Chestnut Review - To the Baths of Azahara

Huge thank you and shoutout to the Chestnut Review for publishing what I consider to be one of my finest works yet! The editors asked me to remark upon the piece and I'll include that here in its entirety:

This poem is a devotional to classical Arabic epic poetry and a summation of the energies and ideas that came to the fore while wandering labyrinthine alleys of the ancient medina in Marrakech. Elaborate displays of spices, lamps, shoes, meat, perfume, whatever it is call out “Partake of me for I am beautiful.” The Baths of Azahara is a real place. The fountain and hammam of Ben Slimane are the oldest of the city. The protagonist is named Trik Jazouli, which roughly translates to “Path of (the person/object of) Jazoul.” In this poem, a tiny passageway from the medina is set vertical and made to wander the alleys and witness the dizzying splendor of the Ochre City, one of the busiest in Africa. In some places, the name for Morocco is still “Marrakech,” perhaps after the Amazigh (indigenous) word Murakush: “Land of God.”

Photo credit: Robert Fischer

Oyster River Pages - Ghost Clan

So odd this experience. I had no idea I had edited the poem -as- I submitted it. I made no note, no record of it, other than the submission itself. No one else altered the poem. I traced the file and found it on my hard drive... eventually.

To boot, I'm learning every day that I write and submit, about my own writing, my development, the effect it has on others, and about tastes in literature. What would be the line that drives a poem closer to a reader's heart? Surely, a poem is dormant until it is read or heard by the reader. The perceiver of a poem gives the poem life.

So when I substituted one line in a poem (and now I remember thinking this line alone would cause the piece to be published) and sent it off I had completely forgotten about it. Until ORP published it. They asked me to read the poem and send an audio file. I did that.

But I had recorded the original poem, not the lines they chose out of the multitudes. I suppose no one checked. I did not. I was on to other things. I showed up at the reading and met some pretty great people. We had a good time, did a good reading. I read the original poem. No one said anything. I posted the link to my public profile. Someone said, actually, a few people said "I like the written version better than the recorded version." I had no idea what they were talking about.

Then I read the version they published for the first time. Big surprise. I was shocked and even angered. I formulated the most sober and cogent letter I could render and sent a copy to three different addresses at the journal. It had in fact happened to me before; an editing nightmare where the editor of a journal printed my piece with some gouging edits without contacting me first for consent. I was incensed. The section editor got back to me right away. My head was blowing up. She said she was in complete agreement. That would have been an absolute publishing crime and she would never do that. She was so kind and polite about it too! I really admire her tact.

She showed me my original submission and there it was; the line. I found the original on my hard drive and there it was. The line had been changed. By me. As I submitted it and I left no record of it elsewhere. I remembered my thoughts as I submitted it to them, feeling that even though the line might have been facile by making an implicit moment explicit, perhaps that would meet with someone's taste more easily. Would I be spoon-feeding the poem to readers?

After much thought, no. Our goal is not to hide the imagery of a poem within itself, but to expose it smoothly without seeming trite. Now I have written too much on a simple poem that might be sipped in a sitting and then a reader would go on to the next interesting item on their agenda. But I thought I would put these words down about editing, and submitting, and communicating with editors in case it helps.

The poem can be found in its two versions here. I am still sculpting these verses to be included in my next book of poetry. It looks different today than either of these versions. Maybe I will publish it here on this post when it is ready... or maybe you'll see it when my book comes out!

Blind Seer of Coney Island Premieres Saturday September 18 at the Coney Island Film Festival

The latest edition to the Audio Visual Terrorism series of fabled filmlets will premiere at the Coney Island Film Festival on Saturday, September 18 at 4:30PM ET. No one without proof of vaccination and mask will be admitted. Covid scares are high stakes these days. AND YET, we heartily encourage you to show up and enjoy the whole fest. It's going to be very special and this could be the only time you get to see BLIND SEER (starring Last Poet Abiodun Oyewole) for a very long time. There are many components to the explanation regarding the mercurial nature of this film, but we can tell all to you live and in person if you decide to attend! CONGRATS AVT we have made another installment to the ongoing dark fable of the Voudoun Loa on the Island Without Shadows!!


