Daily Notes on Poetry & Related Matters

30 June 2006: The early 90s diary entries continue:

10:30 P.M. Sunday 15 December 1991

Diane is still much on my mind but a good visit from Mike Kettner provided relief. He arrived late, mainly due to my having forgotten that Midway is shut down at both ends by construction. He was here for two and a half hours, though (causing me to miss most of the Giants' game, which was fortunate, as they were again lousy). Lots of anecdotes, about such things as the phone-sex business he was involved with for a while, about his turning pacifist during the Vietnam War as a green beret (the subject of a novel he's trying to peddle) and later hiding out in Canada, his onetime heroin addiction, his meeting Curry who is a marijauna junkie (as is--less so, he says--Mike), the literary scene in Seattle, his job as civil service parking lot attendant at the University of Washington in Seattle and his troubles with his boss. I did a bit of talking, too, about my less interesting life.

The football Giants are the Giants mentioned. I've been a fan of theirs since I was a little kid living forty miles from New York City in Fairfield County--with a family that had long rooted for both the football and baseball Giants. I was a Knick and Ranger fan, too. I still sort of root for the Rangers but not for the Knicks or baseball Giants.

I'm not sure whether this visit from Mike was his second or first. I do remember we got together at my place twice. Another good guy I'd liked to have seen more of but haven't. Dunno what he's doing now. Haven't been in touch for at least seven years.

9 P.M. Monday 16 December 1991

One big event: 52 copies of Of Manywhere-at-Once arrived via UPS. The printer did an excellent job as far as I could tell. Of course, I found defects, but they were my fault, not the printer's. I was quite satisfied with the book, overall.

6 P.M. Tuesday 17 December 1991

One other item in the mail was a form letter to "all columnists" from a guy named Jim Knipfel who is abruptly my new editor at Factsheet Five. Ben Gordon "flew the coop," according to Knipfel. No word as to whether the latest Factsheet Five has hit the streets yet or not, but I found out that my next deadline is 20 January, which is a relief. All in all, I wasn't happy to hear Gordon had severed ties with F5, for I felt I would have gotten on well with him. I have no idea how I'll get along with the new guy. He sounds like he wants to leave the columnists alone to do their thing--but he also said something about not trying to find new columnists to write about things nobody understands as, Knipfel says, Gordon was doing. This suggests he might not be as keen on my far-out intellectualism as Gordon was, or appeared to be. What a world. I just hope the magazine keeps going, and that my last column will be in the forthcoming issue as scheduled.

9 P.M. Wednesday 18 December 1991

A letter, with philosophical discussion, from Jeff Hansen, who says the discussion of my work will be in the second issue of his new magazine--and a short review of Of Manywhere-at-Once in a later issue. He also said nice things about my Apollo poem.

I'm still in brief on&off touch with Jeff, who is still writing first-rate poetry with visual elements, at times. He's had, and overcome, a few minor mental health problems--which I hope he doesn't mind my mentioning. I'm still not sure one can mention them as openly as one can (usually) mention physical health problems. To me, all health problems are physical health problems, the brain being a physical organ.

9:30 P.M. Tuesday 24 December 1991

I put a copy of my book in a package and sent it in for review to the American Book Review.

A joke, of course. I wasn't at this time "nationally-known." I suspect even now the American Book Review wouldn't review my book. It does a much better job of covering literature than any other such publication I know of, but only of the infra-establishment (langpo, although it's almost full establishment now), never of the micro-establishment much less the truly non-establishment. I do think I'm now in an establishment of sorts, and may even have been back in 1991.

9:30 P.M. Friday 3 January 1992

I spent over an hour on the phone with David Roberts, who called. We continued our metaphysical discussion somewhat, coming to a better and more amiable understanding of each other. The main thing he wanted to tell me, though, was that he called the guy who bought Factsheet Five and although Hudson wasn't there, the guy answering the phone described a copy of the newest issue, which he had on hand, and it sounded good, for I was in it. I should soon be getting my copy. David says he intends to write a letter to Factsheet Five in praise of my column, which would be nice.

