. I've been asked what the title is re- and inferring. It is describing where the Blues go to get born and where they go to die. It is like the song Tobacco Road "it's my home"

      Without Doubt was originally going to be "IT'S ABOUT TIME." I after publication realized Without Doubt was a tricky phrase. Jack Hirschman pointed out my line "without doubt Hitler was the Messiah" What I intended was without DOUBT Hitlers Stalins Trumps come to power. It has many poems I'm proud of : The Challenge, The Song of Desire for One, They are Coming (Ginsberg's favorite he included of young up & coming poets in New Directions 37) Come Love Come, The Bear, She Walks by the Crew, many...`40th Century Man was financed by Bill Gates. Gates wanted to use the first lines of Howl for a website. Allen said he knew two young poets who deserved a selected, Antler & Andy Clausen. Allen got Eric Drooker to do a beautiful cover. The conceit or fact is that I'm from the 40th Century. Mayakovsky stated he was from the 30th Century. It was very underpriced a couple hundred pages for 8 bucks? I thought make it very affordable I'd rather make two hundred dollars selling a hundred rather two hundred from 20 copies. Now I use those circular stickers and write in $15. ( Autonomedia) It has many pieces I still stand by Way Out in You, The Streets of Kashi, Goyko Lake ( my most requested from audience work), The Deconstruction of an Erection, Rosalee, Start the Sun, Ramona ( poem about my daughter's at home birth), many others...

8. Any future plans and projects?

      The Future? I have ready to go, what I feel is my best stuff THE FABLED DAMNED written since 2020 election, a collection of short stories and reviews as yet unnamed, a novella after WC William's Patterson, prose with poems about my back pack trip around the world at this point entitled TAKING OUR TIME (love its multiple meanings) and a large selection of verse 2013-2018 tentatively titled BIG BROWN CLOUD. I'm looking for publisher's who would have the means and will to try and sell the work.

      With Covid & what all else it's been hard work just maintaining consciousness but I'm fortunate to live with a lover who digs me & my work and is a terrific & important Poet. Covid is hurting me because I have complications, have done all the vaccine possible, masks, social distancing but still...

      I'd like to be around to witness the multitudes passionate to establish a just & prosperous planet for lovers to spend their lives on. I wanted & dreamed to perform to throngs who would agree who would "get" my humor. I desired to be in a position to invite those who have been good to me to the green room when Pamela & I go through their town.

      Poets go to so called feature-open readings to compare themselves to others, maybe get laid. Main problem is the masses; in fact even the poetry writers don't read much poetry. Peter L. Wilson said, "Nobody reads poetry." A hyperbole but not far from actuality. Celebrities who write poetry on the side can sell & be read, Leonard Nimoy, Jimmy Carter, Jewel maybe a Nobel prize winner?

      There are competitions called Slams, I made money betting against the better poet (Hit 3 out of 4)

      The open readings are often where pet lovers get together. Felines seem to be the most popular. The world is in dire straits and here comes a tsunami of cat odes.

      I may do an autobiography if my health allows. The public doesn't mind reading about poets, it's just the poems they don't read.

      Some of the academics & the government & business promote pleasingly obscurant verse. Tories, Catos, Rasputins, junior Hitlers want to shut me & those of my ilk, up. The Beats threatened them.

      They posited ignoring as being cool. They devised denigrating humor. They employ expert marginalizers. They pressure one's friends threaten to cancel their careers. As a last resort they'll denounce one as a traitor. If that doesn't work, they'll kill you after humiliating & salting the wounds of the ones you love.

      You know, even though the clock is saying time is zooming I'd like to find a new career: Chiropractor, professor, coffee house owner or manager, variety show emcee, alto sax: the Grey Bird.

      I have a plague stating I'm a New York state Beat laureate and another stating lifetime achievement.

      I don't think the Covid story is mellowing out and climate catastrophe & modern warfare are illuminating the recognition of revolutionary verse.