Abiodun Oyewole
Isaach de Bankole
Wilson Jermaine Heredia
Tessa Martin
Dick Zigun
Written by Youssef Alaoui and Vagabond
Directed by Vagabond

Badass Bookworm Talks to Founders of Beast Crawl Literary Festival

The Beast Crawl Literary Festival begins its three day online zoomathon this Friday evening at 5:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Last week, Cassandra Dallett, the Badass Bookworm interviewed Youssef Alaoui and Paul Corman-Roberts about the history of Beast Crawl from its inception to the present day in this wonderful vodcast; also available as a podcast at all your favorite podcast outlets.

Maintenant Magazine 2021

MAINTENANT 15 is now available!

“A smorgasbord for those who are sick and tired of it.” —Seattle Book Review
“Timely and relevant.” —Tribe LA Magazine
“Excellent examples of collage and montage techniques . . . Interesting visual poems.” —Portland Book Review
“An interesting perspective.” —Manhattan Book Review
“Proof that Dada is not dead.” —Madjan Magazine (Serbia)

The 2021 edition of the world’s premiere journal of contemporary dada writing and art considers humankind past and present with a collection of contemporary dada art and writing driven by the theme “HUMANITY: THE REBOOT.” More than 250 creators from 33 countries establish that social protest can be creatively acheived via risk-taking art. The premier journal gathering the work of internationally-renowned contemporary Dada artists and writers, Maintenant 15 offers compelling proof that Dada continue to serve as a catalyst to creators more than a century later.
The annual MAINTENANT series, established in 2008, gathers work of contemporary Dada artists and writers from around the world. The new issue features cover art by renowned Cuban American artist Edel Rodriguez, whose work has been featured on the covers of TIME, The New Yorker, Der Spiegel, and more.
Past issues of MAINTENANT include work by artists Mark Kostabi, Walter Robinson, Raymond Pettibon, Nicole Eisenmann, Jean-Jacques Lebel, and Kazunori Murakami;  writers include Gerard Malanga, Charles Plymell, Andrei Codrescu, and more, with a strong contingent of artist-writers from the world of punk rock. 