8:30 P.M. Monday 13 January 1992

Jim Knipfel, my Factsheet Five features editor, called. He wanted to know if I knew anything about the current issue, or Hudson, our chief. He hadn't gotten his copy of the January issue and said he was hearing unsettling rumors about the magazine. I told him what David had found out, which seemed to reassure him. We then chatted a little about my column. He seemed to think it fine but felt I had a mathematical point wrong. I don't think I did but afterwards changed my text a little for him. He seemed an okay guy. I think I ought to get along fine with him.

I have no idea what the mathematical point was.

7 P.M. Saturday 25 January 1992

A copy of Of Manywhere-at-Once that I decided to send to Laurel Speer for comment and possible review. I would be rather disappointed if she didn't at least write back to me about it.

9 P.M. Wednesday 29 January 1992

Afterwards I wrote what I think was a good, amusing short letter and put it in a padded envelope with my Of Manywhere-at-Once, which I sent to James Dickey. I had thought several times of sending him the book, in its previous form, mainly due to its similarity in several ways to Dickey's Self-Interviews and Sorties, and because, what the Hell, he might turn out to be a decent sort. Anyway, I chose now to send him the book purely on impulse. Doing it made me feel good, but by mid-morning the day went dead on me, I don't know why.

As I believe I said in a previous comment I've made about these entries, I never heard back from Dickey. Geof Huth told me a story about him: when Geof and/or some Vanderbilt students editing the school literary magazine asked him, as a Vanderbilt graduate, for a contribution to some special issue, he referred them to his agent. Or something like that. A jerk. Although, on reflection, I'm not sure how I'd react if students at Cal State, Northridge, my alma mater, asked me for a poem. I've been totally ignored by CSUN since graduating. I think I'd send them a poem, though. If I didn't, I'd explain why. I certainly wouldn't ask for money.

Hudson Luce's first Factsheet Five arrived. I was relieved to see it but a little disappointed with my column, which appeared sans illustrations, and with a dumb but minor typo that wasn't mine but which I had a chance to catch when Gordon sent me a copy to proof but missed. The magazine looked okay. Marc Bloch, I was a bit peeved to see, ruled over seven or eight pages. He did a pretty good job, though. He reviewed David T. Roberts's last Streetfighting Aesthete, but with a brief summary only that listed the zine's contributors, including me. I got mentioned several times throughout the issue, as a matter of fact--and the new Poetry Reviewer favorably but unpenetratingly discussed My SpringPoem No. 3,719,242 as well as Geof's Ghostlight and Karl's Charged Particles. Hudson wrote an informative editorial that said he'd taken over rather than bought Factsheet Five--Mike had simply decided to stop publishing it. I get the distinct impression that he's going to have trouble keeping it going--he said he needed to triple (to 5000) the number of paying subscribers in the next few months. Uhn. Meanwhile I'm musing over the possibility of trying to get a twice-weekly column into the local paper again, this time because Barbara Whitcomb, one of my buddies in the writers' club just recently gotten taken as a twice-weekly columnist for the Englewood edition of said paper. I feel what I'd have to do is get 50 columns done in advance, and submit ten or so. That's probably much too much work, but if Factsheet Five were to fold, I should seriously consider it. Once I got into the swing of it, I could probably do two columns in a day without much trouble. I'd aim for 500 words or so on a variety of cultural topics, including reviewing local art exhibits, stage performances, etc.

On&off over the years I've gotten semi-enthusiastic about doing a newspaper column, but never quite got samples together. The latest was just a year or so ago--in response to the editor of the weekly insert's call for columnists. I know her because she had done an interview of me when I'd done my presentation for the Peace River Writers' Center. So I e.mailed her about the possibility. She was friendly enough in response but clearly wasn't interested.


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