      You've probably guessed I'm a revolutionary. I want to change everything. I want to open the gates to the stadiums and instigate a change of consciousness. Boy O Boy the odds against me. Girl O girl, Il Buono Tempo Verra is what is engraved on Percy Shelley's ring. The good times will come.

Susan Tepper Reviews THE MADNESS OF BEING, stories by Ron D'Alena

The secret to writing a solid compelling story is to decide in advance what direction you are going. That is not the same as knowing what you are going to put in words and plot on the page.

From what I can gather, D'Alena is this kind of writer who has his literary vision in place. I believe he knew the book he wanted to write would concern itself with what is called 'common place' though any good writer knows there is no such place.

His characters are people struggling in some manner. They are living with less than is comfortable- financially, emotionally, physically and otherwise. They don't go to bed at night with the certainty of no worries in the morning.

The cover of the book is surreal and beautiful, its grainy image a metaphor reflecting on a man carrying a load on his back that's somehow pressing high up on his neck, as well. There is that sense of being boxed in throughout this book.

When we speak of writing with economy, we mean the author makes every word count. This book certainly reflects that phrase. No waffling around here. Every word, nuance, movement on the page is complete and there are no unnecessary embellishments for the sake of 'playing the reader along'. This is clean prose done very skillfully.

The story titled THE VACUUM CLEANER begins:

Cleat used his fingers to comb back his silver-gray hair, then leaned forward in the kitchen chair and rubbed Vaseline over the open blister under his right knee, where his leg should have been.

A startling opening that pulled me right in. What caused the loss of Cleat's leg? War? An accident? Act of violence? Illness? It opens by making the reader think, which then compels them to read on.

It is in this vein that every story in the book unfolds and continues unfolding.

ADORATION FOR JILL begins with a tight fast opening:

The traffic light clicks to yellow and Wade Nickles guns his '66 El Camino. In the intersection the cigarette lighter pops. He takes it, touches it to the Camel Light dangling from his lips. He goes down Blossom Hill, past Taco Bell and Home Depot, and turns right onto Old Monterey Highway. Then he makes a quick left onto the Rio Guadalupe Mobile Home Park. He pulls up in front of the double-wide Jill is renting, gets out and takes a final inhale of is cigarette before dropping it to the ground.

Whew! I am right there next to him, in that car seat, seeing the red glow of the cigarette lighter as it pops ready, smelling the smoke, feeling the '66 El Camino move under me, then the swerve as he makes his quick left. I am there. I can see Jill's rented motor home. This is the essence of good fiction. Pull the reader into the space of the story.

D'Alena's story THE PLASTIC BOX begins:

Eleanor was reaching for the restaurant door handle when she caught sight of her arthritic knuckles and the array of age spots across the back of her hand. As a young girl, she had spent countless hours playing the piano. She had enjoyed watching the motion of her hands: the curled thrust and pull of her long fingers hammering out a staccato against the weight of the keys. No one had more perfect hands, that's what Robert, her future husband, had told her four decades ago. He had said, your hands are cute and strong looking at the same time, it's a shame you don't get work as a hand model. His own hands were a mess of scars and his fingers littered with broken nails on account of his grind as a heavy equipment mechanic.

As the reader I wonder: Why did a lovely sensitive young woman, who played piano, fall for this rather ordinary working class guy who did heavy labor? What is the key here? And, so, I'm intrigued.

THE MADNESS OF BEING is a compelling story collection that intrigued me to its very end.

Simon Perchik, December 23, 1923-June 14, 2022
(Gloria Mindock, a friend of Si's will write a tribute in July's newsletter.)