MAINTENANT 15: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art, edited by Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges; ART: Folk & Outsider Art ; ISBN 978-1-953103-06-2, trade paper; 275 pages; $25.00 Publication date: Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Complete list of contributors to Maintenant 15 (in alphabetical order):
Derek Adams • Alexey Adonin • Jamika Ajalon • Youssef Alaoui • Linda J. Albertano • Austin Alexis • Joel Allegretti • Santiago Amaya • Elizabeth Ashe • Gaëlle Audic • Liz Axelrod • Mahnaz Badihian • Amy Barone • Vittore Baroni • Amy Bassin • Regina Lafay Bellamy • John M. Bennett • C. Mehrl Bennett • Volodymyr Bilyk • József Bíró • Mark Blickley • Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier • Clemente Botelho • John Bowman • Jeff Boynton • Gedley Belchior Braga • Bob Branaman • philipkevin brehse • Kathy Bruce • Imanol Buisan • Fork Burke • Irene Caesar • Billy Cancel • Peter Carlaftes • Virginia Carroll • Mona Jean Cedar • Robert Cenedella • Mutes César • Leanne Chabalko • Sarah M. Chen • Ross Cisneros • Lynette Clennell • Andrei Codrescu • Chuck Connelly • Roger Conover • Anthony Cox • Lars Crosby • Tchello d’Barros • Steve Dalachinsky • Zoë Darling • Allison Davis • Holly Day • Avelino de Araujo • Quỳnh Iris de Prelle • Laylah DeLautréamont • Bart Dewolf • Peter Dizozza • Sam Dodson • Bruce Louis Dodson • Carol Dorf • Robert Duncan • Jeff Farr • Amoye Favour • Rich Ferguson • Kathleen Florence • Gioivanni Fontana • Texas Fontanella • Robert C. Ford • Kofi Fosu Forson • Abigail A. Frankfurt • Barbara Friedman • Thomas Fucaloro • Joanna Fuhrman • Ignacio Galilea • Sandra Gea • Kat Georges • Christian Georgescu • Robert Gibbons • Gordon Gilbert • Mark Glista • Benjamin Goluboff • S. A. Griffin • Fausto Grossi • Meghan Grupposo • Egon Guenther • Genco Gulan • Elancharan Gunasekaran • John S. Hall • Janet Hamill • Bibbe Hansen • David Hargreaves • Nour Hassan • Heide Hatry • Aimee Herman • Karen Hildebrand • Jack Hirschman • Mark Hoefer • Lawrence Holzworth • Mane Hovhannisyan • Joël Hubaut • Heikki Huotari • Matthew Hupert • Ayushi Jain • Annaliese Jakimides • Marta Janik • Ruud Janssen • Mathias Jansson • Debra Jenks • Jerry Johnson • Boni Joi • Milana Juventa • Jerry Kamstra • Allan Kausch • Marina Kazakova • Donna Joy Kerness • Rose Knapp • Doug Knott • Ron Kolm • Mark Kostabi • Eleni Kourti • Paweł Kuczyński • Anatoly Kudryavitsky • Béné Kusendila • David Lawton • Serge Lecomte • Jane LeCroy • Patricia Leonard • Linda Lerner • Adam Li • Alexander Limarev • Laurinda Lind • Goran Lišnjić • Yvonne Litschel • Richard Loranger • Sarah Maino • Jaan Malin • Sophie Malleret • Bibiana Padilla Maltos • Giovanni Mangiante • Mary Manspeaker • Phil Marcade • Fred Marchant • Eliette Markhbein • Sara Cahill Marron • Malak Mattar • Bronwyn Mauldin • Ellyn Maybe • John Mazzei • Jesse McCloskey • Philip Meersman • R. S. Mengert • Lawrence Miles • Lois Kagan Mingus • Charles Mingus III • Richard Modiano • Mike M. Mollett • Thurston Moore • Tim Murphy • Alexander Nderitu • Gerald Nicosia • Anna O’Meara • Valery Oisteanu • Ruth Oisteanu • Marc Olmsted • Suzi Kaplan Olmsted • Jane Ormerod • Yuko Otomo • Csaba Pál • Lisa Panepinto • Gay Pasley • John S. Paul • Paulo • Giorgia Pavlidou • Ernst Perdriel • Puma Perl • Raymond Pettibon • Alex Andy Phuong • Charles Plymell • Leslie Prosterman • Lauren Purje • Renaat Ramon • Nicca Ray • C. R. Resetarits • Mado Reznik • Wes Rickert • Benjamin Robinson • Bruce Robinson • Aliah Rosenthal • Alison Ross • Bradley Rubenstein • Mashaal Sajid • Ralph Salisbury • Martina Salisbury • Aram Saroyan • Phil Scalia • Jack Seiei • Silvio Severino • Craig Shannon • Susan Shup • Bertholdus Sibum • Denise Silk-Martelli • Angela Sloan • Valerie Sofranko • Orchid Spangiafora • Dd. Spungin • Laurie Steelink • Samantha Steiner • J. J. Steinfeld • Christine Sloan Stoddard • Rich Stone • W. K. Stratton • Lucien Suel • Neal Skooter Taylor • Michael Thompson • Fred Tomaselli • Zev Torres • John J. Trause • Ann Firestone Ungar • Yrik-Max Valentonis • Luca Vallino • Anoek van Praag • Lynnea Villanova • Barbara Vos • Silvia Wagensberg • Tom Walker • George Wallace • Scott Wannberg • Mike Watt • Jennifer Weigel • Poul R. Weile • Ingrid Wendt • Syporca Whandal • A Whittenberg • Maw Shein Win • Yaryan • Gerald Yelle • Logan K. Young • Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis • Larry Zdeb • Leonard Zinovyev • Nina Zivancevic • Joanie HF Zosike