Review of The Elliot Erwitt / Poems by Simon Perchik
Reviewed by John Riley

The Elliot Erwitt / Poems by Simon Perchik
66 pages
Cholla Needles Art & Literary Library
Joshua Tree, California

When I began to read Simon Perchik's new book of sixty-two ekphrastic poems, each one reacting to a photo in Elliot Erwitt's book Unseen, I was disappointed to not have the photos. How could I review a book of ekphrastic poems without spending time staring at each image? Then something happened. It is the sort of thing that happens when I burrow into Perchik's poetry. The more I read the fact they are ekphrastic poems begins to drift away. I don't mean it lost meaning. I am sure knowing which photo each poem was reacting to would add another dimension to the poem. But not having the photos does not dilute the poems. Each poem creates an environment that adds to the overall experience of reading. In other words, that soft, strong sense of unity one has reading ekphrastic poems is still there without the image. These poems, written in three-line stanzas, with none of them longer than five stanzas, provides you a simple path into the poems. The experience of reading them consecutively is very much like looking at one photo after another. I felt as though I was going through a box of old black and white photos as I read.

There is plenty of disagreement these days about a what makes a sonnet. I am not interested in entering into that discussion. What has to be said is that reading these untitled poems in one sitting, in sequence, is very much like reading a book of sonnets. There is that sense of completeness, that sense the poem is sharing itself with the reader. One doesn't read these poems as much as one experiences them. Many of the poems don't have a single word of more than two syllables, which allows them to slip in beneath the conscious mind, the focused mind. So little poetry today does this. The point of so many contemporary poems-I have trouble calling it the theme-is right there under your nose, and often it is being yelled into your face. It's not going to shift or become something more than it is. Perchik is after something different. He is a poet in search of meaning, a poet who knows asking the question is more important than having the answer. The impression one has reading these poems is that first you write, then you think, and then you design. This may not be the method Perchik uses, of course, but these short poems are in awe of discovery. Take 39, for example.

The hands that soothe your forehead
are lifting the moon from the same grave
it's returned to by morning-both hands

and the slow climbing turn that points
where Spring too no longer dies forever
though for a few hours you become a sea

lowering the Earth between your fingers
for waves, wiping clear the shore
as proof it never happened and winter

is still in the ground, waiting for the horizon
to return, bring back the sky, this time
as the sound that once lit up its life.

Perchik, who is 98 years-old, is not a poet from a generation or two ago. He is not dated because his voice harkens back much further than a century. He is beyond time because, in the end, Perchik is a metaphysical poet. One capable of knowing, not merely seeing, a unity of all things, be it fingers and waves and a tired forehead, or the "half molten stone/that became a river" in number 38, or the "primordial sea//still boiling in your chest" in number 51. There is a wondering about wonder laced through these poems. When you read The Elliot Erwitt Poems, perhaps you will be lucky enough to have the photos before you, but if you don't do not despair. While there is a relationship between these poems and the images, there isn't a dependency. Perchik's work is only dependent on the force of his imagination and the drive of his lyricism, which is why he asks you to participate. After all, "there's a word for this and you are here/to give it life."

The Lost Bookshelf

In closing, The Lost Bookshelf page will be deleted from FB. No need for it anymore. The store still exists but now sells Cervena Barva Press books only. It was wonderful selling books on consignment and new books for 17 years online. It was great at the Armory selling new, used, and books on consignment in a physical space for 9 years. Thank you everyone for your support for so many years.

Next month, look for more book releases. Cervena Barva Press has many books coming out this summer! Our book raves section will return.

See you in July!

Červená Barva Press Staff

Gloria Mindock, Editor & Publisher
Flavia Cosma, International Editor
Helene Cardona, Contributing Editor
Andrey Gritsman, Contributing Editor
Juri Talvet, Contributing Editor
Renuka Raghavan, Fiction Reviewer, Publicity
Karen Friedland, Interviewer
Gene Barry, Poetry Reviewer
Miriam O' Neal, Poetry Reviewer
Annie Pluto, Poetry Reviewer
Christopher Reilley, Poetry Reviewer
Susan Tepper, Poetry Reviewer
Neil Leadbeater, Poetry Reviewer
William J. Kelle, Webmaster

See you next month!


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